Dondra Head – Sri Lanka’s southern-most point – is rather curiously named, being more a tail than a head. Variously named as Devundara and Devinuwara, this small town located a few kilometres from Matara is best known as the site of the tallest lighthouse in Sri Lanka, which was built by the British in 1889.
Octagonal in shape with quaint yellow windows set against brick painted white, the Dondra Lighthouse stands fifty metres tall at the edge of a shady and well-kept garden. It is probably best to ask for permission to climb to the top, and that might involve paying a fee of sorts. There is no ticket booth or sign indicating how much entrance costs, but an officious-looking type will likely accost you at the door to the lighthouse and a bit of discretion will help. Remember to save some breath as you complete the 196-step climb to the top so you can lose it entirely once you take in the view.