In Kaltura, Sri Lanka, stands a charming mansion that features truly fascinating design and harks back to the days of colonial rule; there’s much to enjoy on a visit to Richmond Castle.

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Ramith Bhasuka,CC0

The Site’s Origins

Richmond Castle dates to 1896 and belonged to a wealthy landowner (or ‘mudaliyar’) named Don Arthur de Silva who moved in here with his wife in the early 1900s. It’s said he was partly inspired to build such a creation after seeing the Maharaja of Ramnad’s palace in India which he subsequently visited to study its architecture.

Planning a Visit

This site is in the Palatota area near the Kalu River and one of the best things to do in Kalutara is to plan a visit here. Only around a 15-minute drive from properties like Turyaa Kalutara, Richmond Castle is generally open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on weekdays though it’s best to check ahead; note there’s an entry fee too.

Diverse Design

At this site set amidst scenic gardens, you will notice that it has a captivating combination of design styles from both the east and west. Blending local, Indian, Roman-Dutch and Greek-style architecture, this two-storey mansion also features building material and fittings imported from places like Scotland, Italy and Burma.

What to Expect

Look to take a guided tour of Richmond Castle (now used as a children’s home) where you will see furniture and antiques and can learn about the site’s unique ventilation system. Other highlights include the audience hall with its carved pillars, a spiral staircase made from Burmese teak and stained-glass windows.