The Ambiance and History

The Ambiance

Steeped in a unique history that dates back 250-years, Mas Villa is situated in a breathtaking location high above the Kotmale valley.

This ancient manor house close to Kandy, now skillfully transformed into a boutique villa, retains all of its charm and appeal while being a quiet haven for rest and relaxation.

Attentive staff will ensure complete comfort and make you want to stay longer! Engage in a cookery demonstration or recharge with a range of spa treatments…there is much to do at Mas Villa.

Mas Villa is ideal for launching exciting excursions in the Sri Lankan hill country, for venturing further out or for simply unwinding and letting the world go by…

The History

Known for generations as the ‘Maswella Pahala Walawwa’, the manor house is the birthplace, childhood home and resting place of illustrious political leader, the late Hon. Gamini Dissanayake.

The maternal ancestral home of the late Hon. Gamini Dissanayake, Mas Villa has its own enthralling history. The ‘Atuwa’ or granary was burnt down in 1848 in reprisal for the family supplying food to those who organized a rebellion against British rule. The Atuwa was subsequently restored and remains an important feature of the manor house.

Among many noteworthy events, Mas Villa has the distinction of having hosted the registration of the first marriage to be duly recorded in Kandy (that of the maternal great-grandfather of the late Hon. Gamini Dissanayake) in 1867.

The former deputy speaker of the House of Commons, U.K. Dame Betty Boothroyd and former Prime Minister of India, Morarji Desai are among the many prominent personalities who have been visitors at the Maswella Pahala Walawwa.

The Kotmale Valley

The Kotmale valley has an ancient and remarkable history. The Great Chronicle* describes how the famous and much loved ruler of ancient Lanka, King Dutugemunu, spent 16 years of his youth in the Kotmale valley.

Disguised as a farmhand, Prince Dutugemunu had to escape the wrath of his father, King Kavantissa, ruler of the Southern Kingdom of Ruhuna. The disobedience of Prince Dutugemunu towards his father earned him the nickname ‘Dutta Gamini’ (wicked Gamini).

Follow the exciting Dutugemunu trail, visiting landmarks of interest that stand testimony to this great king’s exile in the Kotmale valley.

*What is the Great Chronicle?
The Great Chronicle or ‘Mahavamsa’, written in the Pali language by Buddhist monks, is the most important work on the origins of Sri Lanka. The document which records 2500 years of historical facts was written in three parts and at different times in Sri Lankan history.

The Kotmale Dam

Thirty years ago, the Kotmale valley gained renewed prominence with the construction of the Kotmale dam for the development of hydroelectric power in Sri Lanka.

Built in the hometown of prominent politician, the late Hon. Gamini Dissanayake, the dam is the second most important head works project in the Accelerated Mahaweli Development plan, in which he played a leading role.

The Kotmale dam was renamed the ‘Gamini Dissanayake Reservoir’ in 2003, in recognition for the service rendered by this distinguished leader.

Take time to walk the crest of the dam, viewing the stunning reservoir and the majesty of the surrounding countryside.

The Mahaweli Maha Seya

The late Hon. Gamini Dissanayake was also instrumental in the construction of the ‘Mahaweli Maha Seya’.

The stupa, with a hollow interior, is the second largest to be constructed in Sri Lanka.

Standing sentinel and overlooking the dam, the stupa was built as a permanent tribute to the many Buddhist temples, lands and homes (including Dissanayake’s own ancestral properties) that were submerged for the development of hydro-power energy in Sri Lanka.