Batticaloa: Natural Life and Charm – Part 2

Posted by on March 5, 2013

Most of the Sri Lankans that one comes into contact with in the western and southern regions of the country are Sinhalese. They speak Sinhala and are likely Buddhist. This is not the case in Batticaloa.

Hindu Temple in Batticaloa districtInstead, you will find a smorgasbord of ethnicities and faiths where Tamil is the dominant language.

From Tamils and Moors to Sinhalese and Burghers – and from Hindus and Muslims to Christians and Buddhists – Batticaloa has much to offer in the areas of cultural exploration and understanding.


Mosque in BatticaloaLocals are eager to speak with travelers about their background and beliefs as ethnic heritage and religion are the central components of their lives.

Book Fair in BatticaloaBatticalonians are also more than willing to extend invitations to the array of cultural and spiritual activities conducted throughout the city on a daily basis.

Photography exhibition in Cafe ChillArt/photography exhibitions and handicraft expositions are also commonplace.

Handicraft Fair in St Theresa's convent

Church in Koddamunai

In the short time that I spent in Batti, I had the chance to observe a special celebration of Burgher culture, attend the annual Roman Catholic craft fair and visit a number of temples, mosques and churches.Burghers' Day CelebrationHindu Temple in Batticaloa district

Nothing, however, topped the lunchtime puja. Donned in a sarong, I was provided with the opportunity to partake in the Hindu ceremony at a locally-renowned temple located only a few kilometers outside of Batticaloa.

Puja in a Hindu Temple in Batticaloa

My attendance surprised many of the worshipers unaccustomed to foreign guests given the lack of international travelers in the area. Still, I was welcomed by all and even presented with a special gift – a plate of food featuring a rice mixture and bananas among other items – by a temple staff member at the end of the service.


This article was written by Frank Justice, a guest teacher in Village Empowerment Academy in 2012. 1st part of his article is already online. 3rd part of his article will follow soon…