Garden Tour



Garden Visit Times: 9:30am,  2:00pm  (No prior reservations  required for Garden Visit less than 15 visitors)

Please contact us via e-mail for group visit appoinments  – 

Drawing Day Pass


The Entrance Court

The entrance court at Lunuganga was created as the main entry to the house after the 1947 remodeling by Geoffrey Bawa whence he changed the actual entrance of the house back to front.


Porte`cochere and Glass Room

The portico and the Glass room were part of the 1980's additions, which replaced an earlier coconut thatched carport there.


The Red Terrace

The Red Terrace is so called because of the colour of the red laterite that has always been its surface.


The Water Garden

The view down to the water garden was one of Geoffrey Bawa's favourites.
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The Yellow Courtyard

The yellow courtyard so named by the ochre colour that its walls are sometimes painted, started off as a wall to hold two neo-gothic windows given to Bawa by his friend Anjalendran.


The Black Pavilion

The Black Pavilion forms the eastern end of the water garden and in the axis of the Broad Walk.


The Broad Walk

The Broad Walk runs due east west at the base of the main hill on which the house is and at the base of the northern terraced gardens.


The Water Gate

The Water Gate at the edge of the Dedduwalake is the departure point for excursions into the lake and the two islands of Appaladuwa and Honduwa.


The Hindu Pan

This sculpture of a horned Pan was sculptured by one of Geoffrey Bawa's architectural assistants, Narasingham and was called a "Hindu" Pan by Bawa.
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The Plain of Jars

The Plain of Jars is so named after the number of Ming Jars that dot this part of the landscape.


The Cinnamon Hill house

The Cinnamon Hill house was the last addition to the Garden and presupposes some of the ideas of the Kandalama Hotel and the Lighthouse Hotel both of which ended and started on either side of the construction of this house.


The Cinnamon Hill

The Cinnamon Hill is so named, as it was once a part of an overgrown cinnamon plantation.


The Gate House

At the bottom of the Cinnamon Hill in the grove of trees to the north is a small verandah that leads to the Gate House.


The Southern Terrace

Walking up the gravel entrance road and past the entry court up the steps to the left is the southern terrace.


The Southern View

Perhaps one of the most beautiful landscape views anywhere in the world is this tropical version of a classic romantic garden view connecting Lunuganga to the great garden traditions of the world.


The Western Terrace

A walk past the Roman head and around the house is the Western Terrace and lawn that opens out from the main living spaces of the house, the sitting room and main verandah.


The small verandah with the stairs leading up to the eastern terrace is marked by a human faced jar designed by Donald Friend the Australian artist and Bevis Bawa . A large Cannon ball tree, an ancient ata-amba (MangiferaIndica) and a blue olive tree, much favored for it blue fruits by the imperial green pigeon, shade this court.

Diagonal concrete tiles reflecting those that are inside the Garden room visually connect the porte`cochere under the Glass Room to the Garden Room itself. This is an affectation often seen in the work of Geoffrey Bawa which helps to connect the inside of the spaces with the outside and make them appear as seamless spaces, only some covered and others uncovered.

A large mango tree in the centre once shaded the chickens in the chicken coop in the eastern flank of it, at the time of a socialist government when land had to be used for more than enjoyment.

The structure of the chicken coop in proportions and structure is almost a miniature model for the National Parliament Geoffrey Bawa was to build in 1982.

Lunch was often served here to the sound of the rustling leaves of the giant green bamboos at the bottom of the garden. The Black Pavilion at the end of the central path across the waterways marks the eastern edge of the Garden.

The courtyard itself formed the forecourt to the Gallery that was converted from a cow shed of the 1970's which justified the presence of vast acres of lawn to socialist minders!

Through the gap in the trees in the centre right of this view is the leopard at the water gate silhouetted against the water of the lake. The small Fish Tail palm bridge connects the Black Pavilion to a now dysfunctional Sundial and continues as a causeway across ponds to join the broad walk at the base of the green bamboo.

On one side is the hill cut back to create a more dramatic experience of the height between the northern terraces and the Water Garden. On the other are paddy fields that are cultivated and record the passing of the seasons in the garden. Midway to on this walk the ScalaDanesi named for Geoffrey Bawa's collaborator at the time, the young Danish Architect UlrikPlesner, connects the middle walk halfway up the hill.

Honduwa in the 13th C was the cremation grounds of the monks of surrounding temples and legend has it that the tree gods once struck down a local politician who attempted to clear the islands for cultivation and it has since been declared a sanctuary after Geoffrey Bawa acquired the property in the 1960's. The leopard sculpture on the Water Gate is by Lydia Duchini who also did a sculpture of a bishop for Geoffrey Bawa's building for Bishops College in Colombo.

It was originally silhouetted against the rice paddies that used to be rented by the estate from a neighbour and now only reflected in the pool of water before it.

A causeway originally between a pond and the paddy fields to the right lined by areca trees and jars led to the now long vanished western Cadju tree terrace at the western end of the garden, A large FicusBenjamina now ends the vista seen from the Blue Pavilion set into the hill above the plain. This area also has the only remaining grove of rubber trees from the original estate.

The pavilion sitting room is connected to an entrance hall and two bedrooms. A small kitchen and staff pavilion made this house independent and was rented first to an ambassador and then to an artist who paid her rent partly by leaving paintings in the house.

Cinnamon still grows on the lower southern slope of the hill but the rest is now a great lawn lined by stands of tall trees. A small watering trough for cows is seen on the eastern side and a tree with a pot that makes up the great southern view from the main house is in the centre. Geoffrey Bawa was cremated on the top of this hill in a moving ceremony in 2003.

The verandah has a mural painted over a period of 30 years by Artist LakiSenanayke during several visits to the Garden. The House that is connected to this contains the accommodation for the management of the garden and the Gate House Suite on the upper floor. The magnificent wrought iron panel on the top of the steps is actually a fanlight from a 18th C house in the now demolished Jaffna Fort.

At the top of the steps is an urn designed by the Australian artist Donald Friend and Bevis Bawa, Geoffrey’s Brother. The terrace itself gives entry to the main house. Looking into the entrance hall of the house the master bedroom is on the left hand side and the Guestroom is on the right and through the house a Ming Jar is seen against a frangipani branch and the lake beyond. At the western end of this terrace is a niche with a Roman head overgrown with creeping ficus.

The long sweep of the lawn in the foreground ends in a group of bushes that hides a ha-ha in which the road to the properties at the end of the peninsula including the Cinnamon Hill runs. The pot on the crest of the hill under the Moonamal tree draws the eye to the horizon with the lake beyond and the stupa of the temple on top of the hill.

The terrace is marked at the western end by a large frangipani tree planted at the inception of the garden in 1947 and trained to receive peacocks that once sat on its branches, much like in Chinese paintings. The edge of this terrace is marked by a baroque wall that forms a contrast to the ordered fields seen in the Water Garden below and by two 19th C lead garden statues.