KOGGALA: Fascination we encounter in Martin Wickramasinghe’s books still lingers
Posted on July 14th, 2020

RAJA WAIDYASEKERA Tissamaharama special corr.Courtesy The Daily News

The Koggala township where reputed writer Martin Wickramasinghe was born, received its name due to an engraved picture of a crane on a rock. Hundreds of books, including the novels Gamperaliya and Madolduwa, written by Wickramasinghe were based on Koggala where his ancestral home is situated.

Martin Wickramasinghe was born on May 29, 1890, at village headman’s house which was then known as Ginpathaliye Opisara Gedara. Opisara is the Sinhala word for officer, a man respected by the villagers, who was appointed by the Government to keep law and order in the village. Wickramasinghe was not only a writer but also a literarian and a historian. He received his education at Buona Vista College, a Christian Missionary School in Galle, which is situated on a hillock close to the present cement factory at Katugoda in Galle.

The Koggala beach was one of his favourite places and he used to take a stroll at the beach of Koggala at dawn often.

The Koggala lagoon consists of small islands such as the Mangrove Island (Madol Duwa), Cinnamon Island and Kathduwa which enhance the scenic beauty of Koggala.


The Folk Art Museum in Koggala (Jana Kauthukagaraya) which is situated in a seven-acre plot of land is close to the Koggala Air Force Base. The museum is established at the ancestral home of Martin Wickramasinghe.

In the museum, in addition to the room where he was born, his personal belongings such as the table clock, the wristwatch, clothes, shoes, writings, and gifts, certificates and honorary degrees received from various universities along with books and souvenirs are exhibited. Apart from these, historical and cultural items related to ancient rural livelihoods are also displayed at this museum. It houses the utensils and implements used by farmers, fisherfolk, weavers, physicians, teachers, and housewives. This place is a key attraction of students, intellectuals, literarians and historians.


Koggala town became more prominent due to the Koggala Export Processing Zone, the first of its kind in the southern region, established in a 225-acre plot of land. There are more than 14 factories which manufacture various products including garments, for both export and the local market.

Koggala is a self-contained township. The area is surrounded by many star class hotels, and is full of amenities required by the tourists who arrive at Koggala from different parts of the world.


The Koggala Sri Lanka Air Force Base is situated in the heart of the township of Koggala. This was set up during the World War by the British colonial administration following evacuation of residents from the area.

This Base is now used by the Sri Lanka Air Force. The Matara–Colombo railway track runs along the Air Base. The Koggala town has been identified as a centre for air, sea and road travel.

The second town in the southern region which has such facilities is Hambantota where all three modes of transportation are available due to the seaport, airport, road and railway services.


The boat ride to Madolduwa is extremely fascinating. A majority of travellers visit Madolduwa more than any other island in Koggala lagoon due to the reference made by veteran author Martin Wickramasinghe in the book Madolduwa, which was later turned into a movie.


Devagiri Viharaya situated in Koggala is also known as Hirugal Devalaya. There are an ancient Bo tree, inscriptions and large statues of Lord Buddha and it is one of the oldest Shrines in the area.


The Koggala Forest Hermitage is situated on the island of Kataluduwa in Koggala. It has all facilities required for meditation. 

One Response to “KOGGALA: Fascination we encounter in Martin Wickramasinghe’s books still lingers”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    If I remember right, it was he who also wrote **KALA HANDA **, which was a text book when in College.

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