Destinations

 
Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is situated 205 km north of Colombo in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malwatu Oya. Believed to have been founded by a King’s Minister named Anuradha in 500 BC it is one of the greatest monastic cities of the ancient world and the country’s first capital. The main attraction of this UNESCO World Heritage city is its well-preserved ruins of a bygone era which is now considered an important historical and archaeological site.Wilpattu National Park which is one of the two largest National Parks in Sri lanka is located within 30 minutes drive from Anuradhapura.

Places to see in Anuradhapura
The Sri Mahabodhi  
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It is hard to believe; but without a shadow of doubt—that this small tree with limbs so slender that they must be supported on iron crutches, is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world (2,200 years).A branch of the very Bo beneath which (at Buddha Gaya in North India) the Buddha himself found Enlightenment, was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd Century B.C. by the Princess/religieuse Sanghamitta; a sister of the saint Mahinda.

Lowamahapaya
 
1 A roof of copper over this primordial skyscraper bestowed upon it, its name. This work of the great king Dutu Gemunu is known to have burned down only 15 years after its building; which leads to the surmise that it was largely a wooden structure.The 1,600 pillars (40 x 40) that now mark the site are historically ascribed to king Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153—1186 A.D.) of Polonnaruwa. The original building was of 9 graded stories and is said to have had one thousand rooms.

Ruwanweliseya
 
1 This is the centre piece of The Maha vihara (Great Monastery). The Maha vihara, because of it's long history of guarding the traditions of Theravada Buddhism, and because its monks kept the most sacred shrines at Anuradhapura, was the most important monastery of the city
Thuparamaya The Thuparama was the first Buddhist building at Anuradhapura. It was built by King Devanampiya Tissa to enshrine the Buddha’s collar bone.

Jethawana Degaba
 
1 To the east of the Mahathupa lies an enormous brick dagaba, the Jetavana. The dagaba was originally built to a height of 400 feet (120 Metres), making it the 3rd largest building in the world at that time. The two taller buildings were the biggest of the Egyptian pyramids, built two thousand years before.

Abhayagiriya
 
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It was the largest monastery in Sri Lanka for about 600 years. It housed 5000 monks in its grounds of more than 500 acres (235 hectares), and was at the time the most powerful institution in the country after the king.Here in the grounds of the Abhayagiri you will see some of the most beautiful architecture and sculpture in Anuradhapura.  This is 370 feet ( 115 M ) in height.

Samadhi Buddha Statue
 
1 Samadhi is a state of deep meditation, and the Lord Buddha is represented in this position after gaining enlightenment. This 4th Century AD statue of the Buddha in meditative pose is acknowledged worldwide as a masterpiece. The Indian Nationalist leader, Nehru, derived strength from contemplating his statue, during his imprisonment by the British.

Kuttam Pokuna – The Twin Ponds
 
1 The twin ponds are a magnificent example of landscape architecture built on a grand scale. The ponds are in fact not twins at all, pond (b) being longer by 40 feet than pond (a). The stone molding of the baths and the flights of steps leading to the water are graceful and austere, but above all natural. Apart from their beauty, the twin ponds are very functional. Water which is fed through an inlet is cleaned and purified several times over; before the cool water gushes out into the pond through a lions-head spout.

Mirisavetiya
 
1 This is th first Dagaba of king Dutu Gemunu, enshrining in it his spear with its Relic—in expiation, as he himself explained, of his impiety in having once eaten a relish (miris) “without a thought of the Brotherhood”. The Vahalkadas (frontispieces) are particularly striking.

Wilpattu National Park - just 30 minutes from Anuradhapura


Wilpattu National Park is situated along the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka.   It comprises of a unique complex of lakes called Villus, which are natural basins that are filled up with rainwater and are surrounded by open grassy plains set within dense scrub jungle.  A multitude of sandy paths wind around the entire park and open up into these large natural lakes.  The unspoilt and beautiful Wilpattu National Park is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka.  It is ideal for those wanting to escape the flurry of activity of Yala and instead offers the opportunity for a tranquil, peaceful and undisturbed drive.

The biggest draws in Wilpattu are Leopards and Sloth bears.  Alongside these, it is possible to see Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Mugger Crocodiles.  Endemic birds include the Ceylon Junglefowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Black-capped Bulbul in riverine habitats. Muntjac or Barking Deer are more easily seen in Wilpattu than any other national park. Butterflies recorded include the Great Eggfly, Great Orange Tip, Glad-eye Bushbrown, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Common Rose and Crimson Rose.

