National Museum

National Museum information

Kandy , Sri Lanka
+94 222 3867
adult/child Rs 500/300, camera/video camera Rs 250/1500
Opening hours
9am-5pm Tue-Sat
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This museum once housed Kandyan royal concubines and now features royal regalia and reminders of pre-European Sinhalese life. There are some interesting objects housed here and it could be a very interesting museum, but it's sadly let down by very poor lighting, labelling and general layout.

One of the displays is a copy of the 1815 agreement that handed over the Kandyan provinces to British rule. This document announces a major reason for the event.

…the cruelties and oppressions of the Malabar ruler, in the arbitrary and unjust infliction of bodily tortures and pains of death without trial, and sometimes without accusation or the possibility of a crime, and in the general contempt and contravention of all civil rights, have become flagrant, enormous and intolerable.

Sri Wickrama Rajasinha was declared ‘by the habitual violation of the chief and most sacred duties of a sovereign,’ to be ‘fallen and deposed from office of king’ and ‘dominion of the Kandyan provinces’ was ‘vested in…the British Empire.’

The tall-pillared audience hall hosted the convention of Kandyan chiefs that ceded the kingdom to Britain in 1815.

The museum, along with four devales (complexes for worshipping deities) and two monasteries – but not the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic itself – make up one of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle sites.