Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple
Dambulla is a part of the Cultural Triangle declared by UNESCO and is located along the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy about 19Km from Sigiriya. There are over 80 caves in the surrounding and some of them have been used by the monks as meditation locations. Major attractions are spread over 5caves, which contain the statues and the paintings. Since it's founding in the 1st century BC by King Valagamba, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and paintings over the years. Hindu statues are believed to be of the 12 century AD and the latest paintings are of the late 18-century. The temple is a perfect location to view the evolution of the ancient Sri Lankan arts. Dambulla is a unique and important historical site because of the amalgamation of the material from many eras.
Elephant Back Ride
The majestic, stately and most intelligent of mammals – the Sri Lankan Elephant is a subspecies of the Asian Elephant and is native to Sri Lanka. Watching these large animals is a fascination to all of us, so imagine the thrill and excitement of riding on an elephant back. Elephant back safaris/rides is the latest of tourist activities promoted in areas such as Habarana, Sigiriya and Yala to name a few. Sri Lanka is known as a nature lovers paradise due to its diverse landscapes and most of all, its natural beauty and way of life, which is untouched by development. There is no better way than experiencing the beauty and wilderness of this island paradise than atop the back of the largest animal in the country – the Elephant. It is also the opportunity of spending time interacting with this magnificent animal and sharing a day in its life!
The spectacular Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, 19 kilometers North East of Dambulla is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The Rock was the Fortress of the "King Kasyapa" who murdered his father and stole the throne from his elder brother who was the rightful heir to the throne. Kasyapa built his fortress in this 182-meter high rock to protect himself from his enemies.
Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa 477 - 495 AD. Following Kasyapa's death it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British Explorer John Still. Today Sigiriya is famous for its ‘Mirror Wall’, which consists of poems and paragraphs carved by visitors to the rock many years ago and for its magnificent frescoes of shapely be-jewelled maidens, vibrant colours and the water garden similar to the Ajantha frescoes of India. Sigiriya is in fact, the best-preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium and has been named as a UNESCO world heritage site and 8th Wonder of the World.
Polonnaruwa replaced Anuradhapura as the capital city of Sri Lanka, because of the invasion of south India. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from 11 AD to 13 A.D. When the South Indian Kings ruled the country, a prince of Sri Lanka formed an army and fought with the invaders; emerged victorious and become the King of Sri Lanka as Wijebahu the First.
With his victory and the shifting of capitol city to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, however the real Polonnaruwa Hero based on history books is his grandson called Parakramabahu. It was his reign that is considered the Golden age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the rule of the King, who told his followers that “No drop of water falling from the heavens is to be wasted, but be used for the wellbeing of man”. He has contributed immensely towards the development of agriculture and irrigation systems far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during his reign. The greatest of these systems, the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama a man made tank so vast that it is often mistaken for the ocean. With a width that it is impossible to stand upon one shore and view the other side and it encircles the main city like a ribbon, being both a defensive border against intruders and the lifeline of the people in times of peace. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu's reign.
Minneriya National Park
The Minneriya National Park is situated in the Polonnaruwa district in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Minneriya National Park covers an area of 8,889 hectares. Hundreds of animal and plant species are found in the Minneriya National Park. Around 160 species of birds, 09 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species have been found in the Minneriya National Park. The Minneriya National Park also consists of wet lands, which have global significance.
Hiriwadduna Village Walk
This is some thing unique to Sri Lanka and is a recent attraction for tourists, who are attracted to this walk which is truly an experience! They will start the walk from near the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and go through the village by Bullock Cart and then by foot and then cross the Habarana Lake. During this period the guest is treated to a Traditional Cup of Tea in a Coconut Shell. If you are really interested you could also opt to do an Elephant ride
Attractions in Trincomalee
Hot wells at Kinniya
Attractions in Jaffna
Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Prior to the civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. Jaffna was a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619. It changed hands to the Dutch colonials, who lost it to the British in 1796. After Sri Lanka gained independence 1948, the political relationship between the minority Sri Lankan Tamils and majority Sinhalese worsened and after the Black July issues, civil war erupted in 1983. Major attractions in Jaffna include the Jaffna Library, Nagadeepa, Jaffna Fort, Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, Point Pedro, Casuarina Beach, Kankasanthurai, Jaffna University etc.
