The monument was built at the location where the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule, with the opening of the first parliament by the HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester occurred at a special podium February 4, 1948.
Located at the head of the monument is the statue of the first prime minister of the country Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake “The Father of the Nation”. Most of the annual National Independence Day celebrations have been held here. Apart from a monument it served as the ceremonial assembly hall for the Senate of Ceylon and the House of Representatives of Ceylon until the parliament was moved to the new parliament complex. Currently it is the venue for religious events and annual national day celebrations.
It was designed by Tom Neville Wynne-Jones CBE, based on the Magul Maduwa (Celebration Hall), the Royal audience hall of the Kingdom of Kandy the last native kingdom of the island, where on March 5, 1815 the Kandyan Convention was signed between the British and the Kandyian Chieftains (Radalas) ending the Kingdom of Kandy.