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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Things to do in Kalutara - Enjoying Sri Lanka's southern coast
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to do in Kalutara - Enjoying Sri Lanka's southern coast

Kalutara is a seaside town located within the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It is home to sunny beaches, raving seafood, historical temples and interesting architecture.



The historically significant Fa Hien Caves are located in Pahiyangala in the Kalutara district. Excavation has proved that the Fa Hien Caves are a group of caves inhabited thirty-seven thousand years ago by cave men. This is considered the largest natural rock settlement in Asia and is proven to be the most ancient prehistoric human settlement in the region as well. Even if caving doesn't interest you, the historical significance of these caves makes it worth a visit. These massive caves are sectioned into four areas and it can hold up to three thousand people at once. The name of the cave is derived from the Chinese Buddhist Priest Fa-Hsien who is said to have visited the cave during the 5th century.


Head to the Beach

Sri Lanka's southern coast boasts of beautiful sunny beaches, and the Kalutara beach is very much a part of this. If you are staying in a Kalutara resort, make sure it overlooks the beautiful Indian Ocean. The best part about the Kalutara beach is the solitude, which is unlike the other swarming beaches of the southern coast. Kalutara beach not really for surfing or boarding however visitors can swim and soak up the sun as well enjoy diving, snorkeling or fishing.


Visit the Temples

The Kalutara Bodhiya, which is a Buddhist Temple, is one of most well-known sites in the area. You simply cannot miss the temple since it is prominently located on the main road as you enter the city. This is a hallowed landmark where visitors of all religions stop and pay homage by offering their respects asking for the safe return from their journey. The Kalutara Bodhiya is located on the bay of the Kalu River, which moves around the Kalutara River. Another prominent Buddhist temple in the Kalutara district is the Kande Viharaya. This temple is situated on top of a mountain and is home to the tallest Samadhi Buddha statue (seated Buddha statue) in the world. The Kande Viharaya is usually crowded all the time and it is a religious site that you must not miss when traveling in that direction. Many locals travel to Kalutara for a quick getaway since it's the closest town on the southern coast with plenty of hotels such as AVANI Kalutara Resort; being available.


Enjoy the Seafood

The delectable seafood dishes in Kalutara are endless. There are ample eateries in Kalutara, especially along the coast. Most of these places cook up freshly caught seafood and the dishes are usually mouthwatering. If you can handle spicy food ask them to prepare it super hot Sri Lankan style!


Visit the Brief Garden

A short drive towards the south will take you to the house, which once belonged to Bevis Bawa, brother of the world famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. The house is referred to as the Brief Garden and is well known for its eccentric and elaborate landscape. The owner Bevis Bawa was a landscapist and you find pretty unconventional artwork and statues turned out from wood and cement in the garden.