5 Places you Must Visit in Hambantota
Going down the southern coast of Sri Lanka will allow you to pass by some interesting towns and attractions that allow you to understand the illustrious history and culture, along with the natural wonders the island possesses. Hambantota serves to be one of those major places that boast of a myriad of unique features, which makes it highly advisable for you to stay a couple of days in the city. Finding it difficult to explore Hambantota though? Well, here are five places that should not be missed when in Hambantota.
Mirijjawila Botanical Garden
This complex of horticultural beauty is one of the more unique features in the city, if not the island, as the Mirijjawila Botanical Garden is only one of five botanical gardens, and is one of the few that is present in the dry zone of the island. Built in 2013, the garden was made to maintain the moisture of the land and improve biodiversity. As a result, the garden is known to have some of the rarer species of flora. You could also see how endemic species of flora are conserved in this botanic garden. All in all, the Mirijjawila Botanical Garden is one place that you should not miss if you are into understanding the natural heritage of the place.
Often one of the more overlooked places in the coastal town, the Ramba Viharaya is one of the ideal places to understand how the kingdoms of old considered the religion of Buddhism as a major part of their lives. This particular temple is believed to have been one of the main temples in the period of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom from the 11th century to the 14th century. The reason for this to become one of the major temples of the Polonnaruwa Kingdom is due to the Chola invasions that led to King Vijayabahu I to flee from the capital and take refuge in Ruhuna (modern day Hambantota). As a result, the temple was not only a religious centre, but also an academic centre. It is believed that the exiled king schemed all his campaigns against the Cholas here, and there is significant evidence to prove it.
Bundala National Park
Located very close to the city centre of Hambantota, the Bundala National Park is a rather small park, when compared to the likes of the Yala National Park and Kumana National Park. But what lacks in size shows up for in the unique biodiversity of the area. Here, you are able to witness close to 200 species of birds, and several other reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals. Moreover, you could also witness a myriad of invertebrates too. The same goes for the flora as well. According to official statistics, the nature reserve is home to 383 floral species that belong to 90 families. The best way to explore this natural wonder is by engaging in a safari excursion, as it will allow you to catch a glimpse of the unspoilt nature of the southern coast.
The Martello Tower stands to be a unique piece of colonial heritage, as it is the only fortress of its kind in the whole of South Asia. Built in the early 19th century by the British, it was used as an important defensive complex when the Kingdom of Kandy led a skirmish to drive out the colonisers. Although small, the tower is believed to have had heavy armament, which ranged from howitzers to 18 pounders. Presently, the tower serves as a museum that showcases the transformation of the fisheries industry in the area.
Madunagala Hot Spring
Sometimes called the Mahapelessa Hot Spring, this particular hot spring is known to be a sacred one in which many a pilgrim from around the country would bathe in its waters. The waters are believed to have several healing properties, especially for skin disease. Right next to the hot springs lies the park, which is also home to a zoo and an aquarium. This is perfect, if you are with any young ones, as the area is also a great educational site.
Of course, there are many other places in the city that are shrouded in great stories. Regardless, the mentioned five always take the top spot since they showcase the quintessence of Hambantota, so make sure you include them in your itinerary, and bask in the images and stories of these places.