Negombo called ’Little Rome’ is a traditional fishing centre and a principal town in the coconut triangle in Sri Lanka which is situated approximately 30 km north of Colombo. Over 75 percent are Catholics, 20 percent are other religions and 5 percent are Buddhists of the population of Negombo .
Due to this there are many churches and shrines at Negombo but also has some ancient temples too. There is an excellent seafood eateries and reasonable shopping too attract visitors to this place. Most of all though, it’s the sea, sand and sun that bring visitors to its shores and if you are seeking a true tropical destination, then Negombo is a good choice.
The Dutch Fort
The Dutch Fort at the centre of the city, the lagoon that surrounds a part of the town, the island of Duwas situated between the lagoon and the sea and fascinating scenery have made Negombo one of the beautiful places in Sri Lanka. Among the various tourist attractions the Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo deserves special mention. The Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo was constructed in the year 1672 and now it is a part of the prison.
Negombo has been a Catholic fortress from the times of the Portuguese. There have been over 70,000 Catholics in the Western coastal belt during the Portuguese era.
A military blockade by the Dutch people in the year 1644 completely destroyed the Portuguese Fort. On the ruins of the fort, the Dutch Fort was constructed. It was constructed on a pentagonal pattern instead of the regular square pattern. It had only four bulwarks. Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo does not have a fifth bulwark.
In between a lagoon and a recess of the sea there is a narrow portion of landmass. The Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo was constructed on that landmass. There was constructed a drawbridge, through which the gate was accessed. The city faced it on the other side. The city was encircled by an earth wall.
Eventually the landmass on which the Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo was constructed was regularly washed by the sea. Thus the landmass gradually took the shape of a peninsula.
The Fort was visited by Governor Rumpf, who wished to see its betterment. The improvements that attracted his attention were an addition of new watch towers and the increase in the height of its walls. Some other modifications caught his eyes. Above the gate a big bell tower had been constructed.
Again he also found a new palisade, which had been constructed. A painting was made using water colours. The painting shows the Fort in a new grandness. The painting was made in the year 1720.
These days only ruins of the Fort can be seen. The British destroyed the Fort in the later half of nineteenth century. The stones of it were used to create a prison.
If a tourist wants to rejuvenate his spirits, he must visit Negombo. One who visits Negombo must see the Old Dutch Fort Gate, Negombo as an attractive tourist spot.
It is on record that in 1628 there were many churches in and around the city of Negombo. The most prominent among them are – a large and beautiful church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Negombo town, the church of the Most Holy Trinity at Hunupitiya, the Church of Our Lady of Remedies at Bolawalana, the church of the Holy Spirit at Pitipana and St. James’ Church at Pallansena.
St Mary’s Church – view some alabaster statues of saints and a colourful painted ceiling. Building of this Roman Catholic church was started in 1874 but only completed in 1922.
Popularly known as “Angurukaramulla Temple” it is never missed by the Buddhist pilgrims who pass through Negombo.
Entrance the budugeya you can see the lions’ mouth. Inside of this budugeya we could see many sculptures which are saying the jathaka katha. The most important thing on this place said Tourist Guide, Sumudu Chaminda. Inside of Budugeya has marble Buddha statue which donated by Burma.
The Dutch Canal
The Dutch Canal starting from Hendala to Pamunugama was constructed by the Portuguese in the 17th century.
It was used for the purpose of a supply route in the times of the Dutch administration. The canal is still being used. It runs across the town and is hundred kilometers long. It is used to serve as a supply to the Dutch administration along with the Old Churches and fishing villages during the Dutch rule.
A visitors can take a tour of the canal through a boat or a bicycle ride. It was constructed by the Dutch people from Colombo in the south to Puttalam in the north. The Dutch Canal, Negombo flows across Negombo. From the main street or the sea street one can find The Dutch Canal, Negombo running.
Negombo Beaches are not very crowded. The stretches are superbly maintained by the hotels while some are always busy with fisherman and their equipment. Equipment for water sports such as diving, wind surfing are available at most hotels and private vendors. There are few schools offering reasonable diving courses. In front of the beach there is a children’s’ park also built in very recently.