Surrounded by secluded coves and rock pools, Ambalangoda is a bustling town 85 kilometers south of Colombo. The town is dotted with vibrant crafts shops and souvenir boutiques that catch the eye of the passerby. The serene coastal town is the cultural hub of southern Sri Lanka and it is well-known for traditional mask making. You can witness that the local craftsmen still play the role of master puppet makers by carving out grotesque gargoyles from the Kaduru tree. They intricately carve this light and long lasting Balsa like wood, in the manner of their forefathers who made it a fine art over 300 years ago. These vibrant masks have given life and colour to many cultural dances and have never failed to bring a smile or send goosebumps down viewers’ spine.

The Ambalangoda masks collection offers a mask with unique features for every occasion. In Sri Lanka, no traditional dance is complete without such an elaborate mask. ‘Raksha’ masks that resembles a devil, are often used in traditional festivals and processions. Among the vast variety of masks in Sri Lanka, the one most famousis the ‘Naga Raksha’ mask, which depicts a face of devil inspired by a serpent.

Interestingly, the island’s intriguing puppet art shows can still be seen in Ambalangoda. Puppet shows are a colourful spectacle of life-sized marionettes or rukada, manipulated by puppeteers. The string puppets of Ambalangoda have strings attached to the heads, hands, legs and back which connect to two perpendicular sticks above. Traditional puppet shows of Ambalangoda are a fusion of drama, acting, dancing and music.

Ambalangoda - VISIT 2 SRI LANKA
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