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Matara Sri Lanka

Matara is the center of where it all happens on this southernmost strip of Sri Lanka’s famed littoral—some of the best beaches in the country, plus a hinterland packed with history and culture.
Dubbed the southern zone’s second city, it lies 160km from the capital Colombo and just 30km east of Galle Fort, itself one of Sri Lanka’s premier tourist attraction.
Like Galle, Matara was fortified by the Dutch in the 18th Century on foundations provided by a former Portuguese garrison, and it combines a hive of commercial activity with all the trappings of a major tourist resort.
It was historically part of Ruhuna, one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka, and as such was highly regarded not only a a center of trade but also as an entry port for much of the southern region.
Like much of Sri Lanka’s coastline, it was badly hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But over the years since it has been reborn and redeveloped to take full advantage of its prime location.
As everywhere else in Sri Lanka, Buddhism is much in evidence, including the outstanding Parey Dewa (Rock in Water) or Parevi Dupatha Temple, a relatively modern Buddhist temple built on Crow Island just off the coast.
Other important religious sites include the Weragampita Rajamaha Viharaya and Matara Bodhiya temples, the latter of which is also the site of a sacred Bo tree.
Meanwhile, the fort ramparts, with its commanding views across the Niwala River lagoon and the Indian Ocean approaches, features the Star Fort on the western landward side of the river, built by the Dutch following the 1761 Matara rebellion.

Activities in Matara


Beaches are not just for sunbathing on, as any surfer will tell you. Especially in Sri Lanka, one of the most reliable surf destinations in the Indian Ocean. Since the early 60’s Sri Lanka attracts surfers from all over the world. The best surf points in Sri Lanka are located on the South

Attractions in Matara

Weherahena Buddhist Temple

Standing before this monumental seated Buddha statue as it gazes down from within its roofed and terraced temple house evokes all the calm and peace of Sri Lanka’s great religious tradition.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Matara

Shrine of Our Lady of Matara is a Roman Catholic church devoted to the Virgin Mary, in the town of Matara, Sri Lanka. The shrine houses a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus. Though the statue's origins are unknown, church officials claim that it is 400 years old.[1] The statue has been damaged, lost and recovered more than once, most recently during the 2004 tsunami in Asia, which damaged the shrine and killed 24 people attending Sunday Mass.[2] The church celebrated its centenary year in 2007.

Star Fort

Star Fort in Matara was built in the shape of a six-pointed star in order that its battery of 12 big canons could command both the sea and landside approaches.

Polhena Beach

Polhena Beach is the jewel in the crown of Matara’s place as one of Sri Lanka’s top south-coast tourist resorts. It has everything a sun-seeking tourist could wish for in a tropical paradise destination.

Madunagala Hermitage

The Madunagala Hermitage (also referred as Madunagala Temple) is situated a few miles away from Ambalantota, in the jungle. The journey takes about 30 minutes along the tarred road. A red dirt road leads to the temple about 12.5 kilometres away. The road winds in all directions and is joined frequently by other roads and choosing the correct road is near impossible for someone without a guide. Thick scrub jungle with thorny bushes, cacti and stunted trees dot the landscape. The land is dry due to poor rainfall even though the soil is rich. It’s impossible to see far on either side of the road since cacti and the bushes crowd thickly together.

Parey duwa

The Parey Duwa (Rock in Water) or Parevi Dupatha Buddhist temple, which sits on the amazingly picturesque little Crow Island just off Matara beach, is like something out of a story book.

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