Maliyadeva College

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Maliyadeva College
මලියදේව විද්‍යාලය
Maliyadeva College Crest1.png.jpg
The Motto
Sanskrit: विद्या भूषणं पुरुष भूषणम्
Pronouncation: Vidya Bhushanam Purusha Bhushanam
Meaning: Science is the jewel of man
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Coordinates 7°29′14″N 80°21′34″E / 7.487357°N 80.359527°E / 7.487357; 80.359527Coordinates: 7°29′14″N 80°21′34″E / 7.487357°N 80.359527°E / 7.487357; 80.359527
Type Government School
Established June 1888
Founder Colonel Henry Steel Olcott
Principal Y. G. Thilakarathne
Grades Class 1 - 13
Gender Male
Age 6 to 19
Enrollment 5000+

Navy Blue, Golden Yellow & Maroon

Pupils Devans

Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, is a government school established in 1888, by the Buddhist Theosophical Society led by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. It is one of Sri Lanka's oldest schools and considered by many to be a leading Buddhist school in Sri Lanka. It is a National School and controlled by the Central government. Today the school accommodates nearly 5000 students. The term "Devans" (Sinhala:ඩේවන්ස්) is used to refer to the former/present pupils of Maliyadeva College.

Maliyadeva College Main Hall මලියදේව විද්යාලයීය ප්‍රධාන ශාලාව.

College name[edit]

The school is referred as "Maliyadeva College" in Sri Lanka or simply as "Maliyadeva". Local newspapers also refer to it as "Maliyadeva Boys' College" whilst past and present students of Maliyadeva are called "Devans". The school was named Maliyadeva College after Arahant Maliyadeva, the last well-known Arahath thero who had high psychic powers (Abigngnalabhi: in Sinhala:අභිඥ්ඥාලාභී) of Buddhist history. Although there are several schools, specially in this part of the island that have adapted the name Maliyadeva ; none have links to Maliyadeva College other than the Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalaya, which was separated from the previously mixed Maliyadeva college as a separate institution for girls in 1946.


In June 1888, a new school with one student was opened at a place in Bodhiraja Mawatha near the present Central Bus Stand in Kurunegala, pioneered by Semenaries A. Bamunu-Arachchige, a young Maha-Vidane who had been put in charge of four villages by Maha-Mudaliyar Bandaranaike and Colonel Henry Steel Olcott with the assistance of local donors; Messrs. Hulugalle, Adikaram and Mudaliyar Attygala. This school was named as "Kurunegala Buddhist Institution".

The school was managed by the "Buddhist Theosophical Society". The first manager of the school was Bamunu-Arachchige Semenaries who had been elected by the Maha-Mudaliyar himself and Sir Olcott. Maha-Vidane Semenaries was still young at the time of his promotion so the Society decided to hire Sir Olcott to help and teach him to run the school. And by 1908, the number of students has risen to one hundred still under the leadership of Maha-Vidane Semenaries who had plans to make the school bigger and expanded. In 1909 the school was moved to a new premises at a Buddhist Temple Ethkanda Viharaya along the Kandy - Kurunegala main road. This was decided by Mudaliyar Bandaranaike and Maha Vidane Semenaries. By 1915 the school was at its peak and Vidane Semeneries had gotten another 130 students into his school.

In 1922, the management was changed from the Buddhist Theosophical Society to the Y.M.B.A. and Dr H.K.T. Zilva became the new manager.

The school itself, however was still governed by B.A Semenaries and being a Maha-Vidane, had the power to change anything if given permission by the Mudaliyar of the Province. In late 1927, Maha-Vidane Semenaries changed the school's name officially to "Maliyadeva College" and he asked the students to create a national emblem and song. The emblem however was changed completely in 1958 but the anthem stayed on only to receive some minor changes throughout the decades. B.A Semenaries retired from governing the school in 1931 and after forty-three years as Maha-Vidane he gave the position to Bandaranike's son the future Prime-Minister of Ceylon. Before leaving, Maha-Vidane Semeneries appointed U. B. Wanninayaka (who later became a politician and government Minister) as the Principal in 1930 and abolished the manager system. Maha-Vidane Semenaries carried Sir Olcott's legacy after his death in 1907 and gave the school a chance to expand and gain respect to what it is known now. Maha-Vidane Semenaries died in June of 1945.

