Tangalle (in Sinhala: Tan-galla, තංගල්ල) is a small seaside town 35 km. east of Matara. This is a fairly well-known settlement thanks to the oldest fish port, which is located in one of the best and largest bays on the island, and which protected from the ocean by a closed reef. With beautiful beaches, good opportunities for swimming and more than reasonable diving, it's no wonder that for several years this holiday destination has become a hit among vacationers in Sri Lanka, having won the lion's share of tourists on the bored and crowded, bustling west and south-west coast. Tangalle today is the most popular destination on the southern coast. Some say that the name comes from two words «ran» and «gala,» that is, "Gold Rock." The legend refers to the time when a certain holy person participated in a ritual meal, and in gratitude for the food given to him turned stones into gold. Others argue that the name of the city means "Protective Rock", because long since the city was protected from the waves of the ocean by a long stony slab that projected into the sea through the mouth of the bay. And today Tangalle spread and absorbed the former villages adjoining the settlement, so that now Tangalle consists not of one bay only, but of a whole chain of bays.
The most popular excursion from Tangalle is a stunning cave temple of Mulkirigala, 20 km to the north. You climb the numerous rock steps to reach a series of natural caves with so many wall paintings and Buddha statues. In one cave there is a library in which in 1826 the British administrator George Ternor made the most important discovery in the history of Sri Lanka. He found some long-considered lost ola (manuscripts on palm leaves), which contain the key to the translation of Mahavamsa, the «Great Chronicle». Study of Terura Tiki or Commentary allowed to translate Mahavamsa from Pali first into English, and then to Sinhalese language. This translation has allowed scientists around the world to study the events-rich and often dramatic history of the island, from 543 to a relatively modern day.
Undoubtedly, Tangalle is considered an excellent port. The Dutch were the first Europeans to discover the marine advantages of Tangalle , and had an impact on the construction of such notable urban sites as the Holiday House, Court House and Fort. The Dutch fort stands on the slope above the bay. Unfortunately, it underwent significant changes, and in the middle of the 19th century it turned into a prison. This fort is different from many other Dutch times, because there are no massive ramparts. Tangalle Fort carries four main walls 12 meters high, containing a space similar to rhombus. The British also used Tangalle as an anchorage. In addition, the tea planters began to develop it as a resort, finding pure white sand and falling in love with deep blue water, the best antidote to life on sometimes cold and wet hills.
Visit the picturesque city, unlike the west, south-west and east of the resorts, tied to the monsoon rains, it is possible year-round, because from Tangalle and up to Hambantota the coast of Sri Lanka is in a unique area of a semi-dry climate, which does not give a chance to pouring rain of monsoons to reach this area. Here almost 350 days of the year the sun shines, and the air temperature is almost unchanged throughout the year, that is + 29 + 33 degrees! Tangalle — the land of white and golden sands and the warming sun — this is a place that can not be missed when you visit the south of Sri Lanka. However, the city itself, if you dream of secluded paradise beaches, is not too much suitable for relaxation and detachment from the noise of civilization. The real treasures of the beaches of Tangalle — outside the urban area. Tangalle has spread along the coast of the ocean. Getting to Tangalle from the west, you can choose such beaches as Goyambokka, Seenimodara or Pallikkudawa located in a double bay to the south of the city. It is relatively crowded. And in the city there are enough stones and boulders, and the waves are not always so calm that the sea was suitable for bathing. Neighborhood with the port and fishing grounds impose an imprint on the cleanliness of the environment.
Outside the city towards the east to Hambantota, behind the main harbor there are large bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya, in particular, has fine white sand, there are excellent conditions for swimming and the beach is rarely crowded. But the best and perfectly clean beaches are located far from Tangalle — it's amazing beauty Rekawa, Kahandamodora (home place of Lankarus), Gurupokuna and Kalamatiya. In addition to the cleanest and deserted, pristine and pristine beaches, the area has many attractions in the natural environment. For example, a place to observe sea turtles on the Rekawa beach, the mixed Kahandamodara Lagoon with a myriad of birds and excellent fishing, bird sanctuary in Kalamatiya on the same lagoon, and as well as the botanical garden and agro-technological park in Bata Atha and the national park of Ussangoda.
Kahandamodara. This settlement is located south of the A2 highway between Ranna and Nonagama at Hambantota district, just 15 km. from the town of Tangalle.
