Dharmapala Vidyalaya

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Coordinates: 6°50′37″N 79°57′11″E / 6.84361°N 79.95306°E / 6.84361; 79.95306

Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
Crest of Dharmapala Vidyalaya
Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya is located in Colombo District
Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
Location in Colombo District

Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°50′38″N 79°57′14″E / 6.843899°N 79.95389°E / 6.843899; 79.95389
MottoThumehi Kichchan Athappan (Buddhist quote from the Dhammapada).
Religious affiliation(s)Buddhist
Established8 December 1940
PrincipalOshara Panditharathna
Enrollmentover 6,000
Color(s)Maroon and Purple         

Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, established in 1942 on land owned by Anagarika Dharmapala, is the biggest 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 over 6,000 students and 350 teaching staff on a campus of 110,000 m2 (27 acres).[1]

It provides education for students from grade 1 to G.C.E. Advanced level.


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 1 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 3,920 students and H.S.C. classes were started.Mr. 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)

An athletic tournament among these houses is held once a year at the beginning of the first term.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Notability Reference
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake Prime Minister (2000–2001, 2005–2010), member parliament - Horana (1960–1977), Kalutara (1994–2010)
K.H.J. Wijedasa Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka (1989–1994)
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)
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

Notable events[edit]

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.