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Hambantota is the main town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka. This once underdeveloped area is now undergoing a number of major development projects including the construction of a new sea port and international airport.
Hambantota is 122 Kilometers from the town of Galle and about 45 Kilometers from Mattala Rajpaksa Airport (MRIA). It is also in the close proximity of the Yala National park and Bandula National park. Although the town it self is little know to the outside world till now but its new developments are bringing about new incentives for investers and travellers in the region. If all turs out well this may become an other Dubai of the world.
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When the Kingdom of Ruhuna was established it received many travellers and traders from Siam, China and Indonesia who sought anchorage in the natural harbor at Godawaya, Ambalantota. The ships or large boats these traders travelled in were called “Sampans” and "thota" means port or anchorage so the port where sampans anchor came to be known as “Sampantota” (which is now known as Godawaya). After some time the area became to be called “Hambantota”.
Hambantota District is part of the traditional south known as Ruhuna. In
ancient times this region, especially Hambantota and the neighboring areas was
the centre of a flourishing civilization. Historical evidence reveals that the
region in that era was blessed with fertile fields and a stupendous irrigation
network. Hambantota was known by many names ‘Mahagama’ ‘Ruhuna’ and ‘Dolos dahas
About 200 BC, the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka was flourishing in the north central region of Anuradhapura.
After a personal dispute with his brother, King Devanampiyatissa of Anuradhapura, King Mahanaga established the Kingdom of Ruhuna in the south of the island. This region played a vital role in building the nation as well as nurturing the Sri Lankan Buddhist culture. Close to Hambantota, the large temple of Tissamaharama was built to house a sacred tooth relic.
Around the years of 1801 and 1803, the British built a Martello tower on the tip of the rocky headland alongside the lighthouse overlooking the sea at Hambantota. The builder was a Captain Goper, who built the tower on the site of an earlier Dutch earthen fort. The tower was restored in 1999, and in the past, formed part of an office of the Hambantota Kachcheri where the Land Registry branch was housed. Today it houses a fisheries museum.
From 2 August to 9 September 1803, an Ensign J. Prendergast of the regiment of Ceylon native infantry was in command of the British colony at Hambantota during a Kandian attack that he was able to repel with the assistance of the snow Minerva. Earlier, HMS Wilhelmina had touched there and left off eight men from the Royal Artillery to reinforce him. This detachment participated in Prendergast's successful defense of the colony. If the tower at Hambantota was at all involved in repelling any attack this would be one of the only cases in which a British Martello tower had been involved in combat.
Hambantota was badly devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, which was reported to have killed a large proportion of the town's population.
Hambantota features a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw) under the Köppen climate classification. There is no true dry season, but there is significanly less rain from January-March and again from June-August. The heaviest rain falls in October and November. The city sees on average roughly 1,050 millimetres (41 in) of precipitation annually. Average temperatures in Hambantota change little throughout the year, ranging from 26.3 °C (79.3 °F) in January to 28.1 °C (82.6 °F) in April and May.
A cement grinding and bagging factory is being set up, as well as fertiliser bagging plants. Large salt plains are a prominent feature of Hambantota. The town is a major producer of salt.
Hambantota International Convention Centre, located at Siribopura, will begin operations in early 2013.
The Hambantota Wind Farm is the first wind farm in Sri Lanka (there are two more commercial wind farms). It's a pilot project to test wind power generation in the island nation. Wind energy development faces immense obstacles such as poor roads and an unstable power grid.
Hambantota is the selected site for a new international port, the Port of
Hambantota. It is scheduled to be built in three phases, with the first phase
due to be completed by the end of 2010 at a cost of $360 million. As part of
the port, a $550 million tax-free port zone is being started, with companies in
India, China, Russia and Dubai expressing interest in setting up shipbuilding,
ship-repair and warehousing facilities in the zone. It is expected to be
completed by November 2010.[dated info] When all phases are fully complete, it
will be able to berth 33 vessels, which would make it the biggest port in South
Bunkering facility: 14 tanks (8 for oil, 3 for aviation fuel and 3 for LP gas)
The Hambantota International Airport is an international airport under construction in Mattala. After completion, it will be one of two international airports in Sri Lanka, after the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
A2 highway connects Colombo with Hambantota town through Galle and Matara.
In support of the new harbour, construction work started in 2006 on the Matara-Kataragama Railway Line project, a broad gauge railway being implemented at an estimated cost of $91 million.
The Hambantota Cricket Stadium, with a capacity of 35,000 seats, has been built in this area. The cost of this project is an estimated Rs. 900 million (US$7.86m). It's known as Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
A new tele-cinema village is being constructed at Ranmihitenna. It consists of three stages and will be constructed at a cost of 2 billion rupees. The first stage, opened on 30 March 2010 at a cost of 600 million rupees consists of an administration building, accommodation hall (with facilities for 96 individuals), a large studio, 31 sets, three showrooms for costumes, two seminar halls, two libraries, kitchens, back lots, workshops and common facilities.
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