Mount Lavinia (Sinhala: ගල්කිස්ස, Tamil: கல்கிசை) is a suburb in Colombo, Sri Lanka located within the administrative boundaries of the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia municipal limits.

Mount Lavinia

Mount Lavinia Beach in Sri Lanka.jpg
Mount Lavinia is located in Colombo District
Mount Lavinia
Mount Lavinia
Coordinates: 6°52′0″N 79°52′0″E / 6.86667°N 79.86667°E / 6.86667; 79.86667Coordinates: 6°52′0″N 79°52′0″E / 6.86667°N 79.86667°E / 6.86667; 79.86667
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceWestern Province
DistrictColombo District
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone)

The area is a mostly residential suburb, known as Colombo's beach retreat it is famed for its "Golden Mile" of beaches[1][2] and has long been a hot spot for tourism and nightlife. It is one of the most liberal regions in Sri Lanka and plays host to the island's annual Gay Pride and Rainbow Kite Festival since 2005.[3][4]

The area's name arose when the second Governor of Ceylon, Sir Thomas Maitland, acquired land at "Galkissa" (Mount Lavinia) and decided in 1806 to construct a personal residence there. Maitland fell in love with Lovina Aponsuwa, a local mestiço dancer, and continued a romantic affair with her until he was recalled to England in 1811. The Governor's mansion, which he named "Mount Lavinia House" is now the Mount Lavinia Hotel and the village that surrounded the building has subsequently developed into a bustling area, taking its name from the Governor's mistress, Lovina.

There are other explanations rooted in geography and the natural surroundings, when it comes to the origin of the name Mount Lavinia. The Sinhalese who lived on the coastal belt had named the promontory "Lihiniya Kanda" or "Lihiniyagala" meaning the hill of the sea gull or the rock of the sea gull.

The local name for the town today is Galkissa - Kissa being a somewhat obsolete Sinhala word for rock.

The town came into official recognition when Governor Maitland used the postal address Mt. Lavinia, Ceylon, in 1805, while writing to the British Secretary of State, Lord Castlereagh.

The suburb also boasts S.Thomas' College, one of Sri Lanka's most prestigious primary and secondary schools.


  1. ^ Jayasinghe, Amal (8 August 2016). "Tourist boom threatens Sri Lanka's golden beaches". GMA News. Retrieved 4 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Coombe, Juliet (11 March 2016). "See the Island before it changes". Daily News. Retrieved 4 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Peipzna-Samarasinha, Leah Lakshmi (19 July 2006). "Gaining Ground in Sri Lanka". Daily Xtra. Retrieved 4 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Colombo Gay Pride Seeks Financial Help". UK Gay News. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 4 September 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)