Sigiriya Rock mountain, about 200 meters in height is surrounded by green plains and is considered to be a world heritage and the 8th wonder of the world. It is a masterpiece of urban planning, architecture, gardening, art, hydro technology and engineering.
This not-to-be missed historic attraction was the home to a very creative king of Sri Lanka named, King Kashyapa. He killed his father, King Dhatusena as he was not the rightful heir to the throne and out of jealousy of his brother, Mogallana who after their father’s death exiled to India but vowed to return and claim his inheritance back by killing his brother. King Kashyapa hid himself in this rock after killing his father to protect himself from the rage of his brother. Mogallana returned with an army and called him out for battle, who was left alone by his army and thus accepted defeat and committed suicide. Even today the remains of his heritage and majestic lifestyle can be observed at this place with stunning view of the landscape from the top of the mountain.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka houses many important remains of historical significance. The lion staircase is made up of limestone and ascends up the mountain to the lion platform. At the base of the final staircase there are two large lion paws carved out of rock and leads to the remains of the statue thought to be the mouth of the lion. One must be aware of the bee hives hanging from the underside of the rock visible from the staircase. The western wall of frescoes or ‘apsaras’ depict ancient paintings of nude females considered to be the portraits of King Kashyapa’s wives and they represent the celebration of female beauty and have an important historical significance. The mirror wall was originally heavily polished with bees wax, lime and egg white for the King to get a glance of his reflection but later on it has become a wall of inscriptions and poems written by the ancient visitors of the mountain. The most endearing site of this historical attraction is the gardens which is divided into three separate but linked forms; water gardens, cave and boulder gardens and terraced gardens. The water gardens which has been created with complex hydro technology consists of canals, lakes, dams, bridges and fountains. It is best seen in the wet season as it would be filled with water while it could be an underwhelming site in the dry season.
Sigiriya is a very popular tourist attraction so expect a very large crowd when visiting. It is best avoided on weekends and public holidays as the crowd would be more. The stairs are narrow and you will have to stand in line if the crowd is too much. It would take around three hours to climb to the top and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Do not rush the climb but make sure to enjoy all the sites on your way up. There may be signs at certain places prohibiting photography and follow these advices as it would help to conserve the heritage and also for you to avoid punishment. Do not miss out on an opportunity to visit this place that some call ‘heaven on earth’.
Anuradhapura is one of the major cities in Sri Lanka and the capital city of the North Central Province. The city is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka with Historical importance and religious significance, popular due to its well preserved ruins of the ancient Sri Lankan Civilization. Anuradhapura was also considered the third capital in the Rajarata kingdom, following Thambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara Kingdoms.
Anuradhapura famous for its ruins is also a UNESCO world Heritage site and was the main centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. It remained one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia. The city lies on the banks of the historic Malwathu oya, 205km north to Colombo District and is one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world thus resulting being chosen as one of the eighth world heritage sites of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura is now surrounded by Buddhist monasteries covering an area of 40 Km, sixteen square miles. The layout of Anuradhapura is described in the Mahavansa and it is believed that King Pandukbhaya made it his capital in the 4th Century BC. King Pandukabhaya constructed a reservoir named abhayawapi and established shrines, cemeteries, a place for execution, villahe boundaries and much more.
The architectural remains can be still seen in the City of Anuradhapura and gives a sight seer a glimpse of what had been the county during the historic era Most of the lakes and tanks built for water supply and irrigation still survive to date. The ruins and the techniques used during the Anuradhapura Era for construction is outstanding.
The remaining ruins consists of three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings and ponds or commonly known as pokunas. The dagobas are bell shaped masses of masonry carrying over a few feet to 340m in circumference. Remains and ruins of monasteries are found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars out of which the most famous place is being the brazen palace erected by king Dutugemunu. The ponds or pokunas and tanks for irrigation and supply of drinking water are scattered everywhere through the jungle. The city of Anuradhapura also contains the most sacred Bo-tree, which is said to date back to the early years of 245BC.
