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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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List of Historical Sites in Kalutara - Discover the Heritage of the Fabulous Coastal City

The coastal city of Kalutara lies 1 and a half hour away to the south of Colombo, inviting all to come and experience its beauty and heritage. Here's a list of the finest historical sites in Kalutara.


Kalutara Bodhiya

You might be visiting Kalutara for leisure or business, just passing through or spending a holiday at one of its many beach hotels like the Anantara Kalutara Resort, but one does not simply visit Kalutara without visiting the Kalutara Bodhiya as it is a true icon of the city. If you researched for things to do in Kalutara, the number one search result would be this. So, why is it so important? Let's find out.

The Kalutara Bodhiya is one of the 32 saplings of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, which was planted by the great King Devanampiyatissa. According to ancient scriptures, the bodhi tree is what the Lord Gautama Buddha sat under while he gained enlightenment; so it's the centre of a lot of respect and worship. When the country came under the rule of the British in the 19th century, plans were made to remove it, but the people rebelled against it so until today the Bodhi, the temple and the stupa built to honour it stands against the test of time.


Richmond Castle

Almost all castles have an intriguing story behind it and the same applies to the Richmond Castle in Kalutara. The story goes as this, a wealthy landowner turned philanthropist by the name of, brace yourself- Padikara Mudali Nanayakkara Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena (yes that's his name no kidding); wanted to build a castle according to the style of the Palace of Maharaja of Ramnad in India, who was his schoolmate. In 1910, the Mudaliyar's dream came true and the castle was built with many luxuries ranging from 15 rooms, stained glass windows, stables, and much more.

The mudaliyar and his wife lived on for a few years in the castle of dreams but then tragedy struck. In spite of all the blessings, the couple failed to get one of the best blessings of all, children; and the once rich mudaliyar lived as a humble hermit for the rest of his life.


Kande Viharaya

A major Buddhist temple in Kalutara, the Kande Viharaya literally translates to 'mountain temple' and this because it's perched atop a high mountain. Recognized by the Sri Lankan government as an archaeological site, the temple was founded in 1734. Things to see at the temple include the image house with its spectacular murals, the relic chamber, Bodhi Tree, the Stupa, the Upulvan Devalaya and the other main Devalas including the Pattini and Kataragama Devalayas. There's also a Seema Malaka and a preaching hall situated outside the temple premises. One of the most noteworthy things about the Kande Vihara is that the stupa you find here is built in the shape of a bell and stands within an octagonal shelter, which is quite rare.

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