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Richmond Castle

If one was to talk about an Edwardian-style castle in Sri Lanka, many might look puzzled and would most likely question the existence of such a complex. However, the centuries old Richmond Castle is a unique colonial complex in Kalutara that puts all those doubts to rest. Built to mirror a Maharaja’s palace in India, the Richmond Castle is a mansion of architectural wonder and serenity, surrounded by greenery and accentuated by bursts of colourful blossoms. Coupled with its intriguing backstory, the Richmond Castle is that one attraction in Sri Lanka that really is ‘one of a kind’.

Best Known For

  • The mansion in Kalutara is famed for being one of the more serene places of Kalutara, due to its rustic backdrop of surrounding trees and marvellous gardens bursting with a kaleidoscope of blossoms, making it perfect for taking that much needed down time from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  • The complex is also famed for its colonial style architecture, resembling that of the Edwardian era and its many historical exhibits therein, carefully preserved for future generations to study and enthrall at the very site of such history.

Interesting Facts

  • Richmond Castle has its origins in the early 1900s, when Nanayakkara Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur De Silva Wijeysinghe Siriwardena was bestowed the title of Mudaliyar (a colonial title and office in Ceylon) of Kalutara, after completing his education in Britain.
  • While the Mudaliyar was making his journey to Ceylon (the colonial name of Sri Lanka) to take up office, he decide to make a stop at the palace of his old school pal, Raja Rajeswara Sethupathi, who happened to be the Maharaja of Ramnad, in India.
  • In awe at his friend’s palace, the Mudaliyar inquired about the architectural plans of the Maharaja’s palace, in order to construct a similar palace in Ceylon for himself.
  • However, the Maharaja refused to pass on the plans on the grounds that Sri Lankans did not have the skills to craft such a masterpiece.
  • This little setback did not stop the Mudaliyar’s desire though, as he mustered up 2 of the best local architects and set off to India to secretly study and draw plans of the castle.
  • It was after this successful operation that the mansion we know now as ‘Richmond Castle’ came into fruition.
  • Boasting of a structure that exhibits the highest luxury of the era, including the floor and roofing tiles, timber, stained glass, decorative items, and bathroom fittings imported from various countries, the Richmond Castle was a symbol of Sri Lanka’s splendour and power.
  • The castle was christened on the grandest of occasions in 1910, with the wedding of the Mudaliyar to the young noblewoman, Clarice Matilda Maude Suriyabandara.
  • Surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and fruit orchards, the complex certainly lived up to its standard of luxurious imperial living.
  • However, due to the couple’s failure to produce heirs, to inherit the colossal mansion, the Mudaliyar decided to bequeath such wealth to a trust for the public, which still maintains the mansion till today.
  • Presently, the luxurious structure of 99 doors and 38 windows sprawled across 42 acres of estate land, now serves as a museum and public park, along with being a children’s home.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The historic site in Kalutara is open daily from 9.00am to 4.00pm, however, the best time to visit the mansion is during the late afternoon when the atmosphere changes to a very mellow easy going one.
  • There is no particular season of visitation too, however, it has been proven that there is an increase in influx of visitors during the months of January and February, due to the favourable weather conditions in Kalutara.
  • It is also important to keep in mind that this mansion also doubles up as an orphanage, thus the reason as to why certain areas of the complex cannot be accessed by the public.
  • Please adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant authorities. In other words, do not touch the exhibits, if specified.
  • As always, bring your camera along and click away, while exploring the marvel of a mansion.

In conclusion, the Richmond Castle is an exemplary structure of colonial Sri Lanka, proving the world that the country was and still is a country of magnificence, bringing in the mix of history, culture and even nature to a great extent, in one place. Should you be travelling down the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka, do take the opportunity to take that well deserved break at the Richmond Castle.

Title image by: Richmond Castle The information displayed is provided by Richmond Castle

Location info

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Season

January - February

Tickets

Entrance Fee
LKR 500

Tickets At

Type

Culture and Heritage

Social and Relaxation

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