Sin: ගාල්ල gālla – Tam: கால gāli

‘Enclosure’  SP, Sri Lanka

From Sin: gāla, ‘cattle or elephant enclosure’.

This derivation has a convenient long ā to match the modern place name unlike the more popular derivation ‘Rocky Place’ [from Sin: gala, ‘stone’, ‘rock’, ‘rocky place’; Tam: kal/kallu].

Some suggest that Galle’s name comes from Por: galo, ‘cock, rooster’ [Lat: gallus], which explains why the Dutch used the cock as the symbol for Galle.

The ancient name for Galle was Gimhathitha, ‘port on the Gin ganga’ – Gintota and the railway station are only a few kilometres further north.

Galle is famous for its rocky promontory, fort and harbour. The Dutch built the granite-walled fort in 1663 with its Sun, Moon and Star bulwarks.

It has traded in ivory, cinnamon and peacocks since ancient times and Emerson Tennant actually suggested it might be be the ancient port of Tarshish mentioned in the Bible.

For related place names see Sri Lanka Place names.


Galle Fort & Lighthouse

Galle Fort & Lighthouse          Grayswoodsurrey