Sigiriya

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Sigiriya also known as Lion Rock is a rock fortress situated 169km North Central of Sri Lanka. Having been built in the 5th Century BC by King Kashyapa to serve as his royal palace, it spreads over 3 hectares, rising up 300meters above sea level. This amazing piece of ancient architecture has been declared as a world heritage site and as the 8th wonder of the world. This is a “never missed” tourist destination that is popular for its intriguing wall paintings (frescoes) dating back to the 5th century, the Royal pleasure gardens with its hydraulic system that supplied water to the fountains, the mirror walls with its “Sigiri graffiti”, the massive “Lion” staircase entrance that is carved out of rock and the remains of the Royal palace and swimming pool that could be seen at the summit.

Dambulla

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Dambulla is a historically important site which was founded in the 1st century BC by King Valagamba and is now an important part of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle as declared by UNESCO. It consists of over a vast, isolated rock mass with over 80 caves, most of them having been used by the monks for retreat and meditation, while 5 of the caves hold most of the valuable statues, sculptures and wall paintings.
Some of these frescoes are over 2,000 years old and the 14 meter large recumbent Buddha carved out of rock is a sight that promises to hold the viewer spellbound. For those interested in viewing Sri Lanka’s ancient art…Dambulla is a perfect art gallery. In the surrounding area to the caves is another phenomenal historical site situated in the heart of the jungle. Considered to be the oldest garden in Sri Lanka is the “Namal Uyana” or Iron Wood Forest and the largest Rose Quartz Mountain range in South Asia, with its white, rose and violet colour quartz deposits dating back to over 500 million years can be seen here

Polonnaruwa
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Polonnaruwa a world heritage site dates back to the 11th and 13th century A.D. offering many attractions to its visitors. Known as the medieval capital of the country it is situated 216km fro the city of Colombo in the North East of Colombo. This ancient kingdom reveals its past glory by way of the “Sea of Parakrama” a gigantic 2400 hectare tank built by King Parakramabahu 1 in 1153-86. Also seen are the remains of the Royal Citadel, the Royal Pavilion, Council Chambers and Relic house with its stone sculptured guard stones and moonstones. The many dagabos and shrines and impressive monuments add interest to this ancient royal capital. At the famous Gal Viharaya one can see the massive granite boulders bearing the sculpturing masterpieces of the colossal standing, seated and reclining Buddha

Knuckles

The knuckles or Dumbara hills are a striking geographical feature which nature has bestowed on Sri lanka.These hills cover parts of kandy and matale district, and are separated from the central hills by the mahaweli valley to the south and east, and the matale valley to the west.

Ideal environment for adventure and eco holiday lovers since rocks, streams, jungle and 3 waterfalls are the main attractions around the place.

Kandy
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Traveling 120km from the capital city of Colombo will take you to Kandy, one of the most scenic mountainous cities in the country. Situated at an elevation of 488meters above sea level, Kandy is also known as the “Royal City” because it was a stronghold of the Sinhala Kings of the past. The “Temple of the tooth” the golden roofed Dalada Maligawa where the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is enshrined and the vast artificial lake is the centerpiece of the town. 

Famous for the “Esala Perehera” a cultural pageant that takes the streets of Kandy every year during the months of July / August. Participating in this glittering pageant are colourfully dressed dancers, drummers and close to 100 elephants. Kandy has many attractions for the many visitors who make it to this beautiful hill capital.

Some of its attractions are the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, the Kandy and Dalada Museums, ancient shrines and temples, the village craftsmen who carry on the ancient traditional craft making. Kandy is also an interesting place for shopping for antiques, curios and souvenirs made of Wood, Silver, Bronze, rush, reed and other exotic material.

Traditional Ayurveda treatments can be experienced at number of places in and around Kandy. A cultural dance show which is attracted by almost all the tourists to Kandy can be witnessed in the evening.

Sri Pada

Buddhist pilgrims climbs the 2245m (7242ft) high mountain to honor the legendary footprint of Buddha. Approx. 300.000 pilgrims visit this place a year. Sri Pada means "holy footprint". To the Hindus the mountain is holy for another reason: they call it "Shivas Peak". Christians from the old Indian Church think that the apostle Thomas have lived there during his mission in India, and the Muslims call it "Adam's Peak" and interpret the footprints as those of the first man. In the history of religions, Sri Pada is a holy mountain of classic importance.

