Anuradhapura – Citadel of the Ancient City – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1982)
Anuradhapura has been considered by historians, archaeologists, travelers and tourists as the most important cultural city in Sri Lanka. Recognized travel guides state that every international tourist to South Asia should visit Anuradhapura, which is one of the first World Heritage sites declared by UNESCO. It had been the capital city of Sri Lanka for a period of over 13 centuries beginning from 5th c BC.
Anuradhapura – Atamasthana – Eight Shrines
The term “Atamastana” refers to the eight most prominent Buddhist shrines in the ancient city , All of which belongs to the historical Anuradhapura period and located outside the citadel
- Sri Maha Bodhi
- Ruwan Weli Seya
- Lowa Maha Paya
The importance of the sacred complex of Mihintale is predominantly due to the fact that it was the place of the birth of Buddhism and also because of the proximity to the ancient capital city Anuradhapura .
Ritigala is the only strict natural reserve in Sri Lanka combined with an Archaeological Reserve and appears to dominate the landscape of the region . A cave inscription in the area of 2nd c BC refers to the establishment of a monastery by King Suratissa
Polonnaruwa – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1982)
Polonnaruwa was made the capital city of Sri Lanka by King VIjayabahu after abandoning Anuradhapura which suffered from Chola invasions . Today as a World heritage city Polonnaruwa ranks on par with Anuradhapura mainly due to the cultural sites in the area
- Gal viharaya – Gal viharaya is a world renowned temple consists of three Buddha images in sedentary , Standing and reclining postures carved by sculptors of exceptional skill
- Poth Gul Vehera
- Parakrama Royal Places
- Nissankamalla’s Place
Sigiriya – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1982)
As one of nature’s magnificent creations in Sri Lanka , Sigiriya rock rises abruptly from all sides to a height of 600 ft.Any visitor to Sri Lanka considers it as one of the most memorable places of interest . The rock which is known to have been a fortress kingdom used by King Kassapa .
Sigiriya also claims international fame due to the historic frescos of female Apsaras , the inscription of recording s made by ancient travelers on the surface of a long mirror wall and also the impressive rock carvings at the upper entrance in the shape of the mouth of a lion . The combination of several amazing features makes the visitors gaze at a man – made wonder on top of a nature wonder .
Dambulla – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1991)
The entire dambulla rock complex consists of large slabs of rock , statues of Budhdha and caves , Some of which contain ancient inspections too. The temple is built by king Valagamba .
Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1988)
Dalada Maligawa -This is the temple where the sacred tooth relic is preserved and rituals are performed Museum- The place includes the impressive audience hall where the famous Kandyan Convention was signed in 1815 . Today The Museum is considered an important part of the complex Devalas in Honour of Four Deities – Natha , Vishnu , Kataragama , Pattini devalas mainly perform rituals
Horton Plains Worlds End – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 2010)
Nature lovers consider the view across the worlds end as the most fascinating that could be experienced in the country. Apart from seeing the vast expanse of the southern plain it is also possible to get an unusual aerial view of the tea factory.
Knuckles range is a major eco tourism venue of Sri Lanka and has been declared a World Heritage and Wilderness area. Breath-taking mountain scenery offering mountain trails crossing rivers and tributaries, dense, forests, waterfalls and lush tea plantation adjacent to terraced paddy fields are common features
Trincomalee , Koneshwaram Temple
The city of Trincomalee located on the Eastern coast is Sri Lanka’s most important natural harbor and is 260 km away from Colombo
The most important Hindu shrine in the area which is also called Thirukoneshwaram Kovil is located at the highest point in the fort and is worshipped by pilgrims of all religious groups . The cliff which projects in to the ocean with a sharp precipice of 360 ft, next to the Kovil is called the Swami Rock.
The site is world famous for wind – Surfing and has become a major attraction among the tourist. The construction of a recent bridge between the bay and the lagoon added to the improvement of infra-structure in the vicinity. There is a flood of adventures who also visit nearby national parks such as Kumana Bird Sanctuary
Yala National Park
Yala is the best known wild life sanctuary in the Sri Lanka due to high concentration of wild animals as well as birdlife .However the presence of a large number of hills rocks and boulders within a short distance of the sea has added to the availability of ideal habitat for wild life which also include lagoons mangroves tanks and beaches .
Among the mammals, leopards, elephants, sloth bear, wild buffalo and spotted deer are the larger ones. The birds population includes sandpipers, jungle fowl , spur fowl , storks , pelicans painted Starks , ibises and many more .
Udawalawa National Park
This is a dry zone park which was declared as a national park in 1972. The park falls between the Udawalawe reservoir and the Walawe River and is surrounded by the scenic beauty of the mountain range that keeps on winding endlessly on the Balangoda, Kalthota and Haputale escarpments. This park is famous for its elephants seen in all their playfulness, whole herds of them, adults and babies bathing and playing in the water or feeding.
Minneriya National Park
Located in North central Province between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, 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.
Hummanaya Blow Hole
Out of six known blow holes in the world , Hummanaya is considered the second largest . The formation of a fountain like spray which shoots up to 60 ft cause a rumble which can be heard a distance away
Galle Fortress – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1988)
The fortress which has been declared a World heritage site was first by the Portuguese in the early 16th century
The most spectacular feature of the fortress area is the natural formation of the peninsula and the resulting natural harbor. The ramparts built around the peninsula has made the entire peninsula a fortress. The buildings are so strong than it is very likely that most structures will remain for centuries .
Buduruwagala is a spaciously and majestically constructed shrine which is the only Mahayana temple showing all important Bodhisatwas carved together in one monolith. A visitor can see seven large statues caved symmetrically with the largest statue of 15.5m or 51 ft .
Sinharaja Forest – UNESCO World Heritage Site (DECLARED 1988)
The world heritage site of sinharaja Forest is spread over an area of 11187 ha., 21 km lang 3.7km wide .
Sinharaja is firstly , a Sri Lankan heritage for many reasons . It is an undisturbed expanse of primary rain forest and it is also considered the last patch of lowland evergreen forest still intact in the island. The solitude in the silent forest is so over whelming than man finds it to be the most impenetrable wilderness in Sri Lanka.