- PINNAWALLA ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE
- DAMBULLA ROCK TEMPLE
- SIGIRIA ROCK FORTRESS
- YALA NATIONAL PARK
- GALLE FORT
Colombo remains both the commercial and financial capital of Sri Lanka even after the administrative capital has been moved to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, a suburb east of the city. Colombo is the gateway to Sri Lanka for most travelers—but don’t be tempted to simply pass through this diverse and interesting city. The city of Colombo offers historical monuments, colonial architecture, festivals and events, beaches, fine dining, and shopping.
Since Colombo’s climate is tropical, any time of the year is suitable for travel.
Kelaniya Raja MahaVihara
The Kelaniya Raja MahaVihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. Buddhists believe the temple to have been hallowed during the third and final visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka, eight years after gaining enlightenment. The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Buddha and paintings which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales. It is the venue for the DuruthuMahaPereheraprocession each January. An 18-foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been erected at the temple.
Shrine of Vibhishana
It is a shrine of Vibhishana, king Ravana’s brother, who allied with Rama in the struggle to rescue Sita.
Colombo City Tour
Includes visiting 100 years old clock tower, British built colonial buildings(The Neo-Baroque-style building was built during the British colonial era to house the Legislative Council of Ceylon.), Hindu and Buddhist temple and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located atPinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala 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.
The main attraction is clearly to observe the bathing elephants from the tall river bank as it allows visitors to observe the herd interacting socially, bathing and playing.
Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. This site is situated 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life. There total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include two statues of Hindu gods, the god Vishnu and the god Ganesh.
Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these cave complexes before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as there are burial sites with human skeletons about 2700 years old in this area, at Ibbankatuwa near the Dambulla cave complexes.
The five caves
The temple is composed of five caves, which have been converted into shrine rooms. The caves, built at the base of a 150m high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa times (1073 to 1250), are by far the most impressive of the many cave temples found in Sri Lanka. Access is along the gentle slope of the Dambulla Rock, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding flat lands, which includes the rock fortress Sigiriya, 19 km away. Dusk brings hundreds of swooping swallows to the cave entrance. The largest cave measures about 52m from east to west, and 23m from the entrance to the back, this spectacular cave is 7m tall at its highest point. Hindu deities are also represented here, as are the kingsValagamba and Nissankamalla, and Ananda – the Buddha’s most devoted disciple.
Cave of the Divine King
The first cave is called Devarajalena (lena in sinhalese meaning cave), or “Cave of the Divine King.” An account of the founding of the monastery is recorded in a 1st-century Brahmi inscription over the entrance to the first cave. This cave is dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha, hewn out of the rock. It has been repainted countless times in the course of its history, and probably received its last coat of paint in the 20th century. At his feet is Buddha’s favorite pupil, Ananda; at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves.
Cave of the Great Kings
In the second and largest cave, in addition to 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha, are the gods Saman and Vishnu, which pilgrims often decorate with garlands, and finally statues of King VattagamaniAbhaya, who honored the monastery in the 1st century BC., and King NissankaMalla, responsible in the 12th century for the gilding of 50 statues, as indicated by a stone inscription near the monastery entrance. This cave is accordingly called Maharaja lena, “Cave of the Great Kings.” The Buddha statue hewn out of the rock on the left side of the room is escorted by wooden figures of the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara or Natha. There is also a dagoba and a spring which drips its water, said to have healing powers, out of a crack in the ceiling. Valuable tempera paintings on the cave ceiling dating from the 18th century depict scenes from Buddha’s life, from the dream of Mahamaya to temptation by the demon Mara. Further pictures relate important events from the country’s history.
Great New Monastery
The third cave, the MahaAlutVihara, the “Great New Monastery” acquired ceiling and wall paintings in the typical Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747–1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist. In addition to the 50 Buddha statues, there is also a statue of the king.
Within these shrine rooms is representative of many epochs of Sinhala sculpture and Sinhala art. The Buddha statues are in varying sizes and attitudes – the largest is 15 meters long. One cave has over 1,500 paintings of Buddha covering the ceiling.
Sigiriya is famous for its palace ruins on top of a massive 200 meter high rock surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures. The rock itself is a lava plug left over from an ancient long extinct volcano. It is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescoes), which are similar to those found at Ajanta Caves in India. It is generally agreed, however, that the Sigiriya Frescoes exhibit a uniquely Sri Lankan style.
It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha.