In addition to the religious requirement,most of the peopleclimb to the top to observe the effulgence of the rising sun which is like a magical happening created by mother  nature.By the way you will pass through magnificent sceneries and will get an real experience of hill climbing adventure There is only a walking distance from Wathsala Inn to the starting point of the hill climb 

Nuwaraeliya
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Nuwara Eliya located at a height of 1890 meters above sea level is the highest and coolest city in Sri Lanka. Just 160km from Colombo this scenic town also known as “Little England” is famous for producing some of the finest high grown pure Ceylon teas. Nuwara Eliya with its salubrious climate is surrounded by mist covered mountains, gushing waterfalls, tea plantations and other exciting attractions, is the most visited hill station in the country.

Some places of interest in and around Nuwara Eliya is the scenic lake Gregory lying placidly in the center of the town, the beautiful Hakgala Botanical Gardens established in 1861 by the British, with its exotic collection of plants and trees from around the world, the Horton plains, a national park that is interspersed with vast stretches of grasslands, forest and streams of crystal clear water. At “World’s End” one can witness breathtaking scenery and awesome precipice that drops sharply down 700 -1000m to the valley far below.

Ella
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Ella is blessed with some of the most beautiful views; you could find in Sri Lanka.Only 8 km from Bandarawela, this small town is used as a base for plenty of trekking expeditions to the surrounding countryside. A taste of the breathtaking scenery of Ella could be had, if you just walk into the Garden of the Grand Ella Motel (Formerly Ella Rest House), where you seem to be standing at the edge of the world, and everything around you seems to disappear at your feet. Another fine view is from the Ambiente Hotel, where the wide doorway, opens out to the mountains, creating a dramatic cinematic like experience, on entry.Some of the places you could see in Ella are the Ella Gap, Ravana Ella Falls, Little Adam's Peak and Bambaragala Peak among the other many varied pleasant walks with stunning scenery.
Udawalawa
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Uda Walawe lies South of the central hills of the island, and it surrounds the man made reservoir of Uda Walawe, which is part of the park. It is a mixture of abandoned teak plantation, scrub jungle & grassland. The dry season is best to watch the many herds of elephant that roam the park; which is usually between May & September. Almost the entire park is covered with tall, reedy Pohon grass, which grows all year round, except during the months of June and October. Uda Walawe is a superb place to watch elephants. An estimated 500 elephants in herds to up to 100 live here. One of the reasons is the elephant-proof fence that surrounds the perimeter of the park, which keeps the elephants in and the cattle (and humans) out

TISSA
  
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Tissamaharama is situated in the deep south of Sri Lanka 264 km from the capital city of Colombo. This ancient capital of Ruhuna which dates back to the 3rd century BC was built during the reign of King Kavantissa, farther of the heroic King Dutugemunu. Located on the banks of the serene and scenic Tissa Weva, it is a must stop for visitors proceeding towards Kataragama and the Yala National Park.
Kirinde with its beautiful, un-spoilt beach is situated just 11km Southeast of Tissa. This place bears the fascinating legend of a princess who was set afloat in a gilded boat which had drifted towards Kirinde. Here King Kavan Tissa fell in love and married the Princess Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugemunu

Yala
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Yala is where the Ruhunu National Park the second largest and one of the oldest national Parks is situated. This popular Wild Life safari destination located 350km from Colombo, its dense jungles, lagoons and Open Park and sea front areas is home to Elephant, Spotted deer, Sambur, Barking deer, Monkey, Wild Buffalo, Wild boar, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Crocodile, endemic and migratory birds, including the beautiful peacock and flamingos.

Other places of interest lying within the ancient kingdom of Ruhuna are the many archeological sites situated within the park, Situlpauwa, an ancient monastery of the 2nd century BC which is believed to have housed over 10,000 people and the Salt pans at Palatupana, a great place for bird watching.

Kataragama
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Kataragama  near Yala is a popular and a most hallowed pilgrimage destination which lies 19km inland of Tissamaharama. It is regarded as one of the 16 principle places of Buddhist worship and is famous for the Buddhist shrine (Devale) and Dagabo (The Kirivehera) which is visited by hundreds of devotees coming from all parts of the country. The Manik Ganga or River of Gems as it is known is a place where pilgrims cleanse and purify themselves before commencing on the pilgrimage. It is also an accepted belief that those with ailments get healed when purified with the holy water of the river. As a custom thousands of pilgrims make this journey by foot, coming from as far as Batticaloa in the East in order to celebrate the festivities, which include grueling acts of self mortification and self atonemen
Galle
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Galle is an exquisite city filled with colonial Dutch and Portuguese history and architecture and once a major port. The imposing Fort is a tourist's treasure; it houses the national Maritime Museum, the National museum and the more recent (1938) lighthouse.