Whatever is said about the high rate of urbanization of the island, even in densely populated areas remained untouched corners of nature, pristine beaches and it is traditional way of life. Here, even in comparison with neighboring noisy, dirty and indifferent Tangalle with its not the best beach, is another Sri Lanka. Just 20 minutes drive from this stifling town, and you're in an unusual place.
Kahandamodara, which is translated from the Sinhala language as «Golden Delta», owes its name to the unusual little place — a merger of the delta of the river Urubokka Oya flowing from Ranna, with the natural lagoon. This lagoon in dry days is separated from the ocean by a small strip of land, width of 5-7 meters. During the rainy season or the discharge of water from the bosses Urubokka Oya, lagoon is connected to the ocean, forming a colorful natural phenomenon. Located near the shores of the lagoon, just stop noticing the boundary between it and the ocean. Water becomes brackish and the lagoon at sunset becomes incredibly colorful, shades smooth surface waters. The very same sand in the area is so clean and beautiful that the sun and the truth seems to be golden. Without sunglasses during the peak day is sometimes difficult to watch this beauty — so everything is flooded with light and blinds. Therefore, the name of the place is quite justified. When the village was founded, no one remembers. But the surviving graves of colonial times indicate that the area has been mastered by the British in the 18-19 centuries.
The lagoon itself is a home to a rich flora and fauna of the region. The Kahandamodara Lagoon with its biodiversity quite contrasts with its elder sister, Kalametiya Lagoon that is located just 4 kilometers from Kahandamodara. On the banks grow mangroves, water coconuts, gathering nuts in large original balls, or «bouquets», numerous shrubs and semi-arid zones of the south of the country honored kings — graceful coconut palms. By the way, if the coconut is the basis of the diet of the inhabitants of the coast, the water coconut — yet some exotic even for the locals. Smaller nuts, up to 12 cm can contain a core divided into two halves, where the hidden treat is — 2 small nuts. To taste the flesh — it is something between a king coconut pulp and sweet rambutan!
The most beautiful water plant of the Kahandamodara Lagoon — water hyacinth. Tenderly salad colored foliage of hyacinth floats on the water surface, and the bloom resembles a true flowering hyacinth. The flowers are painted in purple, bluish and cream colors, creating a pattern across the plate tab. Blooming of hyacinths in the lagoon — a spectacular phenomenon. And of course the lagoon — a haven plurality of migratory and endemic birds, which will provide satisfying meals. Pisces every species, as well as shrimp and freshwater lagoon crabs in abundance. It is understandable why the dozens of boats of local fishermen are on the banks of the lagoon, overlooking the water only in the early morning or after sunset.
Reptiles? Of course! The lagoon is inhabited by turtles, water monitor lizards of 2 species, by tropical frogs, and at a safe distance from the person even crocodiles. In the waters of the lagoon is a natural western border passes between Kahandamodara and Rekawa — the world famous beach of sea turtles. Rekawa can be reached by simply walking up to the beach in the days when the lagoon is not connected to the ocean, for that very short strip of land. To the east of the lagoon it is one of the parts of Kahandamodara called Modara («Delta»). It is a suburb of the lagoon with seasonal water meadows, which are filled with water after rain or spill in the lagoon of high-level days. Quiet, picturesque, safe for walking under the cool shady trees and palms. It just wanted to sit down in a clearing and immerse yourself in meditation or simply contemplate the indescribable beauty of nature.
Modara blends into the part a of Kahandamodara called Thillanwala («Ficus Valley»). The name reflects the essence of the surrounding countryside flora. There are numerous elastic rubber plants, ficus religiosa, original rubber plants and many other varieties. How this place has become a haven accumulation of several species of this plant — remains a mystery. But the rubber plants in Thillanwala grow so natural so that their landings were not man-made. Another feature of Thillanwala — dozens of small lakes. Each lake is unique. In one pink lotus grow, in the second — water coconuts, another delicate — white lily. This contrast is striking the Thillanwala visitors. Everything else Thillanwala — one of the quietest areas of Kahandamodara, there are almost no houses and only a few hotels including the Lankarus Lanka Private Limited recidence (lankarus.lk, lankarus.com). There is also a new Buddhist temple of Sri Thilakarathnaramaya here, finished in summer 2016. Funds for the construction of the shrine were collected in every home, in every family of Kahandamodara residents. A festival on the occasion of laying the first stone, and then the opening lasted for several days. Celebrations were lush, noisy and very joyful for deeply believing villagers. The architecture of the temple combines elements of the Kandyan school building with traditional coastal temple buildings in Ruhuna. The temple is richly decorated with frescoes and sculptures, and impresses with beauty any aesthetic or even atheist person.
