Ampara eastern Sri lanka
Home to a famed point break that lures surfers here from all over the world, Arugam Bay is one of the east coast’s prime destinations. However, the beach is far from the area’s only attraction – from here you can launch into an exploration of the national parks of Lahugala and Yala. Herds of elephants roam the landscape and are among the easiest to sight as they gather by watering holes, both natural and manmade. However, most travellers go to Yala hoping to spot one of its gorgeous leopards.
Arugam Bay is also a convenient starting point for a visit to the vast sprawl of the Kudumbigala Forest Hermitage, a unique space with some 200 shrines and modest hermits’ lodgings set in caves and a great view of the surrounding landscape from the dagoba on the hill.
The area is also home to Digavapi, a Buddhist sacred shrine and an archaeological site, and Buddhangala Monastery which once mostly ruins now boasts some new statues and structures, including replicas of the famed Gal Viharaya Buddha statues in Polonnaruwa
Veddagala is a ruined monastery at top a mountain.
Veddagala, a rock scattered mountain near the legendary Mullikulammalai monastery was once a refuge to the meditating monks, but having being a base for the last thirty years Veddagala stands alone today competing with the other mountains to rule the view.
Reminiscent of two people in embrace, Veddagala is dotted with drip ledged caves built to house the meditating monks, and inscriptions inside detail the donator and occasion. The rock plateau on the peak affords a stunning view of the surrounding with lushes paddy fields, reservoirs and ruined temple and is the main attraction of veddagala today.
The mountain of Wadinagala at Ampara
Second highest peak in Gal Oya Vally, stands 2400 feet tall challenging the brave and the reckless, is a roaming ground for elephants and houses the remains of an ancient monastery.
It is famed to be a mountain, one considered as an alternative to bear the foot mark of Lord Buddha and its heritage in ancient Buddhism is visible in many ruins scattered around the mountain. Beautiful guard stones, rocks pillars and moonstones lie amidst the towering forest of ebony and satinwood, which is been plundered by treasure hunters and illegal loggers to whom Wadanagala had become a heaven of profit.
Being the second highest peak of the Gal Oya sanctuary, the climb towards the peak is perilous and should be undertaken with an experienced guide as the mountain is streaming with wild elephants.
It is difficult to climb through forest covered paths, rocky plateaus and slopes of 70 degree angles lead to the top of Wadinagala, a small angled rock, which affords a panoramic view of the whole of Gal Oya Valley, a climax worthy of such a hard journey.
The Oluvil Harbour situated in Ampara district at the southern east coast of Sri Lanka, is a commercial port and fisheries harbour declared opened in September 2013. The commercial port comprises 330 meters of quay with a water depth of 8 meters while the fishing port comprises 200 meters of quay with a water depth of 3 meters. The breakwater of the two harbors is 1475 meters long. New jetty of the Fishing Port is 260 meters and the jetty of the Commercial Port is 390 meters.
The Fishing Harbor will provide the services for 500 boats at one time and could handle vessels with capacity of 50,000 metric tons. The fisheries harbour consists of ice plants, cold room facilities, storage facilities for fishing equipments and many more. The harbor basin covers an area of 16ha of the sea and spreads 1.2 km along the coast line. Oluvil is the main fishing harbor in the Eastern coast and would become a hub for all international trawlers as a base to unload their fresh fish which will be processed for export to Japanese, Chinese and other Asian markets.
With the Financial assistance granted by the government of Denmark, the development work of the Oluvil Harbour commenced in July 2008 at a cost of 7,000 million rupees and completed in August 2013.
Panama Village in Ampara
Panama is a small traditional farming village located approximately 15 km South of Arugambay, on your way to Kumana National Park. The community is mixed with Sinhala & Tamil communities there have been couple of mixed marriages between these two communities.
What is unique in Panama is, the farmers are still using the traditional farming methods which is no more in several areas due to the influence of modern machinery. If you happen to visit the village during the beginning of cultivation or during harvesting, you can see the difference.
Similarly, Panama is gifted with lot of natural richness and heritage. The Panama tank is famous crocodile viewing point. The surrounding paddy fields are naturally fertile and grow traditional varieties of paddy. There is a small crocodile pond and bird watching area by the road side which attract the visitors. Every one passing this area do not miss the amazing scene. The Pathtini Amman Kovil, known as Kombu Santhikkovil, has a long history and very popular for its 15 days long annual festival during the month of August. There are several myths and beliefs around this temple. the festival is celebrated with various cultural and religious events and competitions. “Kombu Iluththal (horn or hook pulling)” is the most significant and thrilling event. In addition, the village is guarded by natural sand dunes from the sea. You can also find very delicious sea food like prawn & fish from Panama village.
