Weligama is located at a distance of 143 km south of Colombo along the southern coastal belt of Sri Lanka.
Weligama can be reached by the main A2 Colombo-Galle-Matara motor way, the Southern Expressway as well as by Colombo-Matara southern Railway line.
Weligama town Sri Lanka
The Weligama bus station is in the centre of the town of Weligama, which is one block inland from the bay. Weligama railway station is another block inland from the bus station. Directly opposite the railway station is the small post office of the town. Close to the post office are a few local banks.
Weligama Beach Sri Lanka
Weligama is a popular tourist destination and hosts several boutique hotels. The name Weligama itself, in Sinhala, means `Sandy Village’ which is a direct reference to the sandy bay beach in the town. The loveliest stretch of the bay beach is around the island of Taprobane. Most often dozens of traditional colourful outrigger boats are seen pulled up following their night fishing expeditions.
Stilt fishermen in Weligama
Weligama beach is famous for its stilt fishermen. In chest-deep water on the beach, just a few meters off-shore, are the stilt fishermen perched on a cross bar fixed on a single pole planted into the sea-bed. These fishermen, who are the poorest of the poor, spend hours with their lines cast out to the sea to catch small fish and sell them in return or use for their daily meals.
Leper King Statue
At the western end of the town, near the railway track, stands a 3 meter high rock carved statue of a regal figure. It was believed to be a statue of a king whose identity hasn’t been established even today. According to the legend, the statue depicts an eighth or ninth century provincial ruler who had revered from leprosy by drinking coconut milk for three months. The other belief is that the statue depicts the Mahayana Bodhisatva, possibly Avalokitesvara. The carvings of meditating Buddhas in the tiara of the statue lend credence to the belief concerning the Bodhisatva.
Taprobane at Weligama
The most enchanting feature of the bay beach is the small island called Taprobane, just 200 meters off the shore of Weligama. Peeping through the lush tropical greenery of the rocky island is the red-tiled roof of the exquisite white villa built on the centermost elevation. The villa was built by the exiled French Count de Mauny, who owned the island in the 1930s. During the 30 years that Count de Mauny made Taprobane his home, he played host to Kings, Statesmen, Aristocrats, Governors and Magnates. The villa and its gardens with the tropical beauty therein enraptured all the distinguished guests of the Count. Today the whole island and the villa that consists of 5 suites and an infinity swimming pool, is managed by a staff of five members and is available for holiday makers.
Weligama Lace weaving
Along the beach road are the verandas of the houses where local ladies can be seen busy at turning out exquisite products of crochet and tatting lace: blouses, table clothes, table mats etc. Introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Lace making has remained a traditional handicraft along the coastal stretch of Weligama. The trade of making lace flourishes at Weligama during the main tourist season which is from October to March.
From Weligama beach, a walk amidst the countryside reveals the tropical beauty of the southern villages of Sri Lanka: the river that runs through the forest, coconut plantations and rubber plantations bring in vivid landscapes. You will also come across rice fields that lead to a Buddhist temple.
Aggrabodhi Vihara at Weligama
The Aggrabodhi Vihara located about 1 Km from the Weligama rest house towards inland is an ancient temple site established in the 3 century BC. The present Aggrabodhi Vihara is a reconstruction of the ancient Buddhist temple which was destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. The Sinhalese literary works of the 13th and 14th centuries had been narrated on Aggrabodhi Vihara Buddhist Temple revealing the importance of it.
Snake Farm at Weligama
14km from Weligama along the Akuressa Road is the popular Snake Farm, which has fifteen kinds of snakes on it. Among the snakes are enormous pythons. The visitors are allowed to handle snakes with the assistance of the caretakers.