A convenient holiday destination for the native traveller, Bentota is requires a less than two-hour drive from Colombo, Sri Lanka. Its beach paired with its established reputation for water sports, Bentota is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the country.
Bentota does not boast of an ancient history of its own. However, it has been mentioned in the history of the country, therefore its cultural importance must not be dismissed. Bentota has been cited in one of Sri Lanka’s oldest poems, the Sandesa Kavya, as a result we can trace its existence to ancient times.
During the Portuguese Colonial era, the invaders had built a small fort near the Bentota River. Named ‘Parangi Kotuwa’ by the locals, the fort was a symbol of the stronghold the Portuguese had in the coastal areas of the country. Largely ignored by the succeeding imperialists, the Dutch utilised the fort as a stopover for its officers who travelled between Colombo and Galle.
Today, Bentota is known for its relaxing shores. However, there are quite a few sites in Bentota to keep the culture thirsty traveller entertained.
Attractions in Bentota
A favourite of the native and the global traveller, Bentota is an interesting city with a number of various attractions.
Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara
Situated near the Benthara River, the Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara traces its origins to the early Anuradhapura Kingdom. It is believed that the temple was built by King Saddhatissa, brother of the great King Dutugemunu. The temple is of much religious importance as it houses the tooth relic of Arahat Maha Kassapa Thera, a disciple of Lord Buddha.
The Bentota Beach
The Bentota Beach is synonymous with the region itself. A delight for the international holidaymaker, the Bentota Beach is where you unwind days on end on its warm banks. The beach is noted to for its cleanliness and its friendly shores.
A retreat for the artsy vacationer, Brief Garden belongs to Bewis Bawa, brother of the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. The gardens maintain a novice image of unkempt and is indeed delight to wander around. Equally delightful is his house that bears a number of artworks.
The Bentota River
Inviting you to have the time of your life, the ripples of the Bentota river provides for the ultimate vacationing fun. Banana boat rides to kayaking, the river is a haunt for the local adventurist.
If your thirst to explore has not been quenched, an excursion to Lunuganga should do the trick. Another enigmatic contribution by Geoffrey Bawa, Lunuganga was his country home. Influenced by the renaissance architecture, the gardens are a spectacular treat for visitors.