The Citadel of Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka which remained the seat of government for centuries, is symbolic of the golden era of Sri Lanka. With the embrace of Buddhism by the King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd century B.C, Buddhism received royal patronage and support. As a result, Anuradhapura remains a city that resembles.
Polonnaruwa is the second capital of Sri Lanka from the mid 11 th century until the 13 th Century. The Parakrama Samudraya built by King Prakramabahu is a living example of the irrigation systems during this era.
The citadel of Sigiriya, the literal fortress in the Sky, founded 1,500 years ago by the King Kassapa (447-495 A.D.), is one of the most remarkable creations in the world for its construction, artistry and irrigation. Once being a resort of pleasure, a citadel of beauty and fortress of strength, today, Sigiriya offers her visitors.
Dambulla is the Sri Lanka’s Largest Rock Cave Temple protecting the world’s images of Budhdha and paintings of thousands of years of age. The temple was constructed in the time of King Valagamba (103 BC and 89-77 BC), who lived in these caves for 12 years hiding from the Indian invaders. After getting his throne back, the King built the caves into a Buddhist temple.The caves built by him were named as Devarajalena, Maharajalena and the Paccimalena. Later on many other Kings including King Vijayabahu, King Keerthi Sri Nissankamalla, made additions and renovations to the temple.
This sleepy village and temple complex, 13km east of Anuradhapura, holds a special place in the annals of Sri Lankan lore. In 247 BC King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura was hunting a stag on Mihintale Hill when he was approached by Mahinda, son of the great Indian Buddhist emperor, Ashoka. Mahinda tested the king’s wisdom and, considering him to be a worthy disciple, promptly converted the king on the spot. Mihintale has since been associated with the earliest introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
The Avukana statue is a standing statue of the Buddha near Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka. The statue, which has a height of more than 40 feet (12 m), was carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century. It depicts a variation of the Abhaya mudra, and the closely worn robe is elaborately carved. Constructed during the reign of Dhatusena, it may have been made as a result of a competition between a master and a pupil. The Avukana statue is one of the best examples of a standing statue constructed in ancient Sri Lanka. It is now a popular tourist attraction.
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared.Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants.
Situated 309 km south of Colombo, Yala is approximately 1,259 sq .Km in extent and is located in the south eastern corner of the island. Its northern boundaries border the Lahugala Elephant Sanctuary and it has the added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage. The terrain is varied – flat plains alternating with rocky outcrops.
Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks.Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993
Sinharaja Rain Forest
In the year 1988, Sinharaja Rain Forest was declared a UNESCO world heritage list. It was Sri Lanka’s first natural site to be included in the list. Sinharaja Rain Forest is the Sri Lanka’s last of the tropical lowland rainforests. Spreading in an area of 18900 acres (7,648 hectares), it ranges in altitude from 300m to 1,170m. Sinharaja rainforest borders within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces of the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka and is marked by rivers on three sides.Sinharaja Forest Reserve can be accessed via Ratnapura, Kiriella, Kalawana, Weddala, and Rakwana.
Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) – Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka.Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population.
Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts.
Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka. Set on a peninsula, Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century. Within its grounds, the grand Koneswaram Temple stands on Swami Rock cliff, a popular vantage point for blue-whale watching. The holy complex contains ornate shrines and a massive statue of Shiva. Nearby Gokanna Temple has panoramic views over the city and the coastline.
Pasikuda, meaning “green-algae-bay” is situated in Eastern seaboard of Sri Lanka between Kalkuda and the Indian Ocean, approximately 35 kilometers from Batticaloa Town. The turquoise blue waters of the bay attracts local and foreign tourist to this wide sandy place under the hot tropical sun to surf, swim or just frolic in the water. Many other activities are available from kite surfing, boogie boarding to surfing and sailing across in a canoe.
A characteristic fishing town north of Colombo, it is a mere 6 km from the international airport. Set amid lush groves of coconut palms, it breaches the spirit of the sea. Negombo is a gourmet’s paradise with sea food in plenty. Old world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring sea, skipjack.
There are several lovely beaches in the Bentota area, like the Moragalla Beach (just where the Bentota Ganga river meets the ocean) and Ventura Beach. They are more informally referred to simply as Bentota Beach, and together they make a very long stretch of fine white sand.One of the most popular activities in Bentota, beside beach bumming and water sports, is going on a boat trip on the river Bentota Ganga.
In 1940, the Hikkaduwa Rocky Islets were declared sanctuaries and was limited to the land boundaries of these rocky islets. In 1998 it was upgraded to the status of a nature reserve and later to a national park. The famed Coral Gardens and Telwatte Bird Sanctuary are the main attractions of Hikkaduwe which lies 98km from Colombo.
Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. Galle Lighthouse stands on the fort’s southeast tip.
Kandy the hill capital, the last kingdom in Sri Lankan history, as described by the British Governor Sir William Gregory (1872 – 1877), is the “loveliest town in the loveliest island”. Kandy was identified as the most picturesque spot in the British Empire. While being the most venerated city among the Buddhists world over due.
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures. Densely forested Galway’s Land National Park is a sanctuary for endemic and migratory bird species, including bulbuls and flycatchers.
Ella in Sri Lanka is a small laid back town surrounded by the beautiful greens of tea. There are a lot of things to do in Ella. Take one of the most beautiful train rides from Nuwara Eliya to Ella and fall in love with the surroundings. One of Ella’s wonders is the Ella Rock. Ella rock might be a long way up but it’s worth all the struggle. Every day, tons and tons of people go and climb the Ella Rock.
Adam’s Peak is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well known for the Sri Pada, i.e., “sacred footprint”, a 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of the Buddha.
Horton Plains is a popular tourist destination, with World’s End being the key attraction. The park is accessed by the Nuwara Eliya-Ambewela-Pattipola and Haputale-Boralanda roads, and there are railway stations at Ohiya and Ambewela.World’s End is a sheer precipice with a 870 m (2,854 ft) drop.It is situated at the southern boundary of the park. Another cliff known as the Lesser World’s End of 270 m (886 ft) is located not far from World’s End.Baker’s Falls, a waterfall formed by Belihul Oya, a tributary of the Walawe River is named after Sir Samuel Baker, a hunter and explorer who attempted to establish a European agricultural settlement at Nuwara Eliya.
Knuckles Mountain Range
The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif which resemble the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Whilst this name was assigned by early British surveyors, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning Mist-laden Mountain Range
The higher montane area is often robed in thick layers of cloud. In addition to its aesthetic value, the range is of great scientific interest.