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Matara & Dondra Head

Buddha statue and tempel near Matara

The distance from Hikkaduwa to Matara is 56 km. The city, which has a university, offers no great attractions except for a small Dutch fort; hence it is relatively untouched by tourism.

Only a few kilometres from Matara you will find the temple site of Weherahena, a place for Buddhist pilgrimages. It has a 39 m-high Buddha statue.

In the temple site, much of which is underground, you will find displays of stages of the life of Buddha drawn in a comic-book style.

Punishment for terrestrial misdemeanors

Close by is the even more fascinating temple of Wewurukannala.

Here, dramatic pictures and sculptures show the drastic punishments which are meted out for earthly sins. In fact, these highly graphic depictions do not seem very Buddhist.

The Wewurukannala tempel

Some kilometres further you reach the most southern point of Sri Lanka: "Dondra Head".

Should you take it into your head to swim straight south from here, prepare for a long swim: the next land is 7,980 km away: the Antarctic.

There is a train service to Matara. However, because there are countless things to see along the way, some of which are just off the main road and are difficult to reach, you are recommended to hire a taxi.

City Map of Matara

City Map of Matara

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