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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 13, 2018
Headline for Must See Attractions in Kalutara – From Temples to Caves to Eccentric Baskets
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Must See Attractions in Kalutara – From Temples to Caves to Eccentric Baskets

The coastal town of Kalutara has perhaps the most diverse set of attractions of any town in Sri Lanka. Here is a list of attractions you simply cannot miss out on if you ever find yourself in town!

1

Gangatilaka Vihara

Welcoming visitors into Kalutara is the gleaming white Gangatilaka Vihara – a magnificent temple built in the 1960s. The temple houses 74 beautiful murals depicting the life of the Buddha, but its fame comes from the unique, hollow Buddhist shrine the temple houses; a shrine of this design cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Most local, Buddhist travellers stop outside the temple when entering or leaving Kalutara and place offerings in the till, located by the roadside, to bring them blessings for safe travel.

2

Kalutara and Wadduwa Beach

Kalutara is a coastal town with an elongated beach of fine, golden sand that reaches Wadduwa to the north. The coastline is a great place to enjoy the sun and sea and take part in the numerous water sports offered by the adjacent hotels and resorts. Wadduwa and Kalutara beaches are lined with beach hotels and resorts like Turyaa Kalutara, many of which offer watersports including surfing, diving, snorkelling and jet skiing.

3

Kalu Ganga

The name 'Kalutara' is derived from the river that runs through the heart of the town – the Kalu Ganga, 'kalu' meaning 'black' and 'ganga' meaning 'river'. Boat cruises and canoeing along the river is possible via various agencies and hotels. The river is lined with luscious mangroves and is home to a fascinating array of animal life. A little removed from the town, the river offers a peaceful, verdant respite from the bustling town and is a favoured especially among bird lovers.

4

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle, an elegant country house surrounded by resplendent gardens, is located a little inland of the town centre. The beautiful home belonged to Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe (1889 – 1947), a village leader and wealthy philanthropist. The architecture of the Richmond Castles echoes British and Indian styles and includes a fascinating photo gallery, an audience hall, intricately carved pillars and beams and spiral staircases. The gardens are open to the public and are a truly magnificent place to go picnicking, biking and canoeing!

5

Fa Hien Cave

The Fa Hien Cave is named after a famous Chinese monk and explorer who visited the area in the 4th century AD. Among its many fascinating points of interest, is the fact that the cave is thought to be the largest natural rock in Asia and the site where the oldest remains of prehistoric human life in South East Asia was discovered. Excavations have revealed faunal remains as well as the remains of a whole human skeleton dating back to the late Pleistocene era. Carbonated evidence collected from the cave actually suggests that the area was inhabited by humans more than 33,000 years prior! You can also hike to the top of the rock where the summit provides a magnificent view of the surrounding region.

6

Basket Hall

Right at the heart of Kalutara is the town's Basket Hall, which is home not only to hand-weaved baskets but also vibrantly coloured purses, hats, lampshades, coasters and much, much more. Of the many things to do in Kalutara, a visit to the basket hall is perhaps the most unique experience to be had. The town's people are well-known for their talent in weaving reed to create beautiful personal and household items, and visitors can witness the method of the craft at the Basket Hall. You might even be able to try your hand at the craft with a little help from the experienced weavers there!

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    A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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