The Kalutara town is situated at the west coast and about 40 Kms south to Colombo. Main features of Kalutara are, Kalutara Bodhiya, Kalu Ganga ( Kalu River), and the beach. It has huge stretch of fine sand starting from Wadduwa. Also number of beach resorts situated along with the beach. And the lagoon and Kalu River is famous for boat riding and water sports like jet skiing and canoeing. Even though Shopping, Dining, and leisure opportunities are widely available, most people are coming to Kalutara to Worship Bodhiya.
Kalutara Bodhiya is a sacred Bo tree located in Kalutara town and a Colombo – Galle main road just after the Famous Kalutara bridge. It is believed to be one of the first 32 saplings of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi at Anuradhapura by King Devanampiyatissa in the 2nd century BC. This is most venerated Buddhist religious place on southern coastal way. Thousands of people visit the place daily. Portuguese converted this area into a fortress due to strategic importance of its location. British Emperor laid a rail road from Colombo to Galle but decided not to harm the Bo Tree by changing their original plans, after protests of local Buddhists. Modern development of Kalutara Bodhiya as a religious place was started by the Kalutara Buddhist Society at 1931. After Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948 Prime Minister Hon D.S.Senanayake was ordered to remove other establishments from the site so it will be used only as a religious place. And also started construction of Stupa in 1964 on the ground of Gangathilaka Viharaya and the pinnacle was unveiled at 1980 by the President Hon J.R.Jayawardena. It is the first hollow shell concrete stupa in Sri Lanka.
A public beach at Kalutara town is called Calido, which means warm in Spanish. The beach is consists of warm ocean water and golden sand. The is better for walking and contemplation of the magnificent view. Swimming is not advisable in this area as ocean waves are quite big and sea is rough during the monsoon season. Locals are spending holidays with their family on the beach. Still a lot of enjoyments like play kite, volley ball or relax under the sun, are available. If you are looking for a calm and quite environment at the beach then you should avoid weekends and holidays.
If you go little inside from the Kaluthara town there is a village called Palatota. There is a country house called Richmond castle with a 42 acre fruit garden. This was built in 1896 by landowner Don Arthur De Silva Wijayasinghe Siriwardene, The local Mudlyar or a village leader. A wealthy regional governor copies plan of a Indian Maharaja’s palace and used London architect to design the building. It is a two story building with a sixteen rooms. There are so many wonderful architect features are still intact. The property is currently owned by the Public Trustee and open to public to visit.
Pahiyangala Cave (Fa Hien Rock cave) is situated in Bulathsinghala of Kalutara district. It was named after a Buddhist monk who lives in the cave. Weather the legend was true or false, this cave is famous for findings of prehistoric human remains. Scientists have proved remains belongs to late Pleistocene humans. Excavations were carried out in 1960s, 1980s and 2013. They have found microlith stone tools, fireplaces and floral and human remains. Radio carbon dating confirms the cave had been used from Late Pleistocene and Mesolithic of 33,000 years ago to Neolithic of 4,750 years ago.
Southwest coastal area of Sri Lanka and specially Kalutara is renowned for coconut toddy and treacle. Farmers tied coconut trees with ropes to walk from one tree to another. There are two ropes, one to hold while walking on the other one. Experienced tappers use the frond (Flower bunch) at the crown of palm trees to tap and collect sap by the pot hung underneath of the flower bunch. It is normally used to distill arrack which is local whisky, treacle (A sweet syrup), or jaggery which is substitute to sugar among locals.
Kalutara is also famous for Mangosteen fruit and large farm lands of rubber trees. The district of Kalutara and adjoining Ratnapura district are main suppliers and exporters of rubber in Sri Lanka. Not just that it is a religious city among different religious groups in the country. But the Kalutara Bodhiya is comes at first.
Attractions Places & Activities for Tourists Kaluthara
- Kalutara Bodhiya
- Richmond Castle
- Kalutara Beach
- Thudugala Ella waterfall
- Holy Cross Church
- Boat Tours
- Pahiyangala Cave (Fa Hien Rock cave)
- Calido Beach