Located just 40km south of Sri Lanka’s capital is the scenic resort town of Kalutara. Once a sleepy back-water town, Kalutara is now the third largest urban area in the Western Province, just behind the more well known cities of Colombo and Negombo. The city is often overlooked as a holiday destination, with travellers heading further away from Colombo to better known holiday spots, but the city of Kalutara has much to offer the beach loving vacationer. Hotels in Kalutara, Sri Lanka tend to be mostly luxury resorts including some well-known names in the hotel business like the AVANI Kalutara Resort. These resorts typically offer their guests a full experience of the area with excursions ranging from bird watching and kayaking to local sightseeing. Some definite sights to take in while in Kalutara would be the aristocratic Richmond Castle, the majestic Kalutara Vihara and for beach buffs, Calido Beach.
Built in 1896 by a wealthy Sri Lankan aristocrat, Richmond Castle is a modestly sized colonial style mansion set amidst lush landscaped gardens overlooking the Kalu Ganga (Black River), and is a beautiful testament to Indian and British architecture. Walking around the site, it is easy to imagine the grandeur this place once held and the resident guide is extremely knowledgeable on its history. Drive along the Kalu Ganga and in the distance will stand the imposing view of the Kalutara Vihara. This temple, built in the 1960’s, was a marvel of construction for its time, being the only entirely hollow Buddhist stupa in the world. The temple grounds are the perfect place for meditation and attract many pilgrims each day who are looking for a quiet place of reflection and also worshippers who visit the Kalutara Bodhiya or sacred Bo Tree that is believed to grant wishes. Another scenic spot is Calido Beach. This thin strip of beach is perfect for travellers looking for calmer waters outside Kalutara beach. This preserved land runs between the Kalu Ganga and the Indian Ocean and has the added benefit of the perfect view of the Kalutara Vihara from its shores.
Kalutara offers its many visitors a different side of the Sri Lankan experience, and though it may not have all the hoopla and fringe that most other popular destinations offer, it’s quiet charm is a draw in itself – and if you’d really like to sample some local flavour while you’re there, try one of Kalutara’s famous mangosteen fruits, washed down with a Sri Lankan alcoholic staple, arrack, or the more rustic toddy!
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.