Tucked away on the Deep Down South coast of Sri Lanka
From Tanglalle to Matara, the road reveals new and unexplained beauty. It skirts the sea shore and for mile upon mile, bay succeeds bay, a curve of yellow sand, dazzling blue water and palm-crowned headlands.
At the end of the south coast railway line lies the town of Matara, the most important settlement on the south coast. The town contains many remnants of Sri Lanka's colonial past and is divided by the island's third longest river, the Nilwala Ganga – a beautiful wide expanse of water that splits the old town from the new.
Matara important under the Dutch due to its strategic position for trade in spices, gems and elephants and so the colonists built two forts called the city Mature while many other names – among them Mahatara meaning 'Great Harbour' and Maturai meanding meaning ' Great Fortress' both used by the Portuguese have been given to the city over the years.
To the south is the quieter old colonial district alongside the coast consisting largely of the ancient Matara Fort full of crumbling colonial splendour as well as the modern bus station and St Mary's Church, home to the famour statue of Our Lady of Matara.
Though there are some beaches in Matara town, it is not a beach resort.
Matara Fort is positioned on a narrow split of land protected on three sides by water, either the river or sea and on the fourth by a 13 metre thick, five metre high rampart build around 1640. It was actually a Dutch fortification of an existing Portuguese garrison on the site of the original town.
The Fort contains governmental administrative buildings such as the Judicial Court and as you head along the streets that run towards the river estuary at the western end, you will notice many beautiful colonial buildings along narrow tree-lined streets that are sadly in various states of disrepair. When you reach the water's edge itself you can see lots of colourful fishing boats, the confluence of rive and sea and a look over the water to Crow Island.
Things you can do
The Ruhunu National Park in Yala is a wild life sanctuary where you can experience the many wonders of nature. A 30 minute drive from the hotel, that park is home to a plethora of birds and animals, and promises the explorer an adventure of a life time. It's a hotspot for catching a glimpse of leopards in their natural habits.
Watch the wild side of you come alive in the Udawalawe National Park. It's a refuge to over 250 elephant and hundreds of other exotic creatures. The Udawalae National Park is merely a half hour from the Priyankara Hotel and promises to be a truly memorable excursion for the family and friends.
- Bundala Park
It's every avid bird watchers dreams come true. The bundala Forest Reserve is a luscious wetland, and home to hundreds of exotic birds in various shapes, size and colours. See some of the most unique and rare birds of Sri Lanka amidst lush green canopies of flora and fauna. A thirty minute drive from the hotel is all it takes for this unforgettable visual treat.
- Tissa Wewa Rainwater reservior
North of the modern town lies the beautiful Tissa Wewa, an expansive artificial lake built by King Kavantissa in the 2nd century BC of the ancient southern kingdom of Ruhuna.
- Tissa Maha Dagoba (Tissa great stupa)
Most impressive is the restored Maha Stupa, built by King Kavantissa in the 3rd century BC located between Tissa town centre and the tank. It was the largest dagoba in the island at the time.
Kirinda is a small but beautiful village on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 10 km south of Tissa & close to Kataragama. It has a beautiful beach and a Buddhist shrine built on a huge round rock
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