Kallady beach after dark.
After a break at home in Colombo, I set off again on May 30th for Batticaloa, one of the main cities on Sri Lanka’s east coast. It’s surrounded by water, may it be lagoons or the sea, and despite its size, has a provincial feel to it. Most people get around the shaded streets by bike and no one seems in much of a hurry. It hasn’t got any particularly great sights to offer, but the pleasant, friendly, laid-back vibe make up for it.
Its recent history is anything but pleasant though. It was occupied by the LTTE for a lot of the war and only freed in 2007. It was also severely hit by the 2004 Tsunami and there are still remnants of villages that were completely destroyed only minutes away from Kallady beach, popular with locals.
Despite its difficult past, the people seem eager to move on, rebuild what they lost and rediscover their culture. The http://welcometobatticaloa.com is a good example of the city’s efforts to develop its tourism. I’ve yet to come across such a comprehensive website for any other place in Sri Lanka.