Kalutara town, the 3rd largest in the Western Province after Colombo and Negombo, is located approximately 40km to the South of Colombo. It derives its name from the river that flows through the region, “Kalu Ganga” or Black River.
Kalutara is home to some of the finest beaches in Sri Lanka. Resorts that dot the coastal line are strong evidence of thriving tourism in the region. Citrus Leisure owns a few luxurious hotels that you can consider when holidaying here.
Getting to Kalutara is quite simple – one may take a bus direct to Kalutara along the Galle Road or take the train from the Fort Railway Station. It may take anywhere between 1 to one and half hours to get here.
The most prominent landmark in Kalutara, the Gangatilaka Viharaya is your first sign that you have arrived. It is located close to the southern end of the Kalutara Bridge, the link between Sri Lanka’s Western and Southern borders. This temple also boasts the only hollow Buddhist “Stupa” (mound-like structure symbolic of Buddhist temples) in the world. The Stupa’s interiors are covered with “Jataka” tales of about the life of Lord Buddha.
The Kalutara Bodiya is an important highlight as it one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country. If modestly dressed, you may enter the temple but do not pay any money at the entrance. Instead, you can make a donation inside the temple premises.
Another attraction is the Richmond Castle built in 1896. Formerly the home of a wealthy landowner and then a bungalow for British officials, the mansion boasts a beautiful 42-acre garden estate.
Calido is the most popular beach in Kalutara. Travellers from all over the world arrive here to simply immerse themselves in the scenic beauty it serves.
Kalutara is also renowned for the “mangosteen”, a shiny, dark purple fruit which is delicious and a favourite among locals and tourists.
Kalutara is indeed a paradise for those seeking to “get away from it all” and the best part is that it is the closest coastal town to Colombo, in the Southern region.
Shehera Fioni is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Catalina Forbes. Her content is based on many thrilling escapades offered to travellers across the world.