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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 07, 2023
Headline for Offbeat Attractions in Kalutara District—Sun, Sand, Sea and Culture
Joanna James Joanna James
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Offbeat Attractions in Kalutara District—Sun, Sand, Sea and Culture

Kalutara sits along the beautiful southern coast of Sri Lanka. A historic town serviced by river and sea. The beach is a beautiful oasis of golden sand. The area is popular for its historical landmarks and offbeat attractions offering more than beach vibes.


Start with a touch of kayaking adventure

Kayaking is a fun experience in Kalutara, which gives you access to the massive Bolgoda Lake. The lake's extent is 350sqkm and is a beautiful body to explore. Home to various aquatic animals, birds and fish, the calm waters of Bolgoda Lake are almost therapeutic as you paddle your way across its surface. Kalutara beach hotels offer a range of adventures that go beyond mere sun, sand and sea. Some like Turyaa Kalutara Hotel sit along the beautiful beach and are ideal for enjoying all sorts of adventures in the area.


Explore the Fa Hien Cave

The cave, also called Pahiyangala, is about 5 km from the Kalutara district. You can check with your Kalutara hotel about organising a tour or get recommendations for good tour groups you can join. Located in a village called Yatigampitiya, the cave is named after a legendary monk, Faxian, who is said to have resided there many centuries ago; there is no architectural evidence to prove the monk used the cave as his residence, but you will love listening to the legendary stories woven around his existence. One of the largest caves in Sri Lanka, its altitude is 400 feet. The place is a popular site, especially for school field trips, and lovely enough to enjoy a casual picnic once done exploring the 200-foot long cavern where prehistoric human remains dating back 37,000 years were discovered.


Kalutara Sri Maha Bodhiya

The iconic Kalutara Sri Maha Bodhiya is a Buddhist shrine and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites on the island. The huge white dagoba is home to many Buddhist artefacts and drawings about the Buddha. Located at the entrance to Kalutara town, the temple occupies both ends of the road, thus sitting beside both the Kalu Ganga (river) and the Indian Ocean. Occupying the seaside is the giant sacred bo tree, which is a sapling of the sacred Bo tree brought over to the island in the 2nd century. If you want to be a part of an exotic culture and learn more about Buddhism, do visit the shrine where devoted worshipers are found in prayer, the smell of incense fills the air, and the soft rustle of the leaves on the Bo tree offers an aura of peace and sanctuary.


Richmond Castle

This is an Edwardian Manor that's located close to Kalutara town. Built by a Sri Lankan aristocrat, the manor was constructed between 1900–and 1910. Much attention was paid to detail, with most of the raw material brought down from foreign lands – timber from Burma, glass windows from Scotland and other materials from England. The eccentric owner Mudliyar Don Arthur De Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena willed his grandiose house to trust, and it is thus managed to this day as an open museum for visitors to explore.


Thudugala Ella Waterfall

Kalutara has a scattering of hidden waterfalls, which you will find a real adventure to explore. Located close to an abandoned colonial estate, the falls are popular amongst tourists who find the invigorating cascades one of the best places to cool off and enjoy a bath surrounded by the beautiful, lush greenery of the area.

  • 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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