- A Day Care Centre Today -
This mansion of historic value is over 100 years old and one of the few largest remaining mansions in the country, apart from the Maduwanwela Disawe's Walawwa in the Ratnapura district.
The mansion on 42 acres of land is close to the Kalu Ganga. One has to travel nearly 47-kilometres from Colombo to reach this castle, which is at Palathota along the Tudugala road. The flamboyant Castle depicts a delightful legacy of a bygone era of the British Colonial period. It was entrusted to the Public Trustee of Sri Lanka in 1947 by its proprietor Mudliyar Padikara Mudalindu Nanayakkara Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur de Silva Wijayasinghe Siriwardena. The interior of this mansion has been designed like a winter house in a Western country.
Mudliyar Siriwardena had built the castle to resemble a Palace in India, belonging to a Maharajah at that time. The mansion is complete with a stable, servants' quarters, guard rooms, dancing floor and all requirements for a luxury life.
The mansion has a splendid dancing floor, which has a natural air conditioning system. According to the caretaker, this is a unique system. Under this system air is being pumped to the dancing floor straight from the Kalu Ganga through underground tubes. It also has a good sewerage system.
Burma Teak pillars, Italian and Scotland glass windows and mirrors and shiploads of timber from England were imported to build this magnificient edifice. Kandyan era wood carvings on pillars especially in the dancing floor depict the combination of Eastern and Western cultures at this beautiful palace.
Richmond Castle has 99 door frames, 38 windows and one roof covering the entire mansion.It is said that Mudliyar Siriwardena maintained this place as a flower garden,which was known as Richmond Park Estate.
Anyone visiting the castle could also see their personal collection of old photographs taken by Plate which are over 100 years old. Mudliyar Siriwardena, the chief Mudliyar of the Kalutara district was in charge of 12 villages. He had 40 guards to protect him.
by Hiran H. Senewiratne
Entered April 12, 2007