Archive for the 'Historical sites' Category

This weekend @ AbaY

A busy and very important weekend ahead.

H.E. The President. Expected at Arugam Bay.

Preparations, repairs, construction, cleaning up and painting operations are in progress all around Arugam Bay and nearby PottuVille Town.
It seems that a New Beach Approach Road is going to be opened.
This picturesque road leads to one of the island’s perhaps most important Temple site:
“Muhudu Maha Vihara”

Muhudu Maha Vihara (ancient Temple) Road

PottuVille has a huge potential.
To become yet another Tourist and Pilgrim destination
Next to famous Arugam Bay

A New Bus & car park

New Temple near the ancient, historical site

The perhaps oldest Temple on the island?

Arugam Information -SUMMARY-

Arugam Bay, the surfer’s paradise

(March to October)
a useful summary & description.

Surf, Beach, Lagoon, Village, Beautiful Inland Landscape, Jungle, Elephant Rock & Crocodile Rock

Arugam Bay is one of the TOP 10 surf points in the world. It is also a pristine sandy beach of stunning natural beauty. Arugam Bay’s proximity to Lahugala National Park & Yala East National Park makes it a unique surfing beach.

Ladies & Lady Surfers are happy in remote AbaY

Location

Arguam Bay is located 320 km from Colombo. Some 60km due east from Monaragala, Arugam Bay is a tiny fishing village 3km south of the small fishing village of Pottuvil (12000 inhabitants) at the remote southern end of the Eastern coast & on the edge of Yala East National Park.

To the beach

The journey to the beach here takes you across some attractive meadows teeming with wildlife.

Orientation

The bay lies between two headlands & is excellent for surfing.

Beach

The wide, sweeping sandy beach in front of the village is an attraction for swimming all year-round. The beach is usually deserted, except at the southwest corner, where some fishing boats & thatch huts reveal the tiny fishing village of Ulla, just to the south of the guest house area. This is also the safest area for swimming.

Surf

‘The Point’ in Arugam Bay is regarded as a top world surf destination. It is a well lined up right hand point break, generating a clean peeling glassy wave that barrels a surfer a 400m ride right through to the inside. Additionally there are four or five high quality breaks within a radius of 30 minutes. Continue reading ‘Arugam Information -SUMMARY-‘

Nitteawo

Ceylon’s extinct race

Just a 3ft - 1 meter tall race

Just few miles due South of Arugam Bay a mystery cave with an amazing history might exist.
Arugam’s
new High Tech Geocaching Initiative hopes to shine some light onto this legend.
Geocatching is a respected, non intrusive GPS Sat . Navigation . To locate, pinpoint & map interesting places. NOTHING will ever be disturbed or interfered with on any given location.

Background:

The Nittaewo, (sometimes spelt without the a or as Nittevo) were said to be a small tribe of small bigfoot or Yeti type homins. Pliny the Elder mentioned the Nittaewo as a small, hairy tribe of people living in the country of Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka. They lived at the same time as the Veddha.

VEDDAH & Nittaewo inhabited Ceylon

The Veddhas are a tribe which still live, mainly as farmers, on the island of Sri Lanka and, their legends say they are responsible for wiping out the Nittaewo roughly 250 years ago. According to the Veddha tradition recorded by Frederick Lewis in 1914, the Nittaewo were approximately three feet (1 metre) tall, the females being shorter than the males. They walked erect, had no tails and were completely naked. Their arms were short and they had talon like nails, lived in trees, caves and crevices and caught and ate small animals like the hare, squirrel and tortoise. They lived in groups of 10 or 20 and their speech was like the twittering of birds. They were said to be exterminated in the late eighteenth century by the Veddhas because the both tribes were constantly fighting and the Nittaewo began to take the Veddha’s children. The elders of the Veddha’s decided that something had to be done. The Nittaewo were trapped in a cave, which the Veddhas blocked the entrance to with wood and set it a blaze killing all that remained of the Nittaewo.

The actual cave has never been found. As yet.

Could this be an ancient man ?

These remains are at Kubumingala Cave monastery. It seems to be a fully grown adult, but very small

In 1887, British explorer Hugh Nevill documented recent tales of the warfare occurring between the Veddhas and the Nittaewo. The Nittaewo being extinct at this point in time. Continue reading ‘Nitteawo’

Rough Guide to AbaY

ARUGAM BAY

There’s not much to ARUGAM BAY village itself: just a single main road running parallel to the beach dotted with guesthouses, cafés and shops, including some of Arugam Bay’s trademark quirky homespun architectural creations – rustic palm-thatch cabanas, teetering treehouses and other quaint structures (not to mention the distinctive wooden pavilion restaurant and red British telephone box of the landmark Siam View Hotel ).
The beach is now looking better than ever following recent clearances during which the authorities ordered the removal of all buildings within 20m of the waterline (albeit at considerable cost to local hoteliers and other residents, who were forced to watch as the government bulldozers rolled in and summarily razed significant slices of prized real estate).

A-Bay also marks the rough border between the Sinhalese-majority areas to the south and the mainly Tamil and Muslim areas further up the coast, and boasts an unusually eclectic but harmonious mix of all three ethnic groups – as well as a growing number of Western expats. Fears that the village’s uniquely (for Sri Lanka) alternative and slightly off-the-wall character will be erased by larger and more mainstream tourism developments remain, however, especially given the forthcoming opening of the new Hambantota airport, which will make the village significantly easier to reach for international visitors. For the time being, however, Arugam Bay preserves its own enjoyably eccentric charm.

ARUGAM BAY AND AROUND

Easygoing Arugam Bay is by far the most engaging of the east coast’s resorts. A-Bay, as it’s often known, has long been popular with the surfing fraternity, who come here to ride what are generally acknowledged to be the best waves in Sri Lanka. It’s also a good launching-pad from which to explore the gorgeous surrounding countryside and its varied attractions, from the elephant-rich Lahugala National Park and the little-visited Yala East National Park to the atmospheric forest hermitage at Kudimbigala.

SURFING AT ARUGAM BAY

With waves fresh from Antarctica crashing up onto the beach, Arugam Bay is sometimes claimed to be one of the top ten surf points in the world, and periodically plays host to international tournaments. The best time for surfing is between April and Oct/Nov.

WHERE TO GO

There are several breaks close to Arugam Bay, plus others further afield. The biggest waves in A-Bay itself are at The Point Continue reading ‘Rough Guide to AbaY’

Ancient wedding @ Arugam Bay?

The Ceylon Traveller Magul Maha Viharaya, Lahugala
(about 10 min. West of Arugam Bay)

….. “the actual location where the wedding took place is the nearby Muhudu Maha Viharaya at Arugam Bay” …..

Another view of the Magul Maduwa, Small stupa near the entrance, Ruins of a stupa, Stone pillars, Preaching hall (dharma shalawa) , Children attending sunday school at the temple and Stone carving of a monkey


Text and Photos by Sachini Perera

(https://www.facebook.com/sachiniphotography)
I visited Magul Maha Viharaya in Lahugala back in 2009. It is yet another place that has so much history behind it and lots of interesting tidbits but is not flaunting any of it, preferring to exist quietly.
Lahugala is ten miles inland off the East Coast town of Pottuvil, an area believed to have been part of the Ruhunu kingdom. It is home to several tanks, beautiful green vegetation, a National Park (with a good chance of seeing elephants frolicking near the road) and the Magul Maha Viharaya, which is also known as Ruhunu Maha Viharaya.
During the war, many civilians from adjoining villages had left the area for safety and it is only now that the temple is once again being patronised regularly and is visited by pilgrims and tourists. Continue reading ‘Ancient wedding @ Arugam Bay?’

Arugam Bay: Sri Lanka’s last frontier?

http://siyambala.com/2012/03/04/arugam-bay-sri-lankas-last-frontier/
© Siyambala 2012
….“Don’t write about this place,” the chubby little man admonished Supem De Silva sternly. “People will come here and spoil everything.”…..

According to industry expert Supem De Silva, you’ll find more family-friendly places to go and fun things to do within easy driving range of Arugam Bay than there are around almost any other travel destination in Sri Lanka.

“Don’t write about this place,” the chubby little man admonished Supem De Silva sternly. “People will come here and spoil everything.”

The agitated speaker was Manik Sandrasagra, the late auteur of Sri Lankan cinema, but Supem hadn’t known who he was back then. This was in 1998, and Supem had been gathering information for Arugam Bay’s first online directory of hotels and other services. He’d seen Sandrasagra sitting by himself at another table at Chutti’s Place Restaurant. Since the movie director was barechested, with a towel draped over his shoulders, Supem had assumed he was one of the local beach bums.

The baby waves at Whiskey Point are perfect for beginning surfers. Lessons cost around $20 an hour.

Supem chuckles as he recounts this story, shaking his head as he adds that Manik had been a consultant to the Sri Lanka Tourist Board at the time (I could just picture this scene, having encountered the mercurial director and his larger-than-life personality when I wrote the ads for Rampage, Manik’s 1978 movie about a homicidal elephant; my colleague Chris Greetwrote the movie’s tagline, “Can an elephant plan and execute a murder?”).

In a way, Supem notes, his encounter with Manik Sandarasagra neatly illustrates one of the reasons why Arugam Bay has been overlooked as a tourist destination. On the one hand there are those who’ve been coming to Arugam Bay for years, and who are apprehensive about the notion of it becoming discovered as a resort. And on the other, there are those who should know about Arugam Bay and don’t. Among this latter group are travel industry experts who aren’t even aware that there’s hotel accommodation here.

Johnson Ratnasingham’s new Amigo Surf School charges around $20 an hour for lessons (that’s Farook painting the sign in February). I forgot to ask Johnson whether he named the school after his dog Amiga, a personable pooch.

Arugam Bay is a black hole as far as many people in the travel industry are concerned,” says Supem ruefully. “They have no idea what’s available here.”

That’s too bad, because the fact is that there are quite a few good hotels in Arugam Bay. And there are going to be even more, what with a number of plans for hotels underway (scroll down to the bottom of this post for information on a really cool new place to stay in Arugam Bay for around $9 a day).

Elephants are supposed to need 300 pounds of fodder a day, but at the rate this fellow was stuffing himself with water plants at Lahugala National Park (twelve miles from Arugam Bay), I’d say they eat a great deal more.

Supem himself is an unassuming guy whose mind is a jackdaw’s nest of fascinating facts about Sri Lanka. He’s also able to step out of the Sri Lankan mindset and see the country from a tourist’s perspective.

He knows, for example, that you’re not coming here to be bored out of your skull by sitting through a harangue on Sri Lanka’s religious history and cultural heritage; you’re coming here to enjoy yourself and have an unforgettable time. He gets that.

Supem De Silva created Arugam Bay’s first online directory of hotels and other services, and was the first webmaster of the first site dedicated solely to news about the area. The Sri Lanka Tourist Board is using his case study on Arugam Bay as the basis for its plans for the area’s future. In case you wondered, there are no tall buildings within fifty miles of Arugam Bay; took this picture outside Supem’s office in Colombo.

As a senior travel industry professional—among other things, he lectures trainee tour guides on Sri Lanka’s east coast attractions—Supem has seen the glazed eyes and the jeez-what-did-I-get-myself-into look of Continue reading ‘Arugam Bay: Sri Lanka’s last frontier?’

Siyambala

“Places to go and things to do”

Kudumbigala cave Monastery & its wild life

Brothers David & Tyrone Graham returned to Arugam Bay after many years.
“Siyambala” is their web site and blog which  gives unique and detailed insights into our island’s hidden treasures and culture.
We hope to cover more of their amazing observations on this page soon!

Take a look at their work:

http://siyambala.com/

Winter? What Winter?

