Off the beaten track near Colombo: Gampaha District
Gampaha is one of Sri Lanka’s youngest districts. It was established in 1978, when a district reform took place in the wake of a constitutional reform. When Ceylon became independent in 1948, it had 20 districts. Since 1978 there have been 25 Sri Lankan districts. The area of the new Gampaha District had been part of the Colombo District earlier on. The separation made sense, because the former Colombo District had consisted of five or six times more inhabitants than the avarage Sri Lankan district. In Gampaha District live 2.3 million people, almost as much as in Colombo District, compared to 1.6 million residents in Kurunegala District, which is the third largest district population. Not surprisingly, the Western Province, consisting of Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara Districts, is the most populous as well as most densely populated region in Sri Lanka at all. The population density of Gampaha District is 1,711 persons per square kilometres. Compare this to the population density of Central Europe’s major industrial zone, the German Ruhr district, which is “only” 1,158 persons per square kilometre!
Natural and cultural highlights close to Gampaha
But that’s still not the whole story. This area close to Yakkala at the A1 mainroad, though not at all well-known and rarely visited, is crowded with heritage attractions, too. Four significant traditional monasteries and temples in this area are Maligatenna, Pilikuttuwa, Varana and Petthagangala. In each of the next four weeks in the month of September we will introduce one of these attractions to the readers of this Sri Lanka blog. The four sites are really worth visiting, but the even better news is: They are very easy to reach because very close to Colombo and Negombo, nvertheless they are completely untouched by mass tourism. So have a look, you will be astonished!