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Meandering along Matale

Passing Matale from Kandy to Dambulla, many don’t realise what a beautiful township it can be even if it means stopping over for some tea. Besides being residential, it is also rich in history and the administrative capital of the Matale District. Matale is a town 142 kilometres (90 miles) from Colombo and 26 kilometres (17 miles) from Kandy.

The Matale administrative district is home to the historical Sigiriya Lion’s Rock, the Aluvihare Temple and the Dambulla Cave Temple. Around the town are the stunning Knuckles mountain foothills called Wiltshire. This area is primarily an agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivations dominate the Knuckles Mountain Range is the unique landmark of Matale.

On the north side of the township, the Aluvihare Temple shines in its historical glory. This is the epic location in which the Pali Canon was first scripted finely into text on ola (palm) leaves. Situated near Aluvihare are different monastery caves which exhibit Sri Lanka’s finest frescoes. Aluvihare is a rock monastery on the Kandy-Dambulla highway which was established during the first century and situated between rocks.

Matale was at the centre of a vital battle in 1848 when the Matale Rebellion began when the British garrison in Fort Macdowall, Matale was brought under siege by the rebels.

Christ Church, Matale was consecrated by Bishop James Chapman on December 30, 1860. The church site selected was Fort McDowall, overlooking the view to Matale via Trincomalee.

The church having been furnished, the Revd. William Frederick Kelly, Minister and Chaplain in Matale, and 36 others sent their petition to the Rt. Revd. James Chapman, D.D., to dedicate and consecrate the Christ Church. The Parsonage was opened on August 16, 1862. The 75th Anniversary was celebrated in 1935.

The centenary was celebrated on January 28 and 29, 1961. The 125th Anniversary was celebrated on September 6, 1986. The church was gutted by fire in 1985 and was completely restored. Services were held in the Baptist Church in the interim period.

On June 22, 1911, there was a special service held in this church in connection with the Coronation of their Majesty King George V, and Queen Mary. The offertory on that was given to King Edward VIII. Anti Tuberculosis Fund. (Ref. Ceylon Churchman Report for the year ending June 20, 1911). The 150th Anniversary will be held this year and the mayor of Matale is Hilmy Careem, as of May, 2006.

Courtesy: SundayObserver

Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 @ 18:49:46 LKT by

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