Maduwanwela Walawwa is located in the town of Kolonne which is flanked by Embilipitiya and Suriyakanda in the Ratnapura District and is 207 km away from Colombo. Maduwanwela Walawwa was constructed by Maduwanwela Maha Mohottala in 1700s and was renovated and expanded many times by the Maduwanwela family until 1905. At this time the final expansion as carried out by Maduwanwela Maha Disawe.
Madunwanwela Disawe was very often referred to as the Dark Prince of Ceylon and he was a personality who defined an era. He has a good rapport with the colonial administrators of his and his relations with them were so good that he was bestowed the title of Sir James Williams.
The Walauwa is set in a sprawling 80,000 acres estate which was donated by two Kings of that time. The Panamure Estate was 54,000 acres and was a gift from King Rajasingha to Maduwanwela’s great grandfather, in appreciation for having brought him the head of a General who was working for the Portuguese.
As is a legendary tale, the ancestor of Maduwanwela clan used to watch for game across this sprawling estate and one day he saw a hare and jackal cross paths. The hare had given chase to the jackal. The hare’s unusual courage influenced him a great deal and he thought that this act by the hare was indeed a victory of sorts and so he decided to build his mansion on those grounds.
The Maduwanwela Walawwa in the days gone by sported 120 rooms, 21 meda midulas (inner gardens). In the present time the Walawwa has 40 rooms and 7 inner gardens. An interesting fact is that the Walawwa has paved floors turned out of mosaic and Netherland chipped tiles. It is amazing that the floors look so colorful in an era one would not think would bring design and detail at its best. But surprisingly so the mosaic leaves a impression in the minds of all visitors who take back with them the beauty of a Walawwa that was built several centuries ago.