Puttalam – Kalpitiya Travelogue

By : Dinesh Deckker

Contact the Author : 0716 – 818740 | dineshdsd@gmail.com

Year & Month Number of Days Crew Weather Transport
May 2010 3 Day Trip 4 Sunny Car, Safari Jeep
Trip Route
This is the continuation of the Trip to Mannar and Talei Mannar. We returned via Anuradhapura visiting Wilpattu National Park on day two and Puttalam/Kalpitiya on day three on the way back.
Mahaweli Circuit Bungalow Nochchiyagama
Travel Tips, Travel Notes and Special remarks
  • It’s a very very long drive not recommended for heart patients and etc…
  • Take Water Bottles as Much as Possible.
    Photo Courtesy
    : Kosala Edirisooriya for some pictures

This travelogue is dedicated for my lovely wife Subhashini

Last day of our trip we planned to visit Kalpitiya and Bathlangunduwa. We were so tired and got up late and started the journey around 8.30AM. It took lot of time as the Puttalam – Anuradhapura (A12) is under construction.

On Our Way to Puttalam we stopped at “Thabbowa Wewa” and relaxed a bit. It is near karuwalagaswewa and it was a nice location to have breakfast.

Thabbowa Tank
Thabbowa is an ancient irrigation system in the Mee Oya basin. There is not much evidence on its construction and past. However it is believed built by King Kawantissa.

Irrespective of the time in which it was built, Thabbowa Wewa holds a timeless significance as an irrigation lifeline. R. L. Brohier has quoted from a chronical from ancient Sath Korale on Thabbowa.

Maha Thabbowa 12 cubits deep, Capacity 350 Amunu (app 875 acres) two sluices, There are 18 neglected villages on the catchment, 108 neglected villages and 32 abandoned temples along the bund…… Ancient Irrigation Work of Ceylon, RL Brohier

The modern rehabilitation of Thabbowa was started in 1912, with the estimated cost of Rupees 340,000.00. Once the rehabilitation was completed in 1925 it spilled for the first time on 08th December 1925. There was further rehabilitation work undertaken in 1969.

After the breakfast we continued the journey towards Kalpitiya. Our next destination was St. Ann’s Thalawila. But while passing Puttalam we saw lot of “Puttalam Buruwo”.

If you are interested in going to St Ann’s Thalawila you have to turn from Palakkudah and have to travel few kilometers.

St.Anne’s Church
No matter what religion you follow, St. Anne’s Church in Talawila is one of the most ancient and wonderful of all Christian shrines in Sri Lanka. Founded in the epicentre of tradition and holiness, thousands of pilgrims flock during the Christmas season, in March and August to this amazing place of solitude and solace. Close to Kalpitiya, the St.Anne’s Church is easy to access with the roads in good condition and offering some stunning views of the Talawila Beach in peace.

There are two accounts of its origins in which the first one is about a European trader, travelling in a ship dedicated to St. Anne, was shipwrecked off the coast of Talawila in the early half of the 18th century. As the place where they landed wasn’t very hospitable, they sought a place to rest their aching limbs and souls. They spied a large banyan tree at a distance and they approached it with the statue of St. Anne which they had in their possession. This image, they placed in the tree with the captain of the ship vowing to return again and build a church if his business prospered. The European trader obviously met with success as he desired, and kept his word by building a church at the place where the statue of St. Anne stood in its glory.

The other account is that in the 17th century, a poor Portuguese man journeyed from Mannar to Colombo in order to seek a livelihood. However, he failed to do so and was returning by the coast, when he happened to fall asleep under a large tree at Talawila at the site of the present church. He dreamed that he saw an image at the foot of the tree, with lighted tapers burning on each side. Waking up from his sleep, he saw with astonishment that the image was actually there.

In this confusion, he prayed loud and at that moment was suddenly dazed and awestruck by the ‘great awakening light’, which illumined the form of St. Anne herself. The mother of the Holy Virgin in her glorious presence stood before him and told that the image he had seen was intended as a representation of herself and that he should build a church there, christen it after her, and preserve in it the relic that had so graciously been revealed to him. Impressed and moved with this experience, the poor man set out to build a small Chapel.

St. Anne appeared to him again and left him some gold coins which enabled him shortly to return to his country where he raised funds for the construction of a permanent church at Talawila. He then had a third vision of this beautiful saint, upon whose instructions he built a larger one in its place.

“The image” now exhibited in the church is said to be the identical statue discovered by the Portuguese man in the manner narrated here. In 1943, by some strange coincidence, exactly a hundred years after the erection of the present church, there appeared the hull of a wrecked vessel for which the present generation has no recollection whatever. The crowds of people who flocked to view it, in the pious belief that it was the vessel which had once borne the image of St. Anne, testify to the persistence off the tradition.
Courtesy: Sunday Observer

We reached Kalpitiya around 1PM and we first wanted to see the Kalpitiya Fort. But when we went there the NAVY told without a written permission they cannot allow us to visit the fort. Even they allow us to go we cannot take pictures of the inside as it is the Main Navy Camp in Kalpitiya. So we had to forget it…!

Then we visited Kalpitiya Fisheries Harbor…

From Kalpitiya Fisheries Harbor we saw lot of small islands nearby. The most amazing experience was we saw Kalpitiya from Wilpattu National Park yesterday and Today we saw Wilpattu national Park from Kalpitiya

Next we visited Old Dutch Church in Kalpitiya.

St Peter’s Kerk, about a half-mile west of the fort, is Dutch in origin although it now displays the architecture of the British, who rebuilt the church in 1840.

After lunch in Kalpitiya we turned back to return home. Someday we will go back and will to a more detailed report on Kapitiya.


On our way to home we stopped at Marawila near Club Palm Bay resort to enjoy the sunset.

Have a Safe Journey…..

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A12 – Putallam – Anuradhapura Road

2 Responses to “Puttalam – Kalpitiya Travelogue”

  1. Hi Dinesh,

    Wow, what a nice experience!