Ambalangoda Mask Factory
Masquerading and puppeteers is very well-known art in a small town called Ambalangoda. It is located between Hikkaduwa and Bentota. While you tour the Bentota and Hikkaduwa beach, you must take a trek to this little village. You will be fascinated by the timeless traditions of seeing craftsman making masks. These items are sold down south, places like Galle, and all popular tourist destinations, including tourist shops. If you walk down the promenade along Galle you will see lots of these colorful painted mask and puppet.
There is quiet a narration in the creation of masks which started very long ago in the Ambalangoda area by a certain Wijesuriya family who has up to now still carry the torch of their grandfather who was the master brain behind all mask making, a custom handed down to him from his father.
All the tales of past concerning these masks can be found in their library which is an Aladdin’s cave of information for those who seek the thirst and knowledge of mask making. There is also a class for learning, and museum which is a definite must see place. This family is the most well-known for its form of art in the vicinity, and they strive to keep their grandfather’s legacy alive, though nowadays it is getting more and more difficult because of new innovations and technologies barging in. gradually it will become a dying art, except made for tourism purposes.
The Library is loaded with knowledge of every mask and what it depicts of the different dances. Anyone interested on the subject can delve into these shelves in a timeless way back in time, a by gone era of folk tales, and interesting stories can be found among these books. Be sure to visit this place you can have lots of fun playing at some devil dance or doing some puppet dance, get to know the craftsmen and how long it takes to make a mask and how it is painted in all the vivid colors and intricate patterns.
The Museum is housed with the most colorful array of masks, the old tools that is a symbol of a famous dance form of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Masks for sale
Masks can be found for sale at all tourist shops. You can even order them online from ebay! Did you know that it takes a lot of time and patience to carve out a mask, and then carefully paint in the colors and designs? These masks are mostly used for dance rituals. In olden days they were used to make some fun of the colonial times of Sri Lanka. Both masks and puppets are a very popular form of dance play.
Buying a mask can be very expensive. Some villages have the devil mask in their homes to ward off evil. You find these masks at Laksala and in greater Colombo area. However if you travel down south you could get a better bargain from the street vendors.
Things to do in Ambalangoda…
There is many a splendored thing to do in this little village. First you should visit the mask factory, and workshop and get to know and see how masks are made this will be a great experience for you. You might get the chance of painting one too. Visit the museum and see what they have to see, plenty of stuff to interest you if your only interest in the subject of masks, and what they are used for. It is a high treasure trove of activity at the Ariyapala mask museum.
Visit the many Buddhist temples, the beach, and the Madhu temple, where you get many lagoons and birds for watching. Hire a boat and go on the lagoon, it will cost you about 2000/- rupees. Many antique shops to be explored and browsed in, go see the fishing harbor and learn about the different varieties of fish that is found in here.