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Baticaloa

 

 Baticaloa

Batticaloa, better known simply as Batti, is the regional centre of Sri Lanka’s southeast coastal area. The Portuguese were the first to erect a fort here in 1572. The Dutch claimed it in 1638, handed it over to the Kandyans in 1643, but reoccupied and modified it in 1665. In 1795 it was surrendered to the British, and it still stands today by the banks of the Batticaloa Lagoon. Although the interior is now an administrative office, the exterior is still in good condition with unbroken square walls, a bastion in each corner, and a moat that still holds water.

However, Batticaloa’s most celebrated attraction is not its fort but its singing fish. Between April and September, in particular on moonlit nights, strange sounds emanate from the waters of the lagoon. They have been described by some as being like the tuning up of a string orchestra, while others say they are more akin to musical chords or the vibrations of a wine-glass, when its rim is rubbed by a wet finger. To experience these sounds clearly it is best to take a boat into the middle of the lagoon, thrust a pole into the shallow, muddy bottom, and hold it to one’s ear. The source of these sounds has been the subject of much controversy. Some believe that they are caused by species of mollusc living in the lagoon, while others maintain that topsail catfish, which congregate in great numbers in the lagoon during the April-September period, are the cause. Still others suggest that the sounds are created by tidal water flowing through holes in rocks at the bottom of the lagoon.

Baticaloa Town

The Coastal town of Baticaloa lies on a narrow land fecing Indian Ocean to the east and lagoon of Batticaloa.

There are several Islands within the Batticaloa Lagoon such as puliayantheevu, Baffaloa Island,and Bone Island. Many bridges are built across the lagoon connecting the landmasses and the islands. The biggest bridge of all is Lady Manning bridges(popularly called as Kallady Bridge)located at Kallady, which is the main access path to the city from the southern places of the district.Baticaloa city has four main divisions

Pullianthivu:

Here are many government department and offices, schools, banks,religious places, General Hospital, Weber Stadium and Shops.

Koddamunai:

Here are Schools, Banks, Sri Lanka Telecom regional office, Shops and many government offices are located Two bridges called Perya Palam and puthuppalam are connects pulianthivu island with Koddaminai.

Kallady:

Here there are many Government buildings and private industries, Schools, hospital and Medical Faculty of Eastern University. Kallady Lady Manning bridges connects Kallady and Arasay.

Puthu:

The domestic airport of Batticaloa is located here.

Batticaloa Beach

Batticaloa has coral rich seas along the east coast. Diving and snorkeling is possible in the seas off Batticaloa.Late March to end of October is a good season for these activities on the eastern coast,especially at the Passikudah and Kalkudah beached nearby.

Batticaloa Lagoon

Batticaloa Lagoon, the largest lagoon features extensive mangrove swamps and some sea grass beds that attract a wide variety of water birds. Baticaloa lagoon is famous for its singing fish: on full moon night, during the period of April to September, a faint but distinct musical sound resembling a plucked guitar rises from the lagoon waters in the area along the kallady Bridge, a couple of kilometers off the town center of Batticaloa. The mysteries music is attributed to a noise emanated from some form of a marine life found in the lagoon. The best way to listen to the music is to dip an end of an oar into the water and hold the other end to your ear.

Baticaloa Light House

Baticaloa Light House called Muttuwaran Lighthouse built by the British in the year 1913 is located where the Batticaloa lagoon meets the Indian Ocean on the Bar Road. The Bar Road is a stretch of sand bar along the lagoon with the ocean to the eastern side. The lighthouse rising to a height of 28 meters is a rounded tower. The observatory at the top with a radius of six feet features a balcony painted in red with a couple of railings to protect the light house keeper.

Batticaloa Fort

The solid looking Batticaloa Fort of hulking walls, the most picturesque of the small Dutch forts of sri Lanka was built by the Portuguese in 1628 as a trading and administrative center. .the fort guarded by four bastions, protected by the sea from 2 sides and by a moast on other 2 sides ,was captured by the Dutch from the Portuguese in 1638,It  was the first Portuguese fort in Sri Lanka captured by the Dutch.

The Fort is bordered by a moast on two sides and the lagoon on the others,the stone fort remained in Dutch hands for nearly two centuries before the British entered the country in the late 18th century and took control of the Dutch fortifications.The site has significant religious implications dating back to the 1st century B>C,evidenced by a Buddhist stupa and shatra from the Ruhuna kingdom that remains in the area.within the fort there are several local government administrative offices along with the monument stone for the original Dutch church that was built here in the 18th century .Above the entry to the fort,you can still make out the VOC symbol of the Dutch east Indies company with dates back to 1638 when the Portuguese were ousted.

Unichchai Tank

Unnichchai is an agrarian village 15Km to the west of Batticaloa town in the eastern province .The Unichchai dam is one of the largest dam in the eastern province.It was breached by the cyclonic flood an 1957 and restored and strengthened in the year 1985.