About 200BC, the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka was flourishing in the north central region of Anuradhapura.
After a personal dispute with his brother, King Devanampiyathissa 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.
During the height of this vibrant period the travelers and traders from the Far East, Siam, China and Indonesia sought dock in the natural harbor at Hambantota. The vessels these traders traveled in were called “SAMPANS” and their anchorage came to be known as “SAMPANTOTA” (now this particular anchorage is known as Godawaya). By and by the area came to be called “HAMBANTOTA”.
On the great Southern road just before you reach Ambalanthota the name board Ussangoda will no doubt attract your attention. Ussangoda is a legendary landing place of Ravana, the evil king of Hindu mythology who piloted his special peacock chariot across the skies. The area’s landscape is unusual, and its red earth is barren – possibly the result of a meteor that struck in ancient times.
Ussangoda provides a panoramic view of the beach and the sea. The extent of this place is approximately 20 acres and very little grows on the barren red earth. Scrub jungle surrounds Ussangoda from the land side and on the sea side the highland drops a sheer 60 feet over a rocky escarpment out to the open sea below.
DEVELOPMENTS OF HAMBANTHOTA
Since Colombo considered as the Sri Lanka’s Capital, most of reimbursements and amenities attracted such as: company head offices, ministries, highways, hospitals, schools to the Colombo city. But, since H.E the President of Sri Lanka Honorable Mahinda Rajapaksa elected on 2005, he stoutly believed that the rural areas of Sri Lanka, should also be developed and with his leadership, he decided to bring more magnetism and amenities to most suitable area of the country, Hambanthota. Hambanthota is a district of Southern province of Sri Lanka and it’s got most historical and valuable narratives amongst other cities of Sri Lanka.
Currently(2011), Hambanthota is the rapidly developing area of the country, thanks to H.E the President Honorable Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government of Sri Lanka.
Projects underway are: Hambanthota International Convention Center, Magampura International Harbour, Mattala International Airport, Hambanthota International Cricket Stadium and Southern Lanka Express Way (Colombo-Hambanthota Highway)
HAMBANTHOTA INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER
This International Convention Centre mainly consists of Auditorium with 1500 no of
seats, Committee Rooms & Other Ancillary facilities.
Site Area: 112,030.19 Sq.m. (27.67 Arc)
Building Coverage Area: 8,081.42 Sq.m.
Gross Floor Area: 15,281.66 Sq.m.
Phase I - Auditorium Building (7629.46 Sq.m.) – 6.0M USD
Phase II - Grand Ball Rooms, Main Lobby & Other Ancillary Facilities (7652.2 Sq.m) – 9.3M USD
External Landscape - 5.3M USD (Total 14.6M USD)
HAMBANTHOTA (MAGAMPURA) INTERNATIONAL HARBOUR
The Port of Hambanthota (also known as the Magampura Port) is a maritime port in Hambanthota, Sri Lanka. The first phase of the port was opened on 18 November 2010, with the first ceremonial berthing of the naval ship "Jetliner" to use the port facilities. Hambanthota Port is built inland and operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. This will be Sri Lanka’s largest port, after the Port of Colombo. The Port of Hambanthota will service ships traveling along one of world's busiest shipping lines - the east-west shipping route which passes six to ten nautical miles (19 km) south of Hambanthota. The first phase of the port project will provide bunkering, ship repair, ship building, and crew changes facilities. Later phases will raise capacity of the port up to 20 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) per year. When completed, the port will be the biggest port constructed on land to date in the 21st century.
A port was first known to be operational in the general area of Hambanthota around 250 BCE, when Chinese and Arabian merchants used it as part of the maritime silk route. Around the 1st century CE, a furnace powered by monsoon winds was built near Embilipitiya, which used wind based air supply to produce high carbon steel. This steel was exported to Rome and other European areas for the manufacture of armor and swords, with ships sailing to a port in Hambanthota to obtain to steel.
Sri Lanka is situated along the key shipping route between the Malacca Straits and the Suez Canal, which links Asia and Europe. An estimated 36,000 ships, including 4,500 oil tankers, use the route annually. However the only major port in Sri Lanka, the Port of Colombo is catered towards container handling and is unable to provide facilities for port related industries and services. Therefore a new port was proposed near the city of Hambanthota, which has a natural harbor and is located on the southern tip of Sri Lanka close to international shipping routes.
A new port will help relieve pressure on the Colombo port, and also provide services to ships that normally take three-and-a-half day detours from their shipping lanes to receive these services, including refueling, maintenance, logistics and buying provisions and medical supplies Proposals to build a port in Hambanthota date back over three decades, but plans never got out of conceptual stages. The Port of Hambanthota project was finally launched after H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is a native of Hambanthota, was elected President of Sri Lanka in 2005.
