10 reasons to visit Moratuwa

Bolgoda Lake by Chamal 

If you’re a resident of Moratuwa and walk into a Cargills or Keells outlet in the area, you’re likely to bump into a relative or friend. Known by residents as a town where ‘everybody is related to somebody’, Moratuwa is a large suburb of Colombo city, on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka.

Travelling from Colombo, it is the town right after Mount Lavinia and Ratmalana. It’s surrounded by the Indian Ocean on the west and the Bolgoda Lake on the east. Apart from its charming people and thriving furniture business, there are many reasons that make this coastal town a marvel.

1. Veera Puran Appu
Moratuwa is the birthplace of Veera Puran Appu, a hero who rose against the oppression by the British in Kandy. Said to be the only personality to emerge from the country’s history clad in the garb of folk hero, Puran Appu dared to challenge the might of British imperialism during the Victorian era.
He was born in 1812 and left Moratuwa at the age of 13 to live with his uncle in Ratnapua. In 1847, he met and married Bandara Menika. On 28 July 1848 Puran Appu led an attack on Matale and although the attack was successful, other leaders who attacked Kurunegala and Wariyapola failed, which ultimately led to the failure of what is known as the Matale Rebellion. He was executed by a firing squad on 8 August 1848.
In addition to a new frog species found in Adam’s Peak named after him (Pseudophilautus puranappu), Puran Appu also has a school named after him in Moratuwa – ‘Weera Puran Appu Vidyalaya’. The school houses a museum in his honour, exhibiting items relating to his life and times. You can also find a statue of him holding a sword in front of the Moratuwa Municipal Council.
2. Prince of Wales’ College
Founded in 1876 by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa, a famous 19th century philanthropist, Prince of Wales is a selective entry boys’ school in Moratuwa. Its female counterpart is Princess of Wales, which is situated right next to it.
What’s interesting about the school is that it was one of the few schools in Sri Lanka that offered higher education outside of Colombo at the time. Following the arrival of the then Prince of Wales, Edward VII, in Colombo in 1875, Sir Charles Henry felt like naming the two schools after him. Permission was granted and the two schools were named Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales.
It would be hard to miss the massive expanse of sprawling grounds that the school buildings look out on. Located on the sea side of the Galle Road, these two schools are as much a part of the architecture of Moratuwa as its skies.
3. Bolgoda Lake
Presumed to be the largest natural lake in Sri Lanka, Bolgoda covers two-thirds of the Kalutara District. The lake’s depth is said to range from 20-50 feet and was used to transport people and goods from the upper stream Kalu Ganga during the Dutch period of Sri Lanka’s history.
The islands on the lake served as resting places for ferrymen. It was also a popular hunting ground for birds during the British period. The lake is rich in its biodiversity, with many mangroves, aquatic life and birds that add beauty to its aesthetics.
You can find quite a number of restaurants and resorts in Moratuwa that make use of the ‘lakefront experience’, not to mention some beautiful archaic homes that enjoy this treasure of nature as well.
4. Holy Emmanuel Church
The history of this Anglican Church dates back to 1799. On the site of the present general cemetery behind this grandiose house of worship, was an old Dutch building which stood for 140 years since 1675.
The building was pulled down by the British in 1815 to be replaced by the first Anglican church in Moratuwa, built by Sri Robert Brownrigg and was popularly known as the ‘Brownrigg Palliya’; it was large enough to hold 800 to 1,000 people.
The Church stands even today with its majestic appeal, and is a point of attraction for Christians and non-Christians alike.
5. Moratuwa University
On the banks of the Bolgoda Lake in Katubedda is the most sought-after technological university in the country –Moratuwa University. The university is a popular pick by students who wish to pursue architecture and design and has to its name countless number of success stories. Apart from undergraduate and postgraduate studies, it is rich in its extra-curricular activities like student services, societies and sports.
The university has won many accolades, both local and foreign, for its success in churning out accomplished students in the field of technology.
6. De Soysa Stadium
Formerly known as Tyronne Fernando Stadium, this is a multi-use stadium in Moratuwa. It is presently used mainly for cricket matches and can hold 15,000 people. The ground was opened in 1940 and gained Test status in 1979. It hosted its first Test match in 1992.
7. K-Zone
K-Zone is possibly the only department store offering a variety of products in Moratuwa. A part of Keells Super, this mall/shopping centre has something for anyone’s needs – from food and household items to clothing and shoes. It comes with ample parking and has select branded clothing stores and restaurants within its environs.
8. Dislin
A family style restaurant that serves up delicious food, Dislin is easily one of the better eating establishments in Moratuwa. Approved as an ‘A’ grade restaurant by the Tourist Board, it is also one of the largest restaurants in town.
While take-away is a popular option at this restaurant, it does come with a decent space where hungry diners can enjoy clean and sumptuous meals. From Dislin specials, pizzas, fried rice and noodles, salads and kothus to sandwiches, soups and meat dishes from both land and sea, Dislin has something for anyone’s taste-buds.
They also have a fully stocked bar complete with local and foreign liquor of wide variety. Delivery orders are well recommended as well.
9. Steam Boat
A branch of the main restaurant in Nawala, Steam Boat in Moratuwa will take you back to the era of colonial splendour when you see its construct, while offering you the very best of modern facilities.
The restaurant is located on the new Galle Road, and displays the legacy of the much-talked-about wood craftsmanship that Moratuwa is known for. You can enjoy fine Chinese cuisine in a Victorian ambience here. They come well recommended for their delivery service.
10. Furniture business/carpentry
You cannot do a walk-through of Moratuwa without bumping into an array of furniture stores. In fact there are whole roads dedicated to furniture businesses of both small and big proportions. The town has always been known for its excellent carpentry skills; in fact, most of the furniture stores in the country’s capital Colombo source their wood and carpentry services here.
(Trekurious together with DailyFT explores Sri Lanka for the curious traveller. Trekurious works with talented individuals and great brands to create amazing experiential tours, activities, and events in Sri Lanka. You can find out more at http://www.Trekurious.com.)

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