Ape Gama (Model Village)
Imagine a rural village in the middle of a busy metropolis. This is what “Ape Gama,” which literally means our village, promises its visitors. This curious attraction, that reimagines what Sri Lankan village life was like decades ago, is situated in Sri Lanka’s capital city, across the lake from the Geoffrey Bawa-designed Parliament building. Only minutes away from Colombo’s swanky resorts and shopping centers, “Ape Gama” attracts throngs of visitors each week seeking a short break in a unique venue.
Formerly, this spot was known as the “Battaramulla Janakala Kendraya” that showcased local crafts. The entire area was revamped for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2013 to exhibit the fascinating aspects of historic Sri Lankan village life, complete with a bird-watching zone and a mini zoo.
The lush greenery and the assiduously swept golden lawns of this cultural village refreshingly contrast the gray sidewalks and the infuriating congestion of the city. Visitors are warmly greeted upon arrival by the “MahaGamaya,” the village headsman, who then proceeds to guide the guests around the “village” with lovely anecdotes of rural life. MahaGamaya will make special stops at important households of the village, such as the “Veda Gedara,” the house of the village doctor who prescribes traditional Ayurveda medicine for patients. Sri Lanka has its own Ayurveda tradition, distinct from India’s, believed to date back about 3,000 years. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to witness the “vedamahattya” prepare aromatic herbal concoctions derived from ancient prescriptions.
Around the village are many mud huts with straw-thatched roofs occupied by painted figurines of farmers and gardeners tending to patches of cinnamon, areca nut, gourd, or cloves. On village grounds visitors can marvel at figurines of vegetable sellers, bullock carts, snake charmers and replicas of village essentials such as the “veebissa,” paddy storage. Other huts are occupied by real artisans, who elegantly produce Sri Lankan jewelry, batik cloth, woodcrafts, pottery, brassware and cane work from scratch, on site. Many of these handicrafts can be purchased at the Laksala, the state souvenir boutique store located on the premises.
Other living occupants demonstrate how local delicacies are prepared. Garden fresh produce are processed using tools like the “Kurahan gala,” traditional grinder, well spiced and cooked into mouthwatering treats such as “kavum,” fried treacle cake, and “kokis,” crispy cookies. There are many food outlets on the premises selling scrumptious Sri Lankan food along with blends of Asian and Western cuisine.The alluring Ape Game is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Entrance fee is a measly Rs. 100 per person. More Info
Venue Details & Map
A Sri Lankan Village in Colombo
“Ape Gama” Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.
+94 11 2 177 417