A few Karava Residences from past centuries are illustrated here. Only a handful of these homes survived the Death Duty, Paddy Land Acts, Land Reform, and Housing Reform legislations introduced by post independence Govigama dominated governments.
According to folklore, the heirs of a mansion of similar proportions in the heart of Colombo had their Estate Duty (Death Duty) deferred for 2 decades, thus enabling them to hold onto the property. Theheirs were close relatives of a former Govigama Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The heirs subsequently blocked out and sold some of the surrounding land for millions of rupees at current market prices, the sale proceeds being many thouand times more than the Death duty deferred in the past. That mansion is still with the family. However, many Karava mansions had to be sold soon after the death of the owner to pay the high Death Duties on such properties.
This is a labour of love, a random selection of Karava homes. As such the homes are not presented here in any particular order of antiquity or importance. Preparing a comprehensive album of all Karava mansions is a near impossible task due to the vastness of the subject. As such undoubtedly many Karava mansions would not be included here. Therefore if your ancestral home does not appear here and you have old photographs, please send them to the webmaster for inclusion.
"Charley Villa" of Mr. Charles Edward Arnols Dias.
Widow of Mr. Charles Edward Arnold Dias, Beatrice Fransis Catherine (5th daughter of Mr & Mrs Jacob de Mel of Horton Place, Colombo) with her children.
The crest of the Thakura Arthadeva Adithya Guardiyavasam Lindamulage de Silva family
Dr. Clarence Pedro Fonseka, his Panadura residence "Palm Grove" and his family. Son of Francis Fonseka and Appolonia ne Goonewardene, born 1856 in Moratuwa, married Leonora, daughter of Simon Fernando Sri Chandrasekera Mudaliyar in 1888
"Homeleigh" , Castle Street,Colombo, the residence of Peter & Elanor Anne Evelyn, (daughter of Thakurartha Devaditya Guardiyawasam Lindamulage J. C. de Silva of Lynn Bank, Alston Place, Colombo) de Silva Wijeyeratne.
The descendants of Gabriel and Maria de Silva Wijeyeratne (See page 666 of '20th century impessions of Ceylon' for names of all 43 family members in the photograph)
"Clifton Villa" of Emmanuel and Michaela Justina (grand daughter of Joseph Mendis Mudaliyar of Aluth Kuru Korale North) de Silva Wijeyeratne and their family.
"Roseville" Moratuwa of Dr James Solomon (born 1858 in Ambalangoda) & Lucie Dora (daughter of S. H. Jayewickreme, Mudaliyar of Kurunegala, Grand daughter of Christian Amadore Jayasuriya Mudaliyar of Magam Pattu) Gunesekera & family
Residence of Dr. Henry Issac Fernando MBE & Grace (Gresilda Leonore Wilhelmine b: 14 Jan 1884, daughter of Widanelage Johannes. de Mel of "Melbourne” Moratuwa). See de Mel family tree. Dr. Fernando was the 1st Chairman of the Moratuwa UC and the 1st president of the MSC. Trustee of Prince of Wales College from 1925 to his death in 1949.
"Green Bank" Moratuwa of Dr Joseph Sebestian (son of Thakura Artadeva Aditya Guardiyawasam Lindamulage Jacob de Silva) & Gala Lily Beatrice, daughter of John Clovis de Silva) de Silva and family
The Nugegoda residence of Francis Alfred Wijeyesekera (Son of Mudaliyar D. A. A. Wijeyesekera and Johanna Victoria de Fonseka) & Dorothy Juliana (daughter of Gate Mudaliyar Ambrosius de Rowel and sons Leopold Rowel and Quintilian Emmanuel Lowe.
The Katubedde Bungalow of MahaVedage Bastian & Jane Helena( daughter of Joseph Mendis of Moratuwa) Pieris and family
"Wilmot Lodge", Moratuwa of Hanwadege (Hennedige ?) John Jacob Pieris and family. Born 1863, married from the Goonewardene family of Mudaliyars from Galle
J Fransisco de Mel (founder and first Presiden of the Moratuwa Asociation) born 1809 in Moratuwa and Matthias de Mel Sr.