In 1934, a batch of students from the Maliyadeva College appeared for the S.S.C Examination (equivalent to current G.C.E O/L) for the first time. E. S. Balasooriya was the first student to pass this examination.

By 1936, the number of students has increased to a level that the premises at Ethkanda Viharaya was not big enough. Former governor Maha-Vidane Semenaries and Mudaliyar Bandaranaike, who was on his last term, gave the order for the school to be moved to its current location along the Negombo- Kurunegala road. The land was owned by Madawala Disawa and bought by H.K.T. de Zilva.

P. de S. Kularatne was appointed as the manager in 1941. He changed the status of the school into a mixed school.

Due to the ongoing second world war, the school buildings and land was taken over by the Army in 1942. The school had to be shifted back to its previous location at Ethkanda Viharaya. The number of students had increased to over three hundred and sixty by this period.

Primary section of the school was moved to a new location along Colombo - Kurunegala road in 1944. This later became the Maliyadeva Girls' College.

In 1946 the school was handed back to the Y.M.B.A by the Army. Only the boys were moved back. Maliyadeva Girls' College commenced functioning as a separate school. In the same year the Maliyadeva College became a government assisted school. By this time, the number of students had increased to 800.

In 1949, the school was upgraded to the status of a "Grade 1 school in the island. University Entrance (Arts) and S.S.C (equivalent to current G.C.E O/L) Science classes were commenced. D. B. Dissanayaka was appointed as the Vice-Principal during this year.

In 1951, students appeared for the University Entrance (Arts) and S.S.C (Science) Examinations for the first time. T.B.H. Abeysinghe was the first student to enter the University from Maliyadeva College. Later Abeysinghe rose to the position of Professor of History.

University Entrance (Science) classes were commenced in 1953. Wanigasekara was the first graduate science teacher appointed to the school. In 1955 A.P.K. Thilakarathna was first student who pass the S.S.C(Science) Examinations for the first time.

According to the Education Policy of the incumbent government, the status of the school changed from "Government Assisted" school to a "Government" school in 1961 during the "take over" of all Assisted schools. The Y.M.B.A willingly handed the school over to the Ministry of Education.

From 1961 to 1980, the Maliyadeva College developed to become the most popular educational institution in the North-West region and one of the finest schools in the whole country. It developed a well structured curricular and extra-curricular programs and sports including Cricket, Rugby, Hockey, Basketball, Badminton, Wrestling, Cadeting and Scouting.

In the field of aesthetics, Maliyadeva had won the all Island awards in oriental music and orchestra competitions for many years consecutively. During this period, the service given to the school by Mr. Dayapala as the Music teacher was tremendous.

1979 saw an end of an era as D. B. Dissanayake retired after serving the school fourteen years as the principal.

By 1985, the number of students had risen to Three Thousand. The school was upgraded to the status of a "National School" by the Ministry of Education under the reorganization of schools.

Religious background[edit]

College shrine

Maliyadeva College has fulfilled an immense service to the upliftment of Buddhism with the help of Buddhist monks who rendered their service to this college. The school has given its priority to cultural and religious activities. That is clear by its very name "Maliyadeva" (The name of last Arahath thero of Buddhist history) how close the school to Buddhism is.

The school Buddhist Association was established in 1961. Before that, an association called Buddhist Kathakodhaya Association was commenced with the leadership of Ven. Ibbagala Rajamaha Viharadhipathi Nakaththe Anandha Thera and U. B. Wanninayake. After that, the school became the headquarters of Buddhists in this area. Therefore, Regional Buddhist Association was commenced with the leadership of Maliyadeva College Buddhist Association. However, the first shrine was built in 1939.

