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Cultural Evening

120 USD for 2 people | 20 USD per person above 2


Our chefs prepare seminal dishes of Sri Lankan cuisine.  The meal includes soup, appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and dessert.  In its breadth and complexity, the meal resembles an Indonesia rijsttafel.  To learn more about Sri Lankan cooking, click HERE.



Dine surrounded by a ceremonial fan (sesath) and ceremonial spear (patisthanya).  Crisp linen, a magnificent candelabra, and vintage silverware enhance the ambiance.

In the Kandyan Kingdom (Kanda Udarata), the ceremonial fan and spear were used to announce the status of people of high status (the Radala).  The higher the number of woven rings on the fan, the higher the person’s status. 

Waterland’s fan has 7 rings, indicating that it is for a temple setting.  It was woven in the village of Unaveruwa, the source of the highest quality fans on the island.  It takes about 2 weeks to make a single sesath.  The sesath consists of 2 fans sewn together, one in the back and 1 in the front and affixed to a decorative lacquer pole. 

Waterland’s spearheads feature peacocks.  Peacocks are symbols of purity and thus you often see peacock feathers used in rituals.  Waterland’s brass spearheads were forged in the town of Pilimathalawa, the source of the best brassware on the island.


To serve you, your steward wears the mul aduma of the Kandyan Kingdom (Kanda Udarata).  The elaborate outfit is befitting of a god.  Indeed, the outfit is modeled on the attire of the deity Dedimunda Deviyo.

This style of outfit dates to the early 18th century when a princess of the Nayakkar Royal Family of India married King Sri Weera Parakrama Narendrasignhe of the Kandyan Kingdom of Sri Lanka.  The princess introduced the Nayakkar fashions to the Sri Lankan court.  Originally, the outfit was worn only by the elite (Radala) in the Kandyan Kingdom (Kanda Udarata).


The motifs used on the velvet jacket are bound by tradition.  At Waterland, one of our embroidered jackets has lions on the front and the others have peacocks.  On the back of the jackets are two interlocking swans (hanspoottuwa).  The embroidery is done in a Persian embroidery style known as Zardozi. 


Originally, the outfits were made exclusively by Indians who migrated to Sri Lanka specifically to make these outfits.  Eventually, the villagers of Hindagala became the preeminent producers of these outfits.  The method of making the mul aundum was a closely guarded secret passed down from generation to generation (paramparika is the Sinhalese name for this system of passing down knowledge). 

Each piece was individually commissioned.  To commission a piece, one had to go to the village of Hindagala and give the costumier 3 traditional gifts: betelnut (bulath), a deep-fried sweet (kawum), and milk rice (kiribath). After receiving these gifts, the costumier would then decide if the patron was worthy of the mul aundum.

Because of the huge amounts of material, extraordinary craftsmanship, and cost, it is rare for these outfits to be privately owned.  Waterland was fortunate to acquire four outfits from the interior of the country. 

The outfits are heavy.  They are better suited to the cool mountainous hill area where the Kandyan kingdom was based than to the warm, tropical coast.  That said, the staff proudly wear the handsome mul adum in this celebration of cultural heritage.

Music and Dance

Traditional dance and music continue to be cornerstones of Sri Lankan society.  


Enjoy a private performance that showcases traditional Sri Lankan music and dance.  The award-winning performer has danced for dignitaries in both Sri Lanka and abroad.  Those dignitaries include the prime minister of Sri Lanka, the president of Sri Lanka, and other heads of state.

Click HERE for a sample of Sri Lankan traditional dance.

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