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Matale

Matale often written as Mathale, is the largest town of the Matale District of the Central Province, of Sri Lanka. It is 142 kilometres from Colombo and near Kandy. Surrounding the town are the Knuckles Mountain Range, the foothills were called Wiltshire by the British. It is a mainly agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivation dominate.

Nestled in the central hills and at an altitude of 546 metres, Matale is yet another bounty of nature’s abundance with captivating landscapes of fertile greenery and scattered mountain ranges decorated with blankets of cascading water. At a distance of 105 kilometres from Colombo and 26 kilometres from Kandy, the history of Matale is mottled with tales of heroism, such as the Matale Rebellion of 1848, a battle that led to the siege of the British Garrison in Fort McDowell and its ultimate defeat at the hands of a colonial superpower. Today, the town of Matale is a centre of activity, propelled by the daily hustle and bustle of urban life, with thousands of commuters thronging the urban centre for sundry errands. Many are the sights and sounds of this old agricultural village called Matale that beckons the visitor to feast the eyes upon its dignified beauty.

In the heart of the town is the old Government Rest House, built by the British, boasting a recent makeover and adjacent is the picturesque public park with walkways amidst green lawns, towering trees and blossoming plants. Further up the park, Fort McDowell commands a view of the entrance to Matale via Trincomalee. It is also the site of the oldest church in Matale, Christ Church, which was consecrated by Bishop James Chapman in December 1860. Opposite the central private bus station in the town is Sri Mutthu Mariamman Thevasthanam, a temple worshipped by the Hindus, which was established nearly 200 years ago by the Indian Hindu community of businessmen who engaged in trading in the town of Matale. The newly built Raja Gopuram is 108 feet tall and as one of the tallest in the country has 1008 images of deities embedded. The annual Ther festival is a grand event with illuminated and heavily decorated chariots with deities parading the streets. The old clock tower and spice gardens are also part of the attractions in the town of Matale. The town has only one train station which was completed in 1880 and is one of the oldest colonial period constructions standing to date. The train journey that starts from Colombo, journeys via Kandy to end at the old train station in the town of Matale.
 

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