It was a nice sunny morning and our driver enthusiastically told us that it was going to be a good day to drive down to Galle as the sky was pretty clear and there were high chances of it not raining. We were told that the drive would take approximately 3 hrs owing to traffic though the distance itself was less than 150kms. As we set out I started reading more about the place and its history.
Galle is the fifth largest city of Srilanka and is an erstwhile Portuguese colony which was later occupied by the Dutch. The city as such does not catch ones eye immediately and there are chances of concluding that “its just like any other coastal place”, but my views changed when our driver maneuvered the car through the fort gates.
The fort was built by the Portuguese and later fortified by the Dutch. It is spread over 36 hectares and is still functional i.e. most of the administrative buildings are located within its premises. The Galle fort has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.
Within the forts walls are the remnants of the old city that reflect its glorious past. The old city comprises of neat roads that intersect at right angles which comprise of important buildings such as the court complex, an old post office, a light house, mosque apart from various boutique hotels and houses built in the Dutch style complete with front verandahs.
Galle is also home to the one of the most picturesque international cricket stadiums in the world that is flanked by the fort on one side and the sea on two sides. we were lucky to see a match in progress as it was a bright sunny day and the local kids had gathered for a game.
Things to do while in Galle:
- Take a stroll along the walls of the fort and gaze at the waves hitting the walls
- Walk along the streets and observe locals gathered at the court building for a hearing or climb up one of the walls of the fort and watch a cricket match
- Sip a cup of coffee and relax at one of the upmarket boutique hotels or cafes that line the streets
Galle is a laid back town with loads of history, every street has a story and enthusiastic locals are more than happy to share the stories about the magnificent buildings and the owners of the houses that have now been converted to hotels.
Do not give Galle a miss even if history is not your cup of tea for there is more to this charming town than just history. Its a place with a distinct charm that might not appeal to the eyes of the regular traveler but you will surely miss it once you go back.