The few visitors in town can’t get over their surprise.
Having been told about the so-called “Rainy Season” in the East.
Instead, they found the best possible weather;
Mild, Sunny, Dry = Perfect !
It has not rained a single day this Year at Arugam Bay!

Eastern "Rainy" Season. 30/January 2012


It is in fact the best time of year to explore the Bay and its beautiful surroundings.
Do not forget to visit Kudumbi Gala Cave Monastery!

Arugam to get Rail- & Motorway connections

Hambantota - Panama - Arugam Bay. - Batticaloa?

New road and rail line to connect Sri Lanka’s Southern port city to surf city in East Dec 02, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has decided to construct another expressway to connect the rising Southern port city of Hambantota to the popular surfing destination in the East coast, Arugam Bay. Hambantota district parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa has revealed in the parliament Friday that the government has taken a policy decision to build a direct expressway and a rail line parallel to the road. Situated to the 310 kilometers east of Colombo, Arugam Bay is a fishing village in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. It is known as a popular surfing and tourist destination for its best surf. The government is developing the Southern port city of Hambantota as a metropolis away from the capital Colombo. The second international airport currently under construction near Hambantota is expected to be operational by the end of 2012.

Progress. Unstoppable

source: http://www.colombopage.com/archive_11B/Dec03_1322852510CH.php

Arugam Bay. “The Health Resort”

The Automobile Association Handbook (1935 !) advises:


AAC's Travelers guide to Ceylon. 76 Years ago.


Arugam Bay: EP (=’Eastern Province’) . 68 miles from Batticaloa on the east coast road. This is a health resort for residents in the malarious inland areas, (such as the Moneragala planting district), with its fine sea front and facilities for sea-bathing; while there is good sport to be had in the vicinity.”

. I dedicate this article to the memory of my maternal grandfather Arumugam Thiyagarajah (1910-1982)

Rest Houses and Shooting Tips (circa 1935)

Continue reading ‘Arugam Bay. “The Health Resort”’

To the cries of sadhu, sadhu a pinnacle is placed

…… The villagers in remote Hulannuge close to Lahugala (famous for elephants roaming around at any time of the day) on the Moneragala-Pottuvil (-Arugam Bay) Road, were gathered for a rare pinkama. They were to participate in a pinnacle-laying ceremony of the newly-constructed chaitya……

The kotha being taken to the top of the chaitya

The remote village of Hulannuge turns into a hive of activity as villagers prepare for a rare pinkama, says D.C. Ranatunga who was present

As dusk fell they made their way to the village temple in their numbers. A festive mood prevailed. Little ones were attracted to the balloon sellers. The women were taking a close look at the posters on Buddhist themes. The men pulled out their wallets and parted with a few rupees for the cash collection. The names were announced over the sound system and merit offered. A ‘viridu’ singer with a ‘rabana’ in his hand recited verses fit for the occasion.

The villagers in remote Hulannuge close to Lahugala (famous for elephants roaming around at any time of the day) on the Moneragala-Pottuvil Road, were gathered for a rare pinkama. They were to participate in a pinnacle-laying ceremony of the newly-constructed chaitya.

The pinnacle atop the gleaming white chaitya

In the rocky terrain, the hilltop was an ideal site for the chaitya which could be spotted from a distance. It was years of hard labour. Transporting bricks, cement, sand and other building materials was no easy task. It was the shramadana effort of the illagers, the generosity of a few businessmen and well-wishers and above all the determination of Kurundugolle Saarananda Thera that saw the project through. Continue reading ‘To the cries of sadhu, sadhu a pinnacle is placed’

Jaffna-Arugam-Kataragama

The first pilgrims of the traditional, annual “Walk on Foot” (‘Pada Yatra’)  from Jaffna in the very North all the way to Kataragama in the deep South of our island have reached Arugam Bay today. As always, this colorful, happy, cheerful and peaceful event is mentioned on arugam.info.

2011 walk / photo by padayata.org

Here are a few impressions from  Arugam Bay:

Information taken from the web site of the organizers:
T
he traditional two month long Pada Yatra or foot pilgrimage from Jaffna to Kataragama annually in May-June-July is neither a peace march nor a political rally, but a traditional procession of village devotees who represent the rural voice of Sri Lanka.

