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Ambalangoda, Bentota Overview

Defined as the talent mine of the country of Sri Lanka, the Ambalangoda is a small coastal town nestled in the Southern province of Sri Lanka. The picturesque town of Ambalangoda is not known for its food, or culture or history, but known for something very different and unique - devil masks and devil dancers. The town has varied buses and trains that run on a daily basis connecting the coastal town to the commercial hubs and capitals of the country.

Known for the manufacture and production of the wooden devil masks, the magical town of Ambalangoda is one of a kind. The town people have faith in spiritual gods and magic. This belief of theirs has led them to make wooden devil masks. These devil masks either worn on the face or hung on the walls of the home are used to ward of evil spirits and diseases.

The devil dancers are known for wearing these masks, decorating their body with natural and organic made paint and dancing. The people believe that this scares away the evil spirits and uproots the diseases right from the patient. The masks are made from natural organic products and are made by hand. The town of Ambalangoda apart from its mask-making and traditional dances is also known for its picturesque sites. In fact, the town is a favourite trekking spot for both the citizens and the tourists.

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Places to Visit in Ambalangoda

1. Ariyapala Mask Museum
The Ariyapala Mask museum is a well-known mask museum in the spiritual town of Ambalangoda. The museum is known to preserve the ancient and historical masks in its facility. The museum also consists of a small library and a workshop. The library consists of all anthropological and literary evidences and information about the masks and their historical and cultural significance. There is a workshop also held in the museum that provides insight into the professional lives of the artisans and how they manage to turn wood assortment into unique and intricately designed masks. The aim of the museum is to introduce the world to the tradition of devil masks and their spiritual significance.

2. Kothduwa Temple
The temple holds religious importance as it is the temple wherein the sacred relic, the tooth of Lord Buddha was placed. There is also a bud of the Bodhi tree that was planted here. Since 2006, the temple has been resident to five senior priests. Various young monks come in the temple to gain knowledge from their seniors. The temple is considered to be one of the most important and holy sites for Buddhists all around the world. The visitors can visit the temple during day time and seek the blessings of Lord Buddha.

3. Sea Turtle Hatchery
The sea turtle hatchery in Ambalangoda is a known hatchery. The aim is to protect the turtle eggs and release the baby turtles into the sea once they are ready to be independent. The hatchery also looks after the sick and injured turtles and gives them the medical attention that they require.

Food in Ambalangoda

The coastal town is known for its fresh seafood. The visitors must try the seafood cuisine such as the curry buffet, Sri Lankan rice and fish soup some of the special delicacies of Ambalangoda at least once. Though there are various other world cuisines available to suit every palate. There are also vegetarian delicacies available for the vegetable lovers out there.

Nightlife at Ambalangoda

The coastal town is known for its fresh seafood. The visitors must try the seafood cuisine such as the curry buffet, Sri Lankan rice and fish soup some of the special delicacies of Ambalangoda at least once. Though there are various other world cuisines available to suit every palate. There are also vegetarian delicacies available for the vegetable lovers out there.

Handicrafs of Ambalangoda

Apart from being one of the major sea-food commercial suppliers of the country, the town of Ambalangoda is also known for its handicrafts. Handmade by skillful and talented artisans, handicrafts such as hand woven cotton, screens, and lintels and carefully carved wooden doors are produced in this mystical town. Some of the handicrafts products can also be taken home as souvenirs to decorate living spaces such as the living room, dining room, etc. with them.  

Moonstone Mining near Ambalangoda

Near the town of Ambalangoda, takes place the moonstone mining. Moonstone is an irregular shaped gem occurring in various colours. Sri Lanka has had the possession of such moonstones throughout history and is famous for the moonstone mining. 

Festivals of Ambalangoda

The town is full of magical spirit. One of the most important festivals of the town is the demon dancing festival. During this festival the dancers wear the handmade wooden devil masks and dance to ward off negative energy, sickness and demons.

Mask Culture of Ambalangoda

One of the reasons that the coastal town is known as the talent mine of the country, is that there are various skillful and talented artisans not only constructing the devil masks on a daily basis but also making other varied handicrafts. The devil masks can be purchased by the visitors and taken home as souvenirs to hang them up on their house walls to ward and scare off evil and its diseases. There are three types of masks available used for different processions and rituals. The “Kolam” mask is worn by the people while telling ancient Sri Lankan folktales. The “Saani” masks are worn by the devil dancers and priests during exorcisms and other rituals. The “Raksha” masks are worn during festivals and processions. Each devil mask has a spiritual and a symbolic meaning. 

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