Prime Minister's House (Colombo)
|Address||Galle Road, Colombo 03|
|Town or city||Colombo|
|Current tenants||Ranil Wickremesinghe|
|Client||Government of Sri Lanka|
|Owner||Current Prime Minister of Sri Lanka|
Prime Minister's House, most commonly known as Temple Trees, is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. It is located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Several recent Presidents have used it as their official residence too.
The history of Temple Trees dates back to early 19th century. Its ownership passed though several prominent British administrators and traders. It was owned between 1830-1834 by John Walbeoff of the British Civil Service, who headed the Cinnamon Department of Ceylon. Later it was sold to John Philip Green who named it "Temple Trees" in 1856 for the temple trees that grew around the bungalow.
The house was purchased by the British Government of Ceylon and became the residence of the Colonial Secretary. Since 1948 it became the residence of the Prime Minister of Ceylon and D. S. Senanayake became the first Prime Minister to take up residence. Some Prime Ministers since then have preferred to stay at their private homes and only use Temple Trees for official functions. As such S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, who was assassinated while at his private residence at Rosmead Place, and Ranil Wickramasinghe who use his private house in flower road Colombo 07.
Temple Trees has taken centre stage in many episodes of modern Sri Lankan history. During the 1962 Ceylonese coup d'état attempt by senior police and reservist military officers, Temple Trees was the prime target. The armoured cars stationed there were withdrawn to facilitate a take over by troops of the Ceylon Artillery. However the coup was thwarted by the Police CID and internal security detail of the Royal Ceylon Navy took up guard of Temple Trees. The coup leaders were later brought to Temple Trees for questioning.
It once again it became a refuge for Sirimavo Bandaranaike when she was rushed there on the night of April 4, 1971 after an assassination plot was uncovered, to be carried out at her private residence at Rosmead Place, at the outset of the 1971 JVP Insurrection. Many cabinet ministers also took refuge at Temple Trees during the early days of the insurrection. It soon became the primary command centre for all military operations against the insurrection.
Since the 1970s, Temple Trees has been heavily guarded with many roads around the mansion and its grounds closed off due to the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Temple Trees has been the official residence of all United National Party Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka. After 1994 Sri Lanka Freedom Party presidents used this house as their residence and the Prime ministers of that party used Visumpaya.