Joseph Matthias de Mel Jnr. and his Moratuwa residence "Melrose"
"Kirthi Nivasa" of Kurukulasuriya Charles Stephen Kirthisinghe (Son of K.S. Philip Gabriel Fernando Keerthisinghe, Korale Mudaliar of Negombo) .
Inset: Mary Josephine (daughter of K. S. John Leitan, Mudaliar of Chilaw), Charles Stephen, Son-in-law Francis Gabriel De S Wijeyeratne and daughter Laura Henrietta. Interior view of "Kirthi Nivasa".
"The Priory". Mahavaduge Cornelis Perera, Cecilia (daughter of Mudaliar Simon Fernando Sri Chandrasekera) and family of Panadura.
"The Aviary", Park Street, Colombo of Francis James Mendis Jayewardene and Emily Hortenz, daughter of Mr. & Mrs Jeronis Pieris
"Salgado Villa" Panadura of Merennage Mathes Salgado, (born 1860, married the sister of Domingo Dias) and family.
Pattini Hennedige Warnadeeptya Kurukulasuriya Selestina Rodrigo (Mrs Jeremias Dias) 's Panadura Bungalow, Interior views of Drawing room and liquor store.
"Siri Medura' , Panadura, the palatial residence of Ponnahennedige Domingo Dias (born 1853, Son of Cornelis Dias and Hewa Fonsekage Helena Fonseka) and family, situated on 7 acres of land, interior view, with wife (Dovisina Leanora, sister of Dr. Henry Cooray of Horetuduwa) and daughter.
"Lynn Grove" Moratuwa of Mr. Solomon Peter Soysa ( born July 17, 1854, Son of Domingo Soysa ), wife Dora Caroline (Daughter of Proctor A. T. Weerasuriya of Galle) and family.
Members of the Rodrigo family Friend-in-need Society of Panadura, the first and oldest family society (founded by Mr. Johannes Rodrigo in 1823) and David Rodrigo, the President in 1905. The Society helped thousands of Ceylonese during the famine of 1866 and victims of the Indian famine of 1897. see Rodrigo Friend in Need Society
Theodore Pieris Arsecularatne Dissanayaka Mudaliyar of Kalutara (born 1845, married Anastasia Juliana Perera in 1870) and his residence "Nutmeg Grove" .
"Belvedere" bungalow, Moratuwa of Mr. Willam Augustine and Fanny Ada Caroline (daughter of Mr. S. P. Soysa) Pieris and two interior views.
"Grace Lynn" Moratuwa of Mr. Jasentu Liyane Willam Robert (born 1865 in Ambalangoda) and Caroline Engeldina Fransesca (Daughter of H. Andris Pieris) de Silva and children.
"Clifton" , Mr. Lindemulage Robert de Silva Wijeyeratne, son Mr. Richard Joseph Victor de S Wijeyeratne
"Norwood" Bungalow, Layards Road, Havelock Town, of Mr Hettiakandage Felix Joseph Lucas Fernando (married in 1886 a daughter of Aditya Wanse Lindamulage Juan de Silva Mudaliar of Colombo), their "St James" bungalow in Colpetty, eldest daughter Mary Catherine Jane and her Lawyer husband E. R. F. de Silva Wijeyeratne.
St Lukes Church, Moratuwa built by Mr. Manuel de Mel
Estate Bungalow of Thakurartha Devadithya Gardiyavasam Lindamulage John Clovis de Silva, born 1852. City residence was “Lynn Bank” Cinnamon gardens and country seat “Green Bank” Moratuwa.
This is a labour of love, a random selection of Karava homes. Therefore the homes are not presented here in any particular order of antiquity or importance.
Preparing a comprehensive album of all Karava mansions is a near impossible task due to the vastness of the subject. Therefore, undoubtedly many Karava mansions would not be included here.
As such if your ancestral home does not appear here and you have old photographs of Karava homes or people, please send them to the webmaster for inclusion.
Whilst the Karavas in provincial capitals and the interior called their residences 'Walauva', the avant-garde Karava’s in Colombo and the western coast preferred to give fashionable English names to their homes, or just call them their 'Residence' or 'Bungalow'.
However despite the reluctance of the owners to use the old fashioned term ‘Walauwa’ to describe their residences, these residences were invariably referred to by the general public as ‘Walauvas’.
Kshatriya Maha Sabha, Sri Lanka