A Painting on the Opening of the Paththirippuwa (The Octagon) | Sri Dalada Maligawa in 1802
Posted on April 9th, 2017

Dharma Voices for Animals Colombo Sri Lanka Chapter

This work in progress painting by Ms. Avanti Karunaratna is expected to be finished in early May, 2017 and will be displayed to the public in time for the celebration of Vesak and holding of the UN Day of 2017 Conference in Colombo.

The Paththirippuwa, which is regarded as the epitome or the most admired symbol and representation of Kandyan Architecture was built in 1802 A.D. by the Master Craftsman and Royal Architect, Devendra Moolacharya on the instructions of King Sri Wickrama Rajasinhe, who was the last King of the Nayakkar Lineage (1798-1815 A.D). The name ‘Paththirippuwa’ derived from the Tamil Language, means – ‘ to sit and see all around’ .

‘ Parthu’ means ‘to see’ and ‘ Irippu’ means ‘ seated’. The octagonal part of this building symbolized the King’s authority.This building being a master piece of Kandyan Architecture was octagonal in shape and the roof was an attractive creation with a steep gradient.

Devendra Moolacharya is also credited with the designing and construction of the Magul Maduwa or the Audience Hall, the Kandy Lake (Kiri Muhuda), Walakulu Bamma” or Cloud Wall, Diyarella Bemma, among many other novel architectural contributions.

The Kandy Lake, which is in the heart of Kandy, adds a unique beauty to the city. This was built in 1807 under the watch and instructions of the last King of Sri Lanka; Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. This was called Kiri Muhuda” or the Milky Ocean. Perimeter of the tank is 2.1 miles where the maximum depth is 60 feet.

The lake is surrounded by a wall called Walakulu Bamma” or the cloud wall which is 2060 feet in length. This wall contains triangular holes which has been used to light oil lamps in the night. On one side of the lake is the Temple of the Tooth Relic whereas on the other side is the Malwatte Temple. On the Dalada Maligawa side there is a building which is partially situated on the lake which was used by the numerous Queens to bathe and therefore it is known as the Queens Bathing House.

There is a striking little land mass in the middle of the lake. According to legend the King built a dam from the temple of the Tooth Relic to the Malwatte Temple through this island but later he had it removed leaving this island behind.

According to folk lore Devendra Moolacharya had been born in Matale, and had been staying for some time in Kotmale and finally lived in Handessa, till his tragic death when he committed suicide by drowning himself in the Kandy Lake, fearing and feeling ashamed of losing one of his fingers on the orders of the King, who had listened to slander and court intrigue by jealous rivals, against this great craftsman.

Refer ‘ Great Royal Articifer of the Kandyan Kingdom – Devendra Mulachari ‘ by D..D. M. Waidyasekera, Colombo: Stamford Lake, 2017.


Any constructive suggestions are welcome in respect to the content of the painting which is still in a state of work in progress.



2 Responses to “A Painting on the Opening of the Paththirippuwa (The Octagon) | Sri Dalada Maligawa in 1802”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Good work of art by Avante ! May there be many more art works by this artist depicting the Buddhist places of worship in Lanka.


    It is probably known now by many that the last King of Kandy lost his power to reason due to drinking too much whiskey sent as ‘gifts’ by the then colonial British. The King made many a decision when under the influence of whiskey and Davendra Moolacharya being punished for something he did not do, would have been part of the Kings crazy and terrible actions, which in the end brought about his own downfall and the taking over of the Upcountry area by the British.

    There is a Lesson to be Learnt here. Hope our top politicos now in power know what they are doing ….. !

  2. Nimal Says:

    It was a Dravidian structure captured for the Sinhalese by the British. Now they might paint over the true history where most of the structure is Hindu.
    People must follow the teaching of Buddha not any other things.

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