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Sri Lanka is littered with ancient mansions and walawwas, some like palaces, others modest as country mice, albeit in white tie.

These Sri Lankan manor houses were the homes, ancient or merely old, of the ruling class, a class not always popular in a democratic socialist republic. They pop up in city centres, down dusty town roads, in jungles, on plantations, amidst paddy, on mountain tops, and off country roads.

Many – if not most –are in a state of serious neglect; a few have been declared national monuments and attract basic survival care; fewer still - such as The Flame Tree Estate & Hotel - have been reimagined as shops, hotels, museums, their future blessed by round the clock maintenance.

Two such haunting buildings lie within a tuk tuk ride of the hotel, both abandoned; and one dating back to 1820.

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