Sin: අම්බලන්ගොඩ ambalangoḍa – Tam: அம்பலாங்கொட ampalāṅkoṭa.
‘Rest-house Village’ Town, SP, Sri Lanka.
From Sin: ambalama, ‘pilgrims’ rest-house’; and goda, ‘village, hamlet’.
Ambalamas were simple buildings to offer free overnight accommodation for travellers, pilgrims and beggars. Jean Arasanayagam imagines them as:
“a place to lay the head, wakeful, watch the stars and constellations, feel the wind blowing through branches, moving like outspread fingers to catch the light and shadow.”
Ambalangoda is famous for its hand-crafted demon masks used in traditional dancing for story-telling, puppetry, exorcism and festivals. The masks are made from the dense, hard white, and close-grained wood of the kuduru tree [Strychnos nux-vomica] and are painted in bright, bold colours
For related place names see Sri Lanka Place names.