Bentota is a coastal town in Sri-Lanka located in the Galle district. The town lies 65 km south of Colombo and 56kms north of Galle. The town is famous for its quiet non-crowded beaches, water sports and other various attractions.
The Bentota beach is unlike others covered with pristine golden sand and a stretch of palm trees to far as you can see. The beach divides into two parts. At the north end is the Paradise Island, a small stretch of land between the Indian Ocean and Bentota Lagoon. The nearby Bentota Ganga provides some of Sri-Lanka’s biggest water sports action. Whether Scuba-diving and snorkelling, Bentota is a dream destination for diving lovers.
You can also catch a safari or a boat ride from here into the rivers, catch sight of some aquatic birds and sea life. Wind-surfing and sailing are also another of the few options available here. The south end of the beach is a relatively quite one but it is here you will find a line of fancy high-end luxury resorts. If you are the splurging kind this place is the ultimate beach holiday experience.
Cinnamon Island is another popular attraction close to Bentota. It is an age old cinnamon plantation set on an island which has been run by a single family for generations. Here you can learn about the processing of cinnamon for its various uses, and a tour of the island is highly recommended while travelling to Bentota.
In north next to the lagoon, nearby is the Bentota village you will find the Wanawasa Raja Mahaviharya building showing a little bit of history and a tunnel connecting it to five other temples. Going south along the lagoon side is the attractive Galapata Vihara Temple which dates back to the 12th century which has an array of interesting art and paintings on its walls and peeling orange Buddha’s. Up the Bentota river lies the mesmerizing house and garden of Lunuganga, the creation of architect Geoffrey Bawa.
It is made between two hills surrounded by the waters of the Dedduwa Lake. The house captures the artful and refreshing nature of its surroundings and its interiors. You can stay at this gorgeous house to explore the interiors or just relax for a cup of tea or lunch at the house’s terrace.
A little distance away from Bentota lies Kande Vihara temple near Aluthgama. This is one of the most popular Buddhist temples in the country as it houses the tallest Buddha statue in the country seated in the bhumiparsha mudra (‘earth witness” pose) over the pretty white temples below. Apart from this beautiful stupa the temple also houses the Bo Tree, four sacred Maha Devalas, some ancient relics, some well preserved Kandyan- era Murals, and the temple’s resident elephant.
Some 8 kms away from Bentota lies the Brief Gardens. Spread across five acres of land this beautiful garden estate along with the house comprises of the home of writer and artist Bevis Bawa, elder brother of the renowned 20th century architect Geoffrey Bawa.
It was what Bevis did with this beautiful property that inspired his brother Geoffrey to embark on a career of architecture and landscaping. Brief Gardens are mesmerizing with their Japanese style gardens and laws inspired from the colonial era. They make for a nice stroll throughout the day and especially in the evening. To top of these gardens the house commands its own attention.
This beautiful house is a low-slung orange building with its own unique and quirky artwork, some from the personal collection of the owner and some contributed by artists from all over the world who visited and have stayed in this beautiful house. Brief Gardens are open to the public from 8 am to 5 pm for a merge fee of 350 Sri-Lankan rupees.
South of Bentota lies Induruwa which is known for its wide, beautiful, clean and tout-free beaches. It is an upcoming major tourist attraction. About 8 kms from Induruwa lies the village of Kosgoda. Here lies one of the most important sea turtle nesting site of the country. There are two turtle hatcheries here – The Kosgoda Se Turtle Conservation Project along the Galle road in Kosgoda and The Victor Hasselblad Hatchery in Kosgoda.
Here 5 of the endangered turtle species which are found in Sri-Lanka are found here. Turtles are allowed to hatch and grow in as much of as a natural environment as they can and are then realised in the sea. The hatcheries are open from 9am to 6pm with an entry fee of Rs 500/- and is considered a must visit for every nature conversationalist.
Another attraction of Bentota is the beautiful Sri Kalyanarama Maha Viharaya Temple, located in Kaluwamodera; this temple is renowned for the ancient marble effigy of Lord Buddha. The statue of Buddha, which is well over a hundred years old and measures almost six feet is said to have come all the way from Burma.
Keeping all these tourist places aside Bentota is also an excellent place for shopping. The Bentota town as well as the Shopping Arcade which is located within the Bentota National Holiday Resort Complex (the strip where all the luxury hotels are established along with various other facilities of the town) features a plethora of shops and stores that enthusiastically engage in trading a wide variety of products: Batiks, traditional masks and handicrafts, hats and clothes, brassware and wooden ornaments, semi-precious and precious gem stones of Sri-Lanka are at the front line.