Heritage of Kalutara

Kalutara, a district in southwestern Sri Lanka, is rich in cultural and historical heritage.One of the most significant heritage sites in Kalutara is the Kalutara Bodhiya.

Furthermore, Kalutara is known for its traditional crafts, including the production of woven items such as mats and baskets. Visitors can witness the skilled craftsmen at work and even purchase these unique handcrafted products as souvenirs.

Heritage of Kalutara encompasses ancient temples, colonial architecture, traditional crafts, and vibrant festivals, providing a captivating glimpse into the region’s rich cultural and historical tapestry. Visitors to Kalutara can immerse themselves in the beauty and legacy of these heritage sites, gaining a deeper appreciation for the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka.

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Kalutara Bodhiya

Kalutara Bodhiya is a significant Buddhist temple and a sacred site located in the town of Kalutara, Sri Lanka. It is known for its impressive dagoba (stupa), which is one of the tallest in the country.

The Kalutara Bodhiya is believed to house a sapling from the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, which is considered to be one of the oldest living trees in recorded history and is highly revered by Buddhists. The sapling was brought to Kalutara in the 1960s, and since then, the temple has become an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists.

The stupa at Kalutara Bodhiya stands at a height of approximately 100 feet (30 meters) and is adorned with intricate carvings and decorations. It is surrounded by a spacious courtyard where visitors can walk and pay their respects. The temple complex also includes several smaller shrines, statues, and meditation areas. Visitors to the Kalutara Bodhiya can engage in various religious activities such as offering flowers and lighting oil lamps, as well as participate in meditation and prayers.

Apart from its religious significance, the Kalutara Bodhiya offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, including the Kalutara town and the Indian Ocean.

Richmond Castle

Richmond Castle is a magnificent mansion located in the Kalutara district of Sri Lanka. It is situated in the town of Palatota, about 10 kilometers away from Kalutara. The castle is a stunning example of architectural splendor and is known for its unique blend of various architectural styles.

Built during the British colonial era in the late 19th century, Richmond Castle was the residence of a wealthy regional governor named Don Arthur de Silva. The mansion was designed by a mix of local and European architects, resulting in a combination of Neo-Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, and Indian architectural influences.

Richmond Castle features intricate carvings, ornate woodwork, and grand halls adorned with chandeliers and antique furniture. The mansion is surrounded by well-maintained gardens and lush greenery, adding to its charm and providing a peaceful ambiance.

Visitors to Richmond Castle can explore the interior of the mansion, which showcases the opulent lifestyle of the colonial era. The rooms are adorned with period furniture, vintage photographs, and decorative pieces that give a glimpse into the history and culture of the time.

A visit to Richmond Castle provides a unique glimpse into Sri Lanka’s colonial past and offers an opportunity to appreciate the architectural beauty of the region. It is a place where visitors can step back in time and immerse themselves in the grandeur of a bygone era.

Pahiyangala (Fa-Hien) Caves

Pahiyangala, also known as Fa-Hien Cave, is a historic and archaeological site located in the Kalutara district of Sri Lanka. It is situated in the village of Yatagampitiya, approximately 40 kilometers north of Kalutara town.

Pahiyangala is renowned for being one of the largest natural rock caves in Sri Lanka, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. The cave has significant archaeological importance, as it has been found to contain evidence of human habitation dating back to the prehistoric era.

According to archaeological findings, Pahiyangala Cave was inhabited by prehistoric humans around 37,000 years ago. Excavations at the site have unearthed stone tools, artifacts, and skeletal remains, providing valuable insights into the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the region.

The cave itself is a fascinating geological formation. It is formed by a large rock overhang and has a massive entrance, creating an awe-inspiring sight. The interior of the cave is vast, with high ceilings and several chambers. Exploring the cave allows visitors to witness the impressive rock formations and gain a sense of the ancient history that unfolded within its walls.

Apart from its archaeological significance, Pahiyangala also offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The site is nestled amidst lush greenery and offers glimpses of the rural countryside and the Kalu Ganga (Black River) flowing nearby.

Visitors to Pahiyangala can take guided tours of the site to learn about its historical importance, geology, and the lifestyles of prehistoric humans. The cave is easily accessible and has a staircase that leads to the entrance, making it relatively convenient for exploration.

Bodhinagala Forest Hermitage

The Bodhinagala Forest Hermitage, also known as Bodhinagala Raja Maha Viharaya, is a Buddhist monastery and meditation retreat located in the Kalutara district of Sri Lanka.

The hermitage is known for its historical and religious significance. It is believed to have been established during the reign of King Parakramabahu VI in the 15th century. The ancient rock cave temple within the premises contains exquisite wall paintings and stone carvings, showcasing the rich heritage of Sri Lankan Buddhist art.

The Bodhinagala Forest Hermitage is renowned as a meditation center where monks and practitioners engage in intensive meditation retreats. The tranquil surroundings, abundant nature, and serene atmosphere provide an ideal setting for inner reflection and mindfulness practice. Visitors can participate in meditation sessions, learn from experienced meditation teachers, and experience the peaceful ambiance of the hermitage.

The hermitage is also known for its wildlife sanctuary. The Bodhinagala Forest Reserve is home to various species of animals and birds, including monkeys, deer, and a wide range of avian species. Exploring the forest trails allows visitors to appreciate the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area.

Visiting the Bodhinagala Forest Hermitage offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Buddhist culture, engage in meditation, and connect with nature. It is advisable to check the availability of meditation programs and seek permission before visiting, as it is primarily a place for spiritual practice and may have specific guidelines for visitors.

Kande Viharaya

Kande Viharaya situated in the town of Aluthgama, it is a significant religious and cultural site in the region. The temple is known for its massive Buddha statue, which stands tall on a hilltop and is visible from a distance. The statue, known as the Kande Viharaya Buddha Statue, is one of the tallest sitting Buddha statues in the world, reaching a height of approximately 160 feet (48.8 meters). The statue is made of concrete and adorned with intricate architectural details and colorful decorations.

Kande Viharaya has a rich history dating back many centuries. It is believed to have been established during the reign of King Parakramabahu VI in the 14th century. Over the years, the temple has undergone renovations and additions, including the construction of the towering Buddha statue.

The temple is considered a sacred place of worship for Buddhists, and it attracts devotees and pilgrims throughout the year, especially during religious festivals and full moon days. It is also a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors who are interested in its cultural and religious significance, as well as its impressive architecture and serene surroundings.

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