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Like its temples and beaches, Sri Lanka is renowned for its wide range of lighthouses that guard its coastal stretch. From Batticaloa Lighthouse to the famous Dondra Head Lighthouse, each of these spots plays a significant role in the country’s maritime history and navigation. The next time you are exploring the southernmost part of Sri Lanka and wish to explore the popular sightseeing spots, the Dondra Head Lighthouse is one of those places that’s a must to visit and explore. It is a prominent structure that has guided ships through treacherous waters for over a century. Known for its strategic importance and stunning views, the Dondra Head Lighthouse attracts numerous visitors from around the world.

Where Is Dondra Head Lighthouse Located?

Location of Dondra Head Lighthouse

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Dondra Head Lighthouse is situated in the Dondra Head, or Devinuwara, region of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. When you look at this location on the map, it accounts for the southernmost top of the island, which significantly impacts the maritime navigation of the surrounding area. If you are in Matara, Dondra Lighthouse is roughly 6 km from the town.

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Interesting Facts About Dondra Head Lighthouse

Little details about Dondra Head Lighthouse

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But before you plan your visit to Dondra Head Lighthouse, here are some facts that will help you gain an insight into the Lighthouse:

Historical significance: According to historical reports, the Dondra Head lighthouse dates back to 1889 when it was constructed by the British to aid in the safety of the ship’s navigation to ensure that the passengers and soldiers arrive and depart without complications. To this day, despite it being centuries old, the lighthouse is operational.
Location: WHCV+GJ4, Port Access Road, Dondra, Sri Lanka
Dondra Head Lighthouse Timings: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Dondra Head Lighthouse entry fees:
Walking up to the lighthouse’s base is no entry fee.

Best Time To Visit Dondra Head Lighthouse

Best time to visit

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The Dondra Head Lighthouse in Sri Lanka is operational and accessible to tourists annually. So, if you are wondering about accessibility, there are no restrictions. You can visit the lighthouse any time you visit Sri Lanka’s southern province. However, the ideal and most favourable period to visit and explore the lighthouse is from November to April. The weather is comfortable, and with no rainfall or scorching heat, you won’t have to sweat while exploring the lighthouse and the surrounding areas.

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How To Reach

The best way to reach Dondra Head Lighthouse

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The Dondra Lighthouse is located in the remote village of Dondra, which is roughly 6-7 km from Matara. Hiring a tuk-tuk or taxi shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to reach.
However, if you are directly travelling from a nearby big city like Colombo, you can go ahead and hire a taxi from Colombo to take you to the lighthouse. There are a few local buses from Colombo to Matara and from Matara to Dondra as well. This option is perfect for travellers who are on a budget and don’t wish to spend unnecessarily on the commute.

Things To Do

Most of the lighthouses in Sri Lanka have limited accessibility, especially to the top. Given the exception of the Dondra Head lighthouse, there’s a lot that you can do there.

1. Climb To The Top

A day view of the Lighthouse

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If you want to witness scenic and panoramic views of the surrounding area from the top of the lighthouse, you’d need to climb 196 steps. It is a tedious process, but the top views make the whole process rewarding and worth the time. Also, you do need to pay an additional fee to be able to climb to the top. As you ascend, you can observe the sturdy construction and the intricate design that has stood the test of time.

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2. Photography

Dondra Head Lighthouse at night

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Once you reach the top, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the views of the surrounding oceans and the quaint village that lies there. The combination of historical architecture, stunning seascapes, and vibrant nature creates a perfect setting for capturing memorable images. You can capture wide-angle shots of the ocean, coastline, and even distant landmarks from the top. For the best photographs, consider visiting during sunset and sunrise times.

3. Explore The Grounds

Distant view of the Lighthouse

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Given the steep ascent to the top of the lighthouse, it is usually not everyone’s cup of tea. The lighthouse’s base is well-kept and offers a glimpse into the rich history and natural beauty of the surroundings. You can stroll along the lighthouse grounds and witness the tropical flowers that line the pathway. Also, there are markets around, which you can visit as well.

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4. Watch The Sunset

Sunset view of Dondra Head Lighthouse

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Witnessing the sunset from the top of the lighthouse is truly an immersive experience. However, if that’s not possible, you always have the option to spread out a blanket around the base of the lighthouse and sit down to catch the sunset from there. Either way, the sight is mesmerising and one that you can’t afford to miss out on when you are there.

Places To Visit Near Dondra Head Lighthouse

Once you are done exploring the Dondra Head Lighthouse Sri Lanka, make your way to the surrounding sightseeing spots, including:

1. Dondra Temple

Dondra Temple near Dondra Head Lighthouse

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Locally known as the Devinuwara Uthpalawanna Sri Vishnu Maha Dewalaya, Dondra Temple is an ancient temple complex that’s dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple holds a lot of significance among Hindus and the Buddhist community in Sri Lanka. According to the historical evidence, the temple’s origin dates back to the 7th century and is one of the country’s oldest. It used to be a centre of religious significance during the reign of Sinhala kings. Despite the temple’s grandeur, the Portuguese invasion in the 16th century led to the temple’s destruction. It was later restored.
Distance from Kallady Beach: 1.5 Km
Timings: 5:00 AM to 7:15 PM

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2. Weherahena Temple

Weherahena Temple near Dondra Head Lighthouse

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Weherahena Temple is one of the oldest and most popular Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. Beyond its historical significance, the temple also stands out for its 39-metre colossal Buddha statue and the underground temple complex which features motifs and murals on the walls representing stories from the life and teachings of Lord Buddha and Jataka tales. Since the temple was built in an area covered in dense forest, the surroundings are covered in lush greenery at present.
Distance from Kallady Beach: 6.6 Km
Timings: 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM

3. Blowhole (Hummanaya)

Blowhole near Dondra Head Lighthouse

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To witness nature’s uniqueness, visit Hummanaya, which is around 20-25 km from Matara. It is Sri Lanka’s only known blowhole and the second-largest blowhole in the world. It is a natural marine geyser that shoots 25-30 metres water into the air. Formed by a narrow crevice in a coastal rock, the phenomenon is quite interesting to witness in real-time. To witness the blowhole at its prime, consider visiting during the monsoon season from May to September.
Distance from Kallady Beach: 22.86 Km
Timings: 24 Hours

Further Read: Bundala National Park

Dondra Head Lighthouse in Sri Lanka holds a lot of historical, cultural and maritime significance. With its ongoing operations even two centuries later, the lighthouse serves as a popular attraction among tourists. As you plan your next trip to Sri Lanka, exploring the offbeat yet significant places in the country, including this lighthouse in your itinerary is an absolute must.

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Cover Image Credit : Amila Tennakoon for wikipedia

Frequently Asked Questions About Dondra Head Lighthouse

What is the Dondra Head Lighthouse best time to visit?

The lighthouse is operational 24/7, 365 days a year. So, you can visit anytime you want. However, for comfortable and peaceful exploring, December to April is considered the peak season.

What are the opening hours of Dondra Head Lighthouse?

The Dondra Head lighthouse timings are from 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM.

What are the Dondra Head lighthouse tickets to climb to the top?

There are additional Dondra Head lighthouse tickets if you wish to ascend to the top of the lighthouse. The cost is usually varying and depends on the administration there.

How do I get to Dondra Head Lighthouse from Colombo?

You can take a bus, or train, or hire a private taxi to Matara and then a short drive to Dondra.

What is the significance of Dondra Head's location?

It is located at the southernmost point of Sri Lanka, making it crucial for maritime navigation.

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