5 Things You Must Do In Batticaloa
Batticaloa, or Batti as it’s better known, is one of the most beautiful spots on the island, but it -unfortunately- gets overlooked. Situated on the east coast of Sri Lanka, Batti has a mix of historical, cultural, religious and outdoor activities. Here are 5 activities which will ensure you get a rounded experience of Batticaloa.
The Batticaloa Fort is often deemed as Sri Lanka’s most picturesque ancient fort; the fort sits on a small spit of land which is surrounded by the sea on one side and a lagoon on the other. The fort was built by the Portuguese in 1628 and taken over by the Dutch ten years later who heavily fortified it. The interior of the fort is relatively well maintained- you can still see some of the Dutch canons- but nowadays it mainly just houses a few government buildings.
Kallady Beach is the most popular beach amongst locals here in Batticaloa. Since it’s on the east coast, the sunrises are phenomenal. Watch the sunrise from here and you can even help the local fishermen bring in their boats. One of the best things about Kallady Beach though is Thiruchendur Murugan Alayam Temple, a Hindu temple that once was a stopping point in the Pada Yatra pilgrimage to Kataragama, but was badly hit by the tsunami. Today all that is left from the original temple is the Gopuram half sunken in the sand.
The Batticaloa lighthouse is one of the colonial lighthouses which still exist in Sri Lanka. The lighthouse was built in 1913, on a small sandbar that is surrounded by mangroves and lagoons and it is one of the smaller lighthouses which is 28 meters in height. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse thanks to a series of ladders and once atop you will get a wonderful view of Batticaloa lagoon.
Batticaloa is a city full of lagoons, it has 3 main lagoons and the largest one which stretches out for more than 50km is Batticaloa Lagoon. The lagoons and its surrounding mangroves are excellent for birdwatching and spotting other wildlife along the banks of the lagoon, but on your tour, you will also pass the lighthouse. Another option is kayaking along the lagoon, you can rent out all the gear you need and it is the perfect activity for the more adventurous.
Only a 30 minute drive from Batticaloa, Pasikudah is an excellent beach for both swimming and snorkelling. Unlike most of the beaches around Sri Lanka, Pasikudah is relatively calm with minimal waves making it an ideal place for you to just bob around in the water. One of the main reasons why the water is so calm here is due to its large coral reef which protects the shore from large waves. Snorkelling around the offshore reef is a must; you’ll see plenty of fish and various other marine species.