Kurunegala (කුරුණෑගල) is the capital of the Wayamba Province, Sri Lanka and the Kurunegala District. A transport hub, it has a railway station, and several main roads linking important parts of the country. It is situated about 94km from Colombo, and 42km from Kandy. Kurunegala has a population of 28,571. Ethagala a rock reaching 316 meters, towers over the town, which is located at an altitude of 116 meters above sea level. Ethagala, (Elephant Rock) is a magnificent creation of nature. The shape of Ethagala resembles an Elephant. The climate is tropical monsoon, with about 1800 millimeters of rain per year. Maliyadeva College and St. Anne's College are situated in Kurunegala.
Origins of the Name
Kurunegala has been named after the Elephant rock. "Kurune" means Tusker or an Elephant with protruding teeth and Gala
means rock. Kurunegala's old name was Hasthishailya-pura
, which can be translated as The city of the Elephant rock
. In some ancient literature the word Athugal-pura
is also employed to describe the city of Kurunegala.
Nearby are three archeological cities - Parakramapura (Panduvasnuwara) (north - west) with remains of a moated palace and monasteries from the 12th century, Dambadeniya (south - west, mid-13th century), and Yapavuwa (north).
It enjoys a pleasant location overlooked by huge rocky outcrops some of which have been given names of the animals they resemble: Elephant rock, Tortoise rock etc. According to folklore legend, long time back the city had experienced a severe drought. To exacerbate matters for humans, the animals had threatened the city's storage capabilities by consuming huge amounts of water. Fortunately for the humans, a witch had volunteered to alleviate the problem, transforming some of the animals magically into stone figures. But now kurunegala is goning down becous the new government
Geography and climate
Topographically Kurunegala town is based on a plain area with the exception of the surrounding rock out crops. The northern part of the town is slightly higher than the south. The Kurunegala Lake
adorns the town. The Kurunegala area is located well above the sea level comapared to Sri Lankan coastal areas. However the area is not as high as the central hill country of the island. The nearest beaches to Kurunegala are to the western coastal areas and include Meegamuwa(Negambo)
Kurunegala's climate is fairly temperate and tropical all throughout the year. However during the month of April the temperature can rise up to about 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). The only major change in the Kurunegala weather occurs during the monsoons from May to August and October to January, this is the time of year where heavy rains can be expected. In general, temperatures experience during late November to mid February period are lower than the rest of the year.
Kurunegala had a citadel in the thirteenth century.
Kurunegala was the capital for half a century, starting with the reign of King Buvanekabahu II
(1293-1302) who was followed by King Parakramabahu IV
(1302-1326). Few remains of the Palace of the Tooth relic
that housed the tooth of the Buddha
are to seen, including few stone steps and part of a doorway. The present Palace of the Tooth relic is situated in Senkadagala/Mahanuwara.
The Kurunegala Municipality Council is responsible for overall administration, sanitary, welfare, and other general activities of the city. The Municipality Council headed by a mayor with 12 other elected members. The 12 elected members represent the following wards.
- Teliyagonna (Upper)
- Teliyagonna (Lower)
Education is delivered free of charge to all students of national schools, according to the government policy. These schools operate under the Provincial Council. There are also privately owned schools
- Maliyadeva College - Kurunegala
- Maliyadeva Model School - Kurunegala
- Central College - Kuliyapitiya
- Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalaya - Kurunegala
- St. Anne's College - Kurunegala
- Mawathagama National School - Mawathagama
- Holy Family Balika Maha Vidyalaya - Kurunegala
- Mawathagama National college - Mawathagama
- Sir John Kothalawala Maha Vidyalaya - Kurunegala
- Wayamba Royal College - Kurunegala
- Lakdas Maha Viddyalaya - Kurunegala
- Zahira Viddyalaya
- Hindu Tamil Maha Vidyalayam - Kurunegala
- Dammissara National College - Nattandiya
- Ibbagamuwa Central College - Ibbagamuwa
- Saranath College - Kuliyapitiya
- Wikramasheela National School - Giriulla
- Pannala National Collage - Pannala
- S.B. Herath National School - Ganewaththa
- Royal International School
- Wayamba International School
- Unique International College
- Lexicon International School
Pride of Kurunegala
- Asliya Printers
- Anura Printers
- T & A Type Setting & Printers
- Laxman Printers
- Dambulu Printers
- Sinca International Printers
- Sampath Advertising (0094 37 22 22 133)
- Bright Bravo
- Blue Sky
Kurunegala is a central city in Sri Lanka and is directly connected to a large number of major cities and towns of the island. By road, it is connected to Colombo, Mahanuwara (Kandy), Puttalam, Trincomalee, Negombo
. Kurunegala can also be reach by the railway on the Northern Railway line.
The newly built centralized Bus Stand is Sri Lanka's most efficient and modern Bus Stand with space to park about 200 buses at a time.
The Seven Rocks
Kurunegala is surrounded by several rock outcrops, a distinctive geological feature of Wayamba.
- Etha-gala (Elephant Rock)
- Ibba-gala (Tortoise Rock)
- Ada-gala (Eel Rock)
- Elu-gala (Goat Rock)
- Kuruminiya-gala (Beetle Rock)
- Wandura-gala (Monkey Rock)
A large man-made water reservoir constructed by ancient kings.
Kurunegala Clock Tower
This was built in 1922 as a tribute to the officers, who went from the Wayamba province and sacrificed their lives in the World War I
. But after 1945 the tower was also dedicated to the officers who sacrificed their lives in the Second World War
. Today the Kurunegala clock tower serves as a landmark of the city.
The tower is located at the city centre, that links the Ambepussa - Trincomalee(A6) and Puththalama - Katugasthota (A10) roads. Vicinity of the tower include the Kurunegala Court of law, market and the central bus stand.
"This Clock Tower was erected in memory of those who went from the North Western province at the call of duty and gave their lives for the empire in the World War in 1914-1918"
Maligawa Ancient Ruins
Archaeological remains of this site are few, but give a glimpse of its past glory and comprise the handsome stone entrance, steps, rock pillars and ruined walls of the royal palace. Maligawa site also contains some majestic old trees.
There are many popular sports in Wayamba. The most popular are cricket, volleyball, and basketball. Dammissara National School got the all-island Volleyball championship in 1980-2006.
- Welagedara Stadium
- Maliga Pitiya Stadium
- Maliyadeva College Cricket Grounds
- Maliyadeva Model School Sports Grounds
- Sir John Kotalawala College Grounds
- Dammissara National College Grounds
- Mawathagama samodaya ground
- Tecniacal Collage Ground Kuliyapitiya