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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Reasons why you should Visit Kalutara, Sri Lanka – A Hidden Gem in Sri Lanka
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Reasons why you should Visit Kalutara, Sri Lanka – A Hidden Gem in Sri Lanka

Kalutara, situated in the south of Sri Lanka rarely makes an appearance on travel magazines and brochures. However, the little-known city holds a cultural significance, making it a delight to explore.


Kande Viharaya

Home to the tallest sitting statue of Buddha, – at almost fifty metres – the Kande Viharaya's beginnings date back to the eighteenth century. The relic chamber is the oldest structure in the compound and its stone door frame is a marvellous piece of work. The inside of the chamber is covered in paintings and murals that describe the story of Buddha's life and other religious tales. On the outside, the massive Bo tree is said to be at least three centuries old! The stupa is a must see too so is the tiny museum hidden inside the building. Showcasing many artefacts and ancient books, it is well worth the time. A visit here is definitely one of the top things to do in Kalutara.



Lunuganga is widely considered to be one of the best works of architect Geoffrey Bawa, which is quite a compliment given that all of his work is simply magnificent. The once countryside retreat of Bawa, it is located on the banks of a river and is complete with a lush garden. Although a bit away from hotels like AVANI Kalutara Resort, a tour of the retreat can easily be arranged. The estate is well known for its perfect fusion of a number of architectural styles. For an instance, the garden features a distinctive renaissance feel to it while the house itself features the iconic Colonial-era style.


Take a safari along the Madu Ganga River

An understated excursion, a Madu Ganga River safari is an otherworldly experience, to say the least. The boat will take you through groves of mangrove forests which hide numerous rare species of animals as well as birds. Crocodiles, monitor lizards, and up to one hundred other birds call the river their home. The river also has many islands scattered all over, only interconnected by tiny bridges. Koth Duwa is one island you should not miss. Home to a timeworn temple, the island is strangely calming and peaceful.


The basket centre

Want something as a remembrance of your trip to Sri Lanka? Drop by to the Basket Centre. A marketplace that focuses exclusively on items made of palm leaves, you can find plenty of exotic baskets and other creative products such as hats and mats that are sure to draw jealous glances back at home. Present at the heart of Kalutara, getting here is of no hassle and the place is a delight to visit even if you do not plan to purchase anything.


Kalutara Beach

The Kalutara Beach is the best place to drop by after a long day of sightseeing. Known to be less crowded than most beaches in the southern coastline, the endless beach stretches on far as you can see. All year tropical climate and the clear skies make it a great location to bask in the evenings.