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When slumbering Kotte woke up...

by DON ASOKA WIJEWARDENA - Sunday Observer May 4 2003

Twenty years ago on April 29, Kotte woke from its slumber and regained its past glory with the opening of the new Parliamentary complex which once again made the city the seat of legislature. But the tale of Kotte's return to power dates back to December 1976 when the then leader of the UNP thought of constructing the new Parliament, realising the significance of the beautifully situated Diyawanna Oya near the city.

Historically, Kotte, after Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, was the most important capital city. It was proclaimed the capital of the whole island in 1415 by Parakrama Bahu VI who had a memorable reign of fifty-two years. The new Parliament in Kotte is not a whimsical gesture to the vanity of politicians. It is an historic symbol of a new development and a break from the hustle and bustle of the city of Colombo.

Today, the supreme legislature of Sri Lanka stands majestically in its new home in Sri Jayewardenapura and it is no exaggeration to say that the parliamentary complex in Kotte has become a world famous monument which blends in perfect harmony the traditional beauty of Sri Lanka's civilisation and the latest technology.

The shifting of the seat of government to Sri Jayewardenapura also represents a milestone in the epoch-making process of development set in motion by the leadership of Sri Lanka.

Among the nations that adopted parliamentary democracy, Sri Lanka is a major example of a flourishing democracy of individual freedom and rule of the law surviving under severe economic challenges.

The Kotte parliamentary complex symbolises the democracy and sovereignty of the people.

The great monumental work is also a veritable treasury of ancient Sri Lankan art and architecture.