Holiday in Kalutara lot more than Sun Sea and Sand
What do you think of at the motioning of Holiday in Sri Lanka? A holiday in Beautiful tropical holiday destination with pristine beaches such as Kalutara and warm friendly people are possible to conjure. However, unlike earlier Sri Lanka is a holiday destination with the diversified tourism industry and offers a lot more than a beach holiday in Sri Lanka.
Cultural holiday, adventure holiday, beach holiday, travelling on health factors such as Ayurveda treatments, rainforest exploration, wildlife tours, nature holidays, you name it Sri Lanka has it. This tiny island is packed with a wide range of holiday attractions.
However, what is obvious among most travellers, who choose Kalutara for their beach holiday, is the lack of enthusiasm to spend some time in Kalutara town.
Most of the travellers rarely come across the city. Most of them undertake short Sri Lanka trips to popular tourist places. One day trip to Dambulla and Sigiriya, Day trip to Galle, one-day tour to Colombo city are some of the popular activities among the travellers in Kalutara.
Bentota beach and Kalutara beach share the west coast beach. Therefore, Kalutara beach and Bentota beach show a lot of similarities. However, Bentota is much popular for Sri Lanka beach tours due to its location.
Drop into Kalutara city to have a better view of the Sri Lankan life and think like a local. You can find many attractions around your hotel in Kalutara that demand no entrance fees, but still as attractive as most-sought-after tourist attractions.
Try to find attractions that suit your taste a day excursion such as day tour from Bentota to Kandy or a half-day excursion is enough for you to explore most of the places in the area. Tour operators such as Seerendipity tours arrange your transport to these places.
History of Kalutara Sri Lanka
One of the earliest notices of Kalutara in the period of the Dutch occupation is by Christopher Schwitzer, an adventurer, who took service under the Dutch East India Company and kept a diary. Under state 22nd April 1677, he wrote: “I was sent with 30 soldiers to the fort of Kalutara to have some new ramparts added to it.
” This apparently was the first attempt made by the Dutch to remodel the crazy Portuguese Fort. Van Goens, the Dutch Governor and Commissioner of war, also ensured in this instance that a good road connected Kalutara with Colombo, “along which eight men could march abreast, taking with them field guns.”
In the eighteenth century, the historic hill of Kalutara was converted into a compact residential Fort complete with moat and drawbridge. The fortifications on the summit terminated in four rondels, or angels, conspicuously surmounted by bartizans or quaintly picturesque stone sentry boxes shaped like pepper-pots. The glacis, or open space surrounding the Fort, extended westward and southward, corresponding to the esplanade of today.
It is told that the stone for the fort was brought as ballast in ships which returned to their home-ports filled to overflowing with commodities of the east- cinnamon, oil and spices. To supplement the indigenous cinnamon, the Dutch introduced coffee of a very superior kind and pepper.
The latter, besides being profitable and easily grown in the shade, proved useful to fill interstices in the storage of cinnamon for exportation to Europe. They also grew sugar-cane to advantage, and would no doubt have planted rubber if it had been marketable in those days. There was certainly an advantage in growing sugar: from it, at least, “some Dutchmen distilled rum”, forestalling Gal Oya by many years.
But the one enduring legacy of the Dutch occupation is the canal system, which has played no small part in enriching the district. On these waterways built by their hydraulic engineers, arrack from the distilleries, coir fibre and all agricultural produce from the district, which found purchase in markets abroad, were carried in padda boats to the warehouses in Colombo for shipment.
An attempt was made, too, to link up with the roadstead at Barberyn (Beruwala), but work was stopped at the foothills of Maggona three-fifth of the canal had been cut.
In February 1796 the fort of Kalutara was ceded to the British troops under General Stuart. It did not remain long garrisoned after the Kandyan capitulation in 1815.
Time was when one of the buildings within the Fort was used as a country retreat by a Chief Secretary, the Hon. John Rodney. One great occasion, they say he had salutes fired from a “bamboo battery”. Here too, in 1824 he buried an infant son, and built a pyramid of brick over the grave, which carries a pathetic epitaph appealing to posterity “to respect and spare the remains of our child”.
The town was at this time, 130 years ago, pithily described as “a favourite resort for invalids, with its umbrageous walks and cool and salubrious climate.” A quarter of a mile from the fort stood the bazaar. “Chiefly in one street, built of stone with thatched roofs inhabited by Sinhalese and black descendants of the Portuguese.” The Dutch building which housed the Commandant of the station has gone its way to make room for Kalutara’s new Court. It was long used as a Rest House, and later as a Police Court.
Kalutara During the British Colonial era
Kalutara, at the present day, basks in the romance of the rubber tree. According to the historical information, there had been acres upon acres of the undulating country adjoining rice fields and village garden in the region.
