19 Jun 2010

Negombo, Sri Lanka

My first postcard from Sri Lanka and many thanks to Ravindra!

Negombo is a town of about 65,000, approximately 37 km north of Colombo, in Sri Lanka. It is located at the mouth of the Negombo lagoon, about 7 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Negombo has a small port, and its economy is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry, though it also produces cinnamon, ceramics, and brass ware. The name "Negombo" was first used by the Portuguese, a corruption of the Sinhala name Mīgamuva". The town is situated by the shores of a lagoon of the same name, and was a trading port during the periods of Portuguese and Dutch colonization.

Negombo offers some of the better beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka, and draws tourists who stop over for a day on their way to or from the airport. Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fisherman and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also extremely popular among visitors, with a few well preserved coral reefs and a 50 year old shipwreck (Kudapaduwa) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. Since the beginning of European Colonization, the township of Negombo has a majority of Roman Catholics along with Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Negombo has been given the name "Little Rome" due to the highly ornate Portuguese-era Roman Catholic churches found within the township. The Katuwapitiya Church and the Grand Street Church are two biggest parishes in Negombo. "Agurukaramulla Pansala" is a famous Buddhist temple bringing Buddhists from all over Sri Lanka to Negombo every year.

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