No doubt, Galle fort is the best place in Galle. But there are other interesting destinations to see as well outside the fort walls. So we kept the second day to explore outside Galle fort. We hired an auto for 2000 Sri Lankan rupees to show us interesting places outside Galle fort. Around 10 am we left for our day trip. Quickly we left Galle town behind and started winding through narrow roads between rice fields and woods. The first stop was a Buddha temple:
Kalutara Buddha Temple
This temple is located on a higher ground. The first thing we saw was a large Buddha statue in standing position with a huge stone in the background. A white color pagoda is side by. The place is wooded and with large stones in a hilly setting creates an intriguing feeling. There are also Buddha statues of other styles but smaller in size. A big banyan tree with a Buddha statue sitting below it reminiscing the nirvana pose of Buddha. Inside one can see Buddha in Chinese avatar, a sleeping Buddha etc. The paintings on the wall are of Chinese or Tibetan in style. We also found a picture of Hindu god Lord Vishnu there. The tuk tuk guy, who also acted like our guide told they also pray devas (Hindu gods). We were told this temple is around 600 years old.
Second stop was Sea Turtle hatchery: It is located at Habaraduwa around 5 km from Galle – Matara road. This non profit organization was started in 1986 to conserve sea turtles. Being here one will come to know some good aspects of sea turtle’s life. It gives that rare opportunity to see a baby turtle as well as a grown up one. We found various kinds of Turtles like Olive Ridly, Green Turtle, Leatherback, Hawks bill and Loggerhead. We also came to know the process of breeding of sea turtles there. Entry to the hatchery will cost Rs 400 Sri Lankan rupees.
Ph: 0094 – 777836115
3rd stop was Ayurveda park. It is is spread over a huge area. Here indigenous Ayurvedic or medicinal plants are grown to produce Ayurvedic medicines and treatments. There is a lake in the estate where one can go for boating for a price. We choose not to do so as it was hot during the afternoon. We went for a nice session of ayurvedic message which cost us around Rs 800 INR.
Our next stop was a tea estate which specially produces white tea. The estate is a green abode and we also got to see an Iguana there. The estate also had sizable rubber plantation. But the highlight of the estate was white tea. The specialty of this tea is that it is made from the most slender tea leaf from a stem. It is said that this leaf is very high in anti oxidant content and has health values. So it costs high as well. Then we went through the tea making process there. The machines used are still the vintage ones from the British era. Finally we came to the tea testing and buying session. Around 30 different types of teas were on display. Tried various teas from wine tea to honey tea. It was an amazing time there. Ended up buying few packets of tea like mint tea which are typically not available here. The estate also provides lodging.
The last stop was Kalutara temple. It is a Buddhist temple situated on top of a hill. The view from here is amazing. One can see the vast shore line of Galle’s beaches. Best way to reach here would be a tuk tuk. The beautiful white peace pagoda is also nicely maintained. It has nicely crafted Buddha statue, elephant heads, trees etc which adds to the beauty. Very nice place to spend time with yourself, nature and beauty. There is also a Hanuman (monkey god) statue on the other side of the pagoda.