Since ancient times, Arugam Bay Bridge has served as the only means for connecting the famous Arugam Bay and Panama with Pottuvil and other parts of the country.
The 2004 tsumani destroyed the original Arugam Bay bridge and a new bridge replacing the old was constructed at a cost of US $10 million under the Tsunami Reconstruction Programme, with financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The new bridge runs parallel to the old one and comprises two spans measuring 185 metres and offers user-friendly features like protected pedestrian walkways. The project launched in August 2006 and the bridge was declared opened in July 2008.
The new bridge provides an amazing view of the scenic lagoon, bar mouth, the beach and Arugam Bay’s surfing points.
One of the five peace pagodas in Sri Lanka.
Built as a world peace initiative launched by Ven. Nichidatsu Fujii, a Japanese Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order. The Japanese Peace Pagoda in Ampara was constructed in 1988 and had withstood the violence which ravaged the Eastern Sri Lanka.
The temple located on the borders of the Ampara tank, consists of a stupa, a shrine room built under the Mahayana influence and a comparatively young Bodhi Tree. The stupa is accompanied by 99 small stupas while the murals in the shrine room are strange to Sri Lankans.
Inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 Fujii decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence and in 1947, he began constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World peace.The first Peace Pagodas were in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while many others followed in cities Americas, Europe and Asia.
The path leading to the pagoda is also a renowned elephant crossing and the visitors are assured of wild elephant encounters at dawn and dusk.
An ancient reservoir and a monastery complex.
Situated on the Amapara-Inginiyagala the Kondawattuwanreservoir and the ruins scattered around are remnants of the once glorious Digamadulla kingdom.
The reservoir first built in the 1st-3rd century BC had been renovated recently to provide irrigation and drinking water to the villages nearby. The stone edict found near the reservoir dates back to the reign of King Dapulla the fourth of the 10th century AD and announces that irrigation water would be taxed, along with the paddy fields and that unlawful tapping of irrigation water was prohibited. The edict is an evidence of the presence of a government regulated irrigation system in the Eastern province of Sri Lanka in the days gone by.
True to the concept that closer to a wewa or a reservoir was monastery at the ancient times, ruins of a monastery is found closer to the Kondawattuwan reservoir. Amidst the ruins of ancient buildings are the early replicas of the Lord Buddha’s Feet in circular and square forms, a rare artifact in the Eastern Sri Lanka.
The largest fauna nesting and breeding grounds in the country.
In the Southeast corner of Sri Lanka boarded by the Kumbukkan Oya is a paradise for birds known as Kumana. Fed with nearly twenty lagoons and tanks Kumana is the most important bird nesting and feeding ground in the country and is home to nearly 255 bird species, chiefly large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds.
Connected to the Yala National Wildlife Park on the west side and earlier known as Yala-East; Kumana boasts of a rich flora, fauna and a cultural heritage not second to Yala.
The park’s wetland areas are surrounded by dry zone tropical thorn forest. The inland forest’s flora is dominated by Ceylon Iron wood, Bidi leaf tree, golden shower tree, Ceylon satinwood, mustard tree and arjun tree commonly found in the dry zone. The landscape is littered with rock plateaus and boulders, some even creating unique formations like the giant’s hearth or Yoda lipa, three huge boulders similar to a rudimentary hearth.
Despite its arid weather tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area annually during the months of April to July.
Rare species such as Black-necked Stork, Adjutant, Eurasian, and Great Thick-knee are breeding inhabitants of the Kumana villuwhile Pintail Snipes migrate to Kumana flying 9,000 to 11,000 kilometres from Siberia.
Asian Openbill, Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Great Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Intermediate Egret, Little Egret, Spot-billed Pelican, Indian Cormorant, Little Cormorant, Common Moorhen, Watercock, Purple Swamphen, White-breasted Waterhen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black-winged Stilt, Lesser Whistling Duck and Little Grebe are the bird species migrating here in large flocks.
Although Kumana is not celebrated for its mammals the park boasts of a forty strong elephant herd while few leopards, golden jackals, wild boar, otter and fishing cat roam the park freely.
Further to its rich biological heritage Kumana had also been a part of an ancient civilization that dates back to the 3rd century BC and the wildlife park is scattered with archaeological treasures hidden amidst the thick jungles.