Buddhist Island Sanctuary
- Pigeon Island Temple, Matara
Old maps show the Paravi Duwa shrine with few coconut trees and screwpines on a small offshore island. Buddhist monks from the Siyam Sect settled at this small mountainous drop in the ocean and built statues and a small pagoda here.
The temple became a popular pilgrimage destination and every day you see visitors in their finest dress in the long hall in front of the Buddha statue. Pilgrims come from around the country and mix with local lovers that visit the beach for a romantic stroll.
The old bridge - also a symbol of Matara city - to Pigeon Island collapsed in 2022, injuring 60 visitors. Now a bunch of bonded sandbags connects the temple to the city centre. The island is eroded by the seashore and monsoon season with the Nilwala River water adding its own colour to the seawater around it.