Ananda College

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Ananda College Colombo
  • ආනන්ද විද්‍යාලය කොලඹ
  • ஆனந்தா கல்லூரி கொழும்பு
Ananda Crest.png
Ananda College Colombo is located in Central Colombo
Ananda College Colombo
Ananda College Colombo
Location in central Colombo
P De S Kularatne Mawatha

Coordinates6°55′30″N 79°52′09″E / 6.92500°N 79.86917°E / 6.92500; 79.86917Coordinates: 6°55′30″N 79°52′09″E / 6.92500°N 79.86917°E / 6.92500; 79.86917
MottoPali: අප්පමාදෝ අමතපදං
Appamādō Amathapadan
(Buddhist quote from the Apramadha Vagga in the Dhammapada)
(Heedfulness, punctuality leads to Nirvana)
Established1 November 1886; 132 years ago (1886-11-01)
FounderColonel Henry Steel Olcott
PrincipalS.M. Keerthirathna
Age range6 to 19
Color(s)Maroon & gold
AlumniOld Anandians
School grounds in 1920.
Colonel H.S. Olcott, founder of Ananda College

Ananda College (Sinhala: ආනන්ද විද්‍යාලය) is the largest national buddhist school for Sri Lankan boys, with a student population exceeding 8,000 across 13 grades from primary to secondary classes,[1] on a campus of 10 acres (40,000 m2) in Maradana, Colombo.[1] The College was incepted as a result of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Renaissance which took place in the late 19th century. It was established on November 1, 1886, by the Buddhist Theosophical Society led by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and became a government school in 1961. As of 2018 an academic staff of more than 300 was led by Mr. S.M. Keerthiratne. It was originally formed as Sunday school.

Early history[edit]

Following a meeting of Buddhists at Pettah, under the patronage of Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, an English-Buddhist school was inaugurated at 19 Prince Street on 1 November 1886 by the Buddhist Theosophical Society. The first session was attended by 37 students. In 1888, when about 130 boys were attending, it moved to 61 Maliban Street. C. W. Leadbeater was appointed the first principal of Ananda today.[2]

By the time the school was officially registered in March 1889, there were 120 students. That same year, J. P. R. Weerasuriya became the first Anandian to pass the Cambridge junior examination. The Cambridge graduate and confessed Buddhist A. E. Bultjens became principal.[2]

In March 1890, the school's proximity to a Catholic school led to controversy—and a move to 54 Maliban Street where further growth ensued, and student enrollments rose to 200 in September 1892 and 270 in 1894.[citation needed] As principals followed Don Baron Jayatilaka. That year, Mr. Tudor Rajapaksha donated 3.2 acres (13,000 m2) of land[3] and the school was relocated in the suburb of Maradana. On 17 August 1895, the former English Buddhist School was renamed to Ananda College Colombo. The school's budget that year was 3800 Rs.

The list of principals until the end of World War I continues as follows: T. Davis, M. U. Moore and Fritz Kunz, close friend of Leadbeater and husband of Dora.

When Patrick de Silva Kularatne took over in 1918 attendance was 450 which rapidly increased to 1000 two years later. At this time the annual budget was 80000 Rs.[2] In 1919, the Dutugemunu fund was inaugurated. The funds raised paid for a building with nine classrooms. That same year, eight classes for Buddhist monks began. In the same month a 4-acre (16,000 m2) block of land was made available for the college playground at Campbell Place.

By 1961, the college had officially become a government school.[3]

Ananda Viharaya[edit]

The Ananda Viharaya, is undoubtedly the most easily distinguishable building of the college.[4] The foundation stone for the Vihara mandiraya was laid by Late Prime Minister, Hon. Dudly Senanayake on 29 January 1953 during the tenure of Mr. L.H. Mettananda. The model of the "Mulagandhakuti Viharaya" has been replicated when designing the building and the Buddha statue has been designed by Venerable Kalasoori Mapalagama Vipulasara Thero.

