"An excellent public service through an efficient district administration"
"To ensure a sustainable development in the district through proper resource management and coordination according to the public policy; fulfilling people's needs efficiently and fairly in a just and coordial manner. "
Location: Situated in the Southeast of Sri Lanka, the district of Hambantota occupies an area of 2,609 km2 in size - approximately 3.97% of the country’s 65,610 km2 of total surface area. Major inland bodies of water cover just over 113 km2 of the district area.
At its widest, the district extends for 106 kms from Ritigala in the West, to Kumana in the East. From Hingurakanda, the furthest North, to Welladdoragoda, the furthest South, the distance is 39 kms. This makes Hambantota the 12th largest of the 25 administrative districts that make up Sri Lanka.
District boundaries: To the Northwest, the district is bordered by hills named Panilkanda, Gongala, Kabaragala, Koppakanda, and Bissogala, which extend from the foothills of the Buluthota range. On its Western boundary are found yet more hills named as Nagalakanda, Kotihena, Kerakele, Ambangala, and Deniyakanda. To the North and Northeast, the district is surrounded by the Kataragama Hills while the Kumbukkan Oya and the Indian Ocean is found on its Eastern and Southern Boundaries.
Climate and Rainfall: Climatically, Hambantota District can be said to be a dry semi-arid region that has hot dry weather characterised by bright sunshine. This applies to the majority of the district, but does change somewhat toward the highland area of the West and Northwest. These sections have a pleasant wet and cool climate. The mean temperature range is between 26oC in January, the coolest month, to 30oC + in April, the hottest month.
The monsoons are the most significant factor in the wind system of the region and the major rainy season is the Northeast monsoon that stretches from October to January. The district annual rainfall is between 1,000 and 1,250 mm in the dry areas, between 1,000 and 1,500 mm in the intermediate parts and between 1,500 and 2,000 mm in the wet parts. During the year the wind speed varies from 15 km/h during the Northeast monsoon to 23 km/h during the South-West monsoons.
Geographical background: Hambantota district is fortunate enough to have quite rare geographical features, which are unique in Sri Lanka - such as a sea-fed ‘Blow-Hole’ in the Tangalle divisional area and hot-water springs in the Sooriyawewa divisional area. The springs are situated close to the famous “Madunagala” hermitage of Ambalantota.
The district’s natural drainage system comprises of several rivers and 19 other natural watercourses. They are as follows:
River / Watercourse Length (miles)
Seenimodara oya 5
Kirama oya 20
Rakawa oya 4
Uruboku oya 26
Kachchigalara Oya 13
Walawa River 85
Karagan Oya 45
Malala Ara 34
Embiligal Oya 85
Kirindi Oya 73
Dambawe Ara 35
Ahasilawa Oya 8
Bhootawa Oya 8
Manik Ganga 71
Katupala Ara 11
Karunda Ara 16
Nambadagas Ara 4
Karambe Ara 3
Kumbukkan Oya 72
Of these; the Walawe river, Kirindi oya, Manik ganga, Uruboku oya, Kachchigalara ara, and Kumbukkan oya (which flows through the Eastern boundary of the district) are major watercourses. The water level in these water courses goes up in the ‘Maha’ season i.e. Northeast monsoon period (from November to March) and it goes down in the ‘Yala’ season i.e. Southwest monsoon period (from May to September).The Ridiyagama reservoir is the biggest ‘Wewa’ of the 13 major lakes and internal reservoirs in Hambantota district with Muruthawela and Lunugamwehera containing the highest amount of water. More lakes are situated in the Tissamaharama area.
Several major irrigation schemes have been recently implemented in the district; Udawalawa development project, Kirama oya, Uruboku oya, Liyangastota, Ridiyagama, Lunugamwehera, Mou ara, and KeKiriobada projects are just some of them.
Lagoon, Bays and Harbours: The 151 km long coastline of the district, extending from Kudawella in the West to Pattanangala in the East, is indented by a large number of lagoons, bays and harbours. Most of these lagoons and bays function as fishery centres with the more important lagoons being; Rekawa, Lunama, Kalametiya, Bundala, Koholankala, Palatupana, and the lagoons within the Yala National park. The Kudawella Blow-Hole, which is located in Tangalle division, is also an attractive geological formation and a popular place for tourism today.
Forest and Parks: Hambantota is rich in fauna & flora, with three major National Parks (NP) located in the district - namely; Yala NP (97,880 ha), Bundala NP (6,216 ha), and Lunugamvehera NP (23,498 ha). Additionally, there are some bird and animal sanctuaries located within the district – namely; Weerawila (4,164 ha), Ridiyagama (4,273 ha), Pallemalala (13.7ha), Kalametiya (2,525 ha), Nimalawa (1,065 ha) and Madunagala (995 ha).
Historical Background, Culture & Heritage: The name ‘Hambantota’ itself was derived from the two Sinhala words ‘Hamban’, which describes a type of sailing craft, and ‘Thota’, which means the ‘port’. So Hambantota really was the port for Hambans. The town associated with this port, as well as the administrative region around it eventually became to be also known by this name.
A ‘Hamban’ was a particular variety of sailing craft built by joining two boats together. This type of craft was commonly used for ocean navigation and was quite popular among the Chinese, Malays and Moors who inhabited the Asian region. The Sinhala word ‘Hamban’ itself is believed to have come from the Chinese word ‘Sampan’, also a sailing craft, although there is no historical evidence to confirm this.
In ancient times a port known as ‘Godawaya’ was located on the Southeast coast of Sri Lanka, situated at the mouth of the ‘Wananadi’ river (The Walawe). Historical evidence suggests that it served as the principal port in the area throughout ancient Sri Lankan history and certainly up to and during the 2nd Century A.D. According to some oral traditions among the current residents of this region; King Gajabahu, who invaded the ‘Chola’ kingdom and brought back the Sinhalese who had been imprisoned by Cholan invaders, is supposed to have landed at this port on his return to the Island and, since the vessels used by him to this voyage were known as ‘Hamban’, this port was thereafter known as ‘Hambanthota’. However, once again, there is no historical evidence to prove this story.
This port which was constructed on a strip of land extending seawards afforded protection from the raging waves and currents of the sea, was very spacious and was well known among most sailors who plied the ocean routes at that time. Settlements soon began to build up around the port of Hambantota after it had established itself as an important port.
The region of Hambantota was the home of a great civilisation in Sri Lanka’s history it formed part of the kingdom of Ruhana. However, detailed information regarding the history of this time is available only after the arrival of Vijaya, the first recorded King of Sri Lanka, onto the Island, which took place in 543 B.C. It was from this time onwards that the Aryans, who were the founders of the Singhala race, began to establish settlements on the Northern plain as well as in this region.‘Ruhana’ established itself as a kingdom only after Prince Mahanaga, who was a brother of Devananpiyatissa, laid the foundation for the progress of this region by building a network of irrigation projects. He made use of Kirindi Oya which flowed