Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of major towns, Kirinda is a sleepy town known for its historic sites and breathtaking sceneries. Visit Kirinda and enjoy a magnificent spectacle where, on one side of the town is the picturesque coast filled with sandy streets and derelict buildings, which gives out an air of magnificent seclusion – ideal for those who enjoy long evening strolls. On the other side lies a beautiful landscape of woods and grasslands, presenting a sneak peek at its most sought-after nearby attraction – the Yala National Park.
The Kirinda Temple is perhaps the most telling attraction within the confines of the town. This ancient temple draws in thousands of pilgrims, owing to its legendary tales. Located atop a rocky outcrop, it is devoted to the famous Queen Viharamahadevi – the heart of the ancient tale which renders this temple quite special for pilgrims. According to legend, when raging waters threatened Sri Lanka, King Kelanithissa’s youngest daughter, then a princess, Vihara Maha Devi volunteered to sacrifice herself to appease the fury of the gods and embarked on her sacrificial voyage on a boat. The enraged waters were calmed and the princess miraculously survived.
Take in the sweeping views of the desolate coast, and marvel at the long stretch of sand dunes and the ocean beyond when you visit the temple in Kirinda. As you reach the rocky outcrop – a group of boulders piled up in a haphazard fashion – you will witness a modern statue of Viharamahadevi. Watch as pilgrims make their offerings at the dagoba. Be sure to look out for King Kavantissa’s royal coat of arms – featuring the sun and the moon – carved on a boulder nearby.
A trip to Kirinda beach will be incomplete without visiting Great Basses Reef Lighthouse, accessible only by boat. The two Basses lighthouses, ‘Great’ and ‘Little’, are among the best-known offshore lighthouses of Asia.