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Matara Sri Lanka

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Matara (originally Mahathota) is a city on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo. It is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka. The history of Matara dates back to the Anuradhapura period. Matara is full of natural scenic beauty, which is an attraction to the tourists.The river Nilwala has fertilized the whole area where one can see the stretch of paddy fields and tea estates with plantation of spices also taking an important place. Matara is also hometown to the famous Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and village in this district has been named after him – Sanath Jayasuriyagama

HISTORY OF MATARA

Matara was once called ‘Mahathota’ that translates into ‘Great Ferry’. Matara has been under the rule of many rulers. The Portuguese administered Matara from 1790 to 1795, while the British ruled it from 1796 to 1948. The Dutch were also dominant forces in Matara for some time.

VEHERAHENA TEMPLE – MATARA

Veherahena temple is famous in Matara for the 25 m high colorful Buddha statue. Veherahena temple is 2 km from the town centre.

WEVRUKANNALA – MATARA

Wevrukannala temple, situated near Dickwella, is known for a 150 ft high Buddha statue. It is the highest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, which can be accessed from inside by tourists and ascended to enjoy the view from top. The temple also displays hundreds of brightly painted and gilded models depicting scenes from the life of Buddha.

OLD DUTCH CHURCH – MATARA

Old Dutch Church is situated inside the Matara fort, and is one of the oldest structures in Matara.

DEVINUWARA – MATARA

Devinuwara is a famous village in Matara district that is known for the Visnu temple. There is a huge festival organized in Devinuwara to honor God Visnu.

MULGIRIGALA ROCK TEMPLE – MATARA

CULTURAL IMPORTANCE

Mulgirigala, 16 km from Tangala, is a monolithic rock temple with numerous images of reclining Buddha in smiling repose.

BEACHES – MATARA

The sea front at the boundary of Matara city is half a kilometer in length and provides a serene look to tourists. There are also numerous small beaches lying in between Galle and Matara. Divers enjoy Hikkaduwa beach, where there is a marine sanctuary abundant with coral and tropical fish. Unawatuna beach near Galle provides a beautiful stretch of safe sandy beach. At Kudawella a novel feature is a blowhole that throws huge columns of water into the air when ocean waves break on the rocks. Matara beaches are also known for Stilt fishing that means fishing by standing on stilts in the water.

POLHENA REEF – MATARA

An important attraction for tourists coming to Matara is the beach of Polhena, which is a nice beach resort. The beach is safe for swimming as the coral reef that encircles the beach provides protection and makes the water level around the beach shallow.

LIGHTHOUSE – MATARA

The Lighthouse was built by British in 1894 at Devinuwara (Dondra edge). The height of the lighthouse is 172 ft that makes it one of the highest lighthouses in Southern Asia. Dondra, 3 miles from Matara, is the southernmost point of Sri Lanka.

CROW ISLAND – MATARA

The Crow Island stands facing the beach of Matara covered completely with greenery. The river Nilwala meets the sea at Totamuna that is also a part of the city. There is also the crow island that stands facing the beach of Matara covered completely with greenery.

TANGALLA – MATARA

Tangalla, 48 kms from Matara, is a nice beach resort with long stretch of white sand providing an excellent opportunity to have a lazy beach holiday. Facing east, the village center straddles a freshwater lagoon where a small river flows into the sea, with a fishing harbor at its mouth.

MATARA FORT – MATARA

Matara fort was built in 1640 by the Dutch as a fortification of a Portuguese garrison.

STAR FORT – MATARA

This fort was built by Dutch in the year 1765 in the shape of a star with the purpose of guarding the river crossing. The fort now contains a museum featuring collection of historic paintings and frescoes on wooden panels.

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