Sri Lanka is a picturesque island with a rich and diverse culture, dating back centuries. This resplendent isle is endowed with rich religious traditions of ahimsa and peace. The majority of the country’s citizens practice Buddhism and approximately a quarter of the population practice Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.
The country’s unparalleled natural beauty consists of unending coastlines, tropical forests, wildlife sanctuaries, high mountains, geo-plains, waterfalls, sea beaches, rocks, paddy fields, tea gardens, rain forests, rivers andlandscapes. This diverse topography is the reason behind the equally varied flora and fauna of the country. Sri Lanka has a varied wildlife habitat with elephants, birds, animals, flowers and an abundance of greenery.
Sri Lanka has number of cities that are significant from the tourism point of view. They offer a myriad of opportunities to the tourists. Each city is unique in its own sense. Some are known for their historical importance, some are pilgrimage centers, some are famous for their breathtaking natural beauty and Ratnapura is famous as the gem center of Srilanka. Each city has well developed tourism infrastructure and welcomes tourists with open arms. Go and explore this beautiful island nation and enjoy the wonderful hospitality of its people.
Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa.
Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
This was built by King Kasyapa, a son of King Dhatusena, by a palace consort. As legend goes, King Dhatusena was overthrown and walled in, alive by Kasyapa in 473 AD. Mogallana, Dhatusena’s son by the true queen fled to India, vowing revenge. Kasyapa fearing an invasion built this impregnable fortress at Sigiriya.
The name Dambulla derives from Damba – Rock and Ulla – fountain. One sees the incessant drip of water from the fountain within the main image house.This complex of caves at Dambulla is one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world.
Kandy & Hill Country
Temple of Tooth
The Sri Dalada Maligawa or The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a temple in the city of Kandy in Sri Lanka. It was built within the royal palace complex which houses the one of the two surviving relic of the tooth of Buddha, an object of veneration for Buddhists.Mahamaluwa is public who came to see the annual Esala perahera.Today it contains a statue of Madduma Bandara.
Nuwara Eliya is a mountain station at 1,868 m (6,128 ft) of altitude, in a splendid landscape. The city pretends to be particularly well-kept and neat, and the always green grass gives to the locality an aspect of “colonial British style”.
Blessed with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it’s hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo.
The town is capital of the mountainous Uva Province, but as it is situated at a slightly lower elevation (about 600 meters) it features tropical vegetation (especially palms) rather than the rolling patanas (plains) typical of the region. Badulla, the end of the line for rail travelers from Colombo, Kandy and Nanu Oya (close to Nuwara Eliya) is surrounded by paddy fields along the banks of the river Gallanda Oya.
Royal Victoria Park
The Gardens date back to the Kandy an kingdom, when they were used as royal pleasure grounds. However, it was soon after the British seized the Kandyan Kingdom that they were established in 1821. The Gardens are elegantly landscaped over 150 hectares of beautifully undulating grounds. Within this large loop of the meandering Mahaweli Ganga is a spectacular display of more than 400 species of indigenous tropical flora and exotic plants
Matara (originally Mahathota) is a city on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo. It is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka. The history of Matara dates back to the Anuradhapura period. Matara is full of natural scenic beauty, which is an attraction to the tourists. The river Nilwala has fertilized the whole area where one can see the stretch of paddy fields and tea estates with plantation of spices also taking an important place.
The seaside town of Galle or “Gaul”, situated on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, is 116 Km., from Colombo with picturesque routes, following the coastline closely for much of the way. The port city of Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and Southeast Asia, showing the great architecture of structures as well as gets a breathtaking view of the ocean and the nearby towns.
Arugambe Beach, a wide sweeping sandy beach in front of the village of Arugam Bay is an attraction for swimming all year-round. Arugam Bay’s first international surfing competition was held by ISA (International Surfing Association) in the summer of 2004 despite the shocking destruction of the Tsunami On December 26, 2004, ISA returned again in 2005 to give the battered local economy of Arugam Bay a boost.
Whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa is one of the most exciting water activities you can do in Sri Lanka during your holiday. Mirissa is the best place to start your whale and dolphin watching tour in Sri Lanka. In warm Indian ocean you can see Blue whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales, sometimes Killer whales, and Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins.
Located close to the international airport. you can make Negombo your first destination since it’s only 10 minutes away from the Airport and have luxurious hotels along the coast. This city where the shore opens up to a lagoon is also called the ‘Little Rome’ because of the Catholic Churches which were made in the time of Portuguese used to colonise the country, still standing strong with beautifully designed structures.
Bentota is a tourist attraction, with a local airport (Bentota River Airport) and a handful of world-class hotels. It is a destination for watersports. It is the hosting land for the famous .Sri Lankan Jeweler Aida.Bentota also delivers an ancient art of healing called Ayurveda. Bentota is famous for its toddy production, an alcoholic beverage made out of coconut nectar.
Weligama is a town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in Matara District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka, governed by an Urban Council. The name Weligama, literally means “sandy village” which refers to the area’s sandy sweep bay. It is approximately 144 kilometres (89 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 9 metres (30 ft) above the sea level.
Pasikuda is a coastal resort town located about 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined. Pasikudah and Kalkudah are located few km apart.Since the end of the civil war in 2009 , Pasikudah has become a popular tourist destination.
Yaala National park
Situated 309 km. south of Colombo, Yala is approximately 1,259 sq.km. in extent and is located in the southeastern corner of the island. Its northern boundaries border on 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.
Wilpattu National Park
Situated 176 km. north of Colombo, Wilpattu is approximately 1,908 sq.km. in extent. It has a dense jungle cover which makes it a more exciting park where animals have to be tracked. There are numerous delightful little lakes – known as villus – and the leopard and sloth bear are the specialty rather than elephants.
Uda Walawe National Park
Situated 170 km. South East of Colombo the Uda Walawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. Large herds of Elephants and Deer species such as spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in this Park and a variety of avifauna is seen.
Wasgamuwa National Park
Situated approximately 200 km. away from Colombo, the Wasgamuwa National Park lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts and have the Mahaweli river and Amban river as its eastern and western boundaries. Tropical intermediate dry mixed evergreen forest predominates its environment.
Other Interesting Places
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanageis an orphanage , nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka . Pinnawalla is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.
It is a fabulously peaceful, colourful and historic attraction that is a great place to either relax or take up some of the activities offered,such as white-water rafting, bird watching and cave exploration.It may already be familiar to many due to its starring role as the beautiful main location for the 1957 Oscar-winning film, The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Though not the highest mountain of Sri Lanka, the striking pyramid of Adam’s Peak (7,360 ft) is certainly the most remarkable. A depression in the rocky summit resembles a huge footprint, which has been venerated as a sacred sigh from remote antiquity. This was identified by Buddhists as the Buddha’s footprint, by Hindus as that of Shiva, and by Muslims as Adam’s.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary, often spelled as Udawattakele, is a historic forest reserve on a hill-ridge in the city of Kandy. It is 104 hectares (257 acres) large. During the days of the Kandyan kingdom, Udawatta Kele was known as “Uda Wasala Watta” in Sinhalese meaning, “the garden situated above the royal palace”. The sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna.