Buffalo Island in the Batticaloa Lagoon (මඩකලපුව මීහරක් දූපත)

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The Batticaloa lagoon comprises several islands within it, namely Puliyantheevu, Mantheevu, Erumaitheevu (Buffalo Island), Sirayatheevu and Elubutheevu (Bone Island). Of these islands, Puliyantheevu is the most important island as it holds central city of the Batticaloa.

Buffalo Island is the largest island inside the lagoon. It covers 4.5 square kilometers (1,115 acres) and has an elevation of about 5 meters. The island is fully covered in paddy fields and Canagaratnam reports that it had 7 man made ponds to collect rainwater during the north-east monsoon. The water was used to irrigate paddy lands during the drier seasons.

Until about 1817, this whole island was exclusively owned by a single individual named Pasqual Mudaliyar. Subsequently this land had been divided and sold separately to several individuals. After harvesting rice from the fields after the south-west monsoon, cattle of the surrounding mainland were transported to this island to grace. This practice was equally beneficial to the owners of the cattle and the land, as it feeds and enriches the soil at the same time (Canagaratnam, 1921). The name Buffalo Island possibly is rooted in this practice of the early 20th century.

Buffalo Island is disconnected from the mainland and is only accessible by a canoe or a boat.


  1. Canagaratnam, S.O. (1921) Monograph of the Batticaloa District of the Eastern Province, Ceylon. Colombo, Ceylon: H. R. Cottle.
  2. Www.statistics.gov.lk (no date) Department of Census and Statistics. Available at: http://www.statistics.gov.lk/statistical%20Hbook/2019/Batticaloa/GAsList.pdf (Accessed: 12 May 2023).

Also See

Map of Buffalo Island in the Batticaloa Lagoon

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Travel Directions to Buffalo Island in the Batticaloa Lagoon

There is no causeway to this island from the mainland. Only access is through fishing boats which are operating from the lagoon of Batticaloa.

Route from Colombo to BatticaloaRoute II from Colombo to Batticaloa
Through : Ambepussa – Kurunegala – Dambulla – Polonnaruwa – kalkuda
Distance : 325 km
Travel time : 6-7 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
 Through : Ambepussa – Kandy – Mahiyangana
Distance : 340 km
Travel time : 8 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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