Curious tale of the president, the sand-filled swimming pool and the missing gold

Owned by Sri Lanka’s former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Peacock Mansion in Rajagiriya on the outskirts of Colombo has all the trappings of a luxury villa, with one notable exception: its swimming pool is filled to the brim with sea sand. Far from being a natural phenomenon, the pool was deliberately filled with beach sand after astrologers warned that a swimming pool to the west of the house was a bad omen for the former president.

A poster of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

A poster of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Image by Vikalpa | Groundviews | Maatram | CPA / CC BY 2.0

Since then, rumours have been circulating that the ex-president may have hidden a cache of gold and banknotes at the bottom of the pool for safe keeping, attracting the attention of local treasure hunters. Sri Lankan politician ASP Liyanage, who currently administers the property, has appealed for government help to empty the pool and put an end to the rumours, though he has pledged to refill the pool with sand afterwards to keep the astrologers on side. Read more: 

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