One of the most preferred and well established beaches in Sri Lanka is Bentota Beach. Located on the west coast about 60 kilometers from the capital city of Colombo and approximately 90 kilometers from the international airport, Bentota is home to a lovely beach that is flanked by 5-star hotels, posh restaurants, a river, folk villages, ancient temples and tropical wildlife.
Bentota offers calm balmy waters and exciting water sports such as diving, windsurfing, jet skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, boating and deep sea fishing. On the beach are a number of diving schools that offer lessons and dives for a glimpse of the exotic underwater world off this widely known tourist destination. The best months for scuba diving in this area are December, March and April.
In the past, Bentota was simply a place to rest for pilgrims who are making their way to Galapatha Temple, which according to legends contain a maze of underground tunnels connecting to all other temples in the region. Galapatha is an important Buddhist temple complex along the same main road leading to Bentota. A large procession happens here every year in honor of Arahant Maha Kashyapa, a disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha. The temple is home to the only relic left behind by the revered Buddhist disciple, one of his teeth.
The rich religious and national history of Sri Lanka is not difficult to trace since this mystical island is often mentioned in ancient Indian literature. The island of Lanka mentioned in the epic Ramayana is actually Sri Lanka. In the story, the island was King Ravana’s fortress when this evil king captured the beautiful wife of Rama. To rescue his wife, Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu God, sent a flying monkey to destroy Lanka and built a bridge across the sea from the mainland to the island lair. His soldiers trod on this bridge and eventually rescued his wife. Today, geological maps show a faint natural land bridge that connects Sri Lanka to the rest of the subcontinent.
Sri Lanka is a fascinating tropical vacation destination that is steadily gaining tourism popularity for its temples, palaces, ancient cities, gardens, rainforests, national parks, gems and beaches. Its ancient names prove that it used to be a leading travel destination even before the advent of modern tourism. These monikers include “Teardrop of India”, “Resplendent Isle”, “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” and “Island of Dharma”, to name a few. It is located just off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka is formerly called Ceylon.
In Bentota, foreign tourists are treated to scenic boat trips along the Maadu River through ancient temples, lush estates, wildlife sanctuary and other nature resorts. Other than the romantic river safari tour, leading activities here include swimming, body surfing, jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing. The area is also a popular starting point to several day trips going to the country’s picturesque West and South Coasts, as well as sightseeing and shopping in the big cities of Colombo and Kalutara. Near Bentota are several souvenir shops, traditional markets, modern supermarkets and rows of street shops in Aluthgama.