Hambantota is the chief town in Hambantota District, belonging to the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It covers a square area of 2593 km. It is part of the traditional south known as Ruhuna. In ancient times it was the centre of a flourishing civilizaion. It is known to have been blessed with fertile fields and a massive irrigation network. Hambantota was also known as "Mahagama", "Ruhuna" and "Dolos dahas rata". It was an under-developed area that was also hit hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and currently undergoing a massive development drive on the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Hambantota sea port and the Mattala International Airport are already constructed while the Southern Expressway linking the capital, Colombo and Matara is currently undergoing construction. These projects and construction of the Hambantota Cricket Stadium are said to be part of the government’s plan to transform Hambantota as the second major urban hub of Sri Lanka.
Tourists Attractions in Hambantota
Laying in a wide expanse of open country, Madunagala Hot Springs is a wonderful creation of nature in all its natural beauty. Historically, these hot springs flowed into a natural water hole. Recently they have been renovated and attractive stone tanks and basins have been created. Here, the hot water bubbles into the ponds and mixes with cooler water there. Warm water flows smoothly into the surrounding basins where visitors can enjoy the soothing mineral water. Changing rooms, western toilets and small shops with snacks and beverages are close by. Special indigenous ayurvedic drinks such as "Belimal" and "Ranawara" are local treats worth trying.
The most imposing rock temple in the south of the island is situated on an isolated rock 210m high, rising almost vertically from the surrounding forest. Terraces are found across the sloped southern side of this rock, where cave temples nestle beneath ledges of overhanging rock. The ancient origins of this temple are unclear, but it is learned from Brahmi scriptures carved into the rock that this has been the site of a Buddhist monastery for millennia. The general belief is that Mulgirigalla Vihara was founded around 130 BC and has been a place of tranquillity and sanctity ever since. The various cave temples contain fine murals of historical importance, which have been created during different periods of Sri Lankan history. However, Mulgirigalla is most famous for the discovery made here in the year 1826, when some olas (palm-leave manuscripts) in the library of one of its temples were found by an Englishman. After translating these from Pali to English he found that he had discovered the key to translating one of the ancient Chronicles of Sri Lanka, the "Mahawamsa".
Ussangoda (Landing place of Ravana)
Ussangoda is the legendary landing place of Ravana, the evil Sri Lankan king according to Hindu mythology who piloted his special peacock chariot across the skies. The area’s landscape is unusual, and its red earth is barren – possibly the result of a meteor that struck in ancient times. Ussangoda provides a panoramic view of the beach and the sea. The extent of this place is approximately 20 acres and very little grows on the barren red earth. Scrub jungle surrounds Ussangoda from the land side and on the sea side the plateau drops a sheer 60 feet over a rocky escarpment out to the open sea below. In ancient times this area was struck by a meteorite and the barren and unusual landscape still bears witness to this catastrophic event.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) (also known as the Hambantota International Airport) (IATA: HRI, ICAO: VCRI) is an international airport serving the city of Hambantota in southeast Sri Lanka. This airport is Sri Lanka's third international airport, after Bandaranaike International Airport and Colombo City Airport. It serves as the secondary hub for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. It is named after the Rajapaksa family. It is the newest and most developing airport in Sri Lanka. It is also the first greenfield airport in the country. The new international airport is expected to expand the local aviation industry while being a catalyst for the country’s economic development enabling international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment.
Kumana Birds Sanctuary
The Kumana National Park is located in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka. This 18,150 hectare park is a well-known birding location, where a multitude of birds come to breed and feed. One of the most significant features of the park is the 'Kumana Villu' - a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the Kumbukkan Oya through a long narrow channel. It is in this mangrove swamp that many water birds nest in May and June. Kumana is a very important national park for birdlife. An incredible 255 species of birds have been recorded here and from April to July tens of thousands of birds migrate to the Kumana swamp area.