Martin Wickramasinghe Museum | A Glimpse Inside A Writer’s Life

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Martin Wickramasinghe Museum

The Koggala Free Trade Zone is home to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum, close to Galle. The renowned writer and poet Martin Wickramasinghe called that place home. His belongings and memories make it an unusual location these days.

Martin Wickramasinghe – The Famous Writer

When we search Martin Wickramasinghe Museum Wikipedia, we need to know about the famous writer of Martin Wickramasinghe. 

On May 29, 1890, in Malagama, close to Galle, Don Martin Wickramasinghe—more popularly known as Martin Wickramasinghe—was born. Young Martin and his sisters found adventure and a haven of natural beauty growing up between a mangrove forest and a coastal reef. This setting influenced Martin’s career as a writer.

When he was five, Martin learned to read and write Sinhala from the village monk. Martin picked up the language quickly and went on to master Devanagari, letting him read the Buddhist manuscript of Hitopadesa. He showed his command of language even at such a young age by memorizing and quoting large sections of the manuscript.

The monk sent Martin to a local ordinary school where he spent two years honing his Sinhala language abilities after realizing how good he was at the language. At seven, Martin enrolled in the Buono Vista school in Galle in 1897 to begin studying Latin and English. He became fluent in both languages in less than two years.

Martin’s father’s death, however, caused financial difficulties and hampered his academic progress. Having been forced to leave Buono Vista, Martin rejoined at a local language school in Ahangama. He eventually stopped studying since he lost interest in school due to the severe shift in surroundings and the lack of support from his family. 

Over the next few years, Martin became a youthful adventurer, exploring the forests and wetlands with other young men from the area. His later stories drew heavily from this exciting time in his life.

Becoming a writer 

With the release of “Leela,” Martin’s writing career formally began in 1914 at 24. Before becoming a literary analyst in the 1940s and continuing to write novels, prose, and essays, he was an excellent writer. Martin, who wrote mostly in Sinhala, became well-known in the 1940s and 1950s for his three novels that included “Gamperaliya,” “Yuganthaya,” and “Kaliyugaya.” The trilogy shows how a wealthy Southern family gradually moves from traditional village life to the impact of an economic city. The well-known Sri Lankan director Dr. Lester James Peiris turned the texts into films.

Martin’s widely read 1956 novel “Viragaya” is regarded as a masterwork of Sinhala fiction. The novel uses a distinctive first-person narrative style that contributes to its enduring influence on literature, as it delves into the spiritual challenges of a delicate young Sinhalese woman managing traditional Buddhist principles, adulthood, and society’s contemporary design.

Martin gained renown in Buddhist circles for his modernized biography of Lord Buddha, “Bava Taranaya,” which he wrote as his last significant work. At age 86, Martin Wickramasinghe passed away on July 23, 1976. Throughout his distinguished professional life, he received multiple national and international honors. Translations of his literary masterpieces, such as “Viragaya” and “Madol Doowa,” presented his scholarly contributions to various audiences worldwide.

Martin Wickramasinghe Museum details 

An excellent and reasonably priced experience is a visit to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum in the area of Galle or Aluthgama on Sri Lanka’s southern coast. It provides a look into the antiquated traditions and civilizations of tropical Sri Lanka. 

 The Koggala Free Trade Zone is near the museum and easily accessible from Galle-Matara Main Road. The entry fee is a fair Rs 200, and you can visit any day between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The famed author Martin Wickramasinghe’s family home, which has a rich 200-year history, is home to the museum. Its remarkable survival throughout World War II adds to the cultural significance of this house.

You can travel back in time and learn about the manner of life in ancient Sri Lanka by exploring the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum. The exhibits offer a unique viewpoint on the area’s cultural legacy. The author’s family home serves as the museum’s setting, which gives the visit a more personal atmosphere. It is an easy yet exciting trip and a great place to visit if you are interested in Sri Lanka’s heritage or customs. Take advantage of the opportunity to find this historical treasure and take in the attraction of the past. 

The History Behind the House – Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum Complex

During the conflict, the Royal Air Force took control of the area surrounding Martin Wickramasinghe’s home, forcing the locals to evacuate within just 24 hours. Due to its strategic position and sturdy construction, Martin’s house withstood the changes while authorities demolished other houses to make way for an airfield. It became the personal quarters of a female Air Force officer of high rank. The airport was vital when a Catalina aircraft informed British forces of Japanese Zero Fighters. There were over 100 fatalities because people ignored the warning despite it. A hero who sounded the alert, Leonard Birchall, lived to become known as the ‘Savior of Ceylon.’ However, the Navy took the warning carefully and spared a raid similar to Pearl Harbor.

Martin Wickramasinghe house & folk museum Koggala – Things to See

The grassy mound to the right of the cottage is the final resting place of Martin Wickremasinghe, a writer, and his wife, Prema. A ‘Hall of Life’ containing pictures, vintage furniture, honors, and other items chronicles Martin’s life story inside the home. Every piece, including the writer’s desk with its antique chair, has an explanation in both Sinhala and English. 

There are traditional buildings behind the cottage. Martin’s idea becomes valid through the Folk Museum and a mud and wattle rice storage hut constructed on stilts to keep pests away. His collection of curiosities was added to the museum by the Martin Wickramasinghe Trust upon his death.

See clay pots, grinding stones, bullock carts, and other artifacts from Sri Lanka’s culture while exploring the Folk Museum. Martin’s books are available for purchase at the museum in many languages. Restoring a native tree environment, the seven acres of gardens at this location have become a haven for birds and small animals, making it the ideal spot for a peaceful walk.

Martin Wickramasinghe Museum contact number

For inquiries or more information about the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum, you can contact them at +94 912 283 427

Wrapping up

The Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum is a fantastic collection. You can capture this unforgettable location and moments for the rest of your life. That peaceful environment will give you a calm feeling even when you think about it. 

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