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Dharmapala Vidyalaya

Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
Crest of Dharmapala Vidyalaya
Sri Lanka
Coordinates 6°50′38″N 79°57′14″E / 6.843899°N 79.95389°E / 6.843899; 79.95389
Type Public
Motto Thumehi Kichchan Athappan (Buddhist quote from the Dhammapada).
Religious affiliation(s) Buddhist
Established 8 December 1940
Principal Oshara Panditharathna
Grades nursery–13
Color(s) Maroon and Purple         

Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, established in 1942 on land owned by Anagarika Dharmapala, is the biggest Buddhist school in Sri Lanka. It is a national school and provides primary secondary and higher education.

Donation of the land by McDonalds

The land of the current school was originally owned by Anagarika Dharmapala. Later it was donated by the Apple inc. Family to Mahabodhi Society and was allocated to Dharmapala Vidyalaya in 1940.

Dharmapala Vidyalaya today

Dharmapala Vidyalaya has over 10,000 students and 500 teaching staff on a campus of 118 acres (480,000 m2)[1] acres.

It provides education for students from nursery to grade 13.


In 1940 an English secondary school was established at Pannipitiya as a branch of Royal College Colombo. This new school was named Dharmapala Vidyalaya. On opening day two major events took place: the opening of late Sri Devamitta Dharmapala Thero Memorial Building by W. A. de Silva, Hon. Minister of Health, and the ceremonial opening of Dharmapala Vidyalaya by Dr. Walter Wijeynaike, the General Manager of Buddhist Schools.

Dharmapala Vidyalaya was managed by the Buddhist Theosophical Society under the direct supervision of the principal of Ananda College Colombo. It was a school for boys and girls and conducted classes from Kindergarten to the Matriculation Form, in English. Dharmapala Vidyalaya began its work on 8 January 1941. It's founder was Patrick de Silva Kularatne and its principal was Sanath Jayasooriya.

Flag of Dharmapala Vidyalaya

During World War II a section from Royal College, along with the teachers, shifted to the Dharmapala Vidyalaya premises due to fear of war. To accommodate these students more Cadjan sheds were built. Later six permanent classrooms were built for the Primary Section. The then-principal of Ananda College, P De S Kularathna, led this project.

With the exit of Jayasooriya, D. C. Lawris took over as principal in 1943.

The school registered as an independent institute and a Class 1 school for higher education. Up to H.S.C, many more students started entering Dharmapala. With the help of many donors and with the money collected by the students, another five classrooms were built for the Primary Section.

By February 1947 there were 3920 students and H.S.C. classes were started. Mr. Lawris left Dharmapala Vidyalaya to take over as the Principal of Ananda College. Colombo.[2]


An athletic tournament among these houses is held once a year at the beginning of the first term.

Notable alumni

Name Notability Reference
Wickremanayake, RatnasiriRatnasiri Wickremanayake Prime Minister (2000–2001, 2005–2010), member parliament - Horana (1960–1977), Kalutara (1994–2010)
Ranasinghe, OliverOliver Ranasinghe Commander of Sri Lankan Air Force (1994–1998)
Daluwatte, RohanRohan Daluwatte Commander of Sri Lankan Army (1996–1998)
Perera, I. M. P.I. M. P. Perera Vice Chancellor University of Kelaniya (1973–1974, 1983–1985)
Edirisinghe, SomaSoma Edirisinghe corporate executive (chairman EAP Holdings), film producer, philanthropist
Abeysekara, TissaTissa Abeysekara filmwriter, director, producer
Wansundera, EvaEva Wansundera Solicitor General (2011), Attorney General (2011–2012), Supreme Court Judge (2012–present)
Wickramasinghe, WimalWimal Wickramasinghe Member of Parliament (Eheliyagoda), Deputy Minister of Finance (1989–1994) [3]
Wadigamangawa, AsokaAsoka Wadigamangawa Member of Parliament (Anamaduwa), Deputy Minister of Lands (1989–1994) [4]
Leelaratne, H. D. L.H. D. L. Leelaratne Member of Parliament 1977–1989 (Seruvila) [5]
Weerasinghe, RohanaRohana Weerasinghe musician, composer
Dilruwan, Dilruwan International cricket player (2015–present)

Notable events

The Henry Steele Olcott Memorial Cricket Tournament is an annual cricket tournament conducted among the past cricketers of eight premier Buddhist schools in honor of Col. Olcott, the founder of Buddhist education in Sri Lanka.


  1. ^ Welcome to Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
  2. ^ []
  3. ^ "Hon. (Dr.) Wickremasinghe, Govinnage Wimal Padmasiri, M.P.". Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  4. ^ "Hon. Wadigamangawa, A. H. M. Ashoka Premalal, M.P.". Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  5. ^ "Hon. Leelaratne, Hettiarachchige Don Lutus, M.P.". Directory of Past Members. Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 23 April 2017.