Coordinates: 08°10′0″N 79°43′0″E / 8.16667°N 79.71667°E / 8.16667; 79.71667
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Fishery harbour in Kalpitiya
Fishery harbour in Kalpitiya
Kalpitiya is located in Sri Lanka
Coordinates: 08°10′0″N 79°43′0″E / 8.16667°N 79.71667°E / 8.16667; 79.71667
CountrySri Lanka
ProvinceNorth Western
DistrictPuttalam District
DivisionKalpitiya Division
 • TypeKalpitiya Pradeshiya Sabah
 • ChairmanA. M. Infas
 • Vice ChairmanK. S. Vijitha Fernando
 • Total167.0 km2 (64.5 sq mi)
 • Total86,405
 • Metro density517.4/km2 (1,340/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone)

Kalpitiya (Sinhala: කල්පිටිය, romanized: Kalpiṭiya, Tamil: கற்பிட்டி, romanized: Kaṟpiṭṭi) is a coastal town located in western region of, Puttalam District. The Kalpitiya peninsula consists of a total fourteen islands. It is developing as a tourist destination.


Scholars identify the Sinhalese name "Kalapiti-Kuli which is mentioned in Sigiri graffiti as modern Kalpitiya"[2] According to another theory, Kalpitiya is derived from the Tamil name Kalputti, stemming from the words kal meaning stone and putti meaning elevation.[3] The place was in ancient times also known as Arasadi, meaning in Tamil "place of Arasa tree".[4] The place was in colonial era known as Calpentyn.[5]


Records going far back reveal that the peninsula was associated with maritime trade and smuggling escapades since ancient times. It was first colonised by the Portuguese in early 17th Century. The arrival of the Dutch eventually resulted in the ousting of the Portuguese from here and elsewhere in the island. Historical records show that during the Dutch period of the island's colonial history, the northern end of the peninsula was used as a strategic base for a military garrison and naval outpost to monopolise trade supplies to the mainland. A well preserved Dutch-era fort (incorporating an earlier Portuguese-era church) occupied by the Sri Lanka Navy, and a Dutch church remain today. Nearby at Talawila to the south, a vibrant annual festival keeps alive its Portuguese heritage, at the ancient St Anne's church festival, when thousands of Catholic devotees descend upon the tiny village to celebrate St Anne's Day on July 26.[6]


Kalpitiya is located at the boarder of dry zone. Thanks to that it is still nicely green but has much less rain that the south of Sri Lanka. Usually the only rainy month is November, but it rarely rains whole the day. The best beach season is from December to April, which is also the best time for any marine activities like scuba diving, snorkelling or dolphin watching because the ocean is calm and waves are smallest. From May to September there is more wind which is mostly appreciated by kitesurfers and it also cools down the area.


Kalpitiya is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural town, majority of Kalpitiya residents are Muslims, while Sinhalese are second largest in the town. Other small groups; Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils, Burgher and Malay also living in the town.


Ethnicity in Kalpitiya
Population Percent
Sri Lankan Tamils
Indian Tamils


Kalpitiya is a multi-religious town. The major religion in Kalpitiya is Islam, while Christianity being the second largest religion in the town. The town is also home to other religious faiths include; Buddhism and Hinduism.


Religion in Kalpitiya
Population Percent



There is plenty of local government schools which offer education for thousands of children. On top of that there are several international schools like IKRA which offer elementary and secondary education in english to local or foreign children at very reasonable cost.

Tourism industry[edit]

It is now developing as a tourist destination. It has a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. It provides nursing grounds for many species of fish and crustaceans. The coastal waters are also home to spinner, bottlenose and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and the elusive dugong.[7] The Sri Lankan government has now formulated a master plan for the development of tourism industry here.[8][9]

Alankuda is a stretch of beach in Kalpitiya that is home to a number of beach hotels.[10] The beach is a starting point for off-shore whale and dolphin watching in Kalpitiya and offers various water related activities which are available from November till the end of April. Alankuda is home to megapods (groups of more than one thousand) of dolphins.[10][11] Hotels and resorts here include Bar Reef Resort, Palagama Beach, Khomba House, Udekki, Dune Towers and Dolphin Beach Resort.[11]