The first phase of the Port of Hambanthota will consist of two 600m general purpose berths, a 310m bunkering berth and a 120m small craft berth. It will also contain a bunkering facility and tank farm which will include 8 tanks for marine fuel, 3 tanks containing aviation fuel and 3 for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG). A 15 floor administrative complex will also be constructed as part of the project.
The mouth of the natural harbor at Hambanthota has a 22m depth. When completed, the port will have a 1.5 km long breakwater, with a minimum basin depth of 17m. This is compared to the 15.5m depth of the Port of Colombo. The turning circle will be 600m. A dam will also be built to prevent flooding in nearby areas, and a seawall made of interlocking concrete blocks will protect the port from high seas.
A $550 million tax-free port zone is being set up outside the port, with local and international companies expressing interest in setting up shipbuilding, ship-repair and warehousing facilities in the zone.
The finished project is expected to provide indirect employment to over 50,000 people.
The second phase of the Port of Hambanthota project, which will include a container terminal, is expected to be completed by 2014. The second stage of the port is estimated to cost around US$ 750 million. The third phase will include a dockyard. Upon completion, the port will cover 4,000 acres (16 km2) of land and accommodate 33 vessels at any given time, making it the largest port in South Asia.
HAMBANTHOTA (MATTALA) INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The Mattala International Airport is an international airport currently under construction in Mattala, in the Hambanthota District in the south of Sri Lanka. Upon completion, the Mattala International Airport will be Sri Lanka's second international airport.
Mattala, a small town located 15 kilometers north of Hambanthota. Construction on the $209 million first phase of the airport began in November 2009, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The new international airport is expected to expand the local aviation industry whilst being a catalyst for the country’s economic development enabling international trade, tourism, vocational training and employment. It is also being implemented as an eco friendly project. The airport is estimated to cost US $210 million and by the end of construction will cover 2,000 Hectares in total. The new airport is being built to be compatible with the latest Airbus A380 aircraft and has been designed according to recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. The airport is designed to facilitate for over 800 foreign passengers at peak hours and several local passengers per every 1000 km² in side the buildings. It will be made to support air-sea cargo transshipment in conjunction with the nearby Hambanthota Port, which is about 15 miles away, and would act as an alternative to the Colombo International Airport from the date of its completion in 2011.
In ancient times Ussangoda in Ambalantota was a legendary landing place of Ravana, the evil king of Hindu mythology who piloted his special peacock chariot across the skies. That is the ancient evidence for air port in Hambanthota.
Planning and construction
This project will have two phases, with the first phase expected to be completing in 2012 and open in September/October 2012.
A new aerodrome designed to meet the ICAO specification for code 4F is to be built. Annual Service Volume of the aerodrome at short and medium/long term planning horizons will be 30,000 and 60,000 movements respectively.
Runway Length: 4,000 metres in length with a width of 75 metres.
60 meter long taxiway from the runway centre line to the edge of the apron.
Apron: 10 parking positions initially with the total being 80.
Terminals and other buildings will occupy a proposed 10,000 square metres to accommodate 800 peak hours and 100 domestic passengers both ways.
Hambanthota International Airport will include domestic/regional and international passenger and cargo terminals, warehouses, as well as being compatible for seaplane/amphibious operations etc. It will have facilities for pilot training, technician training, aircraft maintenance and charter/private jet parking.
HAMBANTHOTA INTERNATIONAL CRICKET STADIUM
Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium is a cricket stadium in Hambanthota. It was built for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and hosted two matches, the first being Sri Lanka against Canada, on 20th February 2011. The stadium has a capacity of 34,300 people. The stadium will be expanded to 60,000 seats to host the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 and the ceremonies and archery competition if Hambantota's bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games are successful.
The following 2011 Cricket World Cup matches held in Hambanthota International Cricket Stadium in February, 2011. The first official international match would be between Sri Lanka and Canada on 20 February, 2011, which Sri Lanka won by 210 runs. A total of two matches played at the venue during the World Cup 2011.
DAKSHINA (SOUTHERN) LANKA EXPRESS HIGHWAY
The Dakshina Lanka Distributor, Dakshina meaning southern in Sinhalese (also known as the Southern Lanka Express Highway or Southern Lanka Distributor or simply the Southern Expressway) is Sri Lanka newest E Class road. The 126 km (78.2 mile) long highway will link the Sri Lankan Capital Colombo with Matara, a major city in the South of the Island. Construction on the highway began in 2006 and it is expected to be completed in August 2011 at the cost of $600 million however public opening is scheduled towards the end of September. When completed it will reduce the time taken to travel from Colombo to Matara to one and a half hours from the current four hours.
As of December 2006, the first phase of construction is underway from Matara to Kurundugaha hatekma. The second phase of the construction will be from Kurundugaha hatekma to Kottawa. There are also plans to further extend the Highway to Weerawila and beyond as far as Batticaloa. This would extend the highway by approximately 100 km (62 miles).