Completed under Col. E.A. Perusinghe, Late Governor, Honourable William Goppallawa handed over the Viharaya to the School on 6 March 1969.[4]


Ananda Viharaya

The students are divided among four houses:

  • Gamunu – Colour –      Navy Blue
  • Parakrama – Colour –      Red
  • Vijaya – Colour –      Dark Green
  • Asoka – Colour –      Dark Purple

The houses are named after the four main ancient Sinhala kings of Sri Lanka. An annual track-and-field tournament among these houses is held at the beginning of the first term.

"Battle of the Maroons"[edit]

In a tradition dating back to 1924, an annual cricket contest is held between Ananda College and Nalanda College Colombo. The two schools have contributed many players to the Sri Lanka national cricket team, including the old Anandians Sidath Wettimuny recipient of Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1985, Arjuna Ranatunga (who captained the Sri Lanka Cricket team to victory in the 1996 Cricket World Cup and who was also named as a Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1999), former Test captain Marvan Atapattu and T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal.[5]

Old Boys' Association[edit]

Sir D. B. Jayatilleke, the then principal, conceived the idea of the Ananda College Old Boys' Association in 1908. Initially its main function was to organise a sports-meet and the annual dinner. In subsequent years the OBA and the school's administration have co-operated in furthering the development of the College. Prior to 1961 (when the school was nationalised) the incumbent principal of the school presided over the OBA. Since that date, a president is elected by members at each annual general meeting.[6] The present president of OBA is Mr.Dushmantha Karannagoda. [7]

Ananda Daham Pasala[edit]

Ananda Dhamma School Logo

Ananda Daham Pasala (ආනන්ද දහම් පාසල/Ananda Dhamma School) is the sunday school of Ananda College. It was started in 2004 as a project of 81 group. [8][9][10] [11]

Notable alumni[edit]

Olcott oration[edit]

Olcott oration is an annual event organized by the old boys association of Ananada College, which commemorate the founder Colonel Henry Steel Olcott of Ananda College and other leading Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka. Every year famous personalities who educated at Ananda College, share their own experience for the "Olcott oration" and renowned dignitaries who have delivered the oration in the past, include Prof. Nimal Rajapakshe, Prof. Sumedha Chandana Wirasinghe and Prof. Ravindra Fernando.[13][14][15]

College war memorial[edit]

The Ananda College war memorial is situated in front of the Henry Steel Olcott Hall, and is dedicated to alumni of Ananda college who died while members of the Sri Lankan armed forces. Lieutenant A.P.N. P de Vas Gunawardana on 23 July 1983 became the first Anandian officer to sacrifice his life while in the Military. The plaque bears the names of old Anandians who were killed in the line of duty which includes the names of 45 war heroes from the Sri Lanka Army,[16] and many more names of war heroes from the sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Air Force. Ananda College OBA organises an annual "Ananda Viruharasara" event to honour military dead.[17][18][19]

Notable past principals[edit]

Notable teachers[edit]


  1. ^ a b Foundation of Ananda College Archived May 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine on official website
  2. ^ a b c Ananda College, Colombo; Buddhist Annual of Ceylon, Vol. I (1920), 1, p. 41.
  3. ^ a b Milestones Archived May 5, 2013, at the Wayback Machine on official website
  4. ^ a b Historical Sketches of Ananda Archived December 30, 2014, at the Wayback Machine on official website
  5. ^ Battle of the Maroons website
  6. ^ About OBA Archived 2013-02-17 at the Wayback Machine at official website
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Daily Mirror E-Paper". July 24, 2019. p. A14. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b "Distinguished Old Anandians, page 4". Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Olcott Oration 2011". Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Olcott Oration - 2010 | Letters". 2010-10-29. Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  15. ^ "OLCOTT ORATION 2012". Ananda College. 2012-11-10. Archived from the original on 2014-02-25. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  16. ^ Ananda College. "Anandians and Sri lanka Army".
  17. ^ Ananda Kannangara (2009-07-05). "Premier Buddhist school pays tribute to its war heroes: Anada Viru HARASARA". Security News | - Sri Lanka. Archived from the original on 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  18. ^ "Ananda College pays tribute for Old Anandian war heroes". 2010-12-30. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  19. ^ "Quick Look – Ananda Viru Harasara". Daily News. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-19.

External links[edit]