The Motuwarama Dutch Church or St Anthony’s Church on the east coast of Kalpitiya is a now abandoned space from 127 years ago. The church is uninhabited for the most part now, but you can still view the ruins of both new and old church.
We stopped here after our dolphin watching trip which took about two hours, so we were exhausted when our boat washed up here. The little gate of the church was tied up with some wire and we were told by our boatman that nobody uses it anymore, and that people who used to live here in Motuwarama fled elsewhere because of unrest during Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Next to the new church block are these ruins of the old block, its main walls still intact, probably from the Dutch period.
The entire space is kind of haunting and surreal, with the old ruins from a century ago next to this new bell tower from 2012 set up to commemorate the church’s 125th jubilee, against a backdrop of endless wild green and scorching sand.
We sat in the patio of the church and opened our bath-packets for lunch. The view from here is pretty serene, what with the Dutch Bay and lagoon in the distance and the expanse of trees.
Although the church doesn’t seem to be used much, the inside of it was still clean and well maintained, so we assume it does have its occasional visitors. It’s got a bare, wooden paneled interior with an altar of statuettes at the far end.
How to get here is by boat. Your hotel or resort might be able to arrange the trip and maybe include dolphin watching and a trip to the elephant tree as well (we did this through Ruuk Village). If you have a handful of people in the boat and you do a boat tour through the lagoon, it might cost you about 2000 bucks each.
If you like stumbling upon places with a lot of history, then you might like a boat ride here. It’s an interesting space with its ruins, its little church aisle and its twisty trees, and makes for a peaceful quiet rest by the Bay.