Galle is an area that leaps out of the map with insta-flair, and not just because of its increased proximity to Colombo via the Southern Highway. The journey is less arduous, especially on the highway bus, which is a great way of getting to Galle. The cross section of monocultures, Sri Lanka’s cash crops, interspersed with marshes, hills and pagodas, is soothing to say the least.
However, environmental issues concerning the construction of the Southern Highway are still real issues. The recent flooding around the Galle, Kalutara, and Matara areas, have been this bad because environmental concerns regarding rain/ground water flows were ignored by authorities. The immediate upheaval of the floods may have subsided but places like Galle, although not directly hit by the floods, are still affected.
Embassies have issued travel warnings. The local economy which thrives off the travellers and tourism is being hit by one of the worst off seasons. The mismanagement of the authorities when it came to environmental issues regarding development (which they decided to pursue at whatever cost) comes with economic costs as well. Galle is most definitely worthy of development, let’s just hope the environmental and aesthetic considerations are more valued.
It is no surprise that the UDA has set its eyes on Galle; with its obvious coastal appeal, rich cultural heritage and regular visitors since its early days as a port town. Arab travellers used to trade cinnamon and begin their pilgrimage to Adam’s Peak from the port of Galle. The Portuguese and Dutch saw it worthy of a Fort and the British capitalised on it.
As far cities in Sri Lanka go, Galle is one of the prime spots to live and visit. It’s close to patches of rainforest, home to rare species of deer, it’s not as ‘city’ as Colombo and has some stunning beaches within its vicinity. Besides and because of its natural endowments, Galle has always had its own vibe and its culture is starting to flourish. We decided to dip into the scene and see what it has to offer; see what sort of shells washed up shore.