The beautiful bungalow in the picture is the Gal Bungalawa (Stone Bungalow) where I lived as a four year old in 1971 with my parents and brother. It was part of the University of Peradeniya Academic Quarters and is located at Mahakande, Sri Lanka. This two storeyed Bungalow had at one time been a tea Planter's Bungalow. The exterior walls of which are studded with stone hence the name Gal Bangalawa (Stone Bungalow). It stands nestled at the foot of the Hantane mountains and at the time we lived there we had no idea of its history but we recently learnt that it had been built around 1939 by a Tea planter named Colonel Thomas Yates Wright. His wife had been the architect of the design of this beautiful historical building. I am sure it must have cost a fortune to build.
Colonel Yates had published a book called "Ceylon in my time 1889-1949" in 1951 and he makes reference to this house in his book.
Below is a picture from the book-Queen Elizabeth II-opening the Univ. of Peradeniya in 1954
The bungalow stands on a small hill and below the bungalow is a roundabout with a road which encircles the round about.
There were frangipani trees on either side of the steps that led up to the house from the roadway. Below the road was a large garden with beautiful flowering shrubs and a fountain. Off to one side of the road were huge shade bearing trees some of which were madatiya(which was a tree that used to shed red madatiya seeds). Under these trees was a headstone which was the memorial to one of the beloved dogs of Colonel and Mrs. Wright. At that time I had no idea that it belonged to a dog, I used to imagine that it belonged to a dead person and used to wonder who it might have been.
Our family was given the upper right wing of the bungalow(on the above picture that would be on the left side). And it's the upper bay-wing shown in the picture below (left).
The upper left wing (pictured below) was occupied by another family who became our close friends.
Pictured also is the green bathroom of the upper left wing.
The bottom floor was also divided into two separate wings and one family lived in each of those wings as well. The ground floor had a big verandah onto which all the ground floor rooms opened up.
This house made a huge impression on me even though I was just four years old at the time.The house was undoubtedly beautiful, had a lot of character and atmosphere.I still remember the musty smell in the house and how the ceilings often used to leak when it rained. There were also a lot of mouse droppings in corners and we had no choice but to set traps for the mice when we first arrived. At night if we left the windows open, small bats used to fly into the house.
Each wing had bay windows on the front of the house and there was a big bay window in the center frontage of the upper floor of the house. The bay windows all had roofs above them. The glass on the windows had iron grids on them to simulate leaded glass windows.
On the top floor the kitchen was located at the back of the house and had windows all around. On the floor of the kitchen was a wooden trap door which closed off the staircase which led down from the kitchen to the ground floor. The picture below shows the bedroom in which my brother and I used to sleep. The open doorway shows the kitchen. Our bedroom room was a small room and did not have any windows, but did have two doors on either side instead. At night our parents used to switch on a green night light for us so we wouldn't be afraid of the dark.
The bay windows in the middle of the upper floor had window seats all around. The floors of the house were beautiful too since they were all made of polished wood planks.
The entrance hallway of the house had a fireplace and the floor was wood parquet.From this hallway began a wooden staircase that led up from the ground floor to a landing and then the staircase continued to the upper floor from that landing. The walls against which the staircase stood were lined with wood panels.
On the left is a picture of the stairwell on the upper floor which opens out onto the living room.
Below (left) is the green latticed walkway which leads from the house to the garages.
Below (right) is a picture of the wood panelled study which is located on the ground floor- front right wing of the house.