The complex surrounding the famous rock was built by King Kasyapa (477–495 CE), who moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. Most of the elaborate constructions on the rock summit and around it, including defensive structures, palaces, and gardens, date back to this period. After Kashyapa’s defeat Sigiriya was then turned back into a Buddhist monastery, which lasted until the 13th or 14th century.
Sigiriya citadel. There are about 1200 steps or 200 m up to the summit. You can probably walk up to the top and down again in 1.5-2 hours. If you are a completist, you might spend an additional 30-60 minutes exploring the various nooks and crannies in the gardens.
Sigiriya Museum shows photos of the excavation of Sigiriya, reproductions of the frescoes, examples and translations of some of the graffiti on the Mirror Wall, and artifacts excavated from the site.
Pidurangala (Cave, Temple & Rock). This has intentionally been but before the famous lion rock, because we believe it is a little overpriced and there does exist this interesting alternative. Pidurangala rock is almost as high as its famous neighbor and provides a pleasant view onto its sibling as well as the surrounding area,. The scenery and the view is really something and well worth the effort, and the vegetation is of a rough, almost unearthly beauty. From there you can also see the mountains of Kandy, Pollonaruwa, Anuradhapura, and the rain forest.
The Pidurangala Temple, Pidurangala is a promontory rock in the center of Sri Lanka in the Matale District , about 1 km north of a known one, rock Sigiriya . These peaks rise abruptly stripped amid low-lying plateaus that extend the mountainous center of the country On the site of an ancient Buddhist monastery, Pidurangala is also an archaeological site . Caves are home to a temple, Raja Maha Viharaya Sigiri Pidurangala which was built by King Kashyapa the V th century , and the monumental statue of a brickBuddha lying down.
Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka, located in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. It is the second largest city in the country after Colombo. It was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri DaladaMaligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988
Cultural Dance Show
Sri Lanka, a country rich with culture & tradition offers a very vibrant and unique show of Sri Lankan traditional dances, in the form of Kandy cultural show. The beat a dancing from “Salupliya” depicting several demons, “Thelme” vibrant expression of low country rhythm, Fire and Harvest dances accompanied by Ceremonial Drums and the Drum Orchestra rising and falling to the lively tempo. As many as 12 different folk and traditional dances are performed by Kandy lake club dance troop within the span of one hour.
The highlight of the show is definitely the fire walking show, where the artists walk through a specially prepared fire pit, roughly 8 feet by 3 feet covered with red-hot charcoal, completely barefoot and emerges unharmed at the other end! Kandy cultural show leaflet describes the fire walking as having its roots in the Valmiki epic of “Ramayana”, where the king of Sri Lanka Ravana abducts “Sita” the wife of Indian prince Rama and after regaining her in an epic battle with Ravana, she is made to prove her chastity by walking through fire barefoot, though the current devotees who perform fire walking in Sri Lanka seek the divine blessings of the Lord Karthekeyan& goddess Pathini.Kandy cultural show is a great way to spend the evening in Kandy
Perideniya Botonical Garden
Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5.5 km to the west from the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka and attracts 2 million visitors annually. It is renowned for its collection of a variety of orchids. It includes more than 4000 species of plants, including of orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is theNational Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres (0.59 km2), at 460 meters above sea level, and with a 200-day annual rainfall. It is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.
Temple of Tooth Relic:
After the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva. They landed in the island in Lankapattana during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. The king enshrined it MeghagiriVihara (present day Isurumuniya) in Anuradhapura. Safeguard of the relic was a responsibility of the monarch, therefore over the years the custodianship of relic became to symbolize the right to rule. Therefore reigning monarchs built the tooth relic temples quite close to their royal residences, as was the case during the times of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa,Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa and Kurunegala kingdoms. During the era of Kingdom of Gampola the relic was housed in NiyamgampayaVihara. It is reported in the messenger poems such as Hamsa, Gira, and Selalihini that the temple of tooth relic was situated within the city of Kotte when the kingdom was established there.
