Diary Entry

We spend ten days on the idyllic beach of Mirissa. Now we want to see something different and decide to drive to the nearby town of Matara. To do this, we get a driver with a tuk tuk, who in turn organizes a scooter for us. This means we have the capacity to drive the whole group to Matara.

Of course there are no traffic rules. You don’t even need a lottery to win a driver’s license. I get along well with the scooter. Compared to a motorbike, this thing is a toy from the fair.

In Sri Lanka you don’t need traffic rules, just good nerves

In Matara we take time to visit the monastery of Parevi Duwa, the “Pigeon Island“. The temple is also known as Uposathaghara Raja Maha Viharaya. On most websites you can still see a solid steel bridge connecting to the mainland. But it collapsed in 2022, injuring 60 people.

We walk over a brand new stone bridge and see a large stupa, also brand new, on the tiny island in front of us.

Uposathaghara Raja Maha Viharaya

of Pigeon Island

Apart from a few ecstatic couples who want to find a romantic place on Valentine’s Day, the only other people at Parevi Duwa are monks. There seem to be monks visiting from other areas who are also looking at the shrine with us.

We leave our shoes at the exit and pay a cultural preservation fee for foreigners of 500 rupees. Since 330 rupees is about 1 euro, the financial outlay is not very high.

The entrance fee is 500 rupees, which is about 1.50 EUR.

Paravi Duwa is a Buddhist temple of the Siam sect. The origins of the temple date back to ancient times and it was designed by the local communities as a place of Buddhist worship.

Pigeon Island is named after the rock pigeon that inhabits it. This small sanctuary is part of the Pigeon Island National Park, located 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in the Eastern Province. The island covers a total area of ​​471,429 hectares and is home to some of the best remaining coral reefs in Sri Lanka.

Siam Sect

The Siam Sect is a Sri Lankan Buddhist sect founded in 1800. Its name is derived from its country of origin, Thailand. Originally, ordination (upasampada) had died out in Sri Lanka, but on the initiative of Weliwita Sri Saranankara Thero, it was reintroduced in 1753. The Siam Nikaya, as it is called, took its name from Thailand. Later, a group within the Siam Nikaya succeeded in restricting ordination exclusively to members of the Govigama caste.


The monks are very sociable and up for small talk. They share fruit and have fun with Leon. However, he is more interested in the ornamental fish in a tank behind the prayer room with a view of the ocean.

The view is really beautiful. Surprisingly, there is little to see inside the temple. It looks modern and, above all, functional for festivities.

The view is amazing and the monks are very sociable!

The stupa is still under construction (as of February 2024), but I can still visit the roof and enjoy the view. A young man, who doesn’t seem to be a monk, rings a bell on the hour.

Here, too, the couples in love take their Valentine’s Day photos. We leave the temple again and explore more of Matara’s heritage.

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