Dondra Head

Once the capital of Sri Lanka, depicted as a fabled city that possessed the power of the gods, Dondra or ‘Devundara’ (meaning ‘city of the gods’) is a one of a kind city that has its roots in the 7th century AC. Located almost 3 hours South from Colombo, it is the Southernmost city in the country that boasts a calm and tranquil coast, along with a rich history that contributes to the diverse culture of the country.

Top Reason to Visit

Being home to ancient temples, mysterious folklore, pristine beaches and the tallest lighthouse in Sri Lanka, the little city of Dondra serves as the ideal location for a laid back coastal getaway and gives you the perfect chance to understand the mysterious folklore that surrounds it and the country as whole.

While You're There

Sun, sand and beaches:

The endemic beaches of the Southern coast of Sri Lanka are ever present in this little city. The most notable being the ‘Beach of Devinuwara’ that experiences calm and tranquil waters. Feel the soothing sea breeze as you take a gentle stroll along a beautiful vista during sunrise or sunset and admire the exquisite sceneries that are projected.

Deep South:

Dondra, sometimes called ‘Devundara’ or ‘Devinuwara’, possesses the tallest lighthouse in Sri Lanka towering at 160 metres. The white octagonal brick tower marks the southernmost point in Sri Lanka and is a testament to Sri Lankan maritime importance, as the lighthouse still serves as an important guide to the many ships that pass by.

Epicenter of religion:

There is a reason as to why it is called the ‘city of gods’. It was home to one of the most elaborately decorated temples in the country dedicated to god Vishnu or ‘Upulvan Deviyo’, as the city was believed to have the power of the gods. However, it was destroyed during the 16th century, as a result of Portuguese colonization. Certain sections of the temple has been rebuilt ever since, however, its original grandeur still lies in ruins allowing you to re-imagine the once grand temple revered by Buddhists and Hindus alike.

Festivals to marvel:

Some of the most anticipated events are organized by the temple during the month of Esala (a month in the Buddhist calendar that normally falls between July - August) attracting worldwide attention. The Dondra fair and perahera (procession) is held for 8 days, during the time where the town enters a festive mood, in which many unique cultural displays are showcased leaving you memories to cherish forever.

Insider Advice

Travel: Getting about the city is not difficult as it is a small city and most attractions are close by to each other. Walking is the best option, however, should you find it difficult, tuk-tuks are available. Tuk-tuk charges often vary since you will have to haggle to get a reasonable price (confirm the distance of your destination beforehand as it makes it easier to negotiate).

Money: It is imperative that you have cash in hand for your everyday expenses with small notes like LKR 20s, LKR 50s and LKR 100s, as many of the shops do not accept credit or debit cards.

Clothing: The city’s deep entwinement with the major religion of the country makes it a conservative one. In other words, your clothing should be conservative respecting the traditions of the city.

Safety: The town is laid back and very safe. Just be mindful of your belongings in very crowded areas, as it could be snatched unknowingly.

Meals and refreshments: The city centre has many small eateries that sell some delicious food at reasonable prices. Most of them only accept cash, but there are few places that do accept credit and debit cards.

There are only few cities that reflect the rich culture, history, serene beaches and landmarks of the country. Dondra is just one of those cities that has everything that showcases the splendor of Sri Lanka, the paradise island.

Title image by: KNOWSL
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