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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 5 Best places to visit in Kalutara – Unearth cultural gems of the rarest form
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Best places to visit in Kalutara – Unearth cultural gems of the rarest form

Located around 40 km from the commercial capital of Colombo is the charming, easy-paced locale of Kalutara. Provided is a take on 5 of the town's best-preserved and visited landmarks.

1

Fa Hien Caves

Featuring many a fascinating example of an ancient civilization that once flourished in these parts of Sri Lanka, the Fa Hien Caves come off as a wonderful introduction to the pleasures of leisure travel in Kalutara. Also referred to by the name Pahiyangala Caves and named after the Buddhist monk, Fa Hien, this popular stopover will leave history buffs glued from start to end. Having been subjected to numerous excavations where fossilized skeletal remains were discovered, an intriguing tale awaits those daring enough to descend into its shadowy past.

2

Kalutara Bodhiya

Arguably, the town's prized possession and most sought after religious shrine are the Kalutara Bodhiya. Standing proudly over the inhabitants, visitors and devotees alike, this magnificent structure is found near the Kalutara Bridge and houses a slew of features well worth one's time and energy. Seen as one of the few hollow Buddhist stupas in the world, the Kalutara Bodhiya is famed for the Bodhi tree which dates back as far as the 2nd century BC coupled with an array of some 74 impressively crafted murals, each detailing the life and teachings of Lord Buddha through a meticulous and purposeful approach.

3

Richmond Castle

Serving as one of the interesting things to do in Kalutara, a trip to the glorious and stately Richmond Castle will fill you with plenty of inspiration to go back in time to an age of opulence and nobility. Having functioned as the official residence of the local mudaliyar, Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena, the Castle comprises 2 storeys of 16 well-adorned rooms, 34 priceless windows and 99 imposing doors. Step over iron stairs that were initially imported from England and affixed thereafter while paying close attention to the Italian floor tiles that grace every inch of the mansion together with the Scottish glass décor that will meet your gaze regardless of where you find yourself at. Look out across the beautiful gardens that act as a warm welcome to intrepid travellers longing for a history lesson or two of Kalutara.

4

Kalutara Beach

The town's main stretch of beach cannot go unexplored and for both the laidback and adventure-fueled visitor, Kalutara Beach will arrive as the perfect tonic to help you while away the hours on your own terms. The northern side of the beach which is also the Mahawaskaduwa section would appeal far more than its southern counterpart of Katukurunda. From having a morning swim to checking out the water sporting activities which are a combination of 'hair-raising' and 'rewarding' together with an abundance of space in which to catch a glimpse of the setting sun; Kalutara Beach spells out 'incredible' in big, bold words.

5

Thudugala Ella Waterfall

Be whisked away to a section of Kalutara surrounded by unimaginable beauty and wonder as part of a trip to the Thudugala Village. Once here, beeline in the direction of Sri Lanka's 268th tallest cascade known as Thudugala Ella Waterfall. With a natural pool to laze around and immerse your whole being in, these falls are home to an array of plant and birdlife and around where time can be spent delving into the heart of a thriving habitat, deep in the wilds of Kalutara. If staying at a mode of accommodation such as Avani Kalutara Resort, then one could look at the option of visiting the Waterfall in a three-wheeler (tuk-tuk) or on a cycle.