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Sri Lanka

Matara

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Matara TravelMatara, located 160km from Colombo in its southern part, attracts the tourists for its natural scenic beauty. In Matara, one can stroll through lush paddy fields, aromatic tea estates and and fragrant spice plantations. Matara is centreplace in the southern province of Sri Lanka. On excursions from Matara one can visit places like Weligama and Mulgirigala Rock Temple.

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City Travel Guide
Matara Fort: The Dutch fortified a Portuguest garrison around 1640, now known as Matara Fort. The Fort consists several structures of colonial times, oldest of whom is the Dutch Church. Matar fort was built to support the Main Fort across the stream.

Weligama: Resort town of Weligams is 15km off Matara. Weligama is known for its beaches. Weligama Rest House is among the oldest in whole country. For guiding the ships, a 40m high lighthouse was built in 1890.

Dondra/Devinuwara: The shrine devoted to Hindu god Vishnu at Dondra/Devinuwara is popular among the locals. A popular event in the temple is held in July / August every year. Locals gather here in big numbers to celebrate the occasion.

Tangalla: Located 48km off Matara, Tangalla is a nice place for a beach holiday. The hamlet straddles a freshwater lagoon. Tangalla is also a fishing harbour. Known for long stretches of white sand, the coast has several small sandy coves.

Mulgirigala Rock Temple: Mulgirigala, 16krn from Tangalla, is a monolithic rock cave temple. It has reclining Buddha figures in smiling repose. It also hosts standing and seated Buddha figures, encircled by wall paintings depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.

History
In past Matara was called 'Mahathota' which translates as 'Great Ferry'. Weerabamapanam made Matara is capital and named it 'Mapatuna'. From time to time Matara has been ruled by foriegn rulers. The Portuguese administered Matara from 1790 to 1795 while the British ruled it from 1796 to 1948. The Dutch were also dominant force in Matara for some time.

River Nilawala
Matara is located on the banks of River Nilwala, the third longest river in Sri Lanka. It joins the Indian Ocean at Thotamuna. Main crops along this river are tea, rubber and paddy.

Travelling To/In Matara
One can take train or buses for travelling from Colombo to Matara. Although number of trains is limited, buses are available at frequest intervals. The journey takes around four hours. The railway lines to south end in Matara. Bus stand is located about 500 m from railway station. For travelling within the city popular mode of tourist transport are Three Wheelers. Traditional mode of local transport are carts.

Other Facilities
Hotels of various grades are available in Matara. As for communication, state post office as well as services of privatge agencies are available. Cyber Cafe facility is also available. All necessary things are available in shopping outlets. Phone facilities are also available.


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