A primary district of the East, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka is home to some of the best beaches in the country. Its tranquil ambience and humid weather paired with natural position as a harbour provides it to be a distinctive location. Situated six hours from the commercial capital, Colombo, Batticaloa is a popular vacation destination for the global traveller.
Intriguing the culture thirsty traveller, the origins of Batticaloa indicates its rich antiquity. Tracing its foundation to Prince Vijaya, the chronicles claim that the region was inhabited long before his arrival. The natives of the region were referred to as ‘Nagas’, as they believed that they descended from the great serpent and as a civilization they were established.
The demise of the Polonnaruwa kingdom, instigated a distribution of power in the country. While the monarchy shifted capitals, the weakening stronghold of the country gave rise to the Jaffna Kingdom. Alongside this political change, the significance of Batticaloa grew simultaneously.
As a result, it caught the vested interest of the colonial powers. The first coastal region that was seized by the Portuguese was the Batticaloa harbour. The economic prowess of the coastal regions was in the possession of the Kandyan Kingdom and the loss of Batticaloa was the first of many losses. However, its significance boomed when there was a power struggle between the Protuguese and the Dutch came in to being.
The Dutch colonial power identified Batticaloas’ fiscal relevance and put up a successful battle for it and was victorious. King Rajasinha II of Kandy decided to instigate a battle against the Dutch. According to Robert Knox this battle was said to be the fiercest battle that took place between the Dutch and natives. Victory was only temporary, and eventually the Dutch recaptured it.
When colonial powers changed hands, and the Dutch surrendered the ports to the English, Batticaloa came under British administration.
Attractions in Batticaloa
A thrill for visitors, the quiet region of Batticaloa in its serenity, houses a number of attractions.
Initially constructed by the Portuguese, the Batticaloa Fort was then destroyed and later fortified by the Dutch. Showcasing the superlative features of Naval Architecture which the Dutch were renowned for, the fort is set amidst the lagoon and a canal.
Referred to as the Lady Manning Bridge, the Kallady Bridge was built during the British Colonial Times. Crossing the vast lagoon of Batticaloa, the Until recently it was the longest bridge in the country. Driving on the bridge offers picturesque views of the region.
Found on Bar road, the Muttuwaran Lighthouse was built in 1913. Its narrow ladder leads it way to the top where you can enjoy the panoramic views of the Lagoon. The surrounding vicinity is suitable for bike rides and strolls.
Today Batticaloa is renowned for two of the islands best beaches – Passikudah which is complete with sapphire like waters and marble like sand. And its more deserted sister beach Kalkudah maintains a grainier edge with more Tourmaline like waters.
One of the oldest temples in the region, the Mamangam Kovil is situated three kilometres away from the town. According to folklore, the temple traces its beginnings to the tale of Prince Rama and Sita. It is said that Rama dedicated his prayers to Lord Shiva here.