Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“DORIC” The House of the first British Governor at Aripo, Sylvathurai some fascinating insights into the past which very few people are aware of

I visited the remains of a house, now long abandoned to the elements, of Frederick North the first British Governor built in 1804 to oversee the then most famous export of our Island, the Oyster Pearl from here where the Pearl Fisheries were. The House was supposed to be the most beautiful house in the Island at that time as it was a purpose built house completely designed in a style for in keeping with European architecture, but which was nevertheless the ultimate beach house!!

All European Royalty from then till now wear natural Pearls, white, black and pink that were collected from Oysters off Kondachchi Bay overlooking this house.

Some interesting observations are that the sea erosion has eaten into our landmass as there was probably at least 30meters of land from the house on top of the cliff to the sea. Now the remains are at the edge of the sea and in a few years what remains will also fall down the cliff into the water.

There are mother of pearl shells strewn all around, as a by-product of the Pearl Fisheries, and there no telling if that remains now what there would have been then. There would have been a thriving secondary industry using the mountains of oyster shells from which mother of pearl ornaments etc were made.

The sea shore as can be seen from the photos is straight with no beach, but one can walk a considerable distance into the water making it perfect at this time of year to bathe as there are no waves. Ideal bathing spot!! Of course no one uses it as we don’t normally bathe in the sea if it is at our back yard.

Just imagine the parties that the Governor would have thrown here at the height of the Pearl Fishing season. Details of which are described in a book by the Governor’s chaplain, Reverend James Cordiner’s Description of Ceylon 1807.
The divers were usually from South India and from Africa. There may have been Arab traders and traders from all over the world to purchase these valuable items.


Sigma Delta said...

Beautiful! How do I get there?!

Rajaratarala said...

If you are in Colombo just get onto the Puttlam road and just go north. North past Puttlam you get to Eluvankulam and you cross the Kala Oya causeway at which point you technically enter the Wilpattu National Park, you continue north, cross the Malwatu Oya at which point you leave the park and continue straight up and then you get to the town of Sylvathurai and continue a little past and you see it on the left beachside on the main road. So it is just straight up the map with no turns from Colombo and you get there.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Fascinating post!

So the road is now completed upto Mannar ?

Chavie said...

Beautiful place! :)

I have the same question as Kirigalpoththa. I heard that the roads are causing damage to the Wilpattu...

Rajaratarala said...

the coast road all the way is still not open due to a bridge being built, but the main road actually goes inland about 10km north of Doric and then goes to Mannar. The coast road will save a further 20km and will take another 6months. Motorbikes however take the shorter route.
The Navy wont let you in from the Kala Oya entry after 3pm as they dont want anyone on the road after dark.Road kill may be the issue here.
Buses ply the Puttlam Mannar route now saving hours of the journey via Anuradhapura.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Thanks for that information!

Anonymous said...

Hello Rjaratarala,
Let me know if we can proceed to Doric from Silavatura by a van. How is the road? Do you have any idea of places to visit between Puttalam to Mannar??

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