Kalpitiya is known as being the best location for Kitesurfing in the country.[12][13] The summer kitesurfing season is from May to October during the south west monsoon while the winter season is from mid December to mid February during the north east monsoon. Kiteboard Tour Asia held a tour event in Kalpitiya in September 2017.[14]

Scuba Diving[edit]

Indian Ocean around Kalpitiya peninsula is famous for it abundand marine life. You can go for dolphin or whale watching boat trips or you can do scuba diving in Kalpitiya. There is more than 20 world class dive sites of depths ranging from 12-20 meters accessible by boat from the shore. The dive sites offer mostly rocky and sand bottom which is home to many kinds of sting rays, moray eels, soft and hard coral, napoleon wrasse, shrimps, nudibranch, barracuda, fish schools and many more. The diving can be arranged via Kalpitiya dive centers or via some specialised hotels like Dune Towers operated by scuba diving family.

The season for scuba diving and dolphin and whale watching is from November to April each year. During these month the sea is very calm and it allows easy and safe boat trips into the Indian Ocean. Details of dive sites, recent diving reports and other useful information can be found on Dive Report.

Islands of Kalpitiya[edit]

No Name of Island Area
1 Battalangunduwa 145.53 ha
2 Palliyawatta 60.89 ha
3 Vellai I 1.55 ha
4 Vellai II 10.80 ha
5 Vellai III 13.70 ha
6 Uchchamunai 449.30 ha
7 Ippantivu 76.88 ha
8 Periya Arichchalai 45.60 ha
9 Sinna Arichchalai 16.82
10 Eramutivu 101.52 ha
11 Sinna Eramutivu 2.22 ha
12 Eramutivu West 4.53 ha
13 Kakativu 4.53 ha
14 Mutwal(Dutch Bay) 715.14 ha

Allegations of land grab[edit]

The area is one of the 15 sites for the country’s Tourism Development Strategy which was formulated as early as 2003. Acquisition of some 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of land for the project has begun as early as in 2004 pursuant to a Cabinet decision. Since 2003, around 1,000 acres (400 ha) of lands which amounts to about 25 per cent of the Kalpitiya islands' total land area have been grabbed in various ways and means from at least 2500 families. Already 16 resorts or hotels and access roads are proposed for construction in the area.

Post-tsunami (2005 onwards), those in the tourism business acquired damaged coastal areas at low prices around the country. Again in 2009, in the post-war period, investors in the tourism industry scrambled to ‘acquire’ potential business sites to capitalise on the reconstruction phase.[15]

Land seizures have also occurred by scrupulously removing the names of the residents from government documents such as the voters’ registry, abusing legal ownership regulations and stipulations of the government and ignoring provisions in the customary law, using coercive means upon the residents who are unable to produce titles to the land they have been occupying and by taking over Beach Seine points and anchorage points by force.


  1. ^ "Kalpitiya (Divisional Secretariat, Sri Lanka) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location".
  2. ^ Nicholas, C.W. (1963). Historical topography of ancient and medieval Ceylon. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series (Vol VI). p. 90. Kalapiti-Kuli mentioned in the Sigiri graffiti, is modern Kalpitiya.
  3. ^ Branch, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Ceylon (1913). Ceylon Notes and Queries. p. 123.
  4. ^ Pridham, Charles (1849). An historical political and statistical account of Ceylan and its dependencies. University of Göttingen: T. and W. Bone. p. 644.
  5. ^ cyclopaedia, National (1879). The national encyclopædia. Libr. ed. p. 53.
  6. ^ "History of kalpitiya". www.dolphinbeach.lk. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Sri Lanka's tropical beaches: A developmenttrap". colombopage. 25 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Kalpitiya Dutch Bay Resort". www,sltda.lk. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Kalpitiya to develop as a tourist hub" (PDF). www.sltda.lk. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Alankuda Beach".. Alankuda Beach. Retrieved on 2015-05-08.
  11. ^ a b "Alankuda Beach".. Alankuda Beach. Retrieved on 2015-05-08.
  12. ^ Roos, Lezaan (23 November 2015). "No, this isn't Bali — Sri Lanka is a paradise that Aussies are missing out on". Newscorp. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Chasing The Wind In Coastal Sri Lanka". World Travel Magazine. 9 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Chasing The Wind In Coastal Sri Lanka". 9 April 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Kalpitiya land grab for tourism". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 11 November 2013.