History of Comilla Bungalow

History of Comilla Bungalow

History of Comilla Bungalow

Originally a land of extent 77 acres classified as ‘waste land’ called “Halgaha Kele” (“Halgaha Woods”) situated in the village of Indurugalla in Gangoda Pattuva of the Siyane Korale in the District of Colombo was sold by the government of Ceylon to a merchant “Sinnathambaya Pulle Thambi Mutu” under the hand of the then Colonial Secretary on 26th April 1873. The owner was required to pay yearly to the Governor of our island of Ceylon a ‘quit-rent’ of one pepper corn on the first day of January each year.

This land was next sold by public auction on 13th day of September 1876 to a British Tea Planter, John Vincent Blair Stork. It was this same Vincent Blair Stork, a man of the soil, who created a coconut plantation out of the old woods, a mix of paddy and pepper for good measure and rared cattle in the surrounding verdant pastures. At the highest point of Comilla Estate, he chose to build a 2 bedroom bungalow for his family with lounge and dinning areas in the traditional Dutch period architecture, popular in that age. A high open veranda surrounding the living rooms is a hallmark of 18th century lifestyle. Pristine beauty of the period architecture remains unchanged, other than for crossing of the veranda at the Northern post to accommodate the comfort of attached bathrooms. Developers of this unique property the Amarasuriya’s, a traditional plantation family and their prize winning architect Sanath Liyanage lovingly retains the old world charm of their estate home with its Dutch pillars and louvered doors and windows fusioning with the modern luxury of a detached chalet, a swimming pool beside a wide pool deck with a service pantry for casual diners to laze around.

Comilla Estate is located close to the historic town of Wathurugama where in the last century B.C., King Walagamba built a series of rock temples. This can be a haven for the modern traveller as the region is blessed with meditation centres providing ample opportunities for the weary to practice peace and tranquility.

The saga of the Stork family continued into the 20th century when the property was bequeathed to their son Cyril. The last British owners are Mary Stork of 11, Pembroke Avenue, West Worthing in the country of Sussex, England and her sons Kenneth of Whiteland, Battle, Sussex, England and Vincent of Post Office, Boat Harbour, Tasmania in Australia.

Then came the mid fifties. National fervour swept the island and the socialist Bandaranaike family began governing our country. Most Britishers decided to call it a day. For several decades they lived the good life, made their fortune and now it was time to return with happy and lasting memories of their temporary island home.

Legacy of the Storks, rows of carefully planted coconut and Thambilli (king coconut) trees, paddy fields among the springs and wells, a tradition of cattle farming which persists to this day, near 125 years old giant ‘mora’ trees rising like a colossus from a sloping lawn and the quaint old estate house will provide serene tranquility to scores of visitors who visit this green haven.

A ninety year sourjon ended when the Storks divided the land and sold out on the 30th of November 1966. Among the buyers was a D.P.D.M. De Silva, a former Deputy Chairman of the John Keells Group. He grew a unique orchard of tropical fruit trees around the house. Bird life now thrives there and several species of native birds enjoy the variety of fruits which grow in season. His two daughters are now the owners of this land.

Our narrative ends with an explanation as to the derivation of the name “Comilla”. We found from an extract in old deeds that the original name was “Commiliah” no doubt an adaptation from the old English name “Camilia”. The natives who labour on the estate appear to have shortened the name for ease of use to “Comilla”. There lies the eternal twist between written and spoken word. We hope to make “Comilla” a name we can all be proud of. We invite you to share an unique experience with us.

"Management of Comilla"