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Sir David Lean Bungalow

The Sir David Lean Bungalow - Anniewatte


The Sir David Lean Bungalow of the Elephant Stables is located about 4 Km away from the main hotel on top of a ridge at Anniewatte. It takes up the whole east wing of one of the most important colonial bungalows in Kandy having been used for the filming of major scenes of Sir David Lean’s epic wartime masterpiece The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957).

It is widely recognized that the bungalow has the most beautiful view in the whole of Kandy. There are glorious views from the top of the Anniewatte ridge looking down over the lush Mahaweli River Valley below. The bungalow interior is also full of extremely rare and beautiful antique furniture including collections that were made especially for Queen Elizabeth’s State Visit to Ceylon in 1954.

Suitable Room Occupancy

1 Adults (Single)
2 Adults (Double)
2 Adults or Children (Twin)
3 Adults or Children (Triple)
4 Adults or Children (Quadruple)
5 Adults or Children (Quintuple)


Guests have exclusive use of a huge 2 bedroom Suite (Main Bedroom with Attached Twin Bedroom) and a private Living and Dining verandah with stupendous views over the Mahaweli River. There is also a gorgeous Living Room and Reception area in the main bungalow that is full of beautiful Art Deco and colonial furniture where guests are completely free to wander and relax in opulent luxury.

The part of the bungalow that is totally exclusive to guests alone is well over 1400 square feet!


There is an exclusive private Chef at the bungalow to provide delicious private meals for guests. As an alternative, guests are most welcome to sample the variety of cuisines on offer at the main hotel - with complimentary transport provided.


There is a private Study / Office Room containing many interesting reference books on Sri Lanka.

The bungalow does not have a pool but guests can be given free transport in our own Mini Moke or Austin A55 vintage car to use the swimming pool and other facilities of the main hotel nearby.


Lord Mountbatten Of Burma


Sir David Lean


Jack Hawkins


William Holden


Force 136 was the general cover name for a branch of the British World War II organization, the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The organisation was established to encourage and supply resistance movements in enemy-occupied territory, and occasionally mount clandestine sabotage operations. Force 136 operated in the regions of the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II which were occupied by Japan from 1941 to 1945.

From December 1944, the organisation's headquarters moved to Riverdale Bungalow at Kandy in Ceylon, and cooperated closely with Lord Mountbatten’s South East Asia Command which was also located nearby.

The bungalow was occupied by the head of Force 136, Colin Mackenzie, a former industrialist and Director of Scottish textile firm J & P Coats Ltd.

film location of the bridge on the river kwai

About 20 minutes of the entire footage of Sir David Lean’s classic wartime film The Bridge Over The River Kwai was filmed at the bungalow with Hollywood star William Holden and British stalwart Jack Hawkins. The film went on to win 7 Oscars and is regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time. The bungalow has thus been named and branded in honour of the famous British Director Sir David Lean who shot the entire film on location in Sri Lanka.

Many other feature films have also been filmed at the bungalow, including Tarzan, The Ape Man featuring Bo Derek (1981).


In 1956 the bungalow was purchased by the eldest son of ‘Gate Mudaliyar’ James Senanayake - a well known businessman and real estate tycoon from Kandy, who in his latter stages became the largest land owner in the Central Province of Ceylon.

Is The Sir David Lean Bungalow Right For You?

The bungalow is not part of the main hotel; it is about 3.8 Km away from the Elephant Stables. Guests can be given free transport to use all the facilities of the main hotel on request.

The bungalow is given out only to one party at a time.

The Sir David Lean Bungalow takes up the entire East Wing of a larger property named Riverdale Bungalow. On some occasions, Dilky Senanayake and son Thula may be in residence in the West Wing of the bungalow – they are extremely amiable and friendly hosts and love to talk to guests about the bungalow and its history.

There is about 1400 square feet of totally exclusive private space for guests in the East Wing alone!

The bungalow does not have a pool but guests can be given free transport to use the swimming pool of the main hotel on request.

The bungalow will be a fantastic option for guests that value seclusion and privacy, amazing views and an appreciation for colonial history. It may not be an appropriate choice for guests that like to enjoy a ‘hotel’ environment, with other guests around them and those that require making use of facilities that would be commonly found at a luxury boutique type hotel such as a separate restaurant, pool, bar etc.