Master of Puppets

Rukada is what puppetry is called in our native tongue. It literally means a figure or doll that is made of wood. The craft originated amongst the south-western artists in the island, who made masks. When they began to make dolls for entertainment, they were soon joined by musicians and actors and converged to performing at festivals and fairs.

Puppetry has been a part of folk art in Sri Lanka for many centuries, although it gained much popularity about 300 years ago. It is believed to have been influenced very much by puppetry in India, as well as China and Japan, with a few subtle influences even from European countries like Germany, Chekoslovesia and Russia. The themes were religious and so puppetry was known to carry moral and religious values. This ideology began to deviate from religious teachings to simply dramatic entertainment sometime in the 20th Century.

A part of the experience, you will visit the house of a generational puppeteering family in Ambalangoda. Your host/ interpreter will give you an introduction to the origins of Sri Lankan puppet making before delving into the art of a puppet dance. He/ she will also introduce you to the puppeteering family and their generational story. Then the family will also share the secrets of this age-old art by teaching you a few basic puppet dancing moves, and end the experience with a short puppet show conducted by three generations of artists.  

Price :
Per Adult : USD 101
Per Child : USD 58

Road Transfer USD 44 (per vehicle)

Number of guests : Minimum 2 and Maximum 15

Duration: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy

Suitable for children: 6 – 11 years 

Meeting time: 9 AM – 11.30 AM or 3.30 PM – 6.00 PM 
Meeting place: Ambalangoda  

Includes: Hands on puppet dancing lesson. Interpreter. Visit to a puppeteering family in Ambalangoda.

Things to Know :

  • Important info: This is a fun and insightful experience. Please interact with the local family as they love sharing their artistry with you.   
  • Making the most of it: Please pay close attention to your interpreter and puppeteer during the puppet dancing lesson. Once you get the basics it becomes so much easier. 
  • Cancellation Policy :

If cancelled before 7 days there is no cancellation charges

Bookings cancelled between 7 – 2 days prior to the tour, 50% cancellation applies

Booking cancelled within 48 hours before the tour, full cancellation applies