Just over 24 miles (40 kilometers) south of Colombo is the charming beach town of Kalutara. The area is filled with a list hotels and beach resorts. Kalutara is known throughout west Sri Lanka for its unique and colorful basket weaving traditions. At the Kalutara Basket Centre, Watekaia palm leaves and coconut fibers are transformed into vibrant and complex works of art. These make wonderful original keepsakes for loved ones back home.
When you have had your fill of baskets and beaches, head over to one of Kalutara’s Buddhist temples. Just beyond the Kalu Ganga River bridge is the gleaming Kalutara Vihara temple. It is a large, white domed structure (stupa) that was built in the 1960s. Both ancient and modern stupas exist throughout the world, but Kalutara Vihara is the only hollow stupa in existence.
Inside there are several Buddhist shrines, over 70 murals representing scenes in Buddha’s different lives, and a Bo tree enclosure. People come from all over Sri Lanka to leave offerings and burn incense.
Last but not least, you have to remember to make time to relax! The AVANI Kulutara Resort is a great place to do just that. It is located about ten minutes from Kalutara’s center where the 28 Kalu Ganga River meets the ocean, and features fabulous remedies for rest and relaxation. The AVANI Spa provides an array of treatments in a tropical, serene setting.