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
This orphanage was set up by the government to take care of baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild. Witness the feeding of the elephants. The baby elephants being bottle fed with milk is a heart-warming sight. Thereafter observe them as they take their daily bath in the river nearby, which affords marvelous photo opportunities. Bath time is enjoyed by all elephants, young and old alike and it is a good time to closely observe their tightly knit family structure. The young elephants are protected and cared for, by the older ones in the group and the leader of the group is respected by all. (Open from 8.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Daily feeding times- 9.15 a.m.,1.15 p.m. 5.00 p.m. Bathing times – 10.00 a.m., 2.00 p.m., 4.00 p.m.)
Temple of the Tooth, Kandy
KANDY - Kandy - (the Sacred City of Kandy) - is a city in the centre of the island. It lies in the midst of hills of rare vegetal species. The Kandy Valley crosses an area of tropical plantations. The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth. It was one of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city.
THE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC - the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of one of the most important religions of humanity, Buddhism. The Temple of Kandy is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha and the testimony of a cult which continues to be practiced today.
Cultural Dance Show
The origin of the dances of Sri Lanka lies with the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. There are three main styles of Sri Lankan classical dance - The Kandyan dances of the Hill Country, The low country dances of the southern plains and the Sabaragamuwa dances. Sri Lankan dance forms are an expression of rhythm and movement.
Gadaladeniya & Lankathilaka
Gadaladeniya Temple is located at Pilimathalawa, Kandy. It is approx. 2 KMs from the turn from Pilimathalawa. The famous Embekke Devalaya and Lanka Thilaka Viharaya also located close by.
Gadaladeniaya Temple was build by king Wickramabahu in 1344 during the Gampola Kingdom time. At the entrance you can see the Dageba ( pagoda) by your right hand side. Actually this consists of one main Dageba and four small ones. The main Dageba is covered with a roof. There are four small shrine rooms around it with small dageba located on top of each.
The Boo tree is located in front of the dageba and there is an old inscription located by it. You can see that is covered with a fence to prevent from damaging.
Whale & Dolphin Watching in Mirissa
The seas off the coast of Mirissa offers a once in a life time opportunity for visitors as it is currently becoming a major hotspot for spotting Whales and Dolphins. The main port of Sri Lanka for watching whales and dolphins is Dondra Point in the south since it is located close to their migration path. The season for sighting these mammals are during the months of November to April, out of which December, January and April are the peak months, during these months the probability of spotting sperm whales and blue whales are very high moreover the chances of spotting Spinner Dolphins off Dondra point are also high.
White Tea Factory, Handunugoda
The estate is 150 acres (607,028 m2) in extent and comprises 75 acres (303,514 m2) of tea. The balance plantation is of rubber, cinnamon and coconut. There is a well equipped tea factory on the property. Most machines were made in the United Kingdom and are over 140 years old. The factory is a living and working museum. The estate is not a mass producer of tea. Handunugoda makes very small quantities of the choicest teas, winning international recognition. Handunugoda produces the famous 'Virgin White Tea', a tea untouched by hand which has attracted attention from tea enthusiasts all over the world. Mr. Malinga Herman Gunaratne is the sole proprietor with over 45 years experience in plantation management, originally for the British plantations in Sri Lanka and then for the state owned and managed plantations. The Handunugoda Tea Factory has won several awards - The Ceylon Souchong, Ceylon Oolong, and Flowery Cammellia were awarded "Most Innovative Teas" at the Anuga Fair in Cologne, Germany.
Galle is a city situated on the South Western tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle is the capital city of Southern Province of Sri Lanka and it lies in the Galle District. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and southeast Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and south Asian traditions. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the natural harbour, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla the historic luxury hotel.
The turtle hatcheries of Kosgoda, operated by the Wild Life Protection Society of Sri Lanka; was established in 1981 to protect Sri Lanka's turtles from extinction. The hatcheries pay fishermen for eggs that they collect at night along the long sandy beaches. Visitors are shown the huge tanks filled with these new born but lively hatchlings. After being fed the hatchlings are taken to the sea and released when they are 2-4 days old. They are not always released during the safer hours of darkness. Although October to April is the main laying season, some eggs can be found at Kosgoda throughout the year.
River Safari/Cruise on the Balapitiya River
The Madu Ganga is a shallow water body in south-west Sri Lanka, which enters the sea at Balapitiya. This beautiful river that nestles alongside Whispering Waters, is considered as Sri Lanka's second largest wetland consisting of 32 islands including two main islands providing shelter to 215 families.
