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SAARC Cultural Centre
Location Morakatiyahena, Nawimana, Matara
The total estimated cost

 Rs.1583mn. (Local Funds)

Beneficiaries SAARC Member countries
Implementation Agency Ministry OF Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs
Objective Promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the region and support the traditions and rich cultural diversity through connection of a cultural center. This center will function as a major meeting point for the artistic communities in the region and to initiate programme aimed at encouraging and assisting traditional artistries from the region
Introduction In order to promote the distinguished Art of South Asia, it has been decided at the 10th SAARC Summit held in Comobo to establish a South Asia Cultural Center in Sri Lanka. This was a decision taken in recognition of the need to share, preserve and promote the rich and diverse intangible and oral cultural heritage of South Asia which has its roots spanning over thousands years.
The Centre is intended to function as a major meeting point for the artistic communities of the member states. It will provide the necessary facilities and conditions for individuals and groups in diverse fields of culture to meet and interact in a conductive environment. Activities at the center are expected to encompass all forms of art, Dance, Music, Vocal Drama, Puppetry, Painting, Sculpture, Cinemas, Photography, Literature and Archaeology.
The proposed centre will function both as Performing Art Center and a repository for traditional knowledge related to the rituals of Sri Lanka. The main building and the special auditorium has been designed as a ritual theatre to encourage the learning and teaching to take place in an arena that is comfortable to the ritual on arrival at the site roof of the ritual theatre to the only element that stands out.
  Proposed activities of the Centre
  • SAARC annual arts festivals
  • Film Festivals
  • Programmes for school children to familiarize themselves with the cultures of the region.
  • Regional and global networking artistes.
  • Seminars, Conferences, Workshops, Art Camps, Literacy events, Book exhibitions, short study courses.
  • Master classes of short duration by invited experts in different fields of Art.
  • Cultural exchanges, exhibitions of Painting, Sculpture, photography, Archaeology and performances of Dance, Drama and Music
  • Quarterly newsletters, video and audio productions, archives and library.




Construction of Cultural Centre - Hikkaduwa
  Construction of this Cultural Centre  were initiated in August 2011 with the prime objective of establishing a point that caters to the needs of tourists who frequently roam around Hikkaduwa area such as documentary films on cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, videos on domestic culture and art, library with books written in different languages, new technological services such as internet.



Construction is to be carried out in 3 stages.
First stage - Cultural Centre, Library, Administrative Office Complex
Second stage – Auditorium, Cafeteria with a seating capacity for 100 customers at a time which serves local cuisine to meet the requirements of foreigners, Sales outlets
Third Stage – Residential facilities
Construction of first stage i.e Cultural Centre, Library, Administrtive Office Complex has been completed.

Total estimated cost Rs.353mn (local funds)



National Cultural Training Centre –Veyangoda

The need of a National Training Centre was emerged to train the artistes who involve in the programs launched by the Ministry of Culture and the Arts with objective of creating a righteous and virtuous society. As a result of fulfilling this necessity, the National Training Centre was built in Veyangoda and opened on 26 December 2008. Now, this premise is used to train the staff and resource persons of the cultural centres that have been Setup Island wide, staff of the ministry and students of cultural centres who take part in foreign tours.


Construction of Mahawa ‘Shilpa Kala Gammanaya’


The Project for the construction of ‘Shilpa Kala Gammanaya’ in Mahawa in the district of Kurunegala, North Western Province was launched in 2014.



Objective – The prime objective of this project is conservation and promotion of martial arts such as Angam fighting style which is disappearing rapidly and other arts and crafts along with the traditional knowledge associated with them. It is also expected to use these arts and crafts to expedite present development initiatives.

Total estimated cost - Rs. 57.12 million

Project for the Conservation of Indigenous Folk Culture

The prime objective of this project is to conserve the cultural features such as life style inextricably woven with the nature, ancient wisdom on medication and nursing, customs, rites and rituals, folk songs, language and literature, artistic skills which are dwindling rapidly.


Archaeological study on cultural requirement, visual culture and behavioral expressions of Vedda community.

Socio –anthological research on Vedda community.

Study and promotion of traditional treatments and traditional food consumption style.

Construction of houses for indigenous people

  • Ampara - Pollebedda – 30 houses
  • Ampara - Henanigala – 20 houses
  • Monaragala - Rathugala – 20 houses
  • Vakarai - Kunchakulum – 30 houses
  • Mahiyanganaya – Dambana – 25 houses


 Establishment of New Folk Heritage centres

Vakarai & Hennanigala

Activities of the project which were completed

  • Study and research activities pertaining to objectives 1, 2 and 3 were carried out in 2011 and following books in that connection were compiled in 2012.

VeddaLiterature Survey of Vedda Research and Bibliography

(Premakumara De Silva, Chinthaka Ranasingha)

Traditional heritage of indigenous people in Sri Lanka

 (Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, Ministry of Culture and the Arts and Ayurveda Department

Rock Paintings and Engraving Sites in Sri Lanka

(Raj Somadeva)(PGIAR)

  • In order to realize the 4th objective, construction of 125 houses have been completed by 31 December 2013.

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