via Daily News, 09 February 2021: A feature on a 17th century Dutch fort in Sri Lanka – the Kalpitiya Fort.
The coastal areas of Sri Lanka have some stunning historic forts. Some are massive and imposing. Other forts are not that big but served their purpose of a fortified defensive bastion. With the tranquil Puttalam lagoon opening out to the sea, Kalpitiya is one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. A cluster of 23 islands, 14 of which are major islands, enhances the appeal of this resplendent location.
A few metres from the main town is a historic architectural gem – the Dutch Fort. As we entered through the main gate of SLNS Vijaya, the naval quartermaster greeted us and directed us to the fort. The first view from the right side of the Base is the majestic rock wall that has stood here for three centuries. The cool breeze of the lagoon was refreshing. A sailor accompanied us to this historic fortified structure. The fort is not large like Fort Fredrick in Trincomalee or the massive Dutch Fort in Galle; yet we would soon discover its defensive elements that helped it achieve its security objective.
The arched-entrance has two large wooden doors, which is the only point of entry. Above the arch is a pediment which is common in Classical and Baroque architecture. I noticed the emblem of the Dutch East India Company – the letters ‘VoC’. The fort’s crest displays two elephants that signify strength and a palm tree in the centre as a reflection of prosperity. The year 1676 is engraved on the wall. Old records say that before this fort was built here there was a small chapel built by the Portuguese priest of the Jesuit Order. The Portuguese had arrived here in 1544 and named the area as Kardiv Island.