The eight great places of veneration or atamasthana in Anuradhapura is a must visit. They are Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abahaygiri dagaba, Jethavanarama, Mirisawateyi stupa and lankarama.
Kandy is the second largest city located in the central Province of Sri Lanka. It is in fact the mountainous centre of the Island. It was considered a world heritage site in the year 1988 and possess a cool climate making it more pleasant to stay and accessible than any other part of the island. The Kandy town has a compact atmosphere surrounded by tropical forests in the hill country as well as scenic beauty in the form of Lakes, rivers, waterfalls and exotic animals. The high end hotel accommodations in Kandy, corporate offices and shopping destinations where any requirement or souvenirs to be taken away could be purchased for a reasonable low range, are all types of buildings the town hosts.
Kandy has a rich historical background which is mainly depicted in its architecture. The hotel accommodation in Kandy reflects this historical significance. Their architecture reflects the influence of the British and other powers that invaded the country during the past. Hotels in Kandy Sri Lanka are numerous and they will contain not only spacious airy rooms with murals of paintings reflecting the traditional culture of the city but also equipped with modern day luxuries.
Kandy formerly known as senkadagalpura is also a sacred Buddhist site and was the last capital of the Sinhala kings until the British over took the country’s reign in 1815. It is also the sacred site of the temple of the tooth relic which is a world famous site for tourists as well as pilgrims. The temple consists of a golden roof and houses the sacred tooth relic which is heavily guarded and is only brought out during Poojas for the devotees and tourists to view. The tooth is in fact kept inside a golden casket which contains a series of Dagobah in diminishing sizes.
The temple is open from 5.30am-8pm, puja 5.30-6.45am, 9.30-11am & 6.30-8pm respectively and the tickets are priced at Rs.1500 per adult and free access for children.
An individual can get to Kandy by public transport such as bus, intercity train or even hire private vehicles to reach the destination. The Bogambara Lake also known as the Kandy Lake is of scenic beauty which is right beside the Dalada Maligawa. The annual Kandy Esala Perahera is the most famous festival in Kandy which is usually held in August which is a pageant where many elephants participate including dancers, torch bearers and flag bearers. During this time, hotels in Kandy Sri Lanka can organize a good viewing spot for you with food and beverages to enjoy the procession as they pass across their hotels.
The Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya or Peradeniya Botanical Gardens is the best botanical garden in Sri Lanka and one of the best in the region. The large banyan tree, the orchid house, the suspension bridge, and the bats are some of the main attractions. The Royal Botanic Gardens is open daily from 8.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The ticket counter will be closed at 5.00 p.m. Tickets are priced at less than SLR 50 for locals and less than SLR 700 for tourists.
Nuwara Eliya located in the central province of Sri Lanka is also known as the city on plain. It is in the hill country with a beautiful landscape and cool climate and was founded by Samuel Baker in 1846. It is also situated in a high altitude and is considered one of the very important locations for tea plantations and tea productions in Sri Lanka. The city of Nuwara Eliya is over looked by the tallest mountain of Sri Lanka the Pidurutalagala Mountain and is well known for its cool climate and weather conditions and mostly visited by native travellers during the month of April. This Hill country is a retreat to any tourist or native tourist who could immerse themselves in endless activities such as hiking, bird watching, horse riding boating polo and golf.
Guests to the city of Nuwara Eliya can visit Ramboda falls, which is the eleventh most noteworthy waterfall in Sri Lanka with an elevation of 945m above ocean level and 109m high. Devon Falls is a standout amongst the most prominent waterfalls in the nation particularly due its unmistakable view from the well-known Hatton Nuwara Eliya Road. It is named after a pioneer English Tea Planter by the name of Devon and the Laksapana falls which is the eighth most astounding water fall in Sri Lanka can be seen in the City of Nuwara Eliya. Tourists and native tourists can also view the scenic beauty of Nuwara Eliya and the landmark buildings which retain the features from the English style colonial period in buildings such the Grand Hotel, Queens Cottage and the Generals house. Grand Hotel is one of the best hotels in Nuwara Eliya.
