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is a town in south-eastern Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...
. It used to be the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna
The Kingdom of Ruhuna was a medieval era Sinhala kingdom located in the south of Sri Lanka. The capital was known as Magama, near between modern Ambalantota and Tissamaharama in the Southern Province...
as early as the 3rd century B.C. Only few buildings from that period can still be seen today. The large artificial Tissa Wewa lake, which was a part of a sophisticated irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...
system, also dates from that time. Today, the town mainly serves as a starting point for visits to Yala National Park
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the block 1 and Kumana National Park or...
Kataragama is a pilgrimage town popular with Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous Vedda communities of Sri Lanka and South India. The town has Ruhunu Maha Kataragama devalaya, a shrine dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragamadevio...