Gandara is a village in the Matara District on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 168 kilometers from Colombo. Historically, Gandara belonged to the area called Ruhuna, one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka. The temple in the village was built by ancient kings and now is a popular sacred place among Buddhists in the area. Parey Dewa is a relatively modern Buddhist temple on Pigeon Island in front of the city. It is reached by an elegant cable-stayed footbridge, which was erected in 2008.

The temple is set in attractive gardens and houses numerous statues of Buddha and a replica of the gold footprint found on Adam’s Peak. Gandara, Matara is also known for its well-preserved Dutch forts. The Matara fort consists of a large stone rampart, occupying the promontory, which separates the Niwala River lagoon and the ocean. Star Fort is on the western or landward side of the Nawali River. The fort was constructed by the Dutch following the Matara rebellion in 1761, to protect the main fort from attacks originating from the river.

Getting Here

How do I get to Talalla Retreat? Talalla is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka near the city of Matara. It is well connected with public transport from all parts of Sri Lanka. From the airport: Airport Pick-up (3 hours): We can pick you up upon your arrival at the airport, 24 hours a day. Our driver will be ready to welcome you with a sign reading your name – Talalla Retreat. We can fit up to 6 persons in the van. Fewer if you are carrying surfboards. Remember to pre-book with our reception: [email protected] ($110) Taxi or Other Drivers (Average 4 Hours): Taxis are available at the airport. Some will be willing to take you to the south coast – others will hesitate. Make sure you say Matara/Gandara as a destination point so that they know where they are heading and ensure they know exactly where Talalla is. If you take a private driver from the transport stands in the arrival terminal, make sure that you bargain to ensure that you get the best deal.

Train (Average 6.5 Hours): Sri Lanka is well known for its beautiful train rides through the local villages and coastal towns. This is one of the longer options and will involve a Tuk-Tuk or taxi ride to the closest station. But it would be well worth your time if you are after a bit of an adventure and would like to experience some of the local culture first hand. Take the train from Colombo Fort Station to Matara Train Station . Bus (Average 6-8 Hours) This option would suit people traveling on a budget, not for the faint-hearted! The chaos on the roads of Sri Lanka can be a bit overwhelming at first but if you are into adventure then this can be a wild experience! First take a taxi to Negombo bus station. From there, you can hop on a bus that utilize the newly established highway from Colombo to Matara, and then a local bus can be taken from Matara to Talalla. (Total approx 5,000 RPS) Cinnamon Air Sea Plane (1 Hour Flight) How fancy, right? Yes… Sea planes can be rented to fly from Colombo to a destination about 45 minutes from Talalla, Just make sure you have your camera with you because the Sri Lankan coastal scenery will mind-blowing! www.cinnamonair.com