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Take one step from the door of the Mango House Villa and you are entering the rich landscape of Sri Lanka, which offers you a breathtaking choice of wonderful holiday experiences.

Mango House has four double bedrooms all with hand carved mahogany four poster beds and ensuite wet rooms Mango House has four double bedrooms all with hand carved mahogany four poster beds and ensuite wet rooms Enjoy panoramic views over the Peelagoda temple from our terraces The golden sands of Unawatuna, voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by the Discovery Channel and Mark Ellingham, founder of 'Rough Guides'.Enjoy panoramic views over the Ganahena temple from our terraces

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Legends of Unawatuna Print

There are some charming legends concerning Unawatuna and how the village’s name is associated with the rocks rising at the west end of the beach. The rocky outcrop, looking strangely out of place in the landscape, is known as Rumassala, and is famous for its herbs.

One legend is from the epic Indian poem, the Ramayana, when Prince Rama and his warrior brother Lakshman were fighting the demon-king Ravana of Lanka who had abducted Rama’s wife, Princess Sita. Lakshman was wounded in battle while trying to rescue the abducted Princess Sita, so Rama sent Hanuman, the monkey god, to the Himalayas to find and bring back the four herbs necessary to save his brothers life - mritasanjeevani, vishalyakarani, suvarnakarani, and sandhani. But by the time he arrived he had forgotten their description, so he brought back a fragment of the Himalayas containing many herbs twisted in his tail, in the hope that among them might be the correct ones. However, on his way back to the battlefield, the mountain fragment slipped and fell while Hanuman was over Lanka, and it broke into three pieces. These landed in different locations, one of which was Rumassala. The name 'Unawatuna' derives its name from the Singhalese words, Onna-wetuna, which translates into "there it fell". Over a period of time, Onna-wetuna became 'Unawatuna'. So it is that the name Unawatuna translates to, 'there is fell' or 'it fell down'.

Rumassala Kanda is filled with a great variety of unusual vegetation and protected valuable medicinal herbs not found anywhere else in the area, making this story seem mysteriously possible. Indeed, as many people believe that Rumassala is a fragment of the holy mountains, sanyasis search here for the plant sansevi or the Tree of Life, which is said to give immortality.

You can walk along the paths through the jungle that covers Rumassala to the top of the hill where an edifice is being built by Japanese monks of the Mahayana sect - along with a statue of Hanuman. From here, there are wonderful views across to Galle Harbour and on a clear day you can see Sri Pada (Adam’s Peak). It is also a good place for bird watching with over 60 endemic species to be seen.

Another legend has it that a banished Indian Prince was shipwrecked nearby and Manimekala, the Earth Goddess, taking pity on him, created a rocky shelf for him to land on at Unawatuna. Pattini, the Goddess of Chastity, created a wall of fire to prevent him coming ashore, but being a person of supreme power, he set in motion a tidal-wave with his foot and extinguished the fire. He is supposed to have lived in Unawatuna and helped the people in various ways. Over the centuries he has become venerated and is worshipped at the 1,000-year-old Kovil on the west end point of the bay. In later years a Buduge or Buddhist shrine was built on the hill adjoining the Kovil.


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The Sunday Times Travel

Last One in's a... Beach bum? Culture vulture? Intrepid adventurer? On Sri Lanka’s south coast, you can be all three. By Jeremy Lazell published on Sunday 21st September 2008 in The Sunday Times travel guide.


Rough GuidesMark Ellingham, founder of Rough Guides votes Unawatuna the best tropical beach for The Guardian Travel Edition on Saturday May 24 2008