The Audience Hall
The Audience Hall of Kandy is to be the centre for the swearing in of Ministers of the ‘new’ Government on August 10 - a Tuesday.
This hallowed spot is in the shadow of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
The area which houses the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) has been used for the swearing in of Presidents as well. Former President Ranasinghe Premadasa took his oaths at the Paththiruppuwa against the advice of the then Diyawadana Nilame.
Then, with the birth of a Republic, many advised Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike to repeat the same procedure, but she refused and had the dais placed below the Paththrippuwa. This was for the purpose of addressing the nation and to unfurl the national flag at Maha Maluwa.
The so called infamous ‘Kandyan Treaty’ was read in this very building, but not signed. It was read to the Mahanayake at that time
Ven. Kobbekaduwa Sirinivasa
The Audience Hall has seen much history during the days of the Kings of Kandy and afterwards at various government-sponsored events. The original building is said to have been housed in an areas which was 31 feet into 36 feet in extent. The areas was extended later.
The work of the building was begun by King Rajadhi Rajasinghe ( 1782 to 1798 ), but he could not complete this massive structure; hence it was left to King Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe to complete. The building was used to serve many purposes. It is on record that it was used to hear the grievances of the people and also served as the platform to meter out drastic punishments according to the law of the country.
It had been used as an administrative centre during the era of the Kandyan Kingdom from where the kings had granted audiences to foreign Ambassadors. These Ambassadors were kept for weeks before the King thought it fit to see them; that also for a few minutes.
It is said that the floor was made in such a way that the temperature rose and by the time the Ambassadors arrived it was so hot that they could only remain for a few minutes. The same thinking was extended to the places where the people stood when airing their grievances. They had to come on all fours to speak to the King and they too could not stay for very long.
The so called infamous ‘Kandyan Treaty’ was read in this very building, but not signed. It was read to the Mahanayake at that time Ven. Kobbekaduwa Sirinivasa. Sir John D’Oyly had the Treaty so to say in his pocket for 14 days and in some instances forged the signatures of persons like Ehelpola Nilame.
After the annexation of the Kandyan Kingdom this building had been used as a Church of England. Here Lord Bishop of Calcutta Reginalid Herber had delivered a sermon in 1829
The British is said to have extended the size of the building by adding three more pillars on the southern side in order to receive Prince Edward in 1872.
After the annexation of the Kandyan Kingdom this building had been used as a Church of England. Here Lord Bishop of Calcutta Reginalid Herber had delivered a sermon in 1829.
It is also here that persons like Madugalle and Keppettipola were ordered to be executed and it was in this very place that President Maithripala Sirisena signed the document which helped remove the stigma associated with traitors.
It is in this very place that Ven. Kudhapola Thera was ordred to be shot in this robes at Maha Maluwa; by as ‘Kangaroo Court ‘.
Then in recent times, the Supreme Court held its Assize Session in this building every six months with all the pomp and pageantry.
The appointments of the Mahanayakes and Anu Nayakes of the Siamese Sect was offed by the Governor during British rule, then by Governors, Governor- General’s and Presidents of the country.
So it has a history of tears and joy; all behind the shadow of the Sacred Tooth Relic - the Palladium of the Buddhist world.
Then let all who take their oaths remind himself or herself that they he or she is there to serve the people who have entrusted power in them to serve and protect them.