The Eastern coastal District of Batticaloa is rich in distinctive traditions, culture and lush unspoiled tropical wonders. Batticaloa popularly known as “Batti” is certainly one of the most popular tourists’ destinations in Sri Lanka. It is a perfect place for a relaxed vacation with its beautiful nature., rich culture, unspoiled beaches, famous architectural temples, kovils and churches with aged old festivals. Also the city is popular for its Anglo-heritage attractions too. Batticaloa city is 321 Kms East of Colombo via Habarana, Polonnaruwa and Valachchanai.
The city is surrounded by marvelous lagoons and palm trees. People called this city “the land of the singing fish”. You can easily explore the city while walking. This city is steeped with beautiful sandy beaches, lagoons and historical architecture from the Dutch Empire. The district enjoys two different seasons – tropical wet and dry climate. Generally the climate of this city is warm all year round with a few variations. Amazingly the season in Batticaloa is marked by the rains instead of temperature. The monsoon season is long here and it lasts from November to early March. Now the best time to visit Batticaloa is end of March to September, which is either side of the monsoon season. In this time, the weather is dry but doesn’t get too warm and hot.
Old Batti In Puliyanthivu
Puliyanthivu is an island of Batticaloa town. It has important infrastructures such as government buildings, banks, schools, religious worship places and historical importance places, including the Old Dutch Fort. Wandering around Old Batti starts from main bus stand, colonial style sky-blue St. Joseph’s Convent (St. Mary’s Street), famous St. Michael’s College (Central Road) and the sturday 1838 Methodist Church (Post Office Road). Of the dozens of churches, the most eye-catching is the huge blue, eight sided, unfinished Our Lady of Sorrows (Trinco Road) earth-toned St. Anthony’s and the grand, turquoise St. Mary’s Cathedral. Beside Kallady Bridge is the fairly modern St. Sebastian’s Church built in the shape of a whale.
The lighthouse at Muhathuwaram is one of the most popular attractions of Batticaloa, located around 5 Km from Batticaloa town. The 28 meter tall lighthouse is surrounded by coconut trees on one side and a beautiful lagoon on the other. An environmental learning centre, a children’s park, and the Palmyra Development Board are located within the lighthouse’s vicinity.
The six meter thick walls of Batti’s Old Dutch Fort is an iconic structure in the Eastern Province. This once mighty fort is now home to administrative offices and though large sections of the structure are crumbling it’s still an evocative sight. It was built by the Portuguese in 1628, but the Dutch took over after just 10 years, followed by the British. The Old English canons are pointing towards the Eastern and Northern side of the Fort protecting it from the waterways. Surviving watchtowers and ruined bell tower and old gallows are still in good shape to prove the old rule of the European powers. Views across the lagoon are magnificent. On the 1st floor of the office opposite the entrance gate, is a stone slab engraved with a 1707 VOC inscription. It was recently removed from the fort walls and now balances precariously on a chair.