By the river of Mahaweli and above the cityscape of Kandy resides the legacy of William Dunuwille, built into his home: the Dunuwille Walawwa. Almost a century after, the majesty of his home is celebrated in a way that was never assumed before. Walking into the Walawwa is to travel time, to embrace the rich heritage and culture of an era that once was.
The Dunuwille Walawwa has been the home for more than eight generations of Dunuwilles who are proud to call it home. The verandah built in the front part of the Walawwa is dripping with grandeur. Intricate wood carvings of flora and fauna, interior design styles unique to the era and other elements of culture, this verandah bears stories like no other. It reminiscences how the great-grandchildren of William Dunuwille would sit on the floor and listen to stories said by their grandparents about the Kandyan Era and the heroic acts of their ancestry. It fondly remembers how William Dunuwille would visit his family on an elephant, the grandest mode of transportation in that time and how the floors would shake to the sounds of drums and pageants of elephants at times of celebrations. This verandah has been an integral part of the Dunuwille family as it was where they witnessed their lives unravel in good times and bad.
The Dunuwille legacy was carried on by his descendants. The halls of the Walawwa have witnessed many of his great-grandchildren become important members of society such as Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranayake, the first female prime minister in the world. For the Dunuwilles’, the walls will always echo the laughter and the moments shared with the family when they would come together at auspicious times.
Walking amongst the corridors of the Walawwa, it is astonishing to realize that these walls had carried the weight of many family portraits, photographs of their ancestors and many more monuments carefully curated. These photographs are now a family heirloom protected with care, passed down to the generations that precede them.
The Dunuwille Walawwa is not merely a home but proof of the times before us, and every inch of the place carries a story, memory and the legacy of the Dunuwille lineage and the Kandyan kingdom.
After being under the care of the Dunuwille family, the Walawwa is now a part of a family of culture, as rich as its original owners; Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts. The Walawwa is what is now called Cinnamon Citadel Kandy, a grand hotel that allows its visitors to indulge in the beautiful city of Kandy and experience the tranquility of the soft winds only the city allows. Located by the banks of the Mahaweli River (the longest river on the island), the resort offers vistas never seen before; lush gardens veiled with mist in the mornings and peaceful nights overlooking the majesty of the city.
For all of those who visit Cinnamon Citadel Kandy, it offers more than a pleasant hotel experience but the warmth of the home it was once before. The hotel is of stark beauty as it continues to protect the legacy of the era and the cultural elements of the Kandyan Kingdom from architecture to interior design, carefully curated to contain the majesty of the Dunuwille Walawwa. The interior of the resort is rich with elegance and grace, with elements of heritage adorning it.
Maybe you will plan your next getaway here, and if you do so, remember this story. Wonder about the stories hidden among the beautiful woodwork and walls and celebrate the legacy of William Dunuwille and the artifacts of a kingdom that once was. Look around for the traces of life within a hotel that was once a home. Make your stay here an iconic one with the majesty that the hotel brings to life and breath in the serenity of the city of Kandy!