Dharmapala Vidyalaya

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Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
Crest of Dharmapala Vidyalaya

Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°50′37″N 79°57′11″E / 6.84361°N 79.95306°E / 6.84361; 79.95306Coordinates: 6°50′37″N 79°57′11″E / 6.84361°N 79.95306°E / 6.84361; 79.95306
MottoThumehi Kichchan Athappan (Buddhist quote from the Dhammapada).
Religious affiliation(s)Buddhist
Established8 December 1940
PrincipalColonel K.G.Wimalasena
Color(s)Maroon and purple   
AlumniOld Palians

Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, established in 1942 on land owned by Anagarika Dharmapala, is a Buddhist mixed school in Sri Lanka. It is a public school and provides primary, secondary and higher education.

Donation of the land[edit]

The land of the current school was originally owned by Anagarika Dharmapala. Later it was donated by the Don Hewawitharana Family to Mahabodhi Society and was allocated to Dharmapala Vidyalaya in 1940.[citation needed]

Dharmapala Vidyalaya today[edit]

Dharmapala Vidyalaya has around 7000 students and 400 teaching staff on a campus of 18 acres (73,000 m2).[1]

It provides education for students from grade 1 to G.C.E. Advanced level With the facilities include playgrounds, swimming pool, basketball court, children's parks, research lab, auditorium, shooting range, tennis court, indoor badminton court, computer labs, medical and dental centers, two-storied shrine for Buddhist monks, gymnasium, library, botanical, zoological, physical and chemical labs, hostel, canteens, co-operative shops, milk bar, buses and vans.

It has the largest international level cricket ground in South Asia.[citation needed]


In 1940 an English secondary school was established at Pannipitiya as a branch of Ananda College Colombo. This new school was named Dharmapala Vidyalaya. On opening day two major events took place: the opening of late Sri Devamitta Dharmapala Thero Memorial building by the Minister of Health, W. A. de Silva, and the ceremonial opening of Dharmapala Vidyalaya by the General Manager of Buddhist Schools, Walter Wijeynaike.

Dharmapala Vidyalaya was managed by the Buddhist Theosophical Society under the direct supervision of the principal of Ananda College Colombo. It was a school for boys and girls and conducted classes from Kindergarten to the Matriculation Form, in English. Dharmapala Vidyalaya began its work on 8 January 1941. Its founder was Patrick de Silva Kularatne and its principal was J.E. Jayasooriya.

Flag of Dharmapala Vidyalaya

During World War II a section from Ananda College- Colombo, along with the teachers, shifted to the Dharmapala Vidyalaya premises due to fear of war. To accommodate these students more Cadjan sheds were built. Later six permanent classrooms were built for the Primary Section. The then-principal of Ananda College, P De S Kularathna, led this project.

With the exit of Jayasooriya, D. C. Lawris took over as principal in 1943.

The school registered as an independent institute and a Class 1AB school for higher education. Up to H.S.C, many more students started entering Dharmapala. With the help of many donors and with the money collected by the students, another five classrooms were built for the Primary Section.

By February 1947 there were 1,420 students and H.S.C. classes were started. D.C. Lawris left Dharmapala Vidyalaya to take over as the principal of Ananda College, Colombo.[2]


  •   - Maurya (මෞර්යය)
  •   - Nanda (නන්ද)
  •   - Shakya (ශාක්‍ය)
  •   - Soorya (සූර්ය)

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Notability Reference
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Prime Minister (2000–2001, 2005–2010), member parliament - Horana (1960–1977), Kalutara (1994–2010)
Kamal Gunaratne Major General, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (2019–present)
Oliver Ranasinghe Commander of Sri Lankan Air Force (1994–1998)
Rohan Daluwatte Commander of Sri Lankan Army (1996–1998)
M. P. Perera Vice Chancellor University of Kelaniya (1973–1974, 1983–1985) [citation needed]
Soma Edirisinghe corporate executive (chairman EAP Holdings), film producer, philanthropist
Tissa Abeysekara filmwriter, director, producer
Eva Wansundera Solicitor General (2011), Attorney General (2011–2012), Supreme Court Judge (2012–present)
Wimal Wickramasinghe Member of Parliament - Ratnapura (1989–1994), Deputy Minister of Finance (1989–1994) [3]
Asoka Wadigamangawa Member of Parliament - Puttalam (1989–2000), Deputy Minister of Lands (1989–1994) [4]
H. D. L. Leelaratne Member of Parliament - Seruvila (1977–1989) [5]
Rohana Weerasinghe musician, composer
Thumindu Dodantenna actor, screenwriter [citation needed]
Vajiranath Lakshman De Silva founder of Saukyadana Movement of Sri Lanka
W. D. L. Fernando former Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Colombo
Prasanna Gunasena neurosurgeon, former Secretary of Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA)
S. D. Jayaratne Professor of Medicine at University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Wijaya Godakumbura consultant surgeon and President of the Safe Bottle Lamp Foundation
Rakitha Malewana medical researcher and social activist
Udaya Ranawaka consultant neurologist, former President Ceylon College of Physicians
Sarath Samarage consultant community physician, National Consultant World Health Organization, former Deputy Director General of Health Services
Hudson Silva founder President of International Eye Bank, Tissue Bank and Eye Donation Society, Honorary Fellow of the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka
Narada Warnasuriya Vice Chancellor University of Sri Jayewardenepura (2005-2008) [citation needed]


The annual big match, the Battle of Golden Lions (රුහුණු -මායා සටන), between Dharmapala Vidyalaya and Rahula College is the major sport event in the school.[citation needed]

The Henry Steele Olcott Memorial Cricket Tournament is an annual cricket tournament conducted among the past cricketers of eight premier Buddhist schools in honor of Col. Olcott, the founder of Buddhist education in Sri Lanka.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Welcome to Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2008.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Hon. (Dr.) Wickremasinghe, Govinnage Wimal Padmasiri, M.P." Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Hon. Wadigamangawa, A. H. M. Ashoka Premalal, M.P." Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Hon. Leelaratne, Hettiarachchige Don Lutus, M.P." Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017.