Around Aluthgama

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Around Aluthgama

Aluthgama is 63km from the capital, Colombo, and it takes at least two hours to drive along the coastal road via Mount Lavinia and Kalutara. However, the Southern Expressway has recently opened and this reduces the journey by about 45 minutes. Continuing along the Expressway, it takes about 45 minutes to Galle from Aluthgama.

The Thumbelina Apartments, Pier 88 Restaurant and Nebula Supermarket adjoin the Aluthgama/Welipenna access route connecting Aluthgama with the Southern Expressway linking Colombo and Galle.

Aluthgama’s main shopping street with clothes stores, shops selling electrical and electronic items, banks with international ATMs, vegetable vendors, a fish market and the bus and train stations are within easy walking distance of Thumbelina Apartments.

The Bentota beach famed for its safe swimming and glorious, broad golden sand beach is only 10 minutes walk across the bridge over the Bentota River.

 

 

Bentota River Safari

Since the Thumbelina Apartments and Pier 88 Restaurant are situated on the northern bank of the Bentota River (the third largest river in Sri Lanka), it is easy to take a boat safari right from the restaurant garden.

On a half-day river safari cruise, guests can explore the lush mangroves of Bentota, watch posing and preening riverine birds, see prawn divers and fishermen gather their catch, and look out for water monitors (a relative of the crocodile) as well as make an excursion to the 800 year old Wanawasala Buddhist temple.

A whole day river cruise could include a visit to a village hideaway for a special home-cooked rice and curry lunch, and perhaps even attendance at a local wedding ceremony performance.

 

 

Kande Viharaya Temple

Since the Thumbelina Apartments and Pier 88 Restaurant are situated on the northern bank of the Bentota River (the third largest river in Sri Lanka), it is easy to take a boat safari right from the restaurant garden.

On a half-day river safari cruise, guests can explore the lush mangroves of Bentota, watch posing and preening riverine birds, see prawn divers and fishermen gather their catch, and look out for water monitors (a relative of the crocodile) as well as make an excursion to the 800 year old Wanawasala Buddhist temple.

A whole day river cruise could include a visit to a village hideaway for a special home-cooked rice and curry lunch, and perhaps even attendance at a local wedding ceremony performance.

 

 

Geoffrey bawa gardens in Bentota

Brief Garden is a private house and landscaped garden open to the public that manages to combine an elaborate European layout with a tropical wilderness. It was an 81-hectare rubber estate when it was acquired in the 1920s by a barrister using funds made from a legal brief. His son, Bevis Bawa, decided to make his home and garden there in 1927, gradually selling off rubber lands to reduce it to manageable proportions.

In the early 1970s, in response to requests from tourists staying in Aluthgama, Bawa opened the garden to the public. It contains over 105 different types of trees, and countless plants and bushes, but only a few flowers, in the two-hectare garden.

It is about 9km from the Thumbelina Apartments along country lanes after passing through neighbouring Dharga Town.

 

 

Beruwela Fishing Harbour

Beruwela is about 10 minutes northwards by tuk-tuk from the Thumbelina Apartments. It is a large commercial fishing harbour and the best time to visit is early in the morning before 7.00am. That’s when fish is unloaded from boats that have come in from deep-sea voyages or a night’s fishing expedition. Fish is auctioned to dealers on the quayside and sold by vendors to early morning shoppers.

 

 

Benthara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara

Many of the rivers flowing through Sri Lanka have been named in Pali, as mentioned in our chronicles such as the Mahavamsa and Culavamsa. Among them is the Bentota Benthara river flowing through the deep south. About 38 miles away from the Colombo-Galle-Matara highway, on the river is the Benthara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara Temple. This ancient Budhist temple is famous for the tooth relic of the 3rd desciple of Buddha that lies buries in the Stupa. This temple is believed to have been made in the 12th century, it however was destroyed by the Dutch in the 16th century and was subsequently rebuilt giving it a newer look. The arched doorway entrance to the Temple is made of 2 upright monolith carved pillars with another 2 pillars on the top and bottom of the doorway. Dating back to the ‘Kandyan Period’ (1590 to 1830), these pillars are elaborately carved with the ‘Nari Latha’ motifs. The Nari Latha is a mythical creeper orignating in the Himalayas that when it blossoms , the flowers take the shape of dancing girls. The main temple building houses a mumber of brightly coloured statues and images. The sleeping Buddha is a long over 25 ft statue that is placed on the floor in sleep posture.

 

 

Toddy Tapping

Toddy tap palm wine also called palm toddy or simply toddy is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the Palmyra, and coconut palms. This drink is common in various parts of Asia and Africa, and goes by various names, such as “emu” and “oguro” in Nigeria, nsafufuo in Ghana, kallu in South India, tuak in North Sumatra, Indonesia, goribon (Rungus) in Sabah, Borneo, and tuba in the Philippines, Borneo and Mexico. Toddy is also consumed in Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It tastes a little like cider and is quite potent!

 

 

Moonstone Mine

Sri Lanka is famous for its precious gems and moonstones. Moonstones belong in the semi-precious category but are an important component of the gem business. Meetiyagoda, located between Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa, is one of the few places where they are found in such high concentrations. It is believed by the villagers that this piece of land, around an acre in extent, is blessed by the moon. The moonstone is grey and feels cool and smooth to the touch when polished and has a glow like that of the moon. The finest are bluish in colour and there are quite a few of them in these mines. At Meetiyagoda, you can see or even go down into the deep, narrow shafts from which the stones are mined. The small visitor centre will provide information related to this stone while the large shop on the premises sells moonstones as well as other stones.

 

 

Turtle Conservation

There are a few turtle conservation projects located some 4km south of the Bentota River by the road at Induruwa and further on at Kosgoda. These turtle hatcheries were constructed to rescue and protect turtle eggs because of the rapidly declining numbers of marine turtles by Sri Lankan shores. Marine turtle eggs are purchased from the fisherman and re-buried along the beach and left there for 48 days allowing the eggs ample time to hatch. Thereafter the baby turtles are collected from the beach and kept in tanks for 2-3 days, before being released into the ocean to fend for themselves.

 

 

Brick-bake House

In Sri lanka, many brick bake houses can still be seen in the villages which are fully powered by man power. We can take you to such places and show you the traditional methods used to make bricks

 

 

Rubber Tapping

Rubber tapping is the process by which rubber is gathered. An incision is made in the bark of a rubber tree, which cuts through the latex vessels that flow between the bark and the cambium. The latex then drips into a vessel.

 

 

Monday Market

On Mondays the busy town of Aluthgama starts the week with a bustling vegetable market on a riverside site very near to Thumbelina Apartments. Road traffic changes to one way on that day as people swarm around roadside vendors for bargains in garments, household items and knickknacks as well as fresh hill country vegetables. A great and colourful photo opportunity.