Lunuganga (Bentota).

UPDATE: We mixed up photos of Lunuganga and Brief Garden in our original post. This disturbed legendary Sri Lankan photographer Dominic Sansoni so much that he A) told us and B) sent us some amazing photos of his own. Please note that he retains the copyright on these, you can find more amazing work from him and his friends at Three Blind Men.

Geoffrey Bawa's impact on Sri Lanka is unparalleled. His legacy as an architect and writer is etched in local history. Lunuganga is arguably the most famous of his works, a country home set in a sprawling lakeside garden estate.

The rice paddies by the lake at sunrise.

Roughly 15 acres, the estate features an idyllic cottage and set of four suites for visitors, although it isn't really a hotel. The interior is very tastefully done, managing to pack in lots of history and art without seeming cluttered or losing its minimalist Bawa vibe.

The Eastern Terraces – brick floor and Cycad.

It's more an amalgamation of ideas, with some areas resembling an Italian Renaissance garden and other areas with symmetrical pavillions.

Throughout the gardens, despite the manipulation of the natural landscape, the tropical flora has been allowed to thrive.

A view across Dedduwa Lake from the North Terrace.

You can expect to share stunning views of the Bentota lake with languid stone statues gazing into the azure.

Interior of the Sandela Pavilion.

A couple of beautiful paintings hang about the estate, most notably a mural by Laki Senanayake on the gatehouse verandah. Painted over a period of 30 years, it's a testament to the enduring nature of the garden's charm.
Lunuganga is one of the few places that somehow seems more entrancing as it is worn away by time, with its chipped stone statues and gnarly trees.
Entrance is Rs. 1,500 and guided garden and boat tours are available on request, but will cost extra. You're also welcome to stay on the premises if you book in advance, or swing by for lunch. The timings, rates, and availability are variable so calling ahead is your best bet.

 

 

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