Ambalangoda is a coastal town located in Galle District in the Southern Province approximately 107 kilometres (66 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 13 metres (43 ft) above the sea level.
The town is renowned for its ancient devil masks and devil dancers along with it’s manufacture of wooden masks and puppets. The traditional masks are carved from light Balsa like Kaduru wood (Nux vomica). Kaduru trees grow in the marshy lands bordering paddy fields. The wood is smoke dried for a week in preparation. The hand carved and hand painted masks in traditional dance dramas are both vibrant and colourful.
Ariyapala Mask Museum
The Ariyapala Mask Museum gives a glimpse into the meaning, tradition and history of Sri Lankan masks. Carving a mask includes more than just a piece of wood and a chisel. The wood is first dried in the hot sun before carving out the basic shape. The mask is then placed on a hearth for a week to season the wood. Expressions are then carved into the mask using various types of chisels and mallets. Once it is ready the mask is smoothed and then given its initial layer of paint. Each mask has its own colours to depict its characteristics. For example, red could represent anger.
Coming from over five generations of dancers, mask-carvers, musicians and teachers Bandusena Wijesooriya, and his family has preserved and strengthened the mask carving tradition through the Ariyapola Mask Museum, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka while also preserving it for future generations.
Dudley Silva Batik
A design drawn on fabric, painted with wax, dipped in a boiling dye with a riot of colours in a kaleidoscope comes out a Batik. The Indonesian art of batik-making is believed to have been introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch, and over the past century has becomes firmly established with local culture. The booming batik industry employs individual design talent and fosters creativity. The innovative designs are mostly unique with the island’s contemporary art and psychedelic marvels that are transformed into colourful wall hangers and pennants to flags, dresses to cushion covers and shirts to wrap-arounds.
For your very own statement batik souvenir you could visit Dudley Silva Batik and choose your best from a range of pieces that have been exhibited in galleries in Europe, from the Presidential award winner (Gold) 2010/2011 for original and unique batik paintings with 35 years of experience.
The Sailatarama Vihara, is a temple overlooking the Madampe Lake. It is the home to a huge 35 m long reclining Buddha, the largest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia.