- Be aware on train schedule
- You can visit famous Calido beach@ Kalutara if time permits. Otherwise you have to satisfy with visiting Kaluthara Pagoda, an engineering excellence of Dr. A.N. Kulasinghe.
- PLEASE LEAVE ONLY FOOT PRINTS
The small bus was crowded to avoid seen even our own shoes. It moved forward just a little bit faster than a bullock. In the middle of the journey, we were confused bit whether we had passed the junction we intend to get off. As a security step we had already asked the conductor to remind the same when we reached our destination. But with the high load of passengers, he could easily forget what we asked at the beginning. But the conductor remind us to get off at the correct place, impressing that we were not unlucky,
From Platota junction onwards, we had to walk at about 1.5km to reach the Richmond Park Estate. Our destination was the Richmond Castle, a fine country house in a 42-acre fruit garden estate built in 1896. It was said to be one of the biggest mansions in Sri Lanka.
Memories of colonial era…
History of the Castle with an outside source of information:
At Palataota, in a little inland, is Richmond Castle, a fine country house in a 42-acre fruit garden estate. Built in 1896, it originally belonged to landowner turned philanthropist NDA Silva Wijayasinghe, the local Padikara Mudaliyar (village leader) & was used during the British period as a circuit bungalow for officials. It is said that ‘Governor George Anderson was requested by the royal family of England to appoint a battalion of 40 soldiers to guard the castle and its occupants.
This magnificent hybrid of Indian & British architecture was originally a spice plantation mansion, built for the Padikara Mudaliyar, a wealthy regional governor, who copied the plans of an Indian Maharaja’s palace designed by a London architect.
Note the audience hall, with intricately carved pillars & beams (two shiploads of teak were brought from Burma for its construction) & a spiral staircase leading to a gallery of some fascinating photographs from the time.
Today, Richmond Castle is a popular tourist attraction, and serves as an educational centre for less privileged children of Kalutara and the vicinity. The house & grounds are open to the public. It makes a good canoeing or bike track with riverside picnic.
First Statue You Meet…
Richmond Castle was a two-storied building with 99 doors and 34 windows, decorated with glass panes embossed grape vines. It was said that two shiploads of teak were imported from Burma for the construction of the same.
Front elevation of the castle…
( Forget about the living statue in front of the same)
The entire building was decorated with intricate carvings. There was a dancing hall with a stage as an added feature. There were tiny holes at the floor of dancing room, to provide a continuous flow of cool air from the bank of Kulu River.
Side view of the castle
A colorful glazed window frame
It was said that the architecture applied there was greater similarity to an English mansion than to an ancient “walauwwa”. Since the Mudaliyar was a lover of nature, he had decorated the garden with blooming plants and marble statues. Some of the statues were still stand.
Rear elevation of the castle ( been repaired )…
An article published in a newspaper.
Folklore said the Mudliyar was childless and not happy in marriage. At the end of his marriage, he devised his dream castle to the Public Trustee for the welfare of the children of the country. And he breathed his last in 1947 lonely, in a room at the Queen’s Hotel- Kandy.
Have a Safe Journey!