Today Buddhist Association is the base of ethics and religious activities in school. All students in school are members of this association. It organizes various religious activities throughout the year, such as annual "Katina Pinkama", annual "Parithrana Dharmadeshanawa", annual "Sangagatha Dakshinawa", Pirith Pinkam and Buddhist Pageants. Its activities have helped to develop and maintain a good discipline among large student population.

Current development[edit]

Swimming pool

Today the school provides the students with many luxurious facilities to do their studies in a healthy environment. It consists of 2 play grounds (one with a specially made cricket turf); a swimming pool; a basketball court; two children's parks (for the primary section); two computer labs each with more than 75 modern computers; a medical center (which all the medicine and treatments are given free of charge for the students); a dental center; a saloon; a two storied shrine (in which a monk lives all the 365 days of the year); a gymnasium; a library; well equipped botanical, zoological, physical and chemical labs; a hostel; two canteens; a co-operative shop, new bus and many more facilities.


College crest is one of the identities of Maliyadeva College. It is designed with some specific symbols which impute meanings themselves. Each and every student wear a uniform with the badge stitched on his pocket.

The shield shape of the college crest is used to emphasize the power and the courage of the school. Then on a symmetrically twined ribbon of maroon color the name of the college is encarved. The tusker lies in the middle represents "Athugalpura" or "Kurunegala", the city where Maliyadeva College is located. And the three lotus flowers symbolizes the "Triple Gem" which blayons that Maliyadeva College is one of the leading Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka. Besides the seven petals in each flower boasts for "Sath koralaya", which is this area called during the monarchical era. On the top of the shield there is a scipt "Vidya Bhushanam Purusha Bhushanam" written in "Sanskrit" caged. And that is the motto of Maliyadeva College which means 'Knowledge (or Education) is the jewel of the man'. The motto emphasizes that how much the college concerns about the education of her students. And it further gives all the students the advice that they must learn well to be shined in the society.

School anthem[edit]


The students are divided into four Houses according to their admission numbers. The house names are derived from the past kings of Sri Lanka. It enhances the grandeur of the great history lies beneath our feet.

  •      – Thissa
in honour of king "Devanam Piya Tissa"
  •      – Gemunu
in honour of king "Dutugemunu"
  •      – Parakrama
in honour of king "Parakramabahu"
  •      – Rajasingha
in honour of king "Rajasinghe"

The houses compete annually in all major games to win the respective inter-house games.


Battle of the Rocks[edit]

The 29th Battle of the Rocks
Main article: Battle of the Rocks

Battle of the Rocks (Deva - Ana Big Match), the annual Cricket encounter is a prominent sporting event played between two schools in North Western province of Sri Lanka.

The cricket match is played between (Maliyadeva College & St. Anne's College annually at the Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala. The match is played over two days. The two day match is followed by a one-day match between the two sides which started in 1992.

The encounter has a long history. However, in certain years, it was not played due to various reasons. 2013 marked the 30th two-day encounter and 18th limited overs versions, of Battle of the Rocks.

Clubs and societies[edit]

Past principals[edit]

Name Entered Office Departed Office
T. B. Madawala
W. G. De Silva
A. B. Arur
U. B. Wanninayaka
D. B. Dissanayake
W. A. Jayathilake
M. B. Pethiyagoda
D. B. Dissanayake
G.M.K. Pathiraja
H. B. Wijekoone
B. G. Chandrasekara
A.M.B. Abeyrathne
A. V. Ranasinghe
S.M.J.B. Senevirathne
R.M.M. Rathnayake
R.M C.P.K. Rathnayake
Y.G. Thilakarathne

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Maliyadeva College Archery Club - MAC". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  2. ^ "The Sunday Times Sports Section". Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Astronomical Society of Maliyadeva College Kurunegala - Kurunegala - Organization". Facebook. Retrieved 2015-02-26. 
  5. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]