The seaside town of Kalutara in the island nation of Sri Lanka is a delightful locality to visit as it boasts a convenient accessible location, attractive beaches, and a host of monuments of cultural and historical interest.
In times past, the town functioned as a trading port where Arab seafarers regularly arrived to obtain the island’s fabled spices. Traders from other lands also visited this conveniently located commercial port. All of these foreign influences are reflected in the town’s cosmopolitan multi-ethnic culture. Even today Kalutara remains a colourfully vibrant market town as well as a significant tourist destination.
The locality’s multi-ethnic background is reflected in its diverse places of worship. Within the township, you will find Buddhist temples, mosques and churches, many of which are attractive and of cultural interest. The most renowned Buddhist shrine in the locality is undoubtedly the splendid Gangatilaka Viharaya. Constructed in the 1960s, this place of worship features a shimmering white stupa which has become a local landmark. This huge stupa has the distinction of being the sole such construction on the globe to be entirely hollow. The stupa’s interior is attractively decorated with illustrations depicting episodes from Buddhist literature which recounts the former incarnations of the Buddha. A smaller stupa structure may be seen within the main dome. This lively temple is an excellent place to observe the traditional rites and rituals performed by Sri Lankan Buddhists.
The Kalutara Bodhi tree, a descendant of the very tree under which the Buddha achieved Enlightenment is another greatly revered site in this captivating city. Another noteworthy Buddhist shrine in the environs of Kalutara is the renowned Asokaramaya Temple. This historically significant place of worship was constructed in 1873 and today holds the status of being one of the nation’s most venerated temples. Additionally, Kalutara features a number of places of worship of other religions as might be expected in this diverse and multi-ethnic town. These attractions make the town a pleasure to visit for travellers of all ages and preferences.