Kalutara is a resort area in the southwest of the island, famous for its sports clubs. This is an ideal place for lovers of water sports: windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, spearfishing and sailing. According to populationmonster, Kandy is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka.
Kalutara is the first city that is encountered on the way from Colombo. It stands on the river (or rather, immediately behind it, when viewed from Colombo) Kalu Ganga, the “black river” is one of the largest in Sri Lanka. To the north of the bridge that connects the two banks of the Kalu Ganga, there is a pretty beach with several luxury hotels and a water entertainment center. There is nothing for budget tourists to “catch” there.
How to get there
Kalutara is close enough to the capital of Sri Lanka, only 42 km and 62 km from the international airport, so you can get there by car, taxi, bus, and train.
The beaches of Kalutara
It is not for nothing that the beaches of the region, strewn with coarse-grained sand, are called the “golden coast”, shimmering with pleasant radiant warmth. The entrance to the water is a steep slope, so you should not swim during storms. The beaches are lined with lush exotic vegetation, creating an atmosphere of privacy and inaccessibility to the hustle and bustle of big cities.
5 things to do in Kalutara
- Get in February to the annual Navam Perahera parade, which takes place on a large scale in Kalutara. It is on this day that sacred relics are taken out of the city Buddhist temple on the back of the largest elephant, and thousands of people have the opportunity to bow to them. And in the evening, the deep blue sky is painted with lights of illuminations.
- Take an amazing boat trip along the colorful river Kalu Ganga. The key place is the island of hermits.
- As a souvenir, buy spices – curry, anchar sauce made from fruits with spices, red spicy masala sauce, the aromas of which will please you in the kitchen for a long time.
- Bring a bouquet of flowers or fruits as a spiritual sacrifice to the Bo tree, which is near the Dagoba Kalutara Vihara temple, in exchange for enlightenment or the fulfillment of your most cherished desire.
- Visit the amazingly beautiful waterfall, which is half an hour away by tuk-tuk. The cost of a round trip will be 10-20 USD.
Entertainment and attractions of Kalutara
The city has preserved the old Dutch canal and the ruins of an ancient fort. In addition, walking along the streets of the resort, you can easily find two or three colonial-style houses.
Undoubtedly, the most prominent attraction in the scattering of historical landmarks of Sri Lanka is the Gangatilaka Vihara Stupa, so colossal that it can be seen even before entering the city. The stupa is also amazing in that it is hollow, and this is an architectural rarity.
Dagoba Kalutara Vihara
In the vicinity of the city is the oldest of the Buddhist temples on the island of Sri Lanka – Dagoba Kalutara Vihara. The most valuable in the interior of the temple, of course, is a collection of 74 frescoes depicting paintings from the last earthly life of the Buddha and 550 of his previous lives. The temple stands on the site visited by Prince Siddhartha (Buddha Shakyamuni) after spiritual enlightenment, and the main confirmation of this fact is the sacred Bo tree, which grew out of the shoot of the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. The best part is that the temple is still operating and every day its vaults are resounded with the melodious singing of Buddhist monks performing another bewitching ritual.
Other temples of Kalutara
The hall for sermons in the Asokarama temple is filled daily with thousands of pilgrims, in addition to whom the disadvantaged residents of the city are guaranteed to receive help and support here. This is a well-known charitable organization in the religious world. And if you manage to visit the Buddhist ceremony Pirit, consider that you have seen one of the most wonderful religious performances. The building, which has unique acoustics, opens its doors at night; a tired traveler can not only enjoy prayer, but also aromatic Ceylon tea.
The Christian church, which is also in Kalutara, is not deprived of attention, and on holidays, thousands of Sri Lankan Christians organize evening processions along the main street of the city towards the church. Their snow-white clothes flutter in the wind, and their humble faces are illuminated by the magical lights of thousands of lighted candles.
The picturesque town of Kandy is located right in the middle of Sri Lanka, 115 km northeast of Colombo, on the banks of the Mahaweli Ganga River, which makes the climate of Kandy pleasant and fresh. This city is considered the cultural capital of the island nation and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka, Kandy, even during the British Raj, preserved ancient traditions. The inhabitants of the city are still proud of their heritage and greatly respect Buddhist values.
In recent years, the cultural heritage of Kandy has changed somewhat under the influence of immigrants from other parts of the country. Locals mourn the gradual disappearance of the “honest Kandyan” image as described in colonial-era literature, and tourists learn to take better care of their possessions. But, one way or another, Kandy is a peaceful and safe city compared to others on the island, and it maintains a markedly lower crime rate.
In the center of the city is an artificial lake, the creation of the last king of Kandy. And in its center on a small island stands the Summer Palace, where the king once kept his harem.
How to get there
From the country’s capital, Colombo, there are express trains to Kandy (first class must be booked in advance), taxis (travel time 3 hours, 10,000 LKR), minivans with a driver (booked at a travel agency) or air-conditioned buses.
Shopping and stores in Kandy
Kandy is a center of folk crafts, which is famous for its craftsmen. Straw and bamboo weavers, silversmiths, wood carvers make (and sell) magnificent products here, some of the best in Sri Lanka.
Entertainment and attractions in Kandy
On the shore of the lake is Dalada-Maligawa – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. It is believed that the Tooth appeared on the island in 311 in the hair of Princess Hemamala. The city where the Tooth of the Buddha was located was considered the state capital. When the Tooth arrived in Kandy in 1590, King Vilamaladarmasuriya I built a two-story temple on the grounds of the royal palace, where the relic was placed.
The Temple of the Tooth Relic is part of a huge complex of buildings: to the north of the temple was the Royal Palace, the Queen’s Palace, and the Audience Hall. To the east of the temple, on the border with the lake, is the bath of Queen Ulpe Ge, converted into a library by the British (and now a police station).
Near Dalada Maligawa there are three Hindu temples dedicated to the gods Nata, Pattini (goddess of chastity and health, popular among Buddhists) and Vishnu. Just a block away is Kataragama Devala, one of the most popular Hindu temples in the city, dedicated to Skanda, the god of war. Another prominent landmark of the city is the so-called Royal Pavilion at the foot of the mountains, built by the English governor in 1834. Currently, the pavilion is the official residence of the President of Sri Lanka in Kandy.
Since Kandy is the religious capital and center of Buddhism in the country, the two main monasteries of the country are located here: Asgiriya and Malvatte.
Trekking is the best way to see the real original nature and culture of Kandy. There are many interesting routes in the vicinity of the city, for example, to the Asgiri Maha Viharaya temple and Bahirawakande hill. Also: trek to Udawattakelle nature reserve, Lankathilake temple, Portuguese War road, Alagalle mountain, tea plantations and traditional villages.
In the east of Kandy, the temples of Gangaramaya, Galmaduwa and Degaldoruwa are worth visiting. And many other places: Ash and Nitre caves, Rathna waterfall, Sitakotuwa limestone cave, rice fields, Rantambe nature reserve and many other places.