And Thillanwala’s charm meadows with grazing cows in the morning mist, and buffalo. An endless number of birds and flocks of peacocks shout. Sacred for Ruhuna bird (transporting bird of Lord Kataragama) has chosen this part of Kahandamodara. Early in the morning colorful birds can be found anywhere, in absolute proximity to humans. And in the evening air is thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of flowers of pandanus, whose heady aroma reaches from the sea coast deep into the village.
Moving east from Thillanwala takes you to another part of the coastal Kahandamodara — Thillawatawana. This area of Kahandamodara is relatively crowded. On the coast lie the few hotels, and in the inside as well as in Thillanwala, several medium and large lakes and even the shallow creek that flows into the ocean near the brook. There is also a kindergarten, a secondary school and a medical center to assist mothers and children. Temple and stupa in Thillawatawana — one of the notable religious sites in the region. Thillawatawana in the north-east is bordered by Gurupokuna («Brown Pond»), so the natural boundary of Kahandamodara and Gurupokuna runs through the salt lagoon of Kahandamodara Lewaya and southeast Kahandamodara on the ocean side is bordered by Kalametiya. There is also a world-renowned Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary.
And finally, the heart and pulse of Kahandamodara — in the inner part of the island, about 700 meters from the ocean. This part of the settlement is called Diyawara Gammanaya. Here the majority of the residents of households of Kahandamodara are concentrated. Fishermen and shopkeepers, businessmen and hotel workers, peasants and farmers live in the compact settlement of a big happy family. To imagine this big family, suffice it to say that between the land there are no fences. Understand where, whose site is possible only by increasing along the borders between home ownership and rare shrubs squat wire. And that need is likely not to be separated from neighbors but from the random wild animals, which make worries to people especially at night. So, all in each other's sight. Morning greeting of neighbors with a smile, share the latest news — the usual thing here. Diyawara Gammanaya impresses even tourists, not in each country you will meet the rural streets and alleys that are completely paved, and between the houses lined with paving slabs. Each house is supplied with electricity and ensure uninterrupted water supply. Even at a time of severe drought in Sri Lanka in 2016 Kahandamodara did not suffer from lack of water!
Diyawara Gammanaya also has a kindergarten, playgrounds, sports and meeting points for villagers in the days of holidays and celebrations. Such places are important and necessary. Just think! Total Kahandamodara has about 400 families. Settlement rather big, and requires modern infrastructure. And it is perfectly secured settlement. It is important to note that from Diyawara Gammanaya through Thillanwala to Modara in summer 2016 the high-voltage power cables were completely renovated, ensuring uninterrupted power supply throughout the district network. In the same year, a record pace is a reconstruction of the entrance road to the site from Kahandamodara Junction (bordering with the A2 Highway Colombo — Hambantota) to Thillawatawana. With a light hand of Lankarus this road the locals call Kahandamodara Highway. In the spring months completely replaced the pavement in Nidahasgama and Kelanigama. Brigade of the road builders in August moved from Kelanigama that adjacent to the Bata Atha (location of the experimental Agriculture Sights of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture and the magnificent botanical garden) to the length of the northern part of Kahandamodara. Thus, by October 2017 it is planned to replace the roadbed for 2-party movement in the fork of Sri Shilawimala Mawatha and the main street Pradhana Mawatha and until Thillawatawana borders. So from Ranna junction to Kahandamodara you can get in less than 10 minutes. Such infrastructure is not every village boasts even in relatively developed countries. Of course, the emphasis on the development of the infrastructure cluster — this is a weighty argument in favor of tourist and investment sectors. Suffice it to say that from the beginning of the modernization of the road from the A2 highway the land in the interior and in the coastal Kahandamodara began to rise in price.
The plan of the government of our country is resumption of full functionality of the international airport in Mattala. This means that Kahandamodara, distant from Colombo to 210 km., will be closer to the guests of the island, and to get here will be just a little more than half an hour. Heaven is even closer than it seems. It is here, in Kahandamodara, the pearl of the ancient Ruhuna…
Kalametiya Eco Bird Watching. A lovely and uncrowded wetlands area with a vast variety of bird life. This is a good alternative to the other busy national parks in Sri Lanka. Spend the morning sitting on the boat, drinking coconut milk, and having the guide explain to you about all the wildlife. The park itself is a 25 minute tuk-tuk ride north of Tangalle Lagoon. I recommend getting there early as that's when the birds are out.