The town Ambalangoda situated in the south along the coastal road is home of devil dancing, masks & puppets from the past.
The traditional masks are carved from light Balsa like Kaduru wood where trees grow in the marshy lands bordering paddy fields. The wood is smoke dried for a week in preparation.The hand carved & hand painted masks in traditional dance dramas are vibrant & colorful.
The colourful & vibrant naga raksha (Cobra demon) mask of the Raksha Kolama (Demon dance), consist of a ferocious face with bulging, popping & staring eyes, a bloodthirsty carnivorous tongue lolling out of wide mouth armoured & armed to the hilt with set of fanglike teeth, & all topped by a set of cobra hoods.
A private mask centre Ariyapala Mask Museum is an established mask craft center and sales outlet where it wooden masks worn during ritualstic folk dances and operas. Now mostly produced for home decorations and for export.
Masks are associated with exorcism which are performed as dances. All masks are associated with ledgends and depict humans, demons and animals such as birds or snakes. Some masks patterns are a combination of various types such as snake and a demon or a bird and a demon.
The mask museum displays a selection of 120 hand carved masks, visitors to the museum could not only view these magnificent creations, but they also have an opportunity to investigate into the mysteries, legend, myths and psychology in the world of mask dances. Observe the traditional mask makers busy in their craft at their workshops and purchase an authentic hand carved mask.