Capital of the Hambantota district, the city has much to offer to the modern Sri Lanka as well as the old. Majorly destroyed during the Tsunami in 2004, the town is undergoing major reconstructions. Hambantota is major stop over on the way to Kataragama, Tissamaharama and Kirinda and therefore is becoming a very commercial city.
During the Kingdom of Ruhuna many travellers and traders arrived from Far East, Siam, China and Indonesia who sought to stop over at the harbour of Godawaya, Ambalantota. The ships of boats these traders travelled in were called ‘Sampans’ and the place the anchored was known as ‘Sampantota’ which after a certain time became ‘Hambantota’.
During the Kingdom of Anuradhapura in about 200BC, King Mahagama established the Kingdom of Ruhuna after leaving Anuradhapura due to a personal dispute with his brother, King Devanampiyathissa of Anuradhapura. Part of Ruhuna, Hambantota was a thriving civilisation. The evidence history left behind shows that the region was blessed with fertile fields and an astonishing irrigation network. Hambantota has seen its day with many names such as ‘Mahagama’, ‘Ruhuna’ and ‘Dolos dahas rata’. This region has aided the nurturing of Sri Lankan Buddhism and stands as a fundamental part of its culture.
The town history also shows that the around the years 1801 and 1803, Martello tower was built on the rocky headland alongside the lighthouse overlooking the Hambantota sea by the British, which was restored in 1999, and is currently a fisheries museum.
In the great destruction of Tsunami in 2004, Hambantota was greatly affected. A large portion of town was killed and construction is still underway. The ‘new’ Hambantota is finally being developed with construction projects such as a new seaport, which will bring back the old glory of trading, an international airport, which will give Sri Lanka two international airports and an international cricket stadium which will host the games for 2011 Cricket World Cup. Hambantota is also a candidate city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which only confirms the splendour of the city.
Hamabantota, with its scenic coastline offers travellers a great route while visiting the Bundala National Park, Yala National Park and the temples of Kataragama.