Southern most major town in Sri Lanka and the terminus of the coastal rail line, Matara is located at a distance of 160 km from Sri Lanka. The Nilwala River, which is the lifeline of the region, runs through the town. Matara is famous for its natural beauty-white sandy beaches, lush paddy fields, verdant tea estates, and fragrant spice plantations. The town was earlier under the Portugese and Dutch rule.
City Travel Guide
Built by the Dutch around 1640, Matara Fort is a
fortification of a Portuguese garrison. The old Dutch church is one of the
oldest structures in the Fort. There are many other structures of the
Dutch and the British era most of which have undergone many changes. The
star fort built in a shape of a star was built to provide additional
protection to the main fort across the river.
Dondra or Devinuwara 6 km east of Matara is the
southern most point of Sri Lanka. A 40m high lighthouse was built in 1890
to provide guidance to the shipping route south of Sri Lanka. The shrine
dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu at Devinuwara is a popular local attraction.
The annual festival held in July / August is the major event of the
About 15 km from Matara towards Galle is a popular
resort town of Weligama. The town is famous for its beaches. The rest
house at Weligama is one of the oldest rest houses in Sri Lanka. The
Aggrabodhi Vihara about 1 km from the rest house towards inland is an
ancient temple established in the 3 century BC.
Tangalla, located 48km east of Matara, is one of the most
pleasant places in the region for a lazy beach holiday. Facing east, the
village center straddles a freshwater lagoon where a small river flows
into the sea, with a fishing harbour at its mouth. North of the harbour is
the long stretch of white sand known as Medaketiya. To the south, beyond a
low headland, is a series of small sandy coves.
Mulgirigala Rock Temple:
At Mulgirigala, 16krn north of Tangalla,
this cave temple in a monolithic rock contains reclining Buddha figures in
smiling repose as well as standing and seated Buddha figures, surrounded
by wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. A Buddhist
shrine crowns the rock.