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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top Things to do in Kalutara – Expedition to a Coastal Town

Kalutara is a coastal stretch not too far away from Colombo. The city is an assorted collection of places to explore.


Kalutara Bhodiya

The Kalutara Bhodiya (temple) is beautiful and historically significant as it was one of the first Buddhist temples to have been erected after Mahinda Thero, a messenger from neighbouring India officially converted King Tissa. In the 16th century, Portuguese colonials used the site as a fort. Both Dutch and British colonials continued the tradition and used the site as some form of administrative location and once Sri Lanka gained independence, the temple was reinstated.


Kalutara Beach

Kalutara can be a refreshing pause on your Sri Lankan holiday. Blessed with an immense stretch of white sandy shore with a crop of coconut trees adorning it, there are plenty of beachfront hotels in Kalutara. Do some research before you book to find out the hotel best suited to your requirements for there are quite a few of those such as Turyaa Kalutara. The beach is famed for its vast stretch of silky white sand. Flanked by coconut trees and the vast blue ocean, it is a beautiful spot to rest awhile. You could paddle the creamy foam lapping against the white sand and munch on a spicy local snack or a piece of pineapple.


Fa Hien Caves

Locally known as the Pahiyangala caves, these caves had been used by prehistoric cave people of 37,000 years ago. The cave is best known as the largest natural rock in the region as well as the oldest pre-historic settlement on record from the Asian region. Archeologists found five human skulls which date (carbon dating) 37,000 years and had short vertebral structures as well as wide jaw bones and of course large grinding teeth to suit the diet of the day. Further, excavation had revealed stone and animal bone hunting equipment. The history of 'Fa Hien Caves' continues with records of a wandering Chinese Monk Fa Hsien's visit to the caves in the 5th century BC. Much later, the cave had been turned into a Buddhist temple by a Sri Lankan monk who according to legend was a man of immense strength. The common estimation is that the cave can easily accommodate around 3000 people.


Thudugala Ella

Not too far away from the Fa Hien cave is Thudugala Ella, a picturesque waterfall and an ideal bathing spot situated near a forest reserve. The forest reserve is home to Sri Lanka's smallest bird the pale bellied flower pecker and a safe haven for migrant birds. Halfway through its descent, Thudugala Ella turns into a stream and feeds a natural pool which incidentally is a perfect spot for a refreshing bath.


Sap Tappers

A local alcohol called palm toddy is made out of the extracted juice of coconut flowers (virgin fronds) and sap tappers climb the smooth surface of the precarious coconut tree to reach the crown and tap the sweet juice into earthen pots. The extracts are used to make 'jaggery' a sweet and a crunchy natural sweetener used to make delicious desserts and palm vinegar. The fresh juice, however, is used to brew toddy. When in Kalutara you can watch the masters at work and taste some of the toddy.

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