Arugam Bay – Surfers’ paradise | Daily News


 

Arugam Bay – Surfers’ paradise

Arugam Bay in the Pottuvil Divisional Secretariat Division in the Ampara district is one of Sri Lanka’s tourist hotspots.

Arugam Bay is a famous surfing spot that attracts tourists from all over the world.

The tourism industry, which suffered a severe setback after the Easter Sunday attacks, is still recovering after the relaxation of travel advisories by many countries. Lonely Planet, one of the most popular travel magazines in the world, still lists Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2019 despite the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Arugam Bay is one of God’s greatest gifts that enhances the beauty of Sri Lanka, to the extent that it can be described as a ‘tourist’s paradise’.

Arugam Bay is located on the southeast coast, 320 km from Colombo and can be reached within seven hours via Moneragala. Arugam Bay beach, a wide sweeping sandy beach around the village of Ulla, is an attraction all year round.

The beach is not the only attraction in the area. The surrounding countryside encompasses the loveliest scenery that spans mangroves, jungle, lagoon, river, paddy fields and dunes, all of which are popular with tourists.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists visit Arugam Bay each year. The area is also reputed for its rich cultural heritage and famous places of worship such as Muhudu Maha Vihara, Magul Maha Vihara, the Kudumbigala archaeological site and Aukenda Temples. The Kumana National Park and the sand dunes are other attractions.

The surfing season in Arugam Bay starts in April and ends in October. During the season, the wind is predominantly offshore. Two kilometres inland from Arugam Bay is the scenic Pottuvil Lagoon. Local fishermen offer tourists boat rides on the lagoon.

The season for offshore dolphin viewing at Arugam Bay is from April to October and falls within Arugam Bay’s high season. Twelve kilometres south of Arugam Bay is Panama, the last inhabited village before entering the Yala East National Park. Panama lies inland, but intersects with lagoons and is rich in birdlife.

Twenty kilometres south of Panama is the village of Okanda that has a popular surfing spot. The village is home to a famous shrine located at the point where God Skanda is believed to have landed on the island.

Kumana National Park fed by a channel from the Kumbukkan Oya is the focal point of Yala East National Park. About 20 km into the park is the Kumuna Reservoir where mangroves host a wide array of aquatic birds, many of which nest in May and June. Among the birds, the painted storks, herons, egrets, Indian darters and little cormorants are common. Black-necked stork, one of the rarest birds of Sri Lanka, also finds a habitat in the park.

A few kilometres inland from Okanda lies the Kudumbigala forest hermitage. About 15 km inland from Arugam Bay (on the Siyambalanduwa – Pottuvil road), the main road that passes through the scenic Lahugala Park draws a herd of about 150 elephants during July and August.

Just east of Lahugala lies a cluster of ruins of the ancient Buddhist temple Magul Maha Vihara, built by King Dhatusena.

“The government has taken steps to promote tourism and to uplift the tourism industry,” said Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga in Pottuvil recently.

Minister Amaratunga along with Primary Industries and Social Empowerment Minister Daya Gamage inaugurated several development schemes in Arugam Bay, recently.

The Ministers launched a solar power electricity scheme at a cost of Rs.10 million, in Arugam Bay.

Thereafter, the Ministers participated in a meeting chaired by Pottuvil Divisional Secretary R. Thiraviaraj and discussed several key public and tourist issues.


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