Re-living the Dutch Times at Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle is the center of Dutch colonization and heritage in Sri Lanka. It is also the district headquarters of Galle district and the administrative capital of the Southern province. Located around 119 km from Colombo, it takes around 3 hours to reach here. However, if one takes the southern expressway, it takes much lesser time. Frequent buses are available from Petta bus stand of Colombo. Go for air conditioned buses as this region is pretty hot.

Located on the coast of Indian ocean, Galle’s old town and its fortifications are an UNESCO world heritage site. It has some amazing beaches as well. The environment inside Galle fort is very European. It is certainly going to awe you with its laid back life and old world charm. We reached Galle in the evening from Weligama in a bus. From near the Galle railway station, we took a tuk tuk and went to Galle fort. Being last week of December, which is the height of the season proved difficult for us to find a room inside Galle fort. In our first effort we could not find lodging. In despair, went out of the fort and YMCA. Nobody could show us where it was located. Some said it has moved, some said it is just a school. The address was provided by YMCA, Kandy. Then the tuk tuk took us further after the market area and was able to locate a locate a room for 1800 Sri Lankan rupees. But somehow that place did not strike a cord with us. We decided to give another try at Galle. This time we got lucky. We found a jeweler who was ready to rent out his recently furnished room on the first floor. We truck the deal at 2500 Sri Lankan rupees. Once I saw the fort, at any cost I wanted to stay here. That evening was the final day of the annual Galle carnival. Our hard effort to stay inside the fort rewarded us with the carnival. The procession went through the entire circumference of the fort. What a colorful display of Sir Lanka’s culture and dance. This gave an wonderful opportunity to do photography and we walked with troupes all along the way. There was also a small fair and I found that local singers were blurting out Hindi songs. That was definitely sweet music to the ears.

Next day morning we went to had breakfast at one of the food joint. Trying local food is a must in Sri Lanka. Then by 10 pm went out to see sights which are located outside the fort. We were back by late afternoon. As we wanted to catch the sunset went to the beach side. Due to clouds could not get a proper sunset. But that did not deter us to take a deep in the oceanic waters of Galle. In the late evening went for a walk in the dutch styled alleys. The lanes are lined by shops, restaurants or houses on both sides. The fort area is so clean and nicely maintained. A walk through it will take you to a different world. Later had scrumptious dinner at one of the restaurants. Following this went to the marine walk which is the fortification boundary with the beach. Leisurely watched ships moving in the distance and slowly walked back to our room. The Galle fort has struck such a chord with me that for sure I will be back here again.

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