Parliament in Diyawanna marks 40 years

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Relocation of Sri Lanka’s Parliament to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte marks its 40th Anniversary today (29).

Due to the lack of space in the parliament building at Galle Face, necessity arose to move it to another building. It was proposed to construct a new parliament building in Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte.

The construction of a new Parliament complex began in 1979 on a 16-acre island in the middle of the Diyawanna Oya.

President J.R. Jayewardene and Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa directed the construction work.  Geoffrey Bawa was selected as the chief architect and a Japanese company was assigned to construct the new building. The locality was given priority in the architectural splendour of parliament building.

Construction was completed in 1982 and the new Parliament was ceremonially opened on 29 April 1982. Parliament proceedings were moved to the newly constructed complex on the said date.

With the opening of the new parliament building, Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte became the main administrative city.

Entrance to the present parliament premises is through a boulevard of ironwood trees. ‘Ambalama,’ style buildings can be seen around the Parliament premises. These places are said to have been built to bring politicians and their constituents together to facilitate conversation.

A beautiful pond is visible at the entrance to the building. The main entrance to  Parliament is decorated with murals by artist Dr. Manjusri.

The main entrance of the Chamber is made of copper and is silver-plated. The preamble of the Constitution of Sri Lanka is engraved in Sinhala, Tamil and English. The Chamber is rectangular and spread over two floors. Also, the silver-plated chandelier hanging in the centre of the House adds to the grandeur of the Chamber.