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22-03-2023

Personal Experiences

Taking a Boat Ride to the Temple Island on Koggala Lake Near Galle in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is my all time favourite destination for a family holiday; not only because of the golden grained beaches but also because of the offbeat experiences it offers at minimal costs. One such experience is island hopping in Koggala lake, not very far from the famous Dutch town of Galle. You can hire a boat for a 90 minute boat trip to see the islands on the Koggala Lake. It costs about 6000 Sri lankan rupees which even after inflation and other ups and downs discounted, shouldn't cost us more than 3000 Indian rupees. This lake has a dense growth of Mangroves and you can spot wildlife on your way to the islands. We spotted two monitor lizards and many birds that were unrecognisable to me and my equally uninformed family.


Koggala Lake is a beautiful and serene lake located in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It is one of the largest lakes in the country and is surrounded by lush greenery and a variety of islands. The best way to explore this beautiful lake is by boat, and that's exactly what we did!


We started our journey early in the morning and were greeted by a friendly and experienced boatman who took us on a tour of the lake. The boat was comfortable and had plenty of space for us to sit and enjoy the scenery and enough elbow room for me to shoot my videos with a very intrusive selfie stick. 


Our first stop was at a small island called Madol Duwa. This island is famous for the book "Madol Duwa" written by Martin Wickramasinghe, a renowned Sri Lankan author. The island is covered in lush greenery and has a small temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. We spent some time exploring the island and taking in the beautiful surroundings. 
We then stopped at another island called Kothduwa, which is known for its beautiful mangrove forests. We took a boat ride through the mangroves and as luck would have it, I spotted a monitor lizard lazily sunning itself while we cautiously crept past it in our boat. Our final stop was at another small island that is home to a Buddhist temple.

 

This Temple Island is called so after a small but beautiful Buddhist temple that is apparently a popular pilgrimage site among locals during Sri Lanka's monthly full moon celebrations.The temple is small, but every inch of its interior is decorated with brightly coloured geometric designs and muraLs depicting scenes from the Buddha's life; all these are very familiar to us as Indians. There was no exact answer that I could extract from anyone about the date of construction of this temple. Also the island nore or less looked uninhabited, a sole oasis of faith in the tempestuous waters of Koggala lake. 


Anyway, My mother being a bit of a history and mythology buff, started explaining the murals on the walls to us. She pointed out the scenes of birth of Buddha, his renunciation of material life and his enlightment. It was a fun trivia game all of us played while trying to identify the scenes depicted in the wall murals. There were statues of the disciples of Buddha lined up inside the temple. This was our unique window into the Sri Lankan Buddhism that otherwise is very inconspicuous. After spending surprisingly calm and peaceful 20 minutes exploring the temple, despite my family's random ramblings, we left the island and headed for a an aromatic adventure; a trip to Cinnamon island...as detailed in my VLOG

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