Bentota

a kayak on the bentota riverBentota is a coastal town in Sri Lanka, located in the Galle District of the Southern Province, governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Colombo and 56 kilometres (35 mi) north of Galle. Bentota is situated on the southern bank of the Bentota River mouth, at an elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the sea level. The name of the town is derived from a mythical story which claims a demon named 'Bem' ruled the tota or river bank.

Bentota is a tourist attraction, with a local airport (Bentota River Airport) and a handful of world-class hotels. It is a destination for watersports. Bentota also delivers an ancient art of healing called Ayurveda. Bentota is famous for its toddy production, an alcoholic beverage made out of coconut nectar. It also has a turtle hatchery, located on Induruwa beach.

In the 17th Century the Portuguese built a small fort at the mouth of the Bentota River (Bentara Ganga), which in Sinhala was called Parangi Kotuwa, meaning the fort of the Portuguese. The river marked the southern extremity of Portuguese held territory in Sri Lanka. The Dutch subsequently allowed the fort to fall into disrepair, converting one of the large buildings within the fort into a colonial rest house for Dutch Officers travelling between Colombo and Galle. The British subsequently converted the rest house into a coastal sanatorium. The British introduced the railway in the early 19th century, mainly to transport the coconut produce from the deep south to the capital, building a permanent bridge (Bentota Palama) to cross the river.

Bentota 2 

Tourist attractions in Bentota

  • Bentota Beach
  • Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery - located 11 km (6.8 mi) south of Bentota, is a community based turtle hatchery and turtle watching project set up by the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) in association with the Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka.
  • Brief Garden - located 11 km (6.8 mi) inland from Bentota, is the house and garden of renowned Sri Lankan landscape architect, Bevis Bawa, the older brother of architect Geoffrey Bawa. Established in 1929 on the grounds of a former rubber plantation Bawa continued to develop the property until his death in 1992.
  • Galapatha Raja Maha Vihare Buddhist temple, located in Bentota, contains stone inscriptions, stone carvings, pillars, ponds and troughs from the medieval period.
  • Richy Skylark Helipad. This helipad operates helicopter joyrides in Bentota near the estuary operated by Skylark Aviation Helicopters.

 

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