One of the oldest towns in the country, it is enveloped in century’s worth of history that makes it stand out from the rest of the neighboring towns in the vicinity.
The town is situated approximately 60 km south of the main city of Colombo. It was the first recorded Muslim settlement when Arab traders in the 8th century AD arrived. It is the first destination tourist’s visit before travelling to the nearby beaches in Bentota and Aluthgama.
Beruwala is recognized for its famous ‘Golden Mile’ beach, which is a tropical paradise for tourists and locals alike. It is dotted with palm trees that provide a bit of shade from the sun that’s beating down. With the sound of the calming waves crashing in the background, sipping on some fresh lemonade – what more could you possibly ask for?
The energetic ones have nothing to worry about or miss out on, as the water sports is top notch, with an array of activities to participate in and have fun with. From body boarding, banana boats, and water skiing – the list is pretty much endless.
It is the perfect destination to go for the day, a temporary getaway from Colombo.
Beruwala is the town that the first Moorish Muslims settled down in 1024 AD, when the Arabs arrived. The Somali sheikh Yusuf Bin Ahmad al-Kawenyn was credited to have converted the people of the area into believing in Islam. Islam is a religion that is based on one God, Allah and it that has been around 1400 years, and is a very peaceful and harmonious religion that billions of people all over the world follow.
All four religions – Buddhists, Tamils, Christians and Muslims all live together in unity, with churches, temples and mosques all built close to each other, signifying that everyone is in harmony with each other.
Most of the Muslim population predominantly live in the area, especially around the China Fort and involved with the gem trade for generations, the colored refined stones being traded through these very experienced merchants. The merchants used to travel to Ratnapura to obtain the stones and transform them into beautiful, glistening gem stones fit for anyone. This is one of the main sources of income for the people in this area, aside from the fishing harbour.
How to get there
From Colombo to Beruwala
By car – When travelling to Beruwala from Colombo, it will take approximately 1 hour, 2 minutes; the distance is not very far which is convenient.
By train – If opting to travel by train, there are trains that go to Beruwala daily, from the fort station. It will take around an hour and 42 minutes to reach there.
From Galle to Beruwala
By car – It will take an hour to get to Beruwala from Galle.
By train – When travelling by train it will take approximately an hour and five minutes to reach.
The climate in Beruwala is tropical, with generally high temperatures. There is a considerable amount of rainfall during the year. On average, the warmest month is in January and the wettest month is May, with a lot of rainfall during that month – so it its best to avoid visiting at that time
Food and Drink
Kandoori -This is a family based restaurant that has been around since 2007, and is based in both the main city of Colombo and in Beruwala as well. They serve a range of cuisines that include Indian, Western, Chinese and Sri Lankan. Their dishes include Buriyani, Naan, and chicken fried rice as well. They have high quality service and the staff is very helpful and accommodating.
Coral Reef Seafood Restaurant – When it comes to seafood, this restaurant should definitely be in your list of places to visit. It is located on the beach side right next to Cinnamon Bey, a five star hotel. They offer a range of dishes that are portioned well and guaranteed to leave you feeling very satisfied. From calamari to fresh fish that is sourced locally, excellent service and friendly staff. Prices are also reasonable.
Sunflower Seafood Restaurant – This is another restaurant that features seafood, including fresh prawns and lobsters which is a crowd favorite and pleaser, as well. They serve large portions of quality food that will definitely fill you up, and the service is excellent and everyone is very helpful.
Indian Summer Beruwala – As the name suggests, their main specialty is traditional Indian food, with not one – but three branches that are in Colombo, Nuwara Eliya and Beruwala. They’ve been around since 2004, which reflects their expertise when it comes to showcasing the renowned cuisine. They are proud to host culinary chefs from all over the globe, who are more than happy to satisfy your expectations. The atmosphere certainly caters to the overall experience, making you feel like you’re having an authentic northern Indian meal in Delhi. They’ve got a range of naans, meat-centered specialties and not forgetting roti, and a whole lot more.
The Brief Garden by Bevis Bawa -This is the residence and garden that belonged to Bevis Bawa, the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa’s brother. Bevis was a garden landscapist and designed the entire garden which reflects his personality and gives the current generations an idea of who he used to be.
Kande Viharaya – It is a historical Buddhist temple and originates back to the 17th century, founded by Karapagala Dewamitta Thero. The name ‘Kande’ is because it is built on top of a hill. It is located near the Aluthgama town.
Kechimalai Mosque – This is the oldest mosque that is enriched with centuries of history behind its existence. It is located on a rocky headland that overlooks the town. It’s said to be built on the site where the first settlers came to mark such an historic event. The architecture is Arabian which is very intricate and has a bit of colonial structure too. It is a place that is not just restricted to Muslims – it may be a Buddhist, Hindu or even a Christian; everyone is allowed inside to get an idea of the Islamic religion.
Golden Mile Beach – The Beruwala strip of beach with its tropical, low-key vibes is called ‘Golden Mile’ beach, where an increasing amount of tourists and locals who come for the sole purpose of relaxation and to enjoy the beach, as well as the laid back atmosphere. It’s also an ideal area for children run around, play and have a fun day at the beach; create wonderful memories to remember later on.
Moragalla Beach – This strip of beach isn’t that famous, hence it is the ideal relaxing spot as the atmosphere is very calm and peaceful. It is not that far from Beruwala and accessible. A range of different water sport activities can be done – windsurfing, diving and snorkeling.
Barberyn Island Lighthouse – The lighthouse is surrounded by tons of palm trees and the Indian Ocean – definitely the best combination there is. It is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the town so it is very calm. The view is especially the best during the sunset, with the backdrop of the lighthouse making it very picturesque.
Beruwala Harbour – There are many places to visit and experience in this town, but one of the major destinations that define Beruwala for being the way it is would be the traditional fishing harbor – constantly bustling with chaotic activity, lots of yelling and of course fresh fish, including prawns and other types of seafood too. It is the zone where the Arab-Muslims landed in the 8th century.
China Fort – The neighborhood of China Fort has been engaged in the Gem trade for generations, ever since the first Moors started the trade when they arrived in the town, and if it weren’t for them the gem trade wouldn’t have flourished the way it has currently, in the 21st century.