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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Things to Do in Kalutara – A City of History, Sun, Sand and Surf
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to Do in Kalutara – A City of History, Sun, Sand and Surf

Encircled by the River Kalu, Kalutara is blessed by the historic Kalutara Bodhiya and is a land of golden beaches and glistening surf. A city where river meets sea, there's plenty to enjoy here.

1

Visit the Kalutara Chaitya

As you cross the bridge that spans both river and sea, looming ahead is the white edifice of the Kalutara Chaitya. Around this holy shrine are throngs of pilgrims and traffic slows to a crawl; the reason you will notice is attributed to the tills placed along the road. No Buddhist will pass this shrine without stopping to offer alms at these tills; all it takes is to drop a few coins and bow your head in worship, asking for blessings of the Bodhiya for a safe journey. The shrine occupies both ends of the road and on the side where the river and sea converge is a sacred Bo Tree, believed to be a sapling of the tree found in the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. A serene and culturally rich experience, visiting this temple is one of the most popular things to do in Kalutara.

2

Visit Richmond Castle

A vintage Edwardian style mansion, Richmond Castle was built by Mudliyar Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena. Built between 1900 and 1910 the mansion is now owned by the Public Trustee, as it was so willed by the Mudliyar. The mansion is now open to the public and is a lovely place to explore; perched on a hill the house is around 2kms from the city of Kalutara. If you are a guest at Mermaid Hotel & Club, Richmond Castle is only 17 minutes by car and is best visited with the help of a guide. On display are period furniture, antique artefacts and wide expansive lawns.

3

Chill on Kalutara Beach

The beach in Kalutara is a lovely sandy stretch lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Home to a number of top Kalutara resorts, this beach is ideal for relaxing and working on your tan. Swim in the ocean, chill under the shade of a coconut palm or enjoy a relaxing walk at the edge of the surf. Kids will love combing for seashells and building sand castles, while kite flying and a game of beach volleyball are lures to look forward to around the golden mounds of Kalutara Beach.

4

Visit the Thudugala Ella Waterfall

Ranked 268th amongst 382 recorded cascades in Sri Lanka, the Thudugala waterfall is found in the Dodangoda precinct of Kalutara. The waterfall is a very popular bathing spot and sits within the former estate of a British colonist; remnants of his bungalow too, are to be seen there. Just 8 metres in height the cascade is recorded as one of the most popular in the country and is indeed just right for a day away from the comforts of your hotel in Kalutara.

5

Visit the Brief Gardens

The talents of the Bawa brothers are on display at this beautifully laid out garden, comprising of 5 acres the place has been fostered over a period of 15 years. The gardens are famous for its lush foliage, comprising of exotic plants, tropical trees and strategically placed sculptures, that lend an ethereal feel to the entire place. Located just 35kms from Kalutara, a sojourn at the Brief Gardens will be time well spent.

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