I leave early in the morning for a visit to the Port City of Galle, a town rich in history. It was the center of the Dutch regime in the 17th century and the majestic Galle Fort bears testimony to this fact. The City of Galle is one of the well-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia and has been declared a `World Heritage City’.
Here I get to see the The Dutch Museum,Groote Kerk (Great Church) and The National Maritime Museum, which are famous landmarks. The city is also known for its delicate handmade lace and ebony carvings.
In the afternoon I travel back to Balapitiya and enjoy a relaxing boat ride on the “Madu Ganga”.
This is a great way to discover the unique beauty of MADU GANGA.
I admire the wild life - various birds, the water warans, even crocodiles and the mind blowing mangroves.
I visit a cinnamon farmer, an ancient temple on a small island, a fish farm and the marvellous floating red and white lotus flower fields. The river flows through a thick jungle of mangroves. Maadu Ganga is really a fascinating place. But the real beauty of Maadu Ganga can be enjoyed only if you sail downstream for about a kilo meter. The river spreads out to a very wide area creating about 25 to 30 tiny islands (Local name for an island is Duwa). The largest of these are Satha Pahe Duwa, Dimi Duwa, Galman Duwa and Katu Duwa.
-Sathe Pahe Duwa is the island which had been purchased by a person for five cents, a long time ago.
-Dimi Duwa has a thick growth of mangroves and gin pol.
-Galmanduwa is well known because of the bridge which connects this island to the mainland.
-Katu Duwa is known for the thick growth of wetakeiya, mangroves and beli patta.
-Maa Duwa, from which perhaps the river has got its name as it is the largest of these islands.
-Kok Duwa is known for the Buddhist Temple there which caters for the religious needs of the islanders.
-Dik Duewa has got its name because it is oblong and is the longest of the islands.
On my way back to Kalutara, I visit a Turtle Hatchery in Kosgoda. Turtles beach in Kosgoda to lay their eggs. The fisherman keep watch and take these eggs to sell them in the city fish market or consume them as a healthy meal. The Turtle Foundation purchases these eggs and hatches them in their own hatcheries. Once hatched, the baby turtles are provided refuge for three days and released into the sea.
The next day I visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela.
The Orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants abandoned by their mothers and displaced from their natural environment due to development projects. Most orphans cannot be introduced back to the wild, as other elephant family groups will not accept them. They enjoy a good life with their human parents and many find foster homes in zoos around the world. It is most interesting to visit the Orphanage at feeding time to see the baby elephants been bottle-fed. After which the entire herd is taken for a bath in the river.