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“These are the real masks”

Ariyapala Mask Museum
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2-Day Galle Tour from Colombo by Train
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in Ambalangoda
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“These are the real masks”
Reviewed 10 March 2013

It was interesting to find the history of the masks and to see real artisans making them. These are the real mckoy, not the flat, factory made ones you see all over Sri Lanka

Visited February 2013
3 Thank Pete M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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92 reviews from our community

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Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
371 reviews
194 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
“Mask Mania”
Reviewed 4 March 2013

This was not on our itinerary but our guide offered to stop for us to have a look and I am so glad she did. The museum is free and the lady in charge will provide you with information on the history of each exhibition in English. It was very interesting to learn about the masks and the history and cultural significance attached to different ones in the collection. i particularly liked the ones associated with medicine and "cures" for certain diseases!!

There is a shop attached to the museum but this is a very expensive place to purchase masks so I would advise giving this a miss. There are plenty of places throughout Sri Lanka where you can buy the same masks for about half the cost.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank KatielouAustralia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fremantle, Australia
Level Contributor
309 reviews
107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 949 helpful votes
“worth a visit”
Reviewed 14 January 2013

This is one of the places that if you're passing by it is worth visiting but isn't a destination on its own. We were passing through Ambalangoda on our way back to Galle and the driver asked if we wanted to visit the museum (glad he did - certainly was a welcome break).
The premises has a museum, a shop and a workshop. The museum is downstairs and worth visiting first. Admission is free and they have english speakers who can guide you through the displays and provide you with a more detailed explanation than necessarily contained on the boards next to the displays. There are a number of historical masks and dioramas (showing how they are used in performances). It gives a good appreciation of the culural significance that masks play. They do ask for a donation on the way out but as we got a guided tour it something we were happy to do. Upstairs is the shop (which is larger than the museum). Prices for the masks (dpendent upon the size) range from $40 - $150 US. Which are relatively expensive but you are paying for the quality and authenticity. For me the real bonus was the workshop at the side of the building, where you can watch the craftsman (& women) at work making the actual masks.

Visited December 2012
7 Thank Dingo_dude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Nice collection, but shop elsewhere”
Reviewed 2 November 2012

Ariyapala is both a museum and shop. The museum was free and definitely interesting, but basically a gimmick to get you to go to their shop and buy their masks. I found a large selection of masks, which were very beautiful, but extremely expensive. I think since they got a good write up in the Lonely Planet, they have decided to charge as much as they can. If you have time, walk up and down the road leading to their store and look for smaller shops. I found a very nice shop albeit with a smaller selection at 1/3 of the cost. The quality of the craftsmanship was as good as Ariyapala if not better. I ended up buying 5 masks!!! Yeah, I know I went a bit overboard, but I couldn't resist. My advice is to check out L.A.R Nandana at No. 17 Sriniketharama Road. Definitely worth a visit!!!

Visited September 2012
7 Thank bangkokcritter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
148 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 September 2012

Admission is free and while there are small signs in the display cases, it is difficult to understand the history of masks and the cultural association without a guide.

Visited September 2012
5 Thank vayudoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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