Best Beaches of the World: Koggala Beach, Sri Lanka
Beach, Lagoon, Islands in lagoon, Cinnamon Island, Mangroves, Spice gardens, Buddhist temple, Folk Museum
We are just 12 km down from one of the finest bay beaches of the world,
Unawatuna Bay Beach & now the coastal road
passes an airstrip, hurriedly constructed here during the Second World
War against the threat of Japanese air attack and now to be developed as
a domestic airport. We are at Koggala, a small unprepossessing town.
Nearby there is a small turtle hatchery opened in 1996, which buys
turtle eggs from the fishermen in an attempt to discourage them from
poaching & selling the eggs for food.
Witness how the newborn turtles are being cared for until they are ready
to be released back to the ocean. The wide sandy beaches that exist
round the island of Sri Lanka are utilized by several of the marine
turtles for laying their eggs. The commonest of these are the
Loggerheads and the Leathery turtle while the green turtle is a less
Attractive & tranquil Koggala lagoon is just a couple of kilometers
away; dotted with rocky islands & fringed with mangroves. The lagoon is
alive with birdlife & supply prawns in abundance. Motor boat trips &
catamaran rides take you to the small islands in the lagoon. One of the
island features a cinnamon plantation. The Buddhist temple on another
island attracts many visitors on poya (full moon) days. And another
island features Ananda Spice Garden.
Ananda Spice Garden
The visit by boat to the island "Ananda Spice Garden" will help cure sun
burn of yours. You can taste herbal wine & buy priced & labelled items.
Martin Wickramsinghe Folk Museum
Directly opposite the large Confifi Club Horizon hotel, the excellent
Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum is inspired by the ideas of Martin
Wickramasinghe, one of the most important Sinhalese writers of the
twentieth century. A museum showcasing Sri Lanka's traditional culutrre
was a dream of this cultural stalwart, though it wasn't realized until
after his death. Wickramasinghe together with the giants of Sinhalese
literary tradition of the era, W. A. Silva, Piyadasa Sirisena & Munidasa
Kumaratunghe played an important role in asserting the values of the
Sinhalese Buddhists at a time when the island was in danger of being
swamped by European & Christian influences.
The house of Wickramasinghe (the only house spared from demolition to
make way for the air base during the Second World War) & the excellent
Folk Museum are set in an attractive seven acre garden with labeled
trees. The museum houses fascinating exhibits from traditional Sri
Lankan life: everything from catching a fish to chasing off malevolent
spirits. The exhibits are interesting & well displayed, with information
in English & Sinhalese.
Religious items: Buddha statues
Numerous utensils for treating coconuts
Carriages (including a carriage pulled by an elephant).
Numerous tools of traditional industries including rubber collection,
toddy sapping & cinnamon gathering
"Sand boards" trays of sand which were used to practice writing-the Sri
Lankan equivalent of a blackboard.
Agricultural tools, cute wooden & metal cow bells, wooden rattles & bows
& arrows used to scare away bird from the paddy fields
A colourful selection of Dance & costumes, puppets, an excellent
collection kolam masks, puppets from the Ambalangoda area
The museum also exhibits the highly respected Sinhalese writer's
personal collection. His family home displays photographs & memorabilia,
& some history about the area.
Kataluva Purvarama Maha Viharaya
Around 5 km beyond Koggala lies one of the south's most absorbing
temples, the Kataluwa Purvarama Mahavihara. The temple was built
originally in the 13th century has some with late 19th century
additions. The temple is renowned for its remarkable Kandyan-style
paintings in the main shrine, dating from the late nineteenth century.
The paintings of musicians & dancers & the European figures illustrating
an interesting piece of social history. Some of the Jatake tales
(episodes from the Buddha's series of 550 previous lives) scenes painted
here are said to be 200 years old.
Cameo-style paintings of Queen Victoria & the Queen Mother too are done
in gratitude of Queen Victoria's role in ensuring the free practice of
Buddhism outlined in the Kandyan capitulation of Lanka in 1815.
A dense canopy towers high overhead. This relatively small rainforest
hosts a wide variety of flora, with many species labeled, and makes for
a beautiful excursion.
Ahangama to Midigama
The coast from the village of Ahangama to the village of Midigama,
located between Koggala & Weligama Bay Beach is the best surfing area &
attracts the long-term surfers.
on photo to enlarge