Unawatuna Beach Sri Lanka
The history of Unawatuna beach goes back to several thousand years and it is lavishly adorned by Valmiki, the author of Ramayana. According to Valmiki it is,
“a seashore dotted with thousands of trees, coconuts, and palms dominating, strings of houses and hermitages along the coastline, human beings and superior beings such as Gandharvas, Siddhas, and ascetics, living in them and countless bejewelled celestial nymphs thronging the shore, the coast intermittently visited by heavenly beings, Gods and demons.”:
History of Unawatuna Beach
Bay of Unawatuna is the home for some of the best beaches in Sri Lanka and a large number of foreign holidaymakers in Sri Lanka choose Unawatuna as their retreat for the beach holiday in road trips. Unawatuna Beach is a popular beach holiday destination in Sri Lanka, located 120 km from Colombo or about 5 Km from the beautiful city of Galle. The Unawatuna is derived from “Onna-wetuna” means “there it fell. Unawatuna bay is separated from the sea by a coral reef, which is about 100 meters from the Unawatuna beach. Unawatuna beach is a safe place for year-round swimming due to its geographical location with the protective coral reef. History of Unawatuna beach goes back to the pre-Christian era and Unawatuna is surrounded by several historical and religious places such as “Wella Devala”.
Colonial Heritage of Unawatuna
Unawatuna, like many another suburb of Galle, is rich in relics of Dutch colonial era. This easy-going remote village by the sea is less crowded than Galle but have a large number of reminiscent from the Dutch colonial rulers. The villagers have the peace of mind in the less crowded serine environment and easy access to Galle. Barth field house and several other massively built houses with pillared verandah and spacious gates hold the evidence of the luxurious life of Dutch administrators in the past. One of the mansions, which located near Waggalmodara, was the official residence of the Commander de Galle, it was built with a swimming pool, and the massive swimming pool was the biggest such construction till the beginning of 1900’s in the country. The swimming pool had been constructed using bricks and mortar and has masonry steps leading down to water level. Tradition holds that a golden couch, or sofa of Dutch pattern, float on rare occasions in this pool.
If you enjoy the adventure type holidays with a zest for exploration, you need to head to the Unawatuna point, at the Matara end of Rhumassala Kanda. The historical temple holds many mysterious tales while rewarding you with a breathtaking panoramic view. The walk to the temple may be discomforting due to the sun and sand and rocks.
Near the temple is a cliff overhung by a large slab of rock. The caves under the cliff were formed by the waves in for the last hundreds of thousands of years. It is large and deep, and into it, during the south-west monsoon, mountainous waves ride in with tremendous force. Sometimes, you can hear shrill and hissing, if the waves and wind make no noise, weird and sometimes siren-like, caused by the air in the cave being forced through holes and crevices in the imprisoning slab-rock. The gurgling beat of water on the cliff, and the suppressed hollow and vibrant sounds which rise from the cave below, combine to produce an eerie clangour. With fantasy to help you, you will find sufficient material here to understand how legends are inspired.
Nearly all the way from Galle, until one reaches Hambantota, the road conquest of the sea. The prodigious work of erosion has cut the coast into innumerable bays and estuaries flanked by thrusting peninsulas, or by long fingers of the cape. For six months in the year waters in these bays lie sleek and innocent. At other times of storm, the water boils itself into frightening spectacles of foam and spray.
Where is Unawatuna Beach Located
Unawatuna is a village in southern Sri Lanka and it is located just south of Galle, bordering the Indian Ocean. This coastal village plays an important role in the island’s tourism industry and attracts several thousand tourists every year. The major attractions of Unawatuna are the pristine palm-fringed beaches, marshland and lively coral reefs with various types of exotic sea creatures. Unawatuna is one of the safest places for sea bath in the island and allows you to have a dip throughout the year. The natural wall made of sand and stones between the sea and the Unawatuna bay provide the protection from the underwater current. Therefore even during the monsoon (off season) with rough sea, it is safe to have a sea bath in Unawatuna.
What to Do In Unawatuna
Despite its historical importance, Unawatuna is not a place visited by tourists, who are enthusiastic about history and culture. Unawatuna beach is the most attractive sea-bath, diving and snorkelling destination in South-West coast. Being a village of the major cities, Unawatuna beach is blessed with rich biodiversity. Kadolana (marshland or mangrove forest), which harbours a large number of fish, birds, vertebrates and many other varieties of creatures is a well-known attraction in the area. One can find more than 60 endemic bird species here such as herons, egrets, kingfisher, sandpiper and terns. Among the rare bird species occurring here are identified as the Asian palm swift, lesser whistling duck, the white-breasted waterhen, the black bittern and the Loten’s Sunbird. Ruhmassa rock is the place where most of these birds can be spotted.
Coral Reefs and Shipwrecks
Unawatuna beach area is one of the best places for diving and snorkelling on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. There are large numbers of shipwrecks off the Unawatuna beach. Under the water surface of Unawatuna rest many shipwrecks making a peaceful heaven for sea creatures. There is a large number of exotic fish species, sea turtles; coral reefs that can be seen here. The turtles still wade onto the shore to lay their nests and eggs.
These shipwrecks and the coral reefs around Unawatuna beach are inhabited by a large number of underwater Fauna, Flora species. These reefs, shipwrecks, coral fish, cave, and a reef formation attracts a large number of divers to Unawatuna beach from the world. The sea off Unawatuna beach is one of the most convenient places for Whale watching excursions in southern Sri Lanka. One can reach the area, where the whales often sighted from Unawatuna in about 2 hours boat ride. Other than the diving and snorkelling Unawatuna is popular for other activities such as sea bathing, surfing, fishing, fishing, surfing, boating etc.
Red-alert to Unawatuna Beach
Due to the large influx of tourists, there had been a large number of constructions along the Unawatuna beach, in the recent past. Now the Unawatuna beach is dotted by restaurants, shops and small hotels, which make some disruption for the attractiveness of the coastal village.
Unawatuna beach attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year and most of them are from European countries such as Germany, England, France, Italy etc. Even though Unawatuna is a popular beach holiday destination in Sri Lanka it is lack of large hotels. More than ninety per cent of accommodations in the area provided in small guest houses and rest houses. These guest houses and rest houses are managed by private individuals and those properties are in operation for a long time. Most of these properties are constructed long time ago without any proper evaluation of the environment. Several of them are disposing of sewage and other wastage direct to the sea in the area causing water pollution around Unawatuna beach.
Sri Lanka has recorded a large number of tourist arrivals after the end of the north-east civil war in 2009 and a large portion of it anchored in Unawatuna beach and other areas in south-west Sri Lanka. With the increasing number of tourists, room occupancy has been increased in the area. Most of the guest houses have increased their room capacity in the last few years making fairly large constructions. Still, they keep minimum attention on the environment which helps them to earn money. If the trend continues the water around Unawatuna beach will be polluted and it will be unhealthy for the human as well as other sea creatures. Most of the construction is situated very near the beach and a collection of the garbage can be seen on the beach.
Unawatuna beach is one of the best beaches in the world due to its clean, clear water and sandy beaches not having these conditions in the future will deprive the tourist influx that we have today, making the owners of the hotels around Unawatuna suffer from the nature destruction being done today. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island; especially the natural beauty of the island is adorned by the foreigners. It is one of the most important attractions of the Sri Lanka tourism and keeping it clean and secure for the future will secure that we can continue the upbeat of tourism in the island in the long run.