Galle fort was built first by the Portuguese, then modified by the Dutch during the 17th century. Even today, after 400 years of existence, it looks new and polished with reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. Today Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world.The Fort, like most of the forts in Sri Lanka, is built on a small peninsula, belonging to the sea as much as to the land. There are treacherous rocks in the water near the fort, and a treacherous current, so a pilot was needed to approach it. The seafloor here is littered with shipwrecks.

The world famous Unawatuna Beach which is 4 km from Galle is a relaxing, friendly place to stay along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It is ideal for safe sea bathing to experience a fun filed day. Nearby Roomassala is a strange area which is a thickly forested rocky headland famously fertile with medicinal herbs and claimed, in folklore, to be a small piece of the Himalaya dropped by Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god. A 5km trail takes in a viewpoint near the 1875 British-built lighthouse, the secluded Jungle Beach and the Japanese Peace Pagoda. The reef is known for its rich biodiversity and is an important habitat for many marine species, despite its small size. It is an important location for small-scale fisheries, collection of ornamental fish and tourism.  Trekking for nature watching is very popular.

Tours on glass bottom boats to see the marine life with beautiful coral reefs around unawatuna rock island is a very popular activity. This Coral reef is a world famous attraction to get magnificent and colourfull marine life experience. You can take a tour on a glass bottomed boat to explore the coral reefs. Galle is the sort of place from which one must take away a souvenir. You may make a pick of Galle lace, -handmade, like the Brussels or the Honiton types. Where but in Galle may you plunge your hands into a bucketful of limpid moonstones or the more precious and rarer of gems, the blue sapphire or the ruby! These can be beautifully set according to your whim or wish.

Bentota
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Bentota is the water-sports capital of Sri Lanka and Club Bentota is the exclusive spot for surfers and jet skiers alike. Our comprehensive water sports centre is equipped with jet skis, water skis, surf boards, speed boats and much more. The sports centre attendants have plenty of tips and information to aid you. Whether you want to enjoy yourself with your friends on a banana boat or experience an adrenaline rush on a speed boat, Professional trainers can be scheduled for beginners. 

kosgoda

Kosgoda being a coastal village located on the South Western stretch of the island, provides a very calm and relaxing atmosphere for holiday makers. Kosgoda beach is also a place of great interest where you can witness giant leatherback turtles laying eggs and also newly hatched turtles finding their way back to sea. Safe sea bathing can be experienced depending on climate conditions.

NEGOMBO
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Negombo once a peaceful fishing village is today a tourist hub that draws visitors from all parts of the world. With stretches of golden beach it provides the perfect location for those who love the ocean & sun bathing, water sports and good sea food cuisine. Situated on the west coast of Sri Lanka just 37km from Colombo Negombo plays host to some interesting places moth past and present; the Dutch Fort built in 1672, buildings belonging to the Portuguese and Dutch periods, the vast array of colourful fishing boats anchored in the lagoon and the unforgettable fish auctions that take place daily amidst crowds of local fishermen bidding for the priced catch.

Just outside Negombo is the protected Muthurajawela marshland, a 6000hectare land stretch that is home to various varieties of indigenous fauna and flora. Just 7 km from the Negombo is Katunayake where the Bandaranayake International Airport, the only International Airport in the country is located.

COLOMBO

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Colombo the commercial capital of Sri Lanka is situated on the country’s west coast. It is a fascinating city with a good blend of the traditional and modern, along with a touch of the east and the west.The streets of Colombo buzz with life as people get about their chores in the colourful sprawling market places, and the streets lined with colonial buildings as well as modern high rise office and apartment blocks.

During the day Colombo has many interesting places to visit, some of them being the Colombo Museum, which is the oldest and largest museum in the country, National Art gallery and other private galleries, Zoological Gardens with its fine collection of animals, birds, reptiles and fish from all over then world, interesting places of worship which includes Buddhists temples, Hindu temples, Mosques and Christian churches, the Independence Memorial hall with its intriguing architecture, stone carvings and paintings and many more places of interest.

The nightlife in Colombo throbs with interesting nightclubs, bars and casinos. There is also a wide range of elegant restaurants serving a range of cuisine as well as the street side boutiques that serve mouth watering, spicy Sri Lankan food.