Together with the smaller Randombe Lake, to which it is connected by two narrow channels, it forms the Madu Ganga wetland. It has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals. Madu Ganga is possibly one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. The inhabitants of its islets produce peeled cinnamon and cinnamon oil.
The Madu Ganga Wetland was declared in 2003, in terms of the Ramsar Convention. The main treasure of Madu Ganga is its mangroves that act as a bio-lock to the area in giving protection to the variety of aquatic plants and animal life. Local and foreign tourists can explore the beauty of Madu Ganga through a boat ride that take a couple of hours.
Colombo city at a glance
Colombo (derived from Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means "mango harbour", altered by the Portuguese to honour Christopher Columbus), is the cultural capital and largest city and commercial center of Sri Lanka. A vast majority of Sri Lankan corporations have their head offices located in Colombo.
Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century and controlled much of the trade between Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802.
Sightseeing highlights include the Colombo National and Dutch period Museums, Old Parliament House, Gangarama Buddhist Temple, The Town Hall and the Independence Square. Apart from excellent shopping, Colombo offers visits to one of the world’s leading tea auctions, an 18 hole Golf Course, seasonal Buddhist and Hindu pageants, international cricket tournaments, plush casinos, enjoyable evening entertainment and excellent restaurants.
White Water Rafting, Kitulgala
A small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which has two monsoons each year and is one of the wettest locations in the country. Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. The Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge (and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene). Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.
Sinharaja Rain Forest
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests eco-region, saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of the Lion. The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur. Of Sri Lanka's 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches. There are 3 entry points to this rain forest
Batik Factory & Shop
In one form or another, batik has worldwide popularity. Now, not only is batik used as a material to clothe the human body, its uses also include furnishing fabrics, heavy canvas wall hangings, tablecloths and household accessories. Batik techniques are used by famous artists to create batik paintings, which grace many homes and offices. The wide diversity of patterns reflects a variety of influences, ranging from indigenous designs, Arabic calligraphy, European bouquets and Chinese phoenixes to Japanese cherry blossoms and Indian or Persian peacocks. Batik is a cloth that traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Batik or fabrics with the traditional batik patterns are found in (particularly) Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, Azerbaijan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and Singapore. Due to globalization and industrialization, which introduced automated techniques, new breeds of batik, known as batik cap and batik print emerged, and the traditional batik, which incorporates the hand written wax-resist dyeing technique is known now as batik tulis.
Sri Lanka is famous for its spices and spice gardens. These spice gardens offer tourists memorable visits to various spice plantations in Sri Lanka. In order to promote and uplift spice growing and spice gardens of Sri Lanka a spice council was established with all key industry private and public sector stakeholders.
During early historical times Sri Lanka known as Taprobane, was world renowed for its Quality Spices. During ancient times the Greeks, Romans and the Arabic maintained their links with Sri Lanka through the spice trade.
In the 16th century Ceylon, as it was then known, was discovered by Portuguese who soon began trading in cinnamon and other spices. The Dutch and British followed bringing with them their own history and influences, forming a strong Western presence which created a history of food expressed with spices which can be tasted in the dishes today. In addition, the Spices are used in Ayurveda in Sri Lanka. Spice Gardens in the hill capital Kandy and at Matale and Mawanella give interesting insights into spice production in Sri Lanka. The importance of spices in the minor export crops of Sri Lanka consist of fragrant clove, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace and pepper, for which Sri Lanka has been famed since ancient times, thrive in the hills
Yala National Park
Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka's premier eco tourism destinations, lies 24km northeast of Tissamaharama and 290km from Colombo on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, spanning a vast 97,878 hectares over the Southern and Uva Provinces. Yala is among the oldest and best known of Sri Lanka 's National Parks. Yala covers about 1,297 Sq. km or 129,700 ha. And it is the largest agglomeration of protected areas in the country. Yala plays a very significant role in conservation of a large number of flora and fauna in the country. Yala West (Ruhuna) National Park is well recognized as one of the best parks in the world to observe and photograph leopards.
Nuwara Eliya: Set in the heart of the Tea Country, situated 1,890 meters above sea level, this beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne with well kept lawns and hedges. A visit to a tea plantation and a tea factory to witness the process of the manufacture of tea from plucking of the green leaves to packeting of the processed tea is a must when visiting the hill country. Nuwara Eliya, affectionately referred to as Little England is also famous for one of the finest 18-hole Golf courses in Asia. Another monumental piece of architecture that is steeped in history is the Hill Club.