Chilaw (Sinhala: හලාවත, romanized: Halāvata, Tamil: சிலாபம், romanized: Cilāpam) is a large town in Puttalam District, North Western Province, Sri Lanka. It's governed by an urban council. The town is located, 80 km away from the capital Colombo via Negombo.


Chilaw is located in Sri Lanka
Location in Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 7°35′N 79°48′E / 7.583°N 79.800°E / 7.583; 79.800
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceNorth Western Province
DistrictPuttalam District
3 m (10 ft)
 • Total24, 712 [1]
Time zone+5.30


The name Chilaw derives its name from its Tamil name Cilāpam, meaning pearl fishery.[2][3]

The visit of Mahatma GandhiEdit

Mahathma Gandhi, the 'Father of India,' visited Chilaw in November 1927 on his first and only journey to Sri Lanka when it was called Ceylon. This was a historic visit - Gandhi was invited to Chilaw by the freedom fighters Charles Edgar Corea and his brother Victor Corea[4] who lived in the town. The brothers founded the Chilaw Association and the Ceylon National Congress and campaigned hard for the independence of Ceylon. The Corea family have had a strong link with Chilaw. There is a saying in Sri Lanka that Chilaw is well known for the three 'C's' - Crabs, Coconuts and Coreas.

Chilaw Cathedral Our Lady of Mount CarmelEdit

This is the cathedral of Chilaw Diocese. This cathedral has a history of more than two centuries. There is a legend about the cathedral's statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This incident happened more than 200 years ago. At that period most of the area of Chilaw Town was covered by the forest. A woman went in search of firewood and she heard a sound of a lady speaking, "Please take me". She stopped her work and went in search of the amazing sound. A statue of Mother Mary was on a tree. She took the statue and handed over it to the parish priest. He recognized the statue and it was a statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a miraculous statue. It is believed that it is the same statue which is now in the cathedral. The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated in July annually. During feast season of Our Lady Of Mount Carmel the town is fully decorated as a homage given to Mother Mary. Everyone in the town gets together to celebrate the feast in harmony.

Munneswaram TempleEdit

Thousands of pilgrims, visitors and tourists flock to Chilaw to attend the annual Munneswaram Festival at the well known Munneswaram Temple in the town.

Tourists visit the well known Hindu temple located in Munneswaram, situated in the historic Demala Pattuva ("Tamil division") region in the Puttalam District. Every year people flock to Chilaw to observe the Munneswaram Festival. Traders sell various hand painted animals made out of clay such as the deer, money box tills and 'raban' (traditional hand drums) from stalls all over the town, during the Munneswaram Festival.

The main festivals celebrated at the temple include Navarathri and Sivarathri. The former is a nine-day-long festival in honour of the presiding Goddess, while the latter is an over-night observation in honour of Lord Shiva. In addition to these two Hindu festivals, the temple has a festival of its own, the Munneswaram festival, a four-week-long event attended by Hindus and Buddhists.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Population of Chilaw". Retrieved 2015-08-10.
  2. ^ Census, Ceylon Superintendent of; Denham, Edward Brandis (1912). Ceylon at the Census of 1911. H. C. Cottle, government printer, Ceylon. pp. 104. chilaw name.
  3. ^ "சிலாபம் | அகராதி | Tamil Dictionary". University of Madras Lexicon. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  4. ^ "Chilaw to honour C. E. Victor S. Corea, Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka". Archived from the original on 2012-10-17. Retrieved 2011-08-02.


  • The Mahavamsa - History of Sri Lanka, The Great Chronicle of Sri Lanka
  • Ceylon and the Portuguese, 1505-1658 By P.E. Peiris (1920)
  • Great Sinhalese Men and Women of History - Edirille Bandara (Domingos Corea) By John M. Senaveratna, (1937)
  • A History of Sri Lanka By Professor K.M.De Silva (1981)
  • Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries and Resources By A.W. Wright, Asian Educational Services,India; New Ed edition (15 December 2007)


Coordinates: 7°35′N 79°48′E / 7.583°N 79.800°E / 7.583; 79.800