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|Year and Month||August, 2011|
|Number of Days||One Day|
|Crew||2 (between 28-30 years of age)|
|Transport||Motor bike (Honda)|
|Activities||Photography & Architecture|
|Route||Nugegoda -> Dehiwala -> Kalutara -> Richmond Castle and return on the same route.|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
We left Nugegoda around 10.30 am and reached his sister’s around 12.00 noon, just in time for lunch.
On our way, I saw this castle and asked his sister about it when we reached there and she said that we could visit the place. I was immediately, as always, hooked.
We had our lunch and left around 2.00 pm without having tea coz I was desperately looking forward to visiting this place.
So we came to the entrance around 2.15 and bought the tickets (Rs. 20/- each).
So along the road to the castle we went happily. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera, however, the previous month I had bought my new phone, Trusted Nokia X6 and it has a 5 MP camera which I had to be content with. However, the pics came nicely, so much better than I anticipated, however I again want to visit the place more leisurely with my digital camera)
There were a few people already there. There’s a caretaker who stays in the castle doing the cleaning and gardening.
He gives a full tour of the castle, so don’t miss it and give him some money (about 100/-) after that.
We started at the main hall which used to have a specially designed air conditioning system. The Kalu River is about 500-600m away from the castle. So they had dug a tunnel from the Castle to the river, one entrance facing the river (just above the face of it) and the other entrance coming up through holes in the main hall)
So the fresh and cool air comes along the tunnel and enters the hall through the holes made on the floor. This is such a wonderful method of Air Conditioning and it had worked really well coz even the Queen of England (if I’m not mistaken it was Queen Mary) had stayed in this Castle when she visited Sri Lanka.
This castle is more than 100 years old and has very unique features. This belonged to N. D. A. Silva Wijesinghe Mudalithuma.
The materials used to build this house are all imported from countries like Burma (teak furniture), Italy (marble and colored glass) and bricks from Europe and India.
It also has one of the very oldest pictures (around 120 years depicting the father of Mudaliyar) taken by the first studio in Sri Lanka (Plate & Co, Ceylon)
It also has over 105 years old teak staircase imported by Burma. However, you can’t climb or walk on these as they’re trying to preserve it into the future which is a good thing.
The walls are also very interesting coz they must be the oldest sound proof systems in the world. The wall is built in two parts using wood panels and covering it with a special coating like plaster of Paris thus leaving a space between the two wood panelings. This makes the room sound proof coz of the air vacuum created in the middle of the wall.
You can see a vertical cross section of the wall, this shows the wood panels and the plaster used to cover it.
You can see the wood panels and the coating well but please don’t touch them coz it will cause irreparable damage.
Most important thing I found was a letter written to the mother of the Mudaliyar. It relates to a loan given by her (Mrs. Silva Wijesinghe) to the queen of England (Rs. 2500/-, now this amounts to about 2.5m US dollars) in order to treat the wounded British Soldiers.
Would you believe that a person in Sri Lanka lent 2.5m US dollars to the queen of United Kingdom? Not even in my wildest dreams had I dreamt that. Imagine what a proud country we had been and our sad situation at present.
The queen had even attended the Mudaliyar’s wedding with her entourage which marks the reputation of him in the UK. Even when the governor made a speech, he first mentions the Mudliyar’s name above all the others which I found very fascinating.
It’s also rumored that they had built more than 20 pandols along the road where the wedding couple was coming.
Unfortunately, he and his wife couldn’t have kids so he arranged some statues of kids (those days they didn’t have pics of children).
You’ll see statues of small children along the garden which can be seen from the balcony and the master bed room.
However, after sometime he got frustrated with his marriage and sent his wife back to her parents.
The castle also has a large collection of pics of special occasions. One of which shows the wedding cake and it’s said that it was about 11 feet in height. Must be the tallest wedding cake in the whole world
Around 1950s he’s given away all his wealth to the government.
This is a wonderful place and a must-see.