Calido beach Kalutara is a very popular beach not only among the local residents but also among tourists. You may not know what is the Calido Beach is , But I am sure you have seen it if you ever crossed the Kalu Ganga (The Black River) in Galle Road or in the parallel rail way track in Kalutara, Sri Lanka.
Kalu Ganga (The Black River) get a 90 degree turn closer to Kalutara Bodhiya and run few kilometers along the beach before reaching the sea. Calido Beach is the thin piece of land, which run in between Kalu Ganga and Sea. The Kalutara urban council maintains the Calido beach area to protect its natural beauty. Many locals and tourists never forget to step into this magnificent beach area who come as devotees to visit “Kalutara Bodhiya;” a famous Buddhist Temple.
In 2005, this area was devastated by Tsunami which also took the lives of thousands of people who were enjoying at the beach and in the Kalu Gaga (river). Unfortunately, the beach conservation projects that were successfully carried out in the area washed away with those monstrous gigantic waves in that time.Currently there is nothing remaining in the area except the beach which also has sandy play area where locals used to play Foot ball in the evening.
There are three schools which are just across the Kalu Ganga (river), namely Kalutara Vidyalaya, Holly Cross College and Velapura Maha Vidyalaya. Therefore, many school children get an opportunity to view the natural beauty of river, temple, and the beach.
The beach is commonly populated by young and old couples. As one can expect, there are many illegal activities happening in the area all the time. However, “Kalutara Police” raided the area few times in the past.
Calido beach was declared as a Tourist zone last year by the current Government and management was handed over to a one of the local leading Casino operating centers in Colombo.
Since then, there have been many proposals for the development of the area in keeping with the government focuses on developing “Kalutara district” as a tourist destination. While there is plan to develop “Kalutara” as a fully accommodated religious city, the development plan for “Calido beach” has raised concerns not only among the public but also in Kalutara Municipal Council Board.
Following are some of the plans that were presented by Kalutara District MP and Deputy Minister, Rohitha Abeygunawardana, at the media briefing in Colombo in July 2010.
1. Develop Holiday resorts, cafeterias and other facilities needed for tourists .
2. Special Boat services from “Kalu Ganga” (The Black River) up to “Calido beach.”
3. Coastal garden and recreational facilities for visitors.
4. Generation of new avenues based on higher economical benefits.
5. Prevention of illegal activities that are taken at the place currently.
6. Developing religious places in “Kalutara District.”
In June 2011, a proposal has been put forward to have a nude beach in Kalutara and Stardust Casino has sought the approval from the relevant authorities.
Kalutara Municipla Council has strongly objected to this move as it does not only suite Sri Lankan culture but also the proposed area is within the vicinity of “Kalutara bodiya,” a pious ground of many Buddhist devotees. Kalutara Municipal council superintend, C.H.Munasinghe, has confirmed the Stardust’s plan to open a beach area for nudists. According to Mr. Munasinghe, there were some meetings held in the past with the relevant authorities to discuss the proposals of having nude beach in “Calido” beach area.
Wasantha de Silva who is in charge of Calido beach project agrees that there were discussions on the proposals but refuses to give more information regarding it.
We believe government has definitely chosen a wrong place for the idea of having a nude beach. I am sure public in Kalutara area would not want their Calido beach to be like one of Wreck Beach (Vancouver, BC, Canada), San Onofre State Beach (California, USA), Appollo beach (Florida, USA) or Samurai beach (Australia). Kalutara has been renowned as a religious town for many decades in the country. Apart from that, “Kalutara bodhiya,” Holly Cross church, Hindu Kovil , Roman Catholic church have been other significant places over many decades and locals considered the area as a pious ground. Therefore, attempting to transform “Calido beach” in Kalutara to a “Toruist nude beach” is very questionable as whether the responsible authorities targeting only economical aspects or else, really giving some kind of thoughtful consideration to build up the area as a historically valued place…..