The name Moratuwa is derived from "Mura Atuwa" meaning sentry turret in
Moratuwa has been a legendary coastal city since the time of Queen Leelawathie( 1208 - 1210 AD, 1221-1222 AD).
One of her military commanders Lak Vijaya Singukith Senevi (Senevi meanining Commander in Sinhalese)
was entrusted with the command of one hundred thousand (one Lakh) of soldiers,
and was based in Moratuwa. He came to be known as 'Lakshadipaty'
(governor of one lakh - one hundred thousand) and the
area he lived is still known as 'Lakshapatiya' . The people with family
names Henadige or Senadige (Sena means Army) are descendants the house
of the commanding officer. The extended forms are Arsakula Hennedige,
Bamina Hennedige, Lokku Hennedige, Lewis Hennedige, Varuna Hennedige,
Veera Hennedige etc.
Kings & cabbages: commanders & soldiers, carpenters & artisans, cricketers & musicans
This is an industrial city with timber mills, furniture workshops &
garment factories. The fourth densely populated town of the island,
Moratuwa is renowned for its furniture craftsmen (E. T. Cooray was a
commonwealth gold medalist for furniture). The city gave birth to a rich
populace of civil servants, commanders & soldiers of defence forces of
Ceylon immediately prior to the independence & since the independence in
1948. The technical aptitude of the citizens resulted in the town being
the location of Ceylon Technical College (which subsequently upgraded to
fully fledged University) & German Technical College . The city has been
well known for its cricketers from the days of Ceylon : Lasantha Rodrigo,
H. I. Fernando, Lanthra Fernando, Hemal Mendis, Virantha Fernando, Amal
Silva, Pemlal Fernando, Granvile De Silva (Cambrians), Dulip Mendis,
Flavian Aponso, Roger Wijesuriya, Susil Fernando (Sebastianites) &
Sebastianite Romesh Kaluwitarana of 1996 world champions - Sri Lanka are
just few among the famous Moratuwite cricketers.
Moratuwa in the splendour of full moon
A city famous for its music, Moratuwa is the hometown of Sri Lanka 's
foremost classical musician illustrious W. D. Ameradeva (W. D.
Albert) as well as generations of pop, Calypso & Baila singers.
Legendary pop singer Clarence Wijewardane of Golden Chimes, Chris topher
Paul, Priya Peiris of La Bambas, Sunil Perera of Gypsies, Paul Fernando,
Saman Silva & Nihal Nelson have been among the popular singers of the
city. Moratuwa has its own "song of the town", the famous age-old song
"Punsada paya Moratuwa dillenna" (Moratuwa in the splendour of full
moon), the indispensable, irresistible theme song for the singing
contests & festivals of Moratuwa. No song in the island make your toes
tingle as to the vibrant beat of Moratuwa's Baila song "Moratuwa in the
splendour of full moon". No Irene would sit still. All take to the
dancing floor, all the pretty maids in a row, even the Milkmaid
Angeline. Even ever proud Catherine, the maid of the maids. Com'n
Cathy, let's dance. That's what I call a skirt.
Banjos & Guitars
Moratuwa is home to street singers such as blind (visually
handicapped) Gilbert Peiris too. Handicapped Street singers of the
island were once organized into a collective show called "Mawathe api"
(We, the people - of the streets of Sri Lanka ) & extended a helping
hand by late president-ever industrious workhorse-indomitab le R. A.
Premadasa. Humble Gilbert's banjo was gifted to him byphilanthropist &
business tycoon Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotalawala, chairman of Ceylinco
group, who also extended a helping hand to rebuild the coast of Moratuwa
hit by Tsunami in 2005. Among the favourite songs imitated by blind
Gilbert are "Sri Pada Samanala Kande" ( Sri Pada Butterfly Mountain ), an
ode to the magnificent Adam's Peak , & "Sobawa hanga me lo thale" (Why
did you part us from the beauty & glory of the world?). Over to you
almighty god! One more question, Lord. "Didn't you have some corner of
the world for these talented people, other than the streets?"
The city of 18 administrative areas is home to numerous Buddhist temples
& Roman Catholic, Anglican & Protestant churches.
Bolgoda Lake in Moratuwa is the town's favourite weekend resort for
swimming, angling & boat trips with St. Mitchell Hotel on one of the
banks being the most popular among guest houses.
De Soysa apartment houses
Soysa Aramaya Buddhist Temple
Moratuwa University (Dean is writer Arthur C. Clarke), German Ceylon
Technical College , St. Sebastian College , Moratu Vidyalaya (Moratuwa
Moratuwa De Soysa Cricket Stadium (formerly De Soysa Park founded by
Charles Henry de Soysa)
Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne's Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya (Sarvodaya social
Holy Emmanuel Church. The Anglican Church, one of the tallest in the
island was built by philanthropist Charles Henry de Soysa.
Prince of Wales' College, Princess of Wales ' College
Behind the college cricket ground is the eco-chic yard with handsome
shady trees of the college. In front of the beautifully cropped old May
Flower tree of Prince of Wales' College is the memorial statue of its
founder Charles Henry de Soysa. Behind the May Flower tree is a handsome
open circular Image House with a fine Buddha statue. A large traditional
moonstone welcomes you all to the statue. The college owes a deep debt
of gratitude to its stalwart art master of the college, versatile
musician, singer, dramatist, artist & sculptor, illustrious Tissa
Gunawardene for Buddha statue, moonstone & all other artwork therein.
The Image House was ceremoniously opened by the last Governor-General of
Ceylon , Hon. William Goppalawa on 28th January 1972.
Behind the buildings of the college is a branch of Bolgoda Lake with a
view of coconut palm fringed banks on the other side & Lunawa Bridge .
Charles Henry de Soysa
Prince of Wales' College & Princess of Wales ' College are founded
by'Rotheschild' of Ceylon , Charles Henry de Soysa of Moratuwa
(1836.-1890) (first Knight Bachelor -posthumous from Ceylon ) in 1876 to
commemorate the visit of H.R.H. the Prince and Princess of Wales .
Charles Henry de Soysa was son of Mudliyar Jeronis de Soysa and
Mututantrige Francesca Cooray & grandson of Warusa Hennedige Joseph de
Soysa &Hennedige Francisca Peiris. 'Si Monumentum requiris,
circumspice! ' 'If you seek his monument - look around'. Look around in
Moratuwa & Colombo.
Memorial for Veera Hennedige Francisco Fernando (Puran Appu) of Moratuwa
(7th of November, 1812- 8th of August, 1848) who led 1848 rebellion in
Kandy ( uva Rebellion) against the British Empire is located at the Town
Hall of Moratuwa. The statue of Fernando is crafted by illustrious Tissa
Fernando faced execution famously declaring "if there had been half a
dozen such men as me to lead there would not be a white man living in
the Kandyan Provinces". A Select Committee was appointed which consisted
of Peel, Gladstone and Disraeli among others. These three were later to
become Prime Ministers of Great Britain. On the recommendation of the
Committee, the obnoxious taxes which Puran Appu fought against were
repealed and the conduct of the British Governor of Ceylon and his
assistants were severely criticized. Thereafter, the attitude of the
succession of British governor-generals in Ceylon took a different turn,
repression gave way to welfare schemes though it took another long 100
years for Ceylon to regain full independence on 4th February 1948.
Great to be a "Moratuwite"
Moratuwa, the City of Pioneers (Purogameethwaye Nagaraya),