Those valuable forest cover started to diminish with the advent of British rulers in the island, the Na, or ironwood tree with its red young leaf and sweet white flowers, the massive Teak, the bright Nadun, the fruitful Jak- all hard-wood trees felled and burnt. The tender rubber saplings were planted on the cleared lands.
British planters ran the large estates which covered nearly every hill-side. Agency houses helped proprietor or shareholders with big profit and dividends. And as town and district sensed rosy visions of boom- which often, like the splendour of a glorious sunset, heralded the stormy change to follow-the cry went up for land, more land, to plant with rubber trees and make a fortune.
Happening to have been in the thick of it surveying applications for large tracts of crown forest which were sold by public auction. The land was selling at a very cheap price of 50 Rs an acre. There were few roads then, and one reached the hinterland on the Sabaragamuwa frontier by canoeing up rivers.
Foreign ambition and strategy shattered this aloofness which Kalutara had enjoyed from the beginning of time. Early in the seventeenth century, a Portuguese engineer cast his eye on the hillock which from a military standpoint so effectively commanded the river-crossing and the approach from Colombo.
Thereafter, Gangatilaka Vihara knew its place no longer. Palisade and taipai, or earth walls, came to be raised on the green hillside Instead and its summit was mounted with artillery. Thus did Kalutara enter a new phase.
The district was the scene of many a hard-fought encounter between the forces of Mayadunne and Vidiya Bandara, and it was here too that the youthful son of Mayadunne, later Raja Sinha the first, of glorious memory, marshalled his forces, and with the Portuguese as allies at the time, marched to make history for the district, at Pelanda. The years rolled on until there came a challenge to Portuguese power by a new and formidable invader.
Gangatilaka Temple Kalutara
If Kalutara is one of the best places for Sri Lanka day trips from Colombo and west coast beach resorts due to its location on the west coast, between Colombo and Bentota. It is obvious, you have the plenty of opportunities to see sun-kissed pristine beaches in Kalutara, but those who love to see the spiritual angle of Sri Lanka should drop into one of the Buddhist temples in the area. Kalutara is a Buddhist city with one of the largest and most historical Buddhist temples in the region.
The temple has a huge dagoba with a fascinating collection of religious paintings on the inner wall. Usually, the dagobas are solid structures but Dagoba in Kalutara is hollow and devotees can go into the dagoba. The temple is dating back to many centuries and it is picturesquely located bordering Kalu Ganaga or black river.
The hotel street is lined up with hundreds of shops that are stocked with the souvenir, clothes, spices, jewellery and many other items demanded by tourists. The hotel street is the main road that leads to the resort of Kalutara and beach area.
Other than the shops, there are a large number of open bars and restaurants allowing tourists to have a drink or meal leisurely while enjoying the shopping atmosphere. If you like to buy a souvenir for an affordable price, you better heading to Kalutara hotel road. A large number of shops means you have the option to choose from a wide range of products and prices and don’t forget to bargain.
Spices are one of the most demanding products among the travellers, who spend a holiday in Sri Lanka. Knowing the enthusiasm among tourist to learn about spices, people have established a few spice gardens near the beach resort area of Kalutara.
These gardens are especially targeting foreign travellers and tourists are able to get a lot of information about various spices available on the island. Travellers are not only able to see the spices in their natural habitat but also they have the opportunity to buy fresh and un-blended spices at very affordable prices.
Making a boat tour in Kalutara
Taking a boat tour along the Kalu Ganag is the best way to enjoy one of the fascinating riverine Eco-systems in the island. Usually, a boat tour lasts about one hour and you have easy access to many individual boaters near the city. You are able to see a large number of species of mangroves along with many numbers of aquatic bird species, fish and several animals such as crocodile, water monitors and monkeys.
Visiting Kalutara market
In Kalutara, there is a vegetable market and then there is a fish market, offering over hundreds of verities of fruits, spices, vegetable, are nuts, and fish and meat items in one place. Have a leisurely walk through the market with your family and friends and see a large number of Sri Lankan vegetables and fruits. Entice your taste buds with tasty of fresh fruits. Drop into a local restaurant in the city if you feel thirst and order a Ceylon tea prepared after the local recipe.
There are eight sea turtle species living in the world and Sri Lanka is the home for five species of the sea turtle. One can rarely find a country where as much as five species to be found in the one place such as west coast Sri Lanka.
Sea turtles are visiting the West, South and East of the island regularly in order to lay eggs. Sea turtles are considered as a threatened animal species in the world and they are well protected within the borders of the island owing to strict animal conservation rules and regulations of the country.
The number of animals that are nesting in the Sri Lanka shore is raised in the past and now they can be observed often in the Sri Lanka shore. Especially West coast is popular for turtle watching on the island.
The fascinating experience of watching turtle can be often experienced in the area of Kosgoda and Induruwa. In these areas, one can visit Turtle Research centres and turtle conservation centres managed by some organizations and individuals.