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Ambalangoda

Ambalangoda is a coastal town located in Galle District, Southern Province of Sri Lanka. Governed by an urban council, the town is famous for its ancient devil masks and devil dancers. It is approximately 107 kilometres (66 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 13 metres (43 ft) above the sea level.

 

Masks

The town is renowned for the manufacture of wooden masks and puppets. The traditional masks are carved from light Balsa like Kaduru wood (Nux vomica). Kaduru trees grow in the marshy lands bordering paddy fields. The wood is smoke dried for a week in preparation. The hand carved and hand painted masks in traditional dance dramas are both vibrant and colorful. Masks are created for three different types of dancing rituals: 'Kolam', which tell mocking stories of traditional Sri Lankan colonial life; 'Sanni', or devil dancing masks, used in a type of exorcism ceremony to heal people of persisting illnesses believed to be inflicted by demons; and 'Raksha' masks, which are used in festivals and processions. The Naga Raksha (Cobra demon) mask of the 'Raksha Kolama' (demon dance), consists of a ferocious face with bulging, popping & staring eyes, a bloodthirsty carnivorous tongue lolling out of wide mouth armoured and armed to the hilt with set of fanglike teeth, all topped by a set of cobra hoods.

 

 

   
   
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