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Department of Textile Industry – Sri Lanka

The textile industry can be recognized as the oldest industry from among the industries in Sri Lanka. The Mahawansa Chronicle describes that Kuweni was busy in the act of cotton spining when Prince Vijaya and his entourage landed at Thambapanni. The Mahawansa Chronicle goes on to further state that the Kalikala Sahithya Sarwanna Panditha King Parakramabahu who ruled Dambadeniya in the year 1148 A.D. made an offering of 80 robes to Maha Sanga after plucking cotton, mixing amber colour and weaving the fabric within a day making it to happen in the evening of the same day. Facts such as these give us a clear indication that there existed a very advanced textile industry in ancient Sri Lanka.

In the year 1906, Anagarika Dharmapala sent one youth called Ukkubanda Dolapihille over to Japan for training in the technology of textile industy sponsoring the journey through his own personal wealth. Accordingly, the first ever textile industry training school in Sri Lanka was founded on the 4th of December 1912 as the Hewawitharana Training School in Rajagiriya. The Department of Textile Industries was established on the 7th of July 1977 and the clothing needs of the Sri Lankans were catered to by the institutions involed in the handloom and power loom activities.