Kalmunai is a major city in Ampara District. It is the largest city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. It is one of the few Muslim-majority municipalities in the country. When Muslims in Colombo were expelled by Portuguese in the 17th century, they fled to Kandy and sought refuge with King Rajasinha II, who resettled these refugees in Kalmunai (8,000 refugees) and Kattankudy (4,000). Kalmunai was the site of the royal farm, as a result of this settlement, it became a Muslim-majority area.
There were Sri Lankan Muslims, Sri Lankan Tamils, Sinhalese, and Burghers with the Moors forming a majority. It consists of four major regions namely Kalmunai city (Thalavatuvan Junction to Tharavai kovil Road), Kalmunai South ([Kalmunaikudy]) Kalmunai North (Pandiruppu, Maruthamunai, and Neelavanai), Kalmunai Out City (Sainthamaruthu) and Kalmunai West (Natpittimunai, Chenaikudiruppu).
The devastating Sri Lankan civil war has adversely affected the area with number a forced disappearances, and civil unrest targeting the local civilians. The city was also severely impacted by the 2004 Tsunami, leading to many deaths and property destruction running into the millions of rupees.
The city is bounded on the east by the Indian Ocean on the north by the Periyaneelavanai village and on the south by Karaitivu village which is considered to be a suburb of the city.