Hotel Mount Lavinia is a famous hotel not only in this country but also among many tourists in the world. There are many secrets hidden in this magnificent building built by the white imperialists.
The subway there is an open secret. If you are traveling by train from Colombo to Galle, you will take the same subway line near the Mount Hotel. Like the tunnel, the building was built in 1805 by Thomas Maitland, who was appointed as the second English Governor of Sri Lanka.
After his arrival in Sri Lanka, a high class party was organized for him. There, several young women of the Rodi caste performed in front of him. Meanwhile, he became interested in a beautiful young woman. That attention ends with the two of them falling in love.
Her name is Lovina, an unmarried teenage girl. It is said that she was an attractive girl because her father was Portuguese. The governor was forty-seven years old that time.
Governor decided to build his official residence on the shore of the current Mount Lavinia. It was built in a way that the village of Rodi is visible. Meanwhile, he built a tunnel from the official residence to Rodi village. After that, for years Lovina and Thomas met each other through this secret tunnel.
Because of this love, Lovina was able to win many things for her people. Until then, Rodi women were not allowed to cover their upper body. Also, two-story thatched houses were not allowed to be built. Lovina managed to remove all these prohibitions with the help from the governor.
But this love story was kept as a secret to the world for a very short time. The British officials took this action of the governor to King George III of England. As a result, he was removed from the post of governor and ordered to leave Sri Lanka immediately.
As he bids farewell to Lovina and boards the ship, he promises her that one day he will come and pick her up. He became the governor of Malta and died unmarried at the age of 64. It is also said that Lovina committed suicide due to the grief caused by the loss of her lover.
Once the official residence of the governor, this was also used as a military hospital during the Second World War. Later it was transformed into the Mount Lavinia Hotel. According to Governor Thomas Maitland’s request, the area was named Mount Lavinia in memory of his lover.
A symbol of love, this tunnel was closed later. Today, a part of it can be seen at the location of the wine store of the Mt. Lavinia Hotel. Also, the other end of the tunnel is believed to be in the grounds of Mt. Buddhist Girls’ College.