“Welcome to the City of Singing Fish”, announces the archway… There are plenty of places of interest in Batticaloa district. Here are some of them. The website is regularly updated to provide additional information about these places, so please visit again.
A WALK IN BATTICALOA TOWN:
Puliyanthivu is the area in Batticaloa where you will find many governmental offices and services (public library, main post office, municipal council, etc.) as well as numerous historical places (Batticaloa gate, St Michael’s college, Vincent Girls High School, St Mary’s Cathedral, Weber Stadium, Jami-Us-Salam Jummah Masjid, etc.). Don’t miss the Old Dutch Fort which was built in the 17th century and is currently occupied by the offices of the District Secretary.
Koddamunai is the area in Batticaloa where you can find most of the banks and ATM and the railway station. Both Puliyanthivu and Koddamunai are good places for shopping sessions. You might also like to visit Batticaloa’s market as well as the governmental handloom & handicraft sales centre to buy wonderful souvenirs of Batti.
One of the most remarkable richnesses of Batticaloa district is of course its 3 lagoons. Batticaloa lagoon is the largest one, more than 50 km long. It opens to the sea in Palameenmadu (near Batticaloa’s Lighthouse) and in Kallar (further south). Life in and around the lagoon is full of discoveries. Wildlife, nature, breeze, boats, fishermen, birds… Spend time on or around the lagoons to understand and enjoy its special life.
A bicycle ride along Sinna Uppodai Lagoon is definitely a must for nature lovers. Learn more about the lagoon’s ecosystem by visiting Batticaloa Lagoon Environmental Learning Centre and Ecopark. You can rent different types of boats in Batti Lagoon Park to move on the gorgeous Sinna Uppodai Lagoon and visit its islands for bird watching sessions.
The top of Batticaloa’s Lighthouse offers an amazing observation spot on the surrounding lagoon and estuary. Stroll around Kallady bridge on full moon nights to hear the singing fish… but don’t forget to be on the lagoon edge at sunset…
IN SEARCH OF BEACHES:
Batticaloa district is bordered on its East side by the Indian Ocean, and is therefore an ideal place for sea lovers, endowed with around 120 kilometers of sandy beaches and numerous fishing villages. Just out of Batticaloa, enjoy a nice and long walk on the famous and unspoilt Kallady beach.
The most famous beaches in the district are definitely Passikudah and Kalkudah Beaches, thanks to shallow waters and coral reefs that make them safe areas for bathing even for novice swimmers. But you can also be a bit adventurous and discover any beach around…
Please note that on most of the beaches, it is advisable for women to avoid bikini dress in order to respect the local cultural codes.
GETTING TO KNOW ABOUT RELIGION:
Religion is generally a very important feature in Sri Lankan people’s life. You can find many religious buildings of all faiths in the district. It is generally possible to visit Hindu Temples and Batticaloa town’s Buddhist Temple as long as you are culturally sensitive and adopt an appropriate dress code (cover your legs and shoulders, remove hats, sunglasses and shoes). There are also numerous churches, including St Mary’s Cathedral in Batticaloa town, St Theresa’s Church in Valaichchenai or Our Lady of Good Health in Passikudah.
Hindu temples festivals, Church feasts and Muslim celebrations constitute an very important part of people’s religious and cultural life in the District.
ADMIRING HISTORICAL PLACES:
There are numerous historical buildings in Batticaloa town, especially in Puliyanthivu area (Batticaloa gate, St Michael’s college, Vincent Girls High School, St Mary’s Cathedral, Weber Stadium, Jami-Us-Salam Jummah Masjid, etc.).
A visit to the Old Dutch Fort, built in 1628 by the Portuguese and captured 10 years later by the Dutch will delight the historical places’ lovers.
Large shopping areas include Puliyanthivu and Koddamunai in Batticaloa town, Kattankudy (6km south from Batticaloa), as well as Eravur (15km north from Batticaloa), Valaichchenai and Oddamavadi’s markets (35km north from Batticaloa) and so on. Discover local products and food by visiting Batticaloa’s market.
Passikudah and Kalkudah Beaches are perfect spots for bathing, safe swimming and snorkelling. Good swimmers can practice their hobby on any beach and especially on the gorgeous Kallady beach (depending on the condition of the sea).
Boat rides on the lagoon (Engine boats, Kayak, Paddle boats, Swan boats) are organized by Batti Lagoon Park and around Batticaloa’s Lighthouse. Sail Lanka Charter offers half-day sailing trips, in and around Passikudah Bay. You can also give a hand to the fishermen to pull the net out of the sea at any beach. Diving sessions, especially to the world famous British Air Craft Carrier HMS Hermes’ wreck, can be organized by Deep Sea Resort. Please respect our coral reefs when snorkelling.
Batticaloa district is home to many species of birds, as the main lagoon extends on more than 50 km. Some of the islands are famous for bird watching, such as Bone island (accessible by boat from Batti Lagoon Park and Batticaloa’s Lighthouse area), Buffalo island and Manthivu island (accessible by a jetty near the airport in Puthur).
The Ecopark in Palameenmadu has a bird viewing tower. A few kilometres away from Batticaloa town, Sathrukondan area is also known to be a bird sanctuary.
NATURE, WILDLIFE and VILLAGES:
Batticaloa district is a gorgeous natural place. Coconut trees, palm trees, margosa trees, paddy fields, lagoons, beaches and rivers offer an infinite palette of green and blue nuances. Abundance of flowers adds a colorful touch to the picturesque scenes.
In villages, many varieties of birds and animals can be observed, proud peacocks, relaxed buffaloes taking mud baths, goats and cows taking control of the roads, crocodiles hiding in the water, silver fish jumping happily out of the lagoon, woodpeckers at work, etc.
The main livelihood of the people outside of towns is farming and fishing. Paddy fields occupy a vast area of the countryside. To go off the tracks, you might need a vehicle with driver to take you to villages where you can discover the village life style, nature and wildlife. Villages besides the lagoon can most of the time be accessed by 3-wheelers. Drivers from the district can take you to wonderful nature spots.
Unnichchai tank is situated at around 25km from Batti, inland. It is a very large water tank providing water to many households in the district. The landscape is very beautiful. You might be able to observe many colourful birds on the way, as well as peaceful grazing buffaloes, or even elephants. Be aware that outside of the Elephant orphanage, elephants are wild animals. If you happen to see an elephant on your way, do not try to approach it, especially if it is alone.
ARTS, CULTURE AND EDUCATION:
Wonderful handloom products are available at the governmental Handloom & Handicraft sales centre.
On your way to/from Batticaloa district
VISITING MAHA OYA HOT SPRING:
At a distance of around 60km from Batticaloa, on Badulla road, you can enjoy the hot spring of Maha Oya. It is a well known attraction with hot wells at different temperatures. Around an hour drive from Batticaloa.
SURFING AT ARUGAM BAY:
There is no need to introduce the world famous surfing spot of Arugam Bay. It is only 2 hours’ drive from Batticaloa towards the South.
A HISTORICAL STOP AT POLONNARUWA:
Polonnaruwa is accessible by train from Batticaloa in 2 hours. You can visit the preserved ruins of this famous ancient city built in the 12th century by the sovereigns Parakramabahu I and Nissamkamalla. You can admire giant rock sculptures of Buddhas, stupas, wall paintings, etc.
WHALE WATCHING IN TRINCOMALEE:
The seaside rehabilitated road places Trincomalee at only 140 km and a bit more than 2 hours’ drive from Batticaloa. Whale watching can be organized by different holiday resorts.