Offbeat attractions in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is known for its amazing beaches, but the lesser-known historic sites have been gaining popularity lately, for good reason too.
We have a few of the best picks on the island here for you:
South Bolgoda Lake
The Bolgoda Lake offers plenty of opportunities to have a fun-filled day, as water sports are quite the hit here. Being the biggest natural freshwater lake on the island, this lake spreads out across the districts of both Colombo and Kalutara with a mighty 350 square km to its name.
Canoeing and kayaking are favourite things to do for the people who visit the place, and you should try it too, as it can be a very calming experience to sit out on the lake with nothing but deep waters around you, as you make your way through the gentle waves.
In a typical Kalutara travel guide, the next place on the list would be Nachchimale, the Buddhist hermitage that is also a meditation centre. Only people interested in actual meditation should visit the place though. If you are a noisy bunch travelling for joy, its best to forego this visit as the monks here are serious about the worship and meditation they do and can be quite offended if you cause disturbances in any way.
Fa Hien Cave
Yatagampitiya, the village in which Pahiyangala resides, is about 5km away from the town of Bulathsinhala in Kalutara. One of the more prominent places to visit in Kalutara District, the cave is frequented by school children for class trips and such. The place is also a popular picnic site; therefore, if you like the quiet and peace, visiting the cave on weekends and Poya days aren’t advised. The cave itself is about 400ft above sea level, the inner ceilings go up to 175ft height and the cave stretches out to a length of 200ft.
According to blogs, this is one of the oldest known places in Sri Lanka, and if the measurements are right, about 3,000 people can stay inside the cave at a time without it getting too uncomfortable. Divided into four parts, the cave has restricted lanes too, which are now blocked and not accessed by the usual visitor due to the dangers that lie within it.
The Archaeological Departments in Sri Lanka dug a pit and found human skulls that date back to about 37,000 years, based on the carbon dating available in the United States of America. A few weapons from the same era were found in the pit too, and it is believed that these weapons were made out of animal bones and heavy stones.
They were used to kill deer, monkey, porcupine and more animals that were easier to hunt down with minimal weapons. With the evidence collected from the pit, archaeologists also say that, apart from the meat, the people of that time also ate snails and wild fruits. The residents of the cave were known as Pahiyangala Manawakaya or Pahiyangala Man and are said to have prominent bone structures, like broad jaws, huge teeth, a short vertebral make-up and an immense palette.
Berwuala Light House
Located on the Barberyn Island this lighthouse is also known as the Barberyn Lighthouse. Built back in 1889, this structure has seen many a natural disaster, like the Tsunami in 2004 and stood tall through it all. You can reach the lighthouse by getting a fisherman with a ferry to take you there for a price.
It usually will not cost you more than Rs.3000 for a round trip, therefore, beware of being scammed with higher fares. The lighthouse itself is not accessible now, but you can walk around the tiny island freely and explore the place.
The island is not crowded during the off-season, and you are also allowed to take a dip in the sea and cool off if you want to. Camping on the island hasn’t been allowed in recent times, but if you are really interested, you can always ask around and see if it is possible to get a permit to camp overnight.