Galle Fort

Galle Fort is a place of colour, texture, smells and sensation totally unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. With Dutch-colonial buildings, little boutique shops, cafes and hotels, you will feel like you are walking through a medieval European town placed on a tropical shore.

Basking on the southern coast, in the bay of Galle, the Fort was first built by the Portuguese in 1588 before being extensively fortified by the Dutch in the 1600’s. Recognized by UNESCO for its cultural heritage and declared a World Heritage site in 1988.

Feel free to stroll along the narrow streets and wide Ramparts or take a guided walk and dive into the multi-cultural history. We can organise a trip to suit your needs.

Distance from Villa: 45km, 1hr.

Wewurukannala Vihara

This 250 year old temple complex is most famous for its 160ft (48.77m) high seated Buddha, the largest statue in all of Sri Lanka, but the most wonderfully unexpected (and unsettling) feature lies somewhere along the way.

In order to meet the big Buddha up-close and get a fantastic view inside its head visitors must first navigate the Tunnel of Hell.

Down in the tunnel, life-sized models illustrate what will happen should one succumb to all those earthly temptations lining the path to enlightenment. Its Buddhist Hell made tangible, played out in cartoonish horror before visitors eyes.

Distance from Villa: 28km, 1hr

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Uthpalawanna Sri Vishnu Devalaya Dondra

This temple complex, popular with pilgrims, has a large standing Buddha, a Stupa and two temples. There are also two resident elephants that are popular with tourists.

A trip here can be combined with seeing the Dondra light house.

Distance from Villa: 11km, 45min

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Dangling off a rocky crag among a green forest of coconut trees are the peaceful rock temples of Mulkirigala. Clamber in a sweat up the many steps and you’ll encounter a series of seven cleft-like caves on five different terraced levels. You’ll discover a number of large reclining Buddha statues interspersed with smaller sitting and standing figures. Wall paintings depicting sinners pleasuring themselves with forbidden fruit on Earth and then paying for it with an afterlife of eternal torture. Perched on top of the rock some 206m from the base, is a small dagoba with fine views over the surrounding country.

Temples, in some form or another, have been located here for over 2000 years but the current incarnation, and their paintings, date from the 18th century. Nearby is a Buddhist school for young monks.

Distance from Villa: 40km, 1hr

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Weherahena Matara Temple

The temple complex which spreads over a vast three acres consists of all the main features such as a pagoda, a sacred Bo-tree and Samadhi Buddha statue. Known as the first tunnel temple in the world, its walls are adorned with Buddha frescos narrating the Jathaka stories (legends).

The enormous Buddha image which is 88 cubits (40.23m) in height is situated to the East of the temple was built after the Anuradapura and Polonaruwa periods. A courtyard adjoins the statue frontage and there are two beautiful ponds in the middle of the yard.

Distance from Villa: 8km, ½ hour

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