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 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.
Weligama is one of the most reliable surf destinations in the Indian Ocean with several famous surf points in walking distance. There is one Beach Break, the Weligama Beach Brake (best for beginners), Reef Brakes are Kabalana, Midigama, Ram’s Point, Plantation Point and Two Secrets Point. Surf lessons, surf board hire and a surf camp provides all beginners or professionals are looking for.
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.
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.
There are number of massage therapists and wellness centers in Weligama area, offering a variety of treatments, from traditional Ayurvedic to modern.