In search of a truly authentic destination that fully demonstrates how life is lived in eastern Sri Lanka? If so, look no further than the “City of the Singing Fish.” Batticaloa has much to offer both the novice and worldly explorer interested in the vast cultural diversity of the island.
Invited to serve as a guest teacher at the Village Empowerment Academy, I had the pleasure of spending three weeks in Batticaloa. What I found was an enchanting municipality rich in community and tradition. Perhaps, the best way to describe the city is through the tripartite of nature, culture and people.
The ecological beauty of Batti, as the locals call it, is absolutely stunning. Lagoons abound and give way to mostly uninhabited beaches and the pristine blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Palm and pine trees are scattered across the shoreline where the coconut tree is the most abundant. Although I am not much of a photographer, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the sea scenery.
Plans to develop the area with a number of resorts and other buildings are in the works, but for now one can bask in the natural environment as it has been since the European colonists began developing the area centuries ago.
I enjoyed relaxing with friends at Kallady and other sandy beaches with no one else around save the fishermen who went about their work as if we weren’t even there.
In Batti, the search isn’t any less fun, but it is much easier as the beaches contain a plentiful assortment of oceanic gems of all sizes. Birdwatchers and butterfly enthusiasts will also find the water world conducive to their hobbies. I will never forget the family of bald eagles that I watched sailing and swooping across the sky from my perch atop the Batticaloa lighthouse.
Indeed, the city’s most stunning scenery may best be viewed from the apex of the man-made structure, which will celebrate its centennial next year. To reach the viewing platform, you must climb a series of ladders and traverse through an area reminiscent of a vertical submarine.
This article was written by Frank Justice, a guest teacher in Village Empowerment Academy in 2012. 2nd and 3rd part of his article will follow soon…