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
Sri Lanka
Coordinates 6°50′38″N 79°57′14″E / 6.843899°N 79.95389°E / 6.843899; 79.95389
Type Public
Motto Thumehi Kichchan Athappan (Buddhist quote from the Dhammapada).
Religious affiliation(s) Buddhist
Established 8 December 1940
Principal Oshara Panditharathna
Grades 1–13
Color(s) Maroon and Purple         

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

Donation of the land[edit]

The land of the current school was originally owned by Anagarika Dharmapala. Later it was donated by the Hewavitharana Family to Mahabodhi Society and was allocated to Dharmapala Vidyalaya in 1940.

Dharmapala Vidyalaya today[edit]

Dharmapala Vidyalaya has over 6,000 students and 300 teaching staff on a campus of 18 acres (73,000 m2)[1] acres.

It provides education for students from grade 1 to grade 13.


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 W. A. de Silva, Hon. Minister of Health, and the ceremonial opening of Dharmapala Vidyalaya by Dr. Walter Wijeynaike, the General Manager of Buddhist Schools.

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. It's 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, 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 920 students and H.S.C. classes were started. Mr. 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
Wickremanayake, RatnasiriRatnasiri Wickremanayake Prime Minister (2000–2001, 2005–2010), member parliament - Horana (1960–1977), Kalutara (1994–2010)
Ranasinghe, OliverOliver Ranasinghe Air Chief Marshall Commander of Sri Lankan Air Force (1994–1998)
Daluwatte, RohanRohan Daluwatte General Commander of Sri Lankan Army (1996–1998)
Edirisinghe, SomaSoma Edirisinghe corporate executive (chairman EAP Holdings), film producer, philanthropist
Abeysekara, TissaTissa Abeysekara filmwriter, director, producer
Perera, KusalKusal Perera international cricket player (2015–present)
Wansundera, EvaEva Wansundera Solicitor General (2011), Attorney General (2011–2012), Supreme Court Judge (2012–present)
Weerasinghe, RohanaRohana Weerasinghe musician, composer

Notable events[edit]

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.