Brilliant architecture combines charming antiquity in this colonial-era manor!


Atapattu Walawwa, an archaeologically protected monument situated in Walawwatte Galle, is a unique architectural legacy gifted to posterity which has withstood the vagaries of time. Atapattu Walawwa translates as District Officer’s Residence. Built around 1742 by Sinhalese people who moved to Galle from Seethawaka after its collapse the first owners of the Walawwa were public servants under the Portuguese.  

Dr. Janaka Goonethileke, with his marriage to Dharshani Dias Abeysinghe – the sole heir to this ancient manor house, is the present owner who still maintains the Atapattu Walawwa in its pristine glory. 

The property’s great architectural value lies in the security and sustainability which has preserved the house over the years. Credit should be given to the Sinhalese workmanship for the basic sustenance of the building which was based on Buddhist philosophical principles. With the masonry being attuned to the weather patterns of a tropical country, the atmosphere in the Walawwa is super cool throughout the seasons. Among the writings about Atapattu Walawwa, we find that it has been featured in The Architect, the journal of the Sri Lankan Institute of Architects in November 2013, described as “Atapattu Walawwa: A Southern Ancestral Home”.  

“Atapattu Walawwa – Residence of Gooneratne and Dias Abeysinghe Families” is a rich illustrated miscellany of one of Sri Lanka’s well-preserved manor houses authored by Janaka Goonetileke, a consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist in Britain, who goes in search of his wife’s roots and documents same as a guide to the unique Sri Lankan real estate of a by-gone era. There is another book written by Dr. Janaka titled “Atapattu Walawwa Lessons Learnt from Conservation” which is a review of the technology, architecture and the aesthetics of Atapattu Walawwa. A simple book for those interested in Architecture and Conservation of Heritage homes of Sri Lanka.  

While Arnold Wright sheds more light on the Atapattu Walawwa in his prestigious monumental record, “Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon”, a book on the Trees, Plants, and Herbs of the Gardens of Atapattu Walawwa is written and awaiting publication.  

Complete with antique furniture and fittings of a colonial era, Atapattu Walawwa is The Ideal Holiday Home en route a historic excursion of Galle. If you are a nature enthusiast or interested in history, Dr. Janaka and his wife will be happy to welcome you and also walk you through the annals of time. The garden is very inviting for a stroll amidst nature with its lush greenery. And the traditional airy verandah is perfect for that soul-soothing relaxation.