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Independence Square – Colombo

Description

Independence Square is a majestic stone edifice that celebrates Sri Lanka's independence from the British Empire in 1948. The specific place is where Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, presented Sri Lanka's first Parliament on a particular podium, making an end to almost five centuries of colonial control and marking the beginning of Sri Lanka's self-rule. Initially, the Independence Memorial Hall treated important diplomatic guests and ceremonial parts of the two houses of the Parliament.
Each architectural square inch of this column abounds with unique symbols of the island's rich history and administrative freedom. On the way to the building is an impressive statue of D.S. Senanayake, Sri Lanka's first prime minister, is enclosed by four stone lions with protruding eyes. These feral guardians were recreated from the lion sculptures of the 13th century Yapahuwa kingdom. The most outstanding feature of the monument, the assembly hall, was inspired by the "Magul Maduwa," the royal castle of the King of Kandy, the last kingdom on the island. At the Magul Maduwa, the Kandyan chieftains handed over the island's sovereignty to the British throne in 1815. The exterior of the meeting hall is decorated with "Punkalasas," pots of plenty, which signify wealth and prosperity. The hall's interior is supported by 60 pillars adorned with remarkable Embekke wood carvings from the 14th century Gampola kingdom.

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Location and Historical Background

Situated in the heart of Colombo, Independence Square holds deep historical significance. At this same location, the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule took place. On February 4, 1948, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, inaugurated the first parliament of independent Ceylon from a specially constructed podium.

The Statue of Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake

At the head of the monument stands a majestic statue of Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake, affectionately known as "The Father of the Nation." As Sri Lanka's first prime minister, he led the country towards independence. His statue symbolizes the nation's gratitude and reverence for his contributions.

Independence Memorial Hall has been the primary venue for National Independence Day celebrations. It serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by the nation's leaders and the collective effort of the Sri Lankan people.

Architectural Design and Symbolism

The architectural design of Independence Memorial Hall is awe-inspiring, capturing the essence of Sri Lanka's rich cultural heritage. The building was conceptualized by a group of eight distinguished architects led by Tom Neville Wynne-Jones CBE. Other notable architects involved in the project include F. H. Billimoria, Shirley de Alwis, Oliver Weerasinghe, Homi Billimoria, Justin Samarasekera, and M. B. Morina.

The monument's design draws inspiration from the Magul Maduwa, the Royal audience hall of the Kingdom of Kandy, which served as a historical stage for significant events. The Kandyan Convention, signed on March 5, 1815, between the British and the Kandyian Chieftains, marked the end of the Kingdom of Kandy. Incorporating this design element pays homage to the nation's past and represents the spirit of unity and resilience.

Popularity and Media Coverage

Independence Memorial Hall has gained international recognition and featured in popular media. It has served as a pit stop in various seasons of The Amazing Race, including The Amazing Race Asia, The Amazing Race Australia, and the Israeli edition of the show. These appearances have showcased the monument's historical and cultural significance to a global audience.

Independence Memorial Hall is an enduring symbol of Sri Lanka's struggle for independence and the nation's progress. Its location, architectural design, and historical significance make it a site of immense pride for the Sri Lankan people. As visitors explore the grandeur of Independence Square, they are immersed in the history and the remarkable story of a nation's fight for freedom.

FAQs

  1. What is the significance of the Independence Memorial Hall?
    • Independence Memorial Hall commemorates Sri Lanka's independence from British colonial rule. It stands as a symbol of the nation's journey to self-governance.
  2. Who was Rt? Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake?
    • Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake was Sri Lanka's first prime minister known as "The Father of the Nation." His statue at the monument pays tribute to his pivotal role in leading the country to independence.
  3. How is the design of the monument inspired?
    • The Magul Maduwa, the Royal audience hall of the Kingdom of Kandy, inspires the design of the Independence Memorial Hall. It symbolizes the unity and resilience of the Sri Lankan people.
  4. What events take place at Independence Square?
    • Independence Square hosts religious events and annual national day celebrations. It has been a focal point for various cultural and commemorative activities.
  5. Has Independence Memorial Hall been featured in any TV shows?
    • Independence Memorial Hall has been featured in several seasons of The Amazing Race, including The Amazing Race Asia, The Amazing Race Australia, and the Israeli edition of the show.

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