The Pada Yatra tradition is an essential part of Lanka’s multi-cultural ethos. The Yatra begins with pilgrims moving from one sacred site to another, with their numbers growing as the Yatra progresses.

more details:

http://padayatra.org/

Arugam Bay and beyond

- Land of the Lotus Eaters

Arugam Bay is the amalgamation of the Tamil word for six – Aru and the Sinhala word for village – gam. Juliet Coombe discovered the area has a lot more on offer than surf, sand and sea, when travelling with 2nd Partner – a tour company with a difference.


Arugam Bay is a long way from everything, and in the early years when there was no bridge to the area, this was part of the attraction to the ‘real’ adventure traveller, who discovered this spot of the island in the 1970s. Known for its love gurus, nude bathing and nirvana lifestyle it fast became the spot to surf the waves by day, and the area by night looking for fun times. However, today, this ‘Shangri la,’ tipped to be the next best thing is a rather sad strip of hotels and restaurants that makes Hikkaduwa in comparison look like the South of France. The food is at best terrible, and the only place worth hanging out in is Siam, according to the first film crew, SBS from Australia who have just been filming My Sri Lanka with world famous chef Peter Kurivitas. They are the first crew to go through the area in 30 years and only Siam was worth eating at, where a dude called DJ Nihal calls the shots and the food is the best on the strip. Not really on the surface worth an eight to 10 hour trip from Colombo depending on the weather and traffic conditions.

However step out of this artificial boomtown and discover amazing places like Kudumbigala Monastery (11 miles from Panama), which is the only cylindrical stupa in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by 200 caves in the area that used to be used by monks, they have paintings older than the ones of the girls painted on the Sigriya rock Fortress palace. Appu Hami, a 64-year-old village elder, held in high esteem and the best jungle guide in the area comes from Panama, which dates back as a settlement to 1818. His face is a gnarled as the trees from the jungle, eyes as sharp as a hawk’s, and has a lifetime of stories to tell.

Appu Hami – a legend
in Arugam Bay Appu Hami advocates that before any trek you should eat well from the local indigenous vegetables which include seven different types of yams and two types of Lotus plants which are pulled by the roots from the lakes, famed for their beautiful water lilies. Lotus eating is good for the heart, blood sugar (diabetes) and other things that he says, brings a sparkle to one’s eyes. It seems women also mix the lotus seeds together and make facial scrubs and the pulled up flowers are used as offerings at the Buddhist temples.

The lakes have always been fished in and this is how the people of the Bay discovered the benefits of the Lotus. Until the 1960s no money exchanged hands, and the community-bartered goods instead, and everyone was much better off. The average wages were only Continue reading ‘Arugam Bay and beyond’

Exporing Arugam, Kumana and beyond

Another great photo travel report by Lakdasun.

With the reopening of the Kumana national park early this year it had been on our priority list for quite some time and finally we managed to make that dream come true. The camp sites were booked more than three months in advance as there is no other accommodation south of Arugam Bay. Wildlife department is trying to rebuild the destroyed circuit bungalows and hopefully we will get to use them before long.

Having never been to the east coast before, we wanted to have a glimpse of the rising sun from the east coast and planned the trip so that we will be at Pottuvil by sunrise. So we left Colombo late night at 10.30PM and drove through the night Continue reading ‘Exporing Arugam, Kumana and beyond’

Arugambay – 5 Reasons To Visit

Are you an avid surfer?

If so, you may instantly recognize the name Arugam Bay. Even if you are not, you may be interested to learn more about this popular tourist attraction.

The Surf Boards can be rented at many outlets at Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a sleepy little hamlet 320 km due east of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city and is ranked among the top ten surf destinations in the world. In this article I am going to tell you 5 good reasons you should make a visit to Arugam Bay.

