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Galagedera Ville

Galagedera Ville
Stroll, shop, and take in the daily life of high street in a typical small highland town

Surrounded by one to two thousand feet high mountains Galagedera is the gateway to the hill country.

Although it still lacks local branches of Harrods, Harvey Nicks, or Fauchon, it nevertheless boasts that rarest of all things in the online delivery age - a thriving high street.

Here you will find banks, ATMs, temples, a police station, church, mosque, cafes, a tiny supermarket, hair salons, photography studios, a rudimentary gym, and scores of shops selling spices, sarongs, sailfish, and mangos and mobile top up. Lawyers, vets, doctors, Ayurvedic pharmacists, a hospital and several schools ensure that the town remains a mandatory magnet for the wider agricultural community.

Here, at least, Amazon has yet to make even the merest dent to the bustling business of people going about their lives.

With some 30-40% of the population Muslim, the tiny town has wisely eschewed the recent anti-Muslim race riots that sometimes-engulfed other towns.

Centuries ago, it presented a daunting stranglehold to colonial armies bent on invading Kandy. In 1765 the town took to its hills to roll vast rocks down onto Van Eck's failed invasion. Shortly afterwards the hapless Dutchman signed a treaty in the town with the Kandyan king.

A similar attempt to hold up the British army in 1804 was less successful. In Udupitya, on the town’s outskirts, lay the king’s martial training grounds; and at Balum Gala, above the present Flame Tree Estate & Hotel he kept his lookout for invaders. In valley hamlets around the town huge iron link chains have been discovered, part of a defence to open the sluice gates and flood any invaders. 

But all to no avail. The British merely bribed his principal minister and captured the kingdom through the back door, bringing to an end the last independent kingdom on the island.

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