EASTERN PROVINCE

 

 

 

Batticaloa

Batticaloa

 

Batticaloa, situated 314 km from Colombo, is famous for its `Singing Fish’ and picturesque lagoon. The distinct musical sound of the singing fish rises from the lagoon waters heralding movement by them especially on full moon nights. A Dutch Fort nearby adds to the places of interest. Once a hive of military activity perhaps the soil there will yield traces of blood should someone want to probe this possibility. Batticaloa is every inch as attractive as any of the similar coastal cities around the map with its fair share of history, culture, mythology, religion etc…a rich serving for the academic/intellectual or the normal history buff. Taken together with its many causeways and bridges ‘Batti” as it is fondly called by the local is a place one must visit. Travel warnings to this part of the island were issued regularly in years past but the cessation of the armed conflict has declared open sesame on Batti today. The people in Batticoloa are friendly and helpful and ever so accommodating should any tourist have need of their help.
Travelling to Batticaloa is exciting as one passes on the way to the city sprawling miles of golden beaches throbbing with life once again, with Pasikuda and Arugam Bay their flagships so to say. Few places can compare with “Batti” as an enervating summer resort. You can have the best weather in here except during the rainy seasons of November to January. Finding reasonable accommodation is easy and the lack of any star class rating nonetheless does not take anything away from the fine fare dished out at very reasonable prices.

 

 

Dorawaka Lena Cave

Dorawaka Lena Cave

 

The access to this cave is from the little town of Warakapola on the Colombo-Kandy highway. As the location is really off the beaten track, guidance has to be obtained at Warakapola town – and that’s easy because the hospitable people there are always willing to oblige – with a smile ! It’s an important venue to go deep in to the mythical and magical aspects connected to the heritage and culture of Sri Lanka. This is a positive attraction for those who are on the discovery trail. The real traveler blazes his own trail since there is no strictly established trail here.
The archaeological finds here date back to 6300B.C.
A long trek through rubber plantations bring you to the awesome entrance to the cave. Two giant boulders leaning on each other are curtained off by a veil of greenery and suddenly the entrance to this long lost episode of history lay open and inviting to you. Once you enter the cave, a sign board put up by the Archaeological Department announces that it’s a protected Archaeological site. The site has evidence of a Neolithic Period of civilization in Sri Lanka. Cave art and scribblings are seen clearly on the rock surface inside. The artifacts found inside the cave suggest that they were made with metallic tools. This links the origins of the dwellings to the Neolithic age, the transitional period between the Stone Age and metal age. A visit to this site that links the present world to prehistoric times is well worth the effort.

 

 

Muhudu Maha Viharaya

Muhudu Maha Viharaya

 

Sandwiched between the bustling town of Pottuvil and the famed Arugam Bay a signpost points the way to the Muhudu Maha Viharaya which is one of the most historical sights in all of Rohana.
The temple ruins are found further inland in an area that merges with the beaches of Arugam Bay on its easterly approach. From its once impressive reach across 70 acres of land the temple today is a mere relic of the past, with the ruins of the Seema Malaka and Avasa Geya, looking forlorn among the statues of Gautama Buddha.

 

 

Crocodile Rock

Crocodile Rock

 

Positioned about 2 km south of Arugam Point , Crocodile Rock stands plumb centre of another deserted beach to Kudakallliya. The rock can be reached across the dunes & fording the lagoon. Still largely in its pristine wild state one sees plenty of eagles swoop overhead; elephants attempting to climb the rock and large mugger crocs shuttling from brackish water outlets to forage in the seas… and human flesh is , so they say, still mighty tasty to these crocs. So if you’re out for a swim the watchword would naturally be ” Watch Out” – in bold Bodoni caps. Reach the top of the rock and lovely vistas open up before you. Well worth the effort when one looks down on lazily swaying rice paddies and the lagoon in the distance.

 

Kantale Tank

Kantale Tank

 

The ancient chronicle, Mahawamsa records that this tank which is also referred to as ‘Gangathala Vapi’ was built by King Agbo the II (608-618) and rehabilitated and further developed by King Parakramabahu the Great. (1153 – 1186).Many rich folk tales are woven around this ancient tank situated in the Trincomalee district. Both the Dutch and English who governed the country before we gained independence are recorded to have carried out reconstruction and rehabilitation work on this tank.

Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock

 

Elephant Rock, about 3km south of Arugam Bay, is yet another vantage point from which tourists take home happy memories of beautiful beaches, trapped on celluloid. The pictures more often than not will also show you the lean and mean faces of dozens of wild elephants who threateningly venture out into the town. It is also a good location for swimming and sunbathing. Elephant rock is a natural, beautiful and amazing sea-facing rock, It’s a really beautiful place to observe sunrise and sunset.

Magul Maha Viharaya

Magul Maha Viharaya

 

Seven miles down the Wellawaya-Moneragala road past Siyambalanduwa one encounters Lahugala where the Magul Maha Vihara or Ruhunu Maha Vihara lies.Its history dates back to the time of King Dathusena who ruled Anuradhapura from 516 AD to 526 AD. A pillar inscription testifies that the Vihara [ temple] was founded by King Dathusena. The language and script can be traced back to the 14th century. Presently a significant amount of ruins of the ancient temple can be seen at the location.

 

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya

Seruwila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya

 

Seruwawila Mangala Raja Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple in Trincomalee district in Eastern Province, which is among the sixteen or seventeen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana) in Sri Lanka. Seruwawila, with its dagoba built in the 3rd century B.C. by King Kavantissa, south-east of Trincomalee, across the great Koddiyar Bay, is the celebrated site at which is enshrined the Frontal Bone Relic of the Buddha. It can be reached by land and sea. The sea route begins at Trincomalee to Muttur on boat and another 16 km by roads and the land route is via Kantale, to Allai which is approximately 45 km through dense forest.

 

Lahugala Kitulana National Park

Lahugala Kitulana National Park

 

This National Park,318 k east of Colombo, is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat of the Sri Lankan Elephant and endemic birds of Sri Lanka. The national park contains the reservoirs of Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa all of which spill into the Heda Oya River. Designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1966 it was upgraded to a national park status in 1980.