Japanese Peace Pagoda

Buddhist Site in Ampara

This pagoda, 4km west of town, is a graceful stupa with a twist or two, including a vaguely Roman-looking colonnade ringing its lower level. Niches containing gilded Buddhas contrast superbly with the whitewashed body of the temple. To reach the site, follow DS Senanayke Rd from the clock tower, which heads towards Inginiyagala, passing scenic Ampara Tank. After 3km, a short right turn brings you to the pagoda.

The incense-smoked image room near the entrance, with its Buddha statues and colourful altar, is also fascinating, especially when the friendly resident monk and nun are drumming and chanting. Birdwatchers find the pagoda platform a handy perch for spotting hundreds of waterbirds that flit about the facing lake. Elephants that once passed here haven't been seen in years.