Kalutara is a resort town located approximately 40km south of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital. Kalutara is semi-urban and has a mixture of literates and illiterates in the population.
Once an important spice-trading center, the city's name is derived from the Kalu Gang River ( Black River). In the 11th Century, the town was made temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince. The region was later planted with coconut trees, whose by-products are used for both internal and external trade. The location also boast fortifications dating back from the times when Portuguese, Dutch and British vied for control of the area.
The 38-meter long Kalutara Bridge was built at the mouth of the Kalu Gang River and serves as a major link between the country's Western and Southern border. At the southern end of the bridge lies the 3 stories-high Kalutara Vihara, a Buddhist temple built in the 1960s which holds the distinction of being the only shrine in the world that is hollow.
In addition to serving as a tourist resort town, the town is also renowned for its mangosteen fruits.
Things you can do
- Ayurveda treatments - For those interested in Sri Lanka's traditional Ayurveda treatments Wadduwa is well known for authentic, professional Ayurveda SPA's and Retreats
- River Boat Cruise - You are taken through mangroves which surround you with astounding beauty. Experience nature first hand as your guide helps you identify unique plants and animals.
- Wild Life -
For those in pursuit of more than just a walk along the beach, offers a journey into the Sri Lankan Wild Life. Hike on a nature trail through the jungle facing the Bentota River.
- Marine Turtle Hatchery -
In 1981 the Wildlife Protection Society established the famous Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery to protect Sri Lanka's turtles from extinction. Fishermen walk along the sandy beaches at night and collect the turtle eggs. Initially, they were then sold to who ever would pay the highest price. Once the Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery opened, the hatchery began paying the fisherman for the eggs. Visitors of the hatchery can see the huge tanks filled with new born turtles. The baby turtles are fed and cared for until they are 2-4 years old. They are then taken to the sea and released during the safer hours of darkness. The main laying season is from October to April, but some eggs can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year.
- Glass Bottom Boat Tour to Coral Reef -
Ride in a glass-bottomed boat to view coral reef in the crystal clear waters of Hikkaduwa. View exotic marine life like never before as you ride over beautiful corals, intricate underwater plants and creatures in their natural habitat. This is ideal for those who want to experience the Hikkaduwa reef without diving in and getting wet.
- Ariyapala Mask Museum -
Bandusena Wijesooriya was born into a family of eminent artists and craftsman. He is a dancer, mask-carver, musician and teacher. Coming from over five generations of mask carvers, the Wijesooriya family have preserved and strengthened the mask carving tradition. The Ariyapala Masks Museum was established in 1987 to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka while preserving it for future generations.
- Moonstone Factory -
A moonstone is grey in colour and feels cool and smooth to the touch. When polished it has a glow like of the moon. Moonstone's are in the semi-precious category and are an important component of the Sri Lankan gem industry. The finest are bluish in colour and are found in high concentrations in Meetiyagoda, between Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa. The nearby villagers believe that this piece of land is blessed by the moon. At the Moonstone Factory you can see or even go down into a narrow shaft where the stones are mined. The visitor centre will provide information relative to the stones while the gift shop on the premises sells moonstones as well as other stones.
- Lunuganga Estate - The land in which the Lunuganga estate resides now has a long beautiful history. It was a Dutch cinnamon garden and then a British rubber estate. The area around Lunuganga is the wettest and most fertile region of the island. To the east of the estate, lies the mysterious Sinharaja Forest, which is the last surviving primeval rain forest in the country.
The estate itself sits beside two low hills along the Dedduwa Lake, and as you look further down you can see the Indian Ocean splash over coral reefs. As you breathe in the fresh air, you get a feeling of complete peace.
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