One of the largest cities in the North Western province of Sri Lanka, Chilaw is a serene coastal destination. A primary city of the Puttalam District, Chilaw is an emerging holiday destination. During ancient times, Chilaw was known for pearls and was known as ‘Muthu Halawatha’.
According to one of the oldest chronicles of Sri Lanka the Mahavamsa, pearls from Chilaw had been gifted to the King of Madurapura by King Vijaya. The Roman philosopher Pliny concluded that the most precious pearls in Rome was brought from here. And even the great geographer Ptolemey had acknowledged that the region produced pearls.
Post 12th century the chronicles have chosen to remain silent on Chilaw. However it is important to note the strong Hindu influence it bears. The Munneswaram Temple is a longstanding example of this. An important site to devotees on the Ramayana journey, it is believed that Rama prayed to Lord Shiva here, as he had killed Ravana who was of Brahmin caste, and thereby committed the grievous sin of Brahmahasti.
However, during the 13th century, Chilaw was recognised as an important port and was called Salavaththota with invading armies landing via Chilaw. During transitioning kingdoms and internal power struggles, Chilaw was affected. History later unveils that during the Kotte period King Parakramabahu VI had successfully thwarted a south Indian invasion of the Puttalam region.
Attractions in Chilaw
Chilaw is retreat for travellers seeking to completely relax on their vacation.
Complete with five complexes, the Munesswaram Temple is one of the most important temples in Sri Lanka. The Munneswaram Temple festival that takes place once a year attracts thousands of visitors from all over the island.
Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary
Lying between Negombo and the Puttalam Railway line, the marshy wetlands of Anawilundawa Sanctuary is a delight for nature lovers. The wetlands came in to being with the interconnection of three ancient artificial tanks. The land attracts a variety of fauna life including over 30 bird species.
The Chilaw Beach is a picturesque coastal line. The waters are not perhaps conducive for swimming, however its warm sands are a definitely there to help you unwind immediately. Feel free to work on your tan while you are on holiday.