Hambanthota and Kataragama are towns having many attractions than others in Sri Lanka. Both are southern coastal cities which are about 280 Kms from nation’s capital Colombo. It will take around 5 to 6 hours to drive all the way along. Hambantota was devastatingly hit by 2004 tsunami but had being undergo major development projects during last government. The region is most famous for its salt falts, Kirinda temple, Kataragama temples, and many more parks and safaris. Regardless hot arid climate in the area, sandy beaches, Yala national park and religious town Kataragama are full of local and foreign visitors all year around. Not only sun bathing, swimming, and other water sports, the area also attracts visitors by its natural beauty and cultural heritage.
Hambanthota Salt Pans one of the main attraction in area. Salt pan is stretching along 15 Kms bordering Hambanthota – Kataragama main road. Salt is made by the sea water enters into ponds of ”Lewaya” and dry and hot climate evaporates water and leaves salt behind. This area attracts many of waders and shore birds such as pelicans, flamingoes, gulls, ducks, egrets, and many others. Bundala National Park is a another place to visit, was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and it is famous among bird watchers and zoologists because it is important as a wintering ground for migratory birds in Sri Lanka. You will see large flocks of flamingos among total of 197 species of birds.
Mahapelessa hot spring is one of the three natural hot water springs. Recently developed with new features and emerged as a tourist attraction.
Kirinda temple is a Buddhist monument dedicated to local legend queen Viharamahadevi who sacrifices herself to sea while raging waters threatened country in 2nd century BC. Temple was built at the place she was rescued.
Yala national park is located in south eastern of Sri Lanka laid over two provinces of southern and Uva. It has large areas of forests, grasslands, lagoons and bordering the Indian Ocean. The park is home for much wildlife like leopards, elephants, deer, crocodiles and many bird species. In the Yala there are two well known pilgrimage sites called Sithul pawwa which is ancient Buddhist monastery and Magul Maha Viharaya with ancient ruins. Kumana bird park also adjoining Yala National Park. Which is renowned for its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds.
The Kataragama is a bit of a jungle area located about an hour drive from Tissamaharamaya. It is a religious city which is famous and crowded by pilgrims any day of the year. It also a city that brings Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians together as its numerous temples dedicated to the various faiths. According to the legends King Dutugamunu, the warrior king who unites country by re capturing northern Sri Lanka by Indian invader king Elara has built the shrine to worship the God in 2nd century BC. The main temple is belongs to God Skandakumara. A Hindu war God and several other adjoining temples dedicated to other gods as well are conducting daily rituals.
There is ancient Buddhist Dagoba called Kirivehera is also in the site. Everyday, at specific time Hindu temples are carrying out poojas. Which are presented to please the Gods by offer baskets of fruits and flowers, Incense sticks and oil lamps clanging of bells and chanting. It is a mesmerizing experience to everyone. Kataragama “perahera” festival is set to July or August months of every year. It is multi cultural festival to please various gods. Pilgrims from all over the island are coming to town in large numbers during this perahera season. It is something that gives you an astonishing experience in your life time.
Attractions Places & Activities for Tourists Hambantota and Kataragama
- Bundala National Park
- Kumana National Park
- Birds Research Center & Resort
- Mahapelessa Hot Springs
- Ussangoda National Park
- Ridiyagama Safari Park
- Dry Zone Botanic Gardens – Hambantota
- Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens
- Agro Technology Park
- Walawe River Safari
- Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary – Bird Watching & Nature Safari
- Kataragama temple
- Kiri Vehera
- Yala National Park
- Katharagama Devalaya