Located in Matara, the Weherahena Temple is one of the many temples in Sri Lanka specially revered by Buddhists. While it might not have much historical significance, the surrounding area is said to have been a shelter for locals who used to practice the religion in secret during the Portuguese rule of the coast. The temple was built with the influence of Parawahera Rewatha Thero with the assistance of Anagarika Dharmapala, a key figure in the Sri Lankan Buddhist revival movement. With the foundations laid in 1939, the one-of-a-kind tunnel was created to resemble a story in the Ummagga Jathaka – from the 550 stories of the past lives of Lord Buddha. The 600 foot tunnel is decorated all over with expressive paintings depicting various religious and historical stories. Above the tunnel is the temple’s most striking feature from the outside – the 39 meter high statue of Lord Buddha.
Located in Mawella, a small town in Dickwella, the blowhole is completely natural where sea spray due to the high water pressure sprays through a blowhole up to sometimes 40 to 50 feet high. This usually happens during the monsoon season and draws in quite a crowd.
The Mirissa coastal belt, located just 30 minutes away from Dickwella, is full of activity during the dolphin and whale watching season (from November to April) and is an ideal treat for any nature lover.
This is a truly Sri Lankan cultural phenomenon and a common sight to see along the Southern Coast. A walk on the beach would enable you to experience the extraordinary sight of fishermen perched on poles which are entrenched in the seabed, patiently awaiting their catch.
The Sinharaja Rain Forest which translates to ‘Kingdom of the Lion’ is located an hour away from Dickwella. Home to many endemic species, the national park and biodiversity hotspot has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Many bird watching expeditions are carried out throughout the year, one being the Mixed Species Bird Flock study, which has been conducted since 1981. A trek through the dense vegetation with binoculars, a camera and a guide is the only way to take in the wondrous beauty that is Sinharaja.
UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
Home to 400 Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka, Udawalawe is found in the southern province of the island, 90 minutes away from Dickwella. Other than elephants, this notable dry zone game park is ideal for a safari expedition to watch the leopards, sambar deer, water buffalos and birds.
YALA NATIONAL PARK
Approximately two hours away from Dickwella, Yala National Park is one of the most prominent national parks on the island overflowing with beautiful landscapes and a bounty of fauna, flora and foliage. Found on the southern region of the island, it is home to varying species of animals which have made the park their natural habitat.
Yala is also known for its ancient monastery caves as well as the Salt Pans of the Palapatuna Sea which are all things to look out for when you make your way there.
GALLE CITY AND DUTCH FORT TOUR
About 40 minutes from Dickwella is Galle, the capital city of the Southern Province of the island, which is the home of a magnificent Dutch fort, the most popular attraction in the town. Built by the Dutch in 1663, this 36-hectare fort occupies most of the promontory that forms the older part of Galle. It is interesting to note that many old Dutch buildings are still intact inside the fort and colonial architectural styles are still very popular. UNESCO has recognized the fort as a World Heritage Site.