In Sri Lanka, best accommodation in Nuwara Eliya is unlike any other in the country. Because the town is situated in the hill country, the surrounding is absolutely beautiful and the best hotels in Nuwara Eliya has really made use of this fact. They have beautiful large gardens with colourful flowers blooming. Taking a stroll in these gardens early in the morning is relaxing and helps to appreciate nature at its best. Some hotels have observation elevators where you can see the fresh greenery as you go up to your room through the see- through glass. Because the weather is quite cold, there are heated indoor pools with of course pool bars for you to enjoy drinks in the evening.
The town’s attractions also include the golf course in order to enjoy the game of gold, boating in the Lake Gregory, and the city is also a base to visit the Horton Plains. The Horton plains national park is a key wildlife area of open grassy woodland which has a well attracted tourist attraction at Worlds end which is a 1050m precipice drop. Another place to visit is the Seetha Temple in the village called Seetha Eliya which is related to the story of Lord Rama in Hinduism. Folk tales state that the mighty Ravana kidnapped Princess Seetha and hid her in the location where the temple is situated now. All of these beautiful locations can be ideals sites to visit by hikers and trekkers who travel to Nuwara Eliya.
The historic city of Galle is situated in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka and is a living metropolis that has it all; colonial European infrastructure, beaches, rivers with wildlife and religious temples and churches. It was a city popular around the world even before the colonization by the Portuguese as its natural harbor was used even by King Solomon to harvest island valuables such as ivory, peacocks and cinnamon.
A vacation is optimized when you can get a good night’s rest at a comfortable and safe venue. There are many hotels in Galle Sri Lanka to give you this experience. Most of these hotels including luxury hotels in Galle are situated close to the major historical sites within the city. Thus, you don’t have to worry too much with transport. Public transport like tuk-tuk service can be used for a breezy exploration of the city. Hotels in Galle Sri Lanka are recognized internationally and undergo annual inspection by the national tourism industry to make sure they maintain their quality of service. So you can be rest assured to have the best experience.
There are many sites to visit at Galle Sri Lanka. There is the Dutch Reformed church which was built as a token of appreciation by the wife of Commander Gasparus de Jong for the long-prayed birth of her son. In there, an orthodox pulpit which is made of finely grained calamander wood with panels of satin wood is present found in no other church in the country. There are also tombstones bearing Dutch names. The Old Dutch warehouse which is now home to the town’s National Maritime Museum, National Culture Museum near the Main Gate entrance and all saints Anglican Church in Church Street are also sites to visit. There is also the Galle Dutch Hospital which has been transformed into a shopping and dining complex. The Old Dutch gate is adorned on the outer wall by the British coat of arms and with the crest of the Dutch East India Company on the inner side.
Galle fort has existed for over 400 years and is the best preserved colonial sea fortress in the whole of Asia and is therefore considered a UNESCO world Heritage. It is a walled city built by European invaders to open up their conquest to the island. It was used by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British and their cultural, archeological and technological influence is visible even to date. At the entrance there is a coat of arms flanked by a lion and a stallion that reads Dieu Et Mon Droit, translating ‘God and my right shall me defend’. Entry in to the fort is free and is a fascinating place to walk around admiring its houses, courtyards, and verandas. It also has a very developed underground sewer system that was designed to self-clean with the tides of the ocean and protect the fort during floods, which has kept the fort safe from the devastating natural disaster the country faced in 2004 called tsunami. The lighthouse, a white stone structure standing tall at 92 feet in height was originally built in wood, and was the first lighthouse of the country but was destroyed by a fire and was rebuilt by the British in 1939 to the current building.
There are many antique styled and boutique shops and cafes to rest after seeing the sights like the old belfry tower built in 1701 and the post office building built in the 18th century. One must not leave this historic place without getting a souvenir which could be an authentic handmade lace either Brussels or Honiton type, jewellery, moonstones or precious gems. For a history enthusiast this would be an ideal place to visit.