Words Madhushala Senaratne Photographs Mahesh Bandara
It was afternoon when we reached Passekudah. With the heat of the day still bearing down on us, we debated whether we should set out to explore the coast then or later, for we’d heard much about its beauty. Fortunately for us, the heat did wear off quicker than anticipated. We set out towards the coast, ready to be enthralled. And we were.
The sea that stretched before us was as still as a lake, sans the roaring waves, which would generally splash hard against the skin of your feet. The shores were crowded with families and groups of friends, both young and old, either strolling the golden sands or playing in the waters.
Passekudah is located to the north of Batticaloa on one side of the Kalkudah headland. An ideal spot for bathing, the flat seabed of Passekudah beckons the curious visitor to wander up to 150 – 200 metres into the waters from the shore. We wandered on, walking far into the shallow waters, which much to our delight were warm and pleasing. We drifted in the waters for longer than anticipated, enjoying the freedom and admiring the beauty of Passekudah. Around us, boats roamed farther into the sea, and Palmyra trees stood tall in the distance.
Having spent a few hours in the waters, we decided to visit the town. We travelled towards Oddamavadi, which is about ten minutes away from Passekudah. Driving around, we stopped to watch a vendor on the roadside, who was busy mixing chickpeas, seeval (manioc), chilli and onion with flour to make a delicious mix, which was good to munch along the way.
The next morning, we drove exploring more of Passekudah. In the early hours of the morning, fisher folk travelled back towards land and brought with them the night’s catch. Buyers from distant places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the hills gathered to purchase fresh fish.
Driving ahead, we came across a quiet piece of land bordering the sea, filled with coconut trees. Picture perfect, silver blots shimmered across the blue of the waters as the bright afternoon sun reflected on it and a thin line of purple stretched horizontally across the stream. This blended well with the blue of the sky where clouds formed smoky shapes, making the area ever more picturesque.
Through a fence, I watched the sea, its waters flow by, gently, capturing forever the everlasting beauty of Passekudah. It was certainly rich on charms and there was much to be explored here.