Memories of my life and my subsequent journey as a vegan

July 1, 2009

Gal Bangalawa (Stone Bungalow) at Mahakande

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.

All the rooms on the upper floor had a fireplace, which we never actually used. I'm not sure if the original owners actually lit fires in those fireplaces. Each wing had one or two bathrooms each with tiled walls and floors. Below pictured is our bathroom on the upper right wing.

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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.



















Below is a picture of the garages of the house.


The Mahakande Bungalow was a magical place to live in for a child and I think my brother and I were very lucky that we had the chance to live there. I have more wonderful memories of it that I will leave to write about for another day.

16 comments:

  1. Wow...! I am so jealous...! I love these old houses. Do you have any other pics of the interior?

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  2. Hey killromeoproject, glad you share my love of old houses :) It's amazing how much beauty there is in the old style houses.

    Yeah, I'll post some pics of the interior soon. I need to bug my brother for the pics, he took some on our recent visit to the house.

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  3. What a beautiful Bungalow... I regret that I no longer have pictures of some of the bungalows it's been my privilege to have lived in

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  4. Long time since i've seen this place. Stayed there once couple of years back, since my uncle works @ the uni. A very charming bungalow indeed. :)

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  5. Wow...Its just gorgeous !

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  6. Hey, you know what....I used to live there for more than 8 years....It was the best place to be

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  7. Hello to Sigma, Azrsel and Mommythecook.Thanks so much for your comments.

    Azrael, glad you enjoyed the bungalow as much as I did!

    Charith, which part of the bungalow did you live in?

    I have more stories to write about the bungalow, I'll try to post them this month! Also got a few old pictures from the time I lived there!

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  8. I loved reading this as Col T Y Wright was my Grandfather's uncle (so my Great Great Uncle). We are going to Sri Lanka in December 2011 and want to try and find the house.
    Jonathan Powell

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  9. Hi Jonathan,

    It's wonderful to hear from you a relative of Col TY Wright. The House will forever be in my memory and I am thankful to Col Wright & his wife for building it for generations to enjoy, it is truly a national treasure.
    The house is easily accessible from Kandy town or Peradeniya junction by 3 wheeler or bus. It is now a Guest house and belongs to the University of Peradeniya. You can contact the Registrar of the uni at registrar@pdn.ac.lk
    You can even stay at the House by prior arrangement.My personal email is custardtart200@gmail.com I would be happy to help with more details regarding your visit to Mahakande Bungalow. I am currently living in the US or I would have loved to have met you during your visit to Sri Lanka.My brother will be visting Kandy during Dec 2011, I'm sure he would love to meet you during your visit to the House.

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  10. We have visited to this place and stayed over-night!! Wonderful place. I was searching more info about this place. Thanks for sharing this.

    Baranee.S

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    Replies
    1. Awesome, Baranee glad you found this posting helpful and you stayed at the Bungalow!

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  11. can i have contact no please

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, please contact Director of Accommodation at University of Peradeniya, Mr. A.N.Siriwardana on 94-81-2392320 if you wish to stay at the bungalow or visit it.The University owns the bungalow which is now used as a guest house.

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    2. Hi, Thank you for the suggestions. How much would it cost per day? Tell me in USD including all components.
      What would be the total cost of stay for twin accommodation, including food per day here?

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    3. Hi,
      You're welcome.Unfortunately, I don't know how much it would cost to stay at the Mahakande Gal Bungalow.Please contact Director of Accommodation at University of Peradeniya, Mr. A.N.Siriwardana on 94-081-2392320 he will be be able to give you information regarding this.

      Delete
  12. I like the design and the workmanship looks excellent. It is a great pity that the place has been/was allowed to get into the state it is in.

    ReplyDelete

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