Arugam Bay is not your typical surf destination with modern facilities. It is more a community based destination, where little guest houses and the odd star rated hotel lie side by side. This does not make it any less attractive to regular visitors who make repeat visits every year. Although this destination was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and the conflict, the enterprising community of Arugam Bay have brought the destination back to its old glory.

Brilliant roads. by Maga, Photo by: Lovely Arugam Bay on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=108552872497906

Much improved roads, which have reduced travel times by almost an hour and a half and the return of peace has made Arugam Bay a destination you should not miss visiting.+

Here are the top 5 reasons to visit Arugam Bay:

  1. It is the third highest ranked among the world’s top ten surfing destinations. So, if you are a surfing enthusiast or are interested in learning to surf this is just the location for you. You need not even bring your gear along, as you can hire surfing gear from local outfits, who also provide training for newbie surfers. It boasts of over 10 surf points and the waves are great between April and October and it also is the scene for local and international surfing competitions staged during this period.

    10 Surf Spots. Ideal for beginners. And professionals

  2. During November to April the sea is fine for swimming and snorkeling and conditions are just right if you are looking for a quiet get- away. The prices for accommodation can get pretty low and you can find a pretty decent room with basic facilities for around $15 per night.

    Romantic Bungalows. To suit all budgets. Here is one of "Hideaways" best

  3. If you are a wild life enthusiast your excellent wild life sanctuaries are just minutes away from this destination. The Lahugala sanctuary famous for elephants is not more than a 20 minute drive from here. You may even pass some of these majestic beasts if en-route if you take the inland route to arrive here. The Kumana bird sanctuary lies just 10km south of Arugam Bay and birds from as far as Siberia are known to migrate to this location to escape winter.

    Truly Free & Wild Elephants. Right next to the road. No fence!

  4. The sand dunes at Panama allow you to wander around an unspoilt stretch of land, and even go on a jeep safari to the dunes. The Pottuvil dunes are much closer, but it is situated in the midst of a busy little town, but none the less attractive in its own little way.

    A shephard cowboy in the Panama dunes or the Wild East

  5. The area close to Arugam Bay also boasts a host of ancient monuments. The Kudumbigala archeological reserve is host to monastic caves dating from around the 12th Century AD. The ancient Okanda temple dedicated lord Skanda situated on a rocky outcrop south of Arugam Bay is believed to be featured in “Sinbad the Sailor’s tales”. Monuments related to the Southern kingdom of Magama almost a thousand years old are found in Pottuvil town, by the dunes and within the Lahugala sanctuary. They are said to be built to honour the mother of the warrior king Dutugemunu of the Anradhapura kingdom.

    Ancient Temples and shrines. Adore the area all around Arugam Bay

The attractions of Arugam Bay are so, numerous and cater to visitors with different interests. It is just amazing that so many attractions should lie so close together. Coupled with the extremely friendly service by the villagers who run the facilities, I would strongly recommend that you visit here especially if you are on a tight budget.

Friendly local management (Of the SVH and Hideaway shown here)

AUGAM BAY IS AN ALL YEAR ROUND DESTINATION.

With the best and most predictable climate in Asia!
The only dry and sunny place on the island this entire November 2010

A typical winter in Arugam Bay

http://ezinearticles.com/?Arugambay—5-Reasons-To-Visit-Arugambay-Surfers-Paradise&id=5523244

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Sri Lanka, world’s number one tourist destination

And Arugam Bay? Sri Lanka’s number One (Surf & Wild Life) destination !

MagicSeaweed.com (file photo)

Germany also has relaxed travel advisories to German nationals visiting Sri Lanka.
The German Embassy said that a long standing travel advisory had been eased enabling German tourists to visit Yala National Park and Arugam Bay.

“The Island of Sri Lanka is a small universe; it contains as many variations of culture, scenery, and climate as some countries a dozen times its size . . . I find it hard to believe that there is any country which scores so highly in all departments – which has so many advantages and so few disadvantages. Lovely beaches, beautiful landscapes, impressive ruins, a vibrant culture and charming people.”

Sir Arthur C Clarke