Situated along the south-eastern coastline, the traditional fishing village of Hambantota Sri Lanka was often frequented by merchants from the far-east owing to its natural harbor, making it the ideal stop-over en route to the western world. The vessels in which these merchants traveled were called ‘sampans’ and ‘thota’ means port. Therefore, the port in which the sampans anchor came to be popularly known as ‘Sampantota’, which latterly came to be known as ‘Hambantota’.
This city also popularly known for its mass production of salt, was primarily an agricultural city. Prior to the modernization of this city, the agriculture in the district was characterized by chena cultivation and paddy cultivation on non-irrigated land. However, Hambantota Sri Lanka is now developing rapidly and even boasts an International Cricket Stadium that was used for the first time to host the Cricket World Cup 2011. The first South-Asian Beach Festival too was held in this city.
Travel to Hambantota is now much easier than it used to be due to the Southern Express Highway from Colombo to Matara accounting for the major part of the distance.
Hambantota weather is generally rather dry and the month of August is the driest whereas November is usually a relatively wet month.
Things To Do
Though relatively laidback until fairly recently, there are actually plenty of things to do in Hambantota, especially given the current development drive. You can either be a part of the fun and games on the beach or simply enjoy the glorious atmosphere and calm surroundings. Some of the highlights of the things to do in Hambantota include gliding along the Walawe River getting a glimpse of the wild, or soaking in the warmth of the Mandunagala hot-water springs. Lazing around on the sandy beaches in this area too is an experience.
The Wild Safari Hotel Restaurant serving tasty Sri Lankan food at more than reasonable prices is a great option for a hearty local meal, but a must on your list of things to do in Hambantota is to taste the delicious home-made kalu dodol, a traditional sweet meat.
The Hambantota Harbour being a natural harbor and in fact providing the roots of the name Hambantota, formerly known as ‘Sampantota’, is certainly one of the greatest attractions in Hambantota. It was at the Hambantota Harbour that merchants from Siam, China and Indonesia anchored their vessels on their trade route to the west.
The Bundala National Park located near the coast of Hambantota, towards the south of the Weerawila Weva, is an amazing wildlife sanctuary filled with large crocodiles and migrant birds. The Yala and Udawalawe Sanctuaries too situated in the area offer a very high degree of bio diversity and are great places to encounter wild elephants, wild boar, leopards, bears etc. Many religious places such as Tissamaharamaya, Kataragama Devalaya and Kirivehera too are situated in close proximity to Hambantota.
The Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium which hosted the Cricket World Cup 2011 is one of the must see attractions in Hambantota. Another one of the fascinating, unusual attractions in Hambantota is the traditional brass-works of Angulmaduwa where Sri Lanka’s famous brass-works ranging from bells to oil lamps all began.