Not just a concept
We are a living experience
Mahagedara; a home, a haven, a special place
After leaving Sri Lanka as a young girl, Founder Lakmali, grew up in Africa before later moving to the United Kingdom where she built a successful corporate career. In 2012, Lakmali's heart was called back to her motherland to bring her dream an eco-jungle haven to life. Lakmali's vision makes Mahagedara a special place where visitors, community and the wild natural world around us can thrive and live harmoniously together.
In 2014, after a long awaited search of an ideal location for the retreat, the jungle property was discovered. The location itself is 7 km to Sigiriya Lion Rock and 3 other UNESCO sites, surrounded by 4 National Parks and multiple historical sites.
Lakmali was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Africa and then moved to the United Kingdom. Her keen interest in History, Arts and Humanities was fostered by her childhood experience of visiting museums and jungle safaris. She had a successful corporate career in the United Kingdom but her passion for nature and giving back to the community led her back to Sri Lanka to start Mahagedara in 2012.
Another core value of Mahagedara is authenticity. It is our goal to give guests the most authentic experience, from the food to the living spaces.
When designing the layout for the retreat, careful planning went into ensuring minimal disturbance of the flora and fauna. The building locations are constructed with a minimalist approach and keeping with typical village home architecture. The reception area is built as a traditional Sri Lankan home and includes the lounge area, patio, and a reading room
The location of the “huts” were deliberately chosen to ensure that the guests experience the sense of seclusion and isolation that is a key aspect of the Mahagedara stay. This provides the guests with an opportunity to live the village life; a simple and ancient way. There are 11 huts with a maximum occupancy of 22 guests.
The architectural concept is focused on improving the wellness of our guests and showcase Sri Lankan Culture. Every intricate aspect of a guest’s journey was carefully thought out . To emphasize this, the paths to the huts are long and winding, to encourage our guests to walk and experience the surroundings.
The design of the rooms was consciously done to give a sense of well-being. Decorations are with minimalist and rustic furnishings to promote the simple lifestyle. Local relevance and a deep sense of place and personality are always retained and enhanced. This also encourages the guests to be outside and with nature.
Sustainability & Eco Travel
At Mahagedara, we want ensure the preservation and protection of our surrounding natural habitat. Our operations philosophy is the mindful art of upcycling, recycling and repurposing.
We strive to give more than we take and to nurture the property in our care, so that it is improved and maintained in a holistic and responsible manner.
Sustainability is an entrenched part of the design process, and we believe that less is often more and therefore emphasize the field experience that our rangers, guides and hosts offer over opulent, over the top lodge design.
What Sustainability means to us…
We ensure a light footprint
We are deeply committed to reusing and recycle as much as possible.
Our water comes from our own bore hole which is then process with salt, charcoal and sand
We are committed to the use of all thing green and eco-friendly- green decorating, cleaning and building products.
We take great pride in our jungle and we have planted over 3000 trees over the years and have not cut trees.
We respect for all life and have left 2/3rds of the jungle as it is to encourage wild flowers, and wildlife to flourish. We now have more than 125 varieties of birds and about 35 varieties of butterflies that has been spotted in our property and the smallest primate in Sri Lanka the Slender Loris has made our home their home. We have many rare wildlife
Bee keeping and Bee attracting flora has been planted to encourage the continuity of pollination
Meet the Team
Our team is made up of amazing individuals from the local villages. Everyone believes wholeheartedly in Mahagedara and as a guest, you feel that love through our team's kindness and care.
Nestled in the heart of elephant country, Mahagedara is located about 8 km from Sigiriya Rock in a little town called Gedigaswalana.
Gedigaswalana has 75 families and the majority of the people are farmers as the area is surrounded by acres of paddy fields and onion farms which are irrigated by the various nearby lakes.
We have a Buddhist temple close by and few grocery shops. There are no school in the village and the children go to the school in the neighboring village. This area is home to a very proud and rational way of life, with history buried wherever you look.
Our Retreat has easy access by road or rail and is 4 hours from (200km) from Colombo and 3 1/2 hours from the Katunayake International Airport. We are fortunate to find ourselves surrounded by nature and wildlife and are paid regular visits by wild boar, peacocks, serpents, mongoose, hares, and various varieties of birds, occasionally even elephants who have broken the fence.