During the reign of King Dharmapala, the relic was kept hidden in DelgamuwaVihara, Ratnapura in a grinding stone. It was brought to Kandy by HiripitiyeDiyawadanaRala and DevanagalaRathnalankaraThera. King Vimaladharmasuriya I built a two storey building to deposit the tooth relic and the building is now gone. In 1603 when the Portuguese invaded Kandy, it was carried to MedaMahanuwara in Dumbara. It was recovered in the time of Râjasimha II and it has been reported that he reinstate the original building or has built a new temple. The present day temple of the tooth was built by ViraNarendraSinha. The octagonal Patthirippuwa and moat was added during the reign of Sri VikramaRajasinha. Famous Kandyan architect DevandraMulacharin is credited with building the Patthirippuwa. Originally it was used by the kings for recreational activities and later it was offered to the tooth relic. Now it is an oriental library. It was attacked on two occasions, first in 1989 by the JVP and in 1998by the LTTE.
Vimaladharmasuriya I built the royal palace of Kandy
The royal palace is situated to the north of the temple. John Pybus, who was on an embassy in 1762, gives a detailed description on the royal palace. Vikramabâhu III (r. 1356-1374) and SenasammathaVikramabâhu (r. 1469-1511) built royal palaces on this site. The royal residence is known as “MahaWasala” inSinhala from the Polonnaruwa period. The royal palace is also known as “Maligawa.” There were three Wahalkadas and a 8 feet (2.4 m) high wall used as main entrances. The section of the palace facing the NathaDevale is said to be the oldest. During the beginning of the British period, it was used by Government Agent Sir John D’Oyly. Successors of D’Oyly have continued to use it as their official residence. Today it is preserved as an archeological museum. UlpenGe and Queens Palace are the associated buildings of the palace.
Audience hall seen partially here from northern facade of the temple
the Audience hall or the Magulmaduwa is where the Kandyan kings held their royal court. It was completed during the reign of Sri VikramaRajasinha. The carvings of the wooden pillars which support the wooden roof are an example of wood carving of the Kandyan period. Sri RajadhiRajasinha built this in the year of 1783. The hall was renovated for the reception of arrival in Kandy of Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales in 1872. Originally the hall of the size of 58*35.6 feet and after the renovation length was extended by additional 31.6 feet. Other nearby building to the halls believed to be demolished during the British rule. The audience hall was the venue where the Kandyan Convention was drawn up, it was where the convention was read out to the people and where the conference, about the convention was held on 2 March 1815. That space was later used to erect the Kandy Kachcheri and Kandy supreme court. Today it is used for state ceremonies and conserved under the department of archaeology.
Mahamaluwa is public who came to see the annual Esalaperahera. Today it contains a statue of Madduma Bandara. The memorial of which contains the skull of Keppetipola Disawe is another attraction. The statue of Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha are also located here.
This is the first Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka and also the only Panchamuga (five faced) Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka. Its the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Ajanyear. The chariot festival is held annually end Dec/ beginning of January.
Sita Amman temple:
Seetha Amman Temple is located approximately 1 kilometer from Hakgala Botanical Garden.The temple is located in the village called “SeethaEliya”. This place is believed to be the place where Sitha held captive by the king Ravana in the Lanka of the epic, Ramayana.
Hakgala Botanical Garden (Ashok Vatica):
The Ashok Vatika is the place where Ravana kept the Sita captive. Ashok Vatika is a garden that is present in the SitaEliya in Sri Lanka. Some of the interesting findings here include the rock on which Sita used to sat and meditate. SitaEliya also have the only Site Temple in the world. The idols of Sita was excavated from here 100 years ago.
NuwaraEliya is a city, in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The city name meaning is “city on the plain (table land)” or “city of light”. The city is the administrative capital of NuwaraEliya District, with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
Ruhuna National park or more affectionately known as Yala, has been the most celebrated wildlife park in Sri Lanka for over a century, along with its first self appointed Boer prisoner of war game warden H.E.Engelbrecht, quiet a story in itself. “Yalagama” as it was known at the turn of the century, was in effect the “Resident sportsman’s” shooting reserve! A wild country reserved for the “Sporting pleasure” of the British residents in Sri Lanka. It is located in a tract of land covering approximately 1260 km2, between Kumbukkan River &Menik River, and shares its borders with Yala strict nature reserve, Kumana, Kataragama, Katagamuwa and Nimalawa sanctuaries. The climate is semi-arid and dry with scrub jungle unique to this area along with rocky outcrops like kotigala, Jamburagala&Patalungala (Pattangala) strewn about the park, while several fresh and brackish water lagoons dot the park.
Animals in Yala
Yala is an ideal place to spot the “big four” of Sri Lankan wildlife, the elephants, the sloth bear, the illusive leopard and the wild buffalo, the unsung denizen of the park, if nothing else dangerous to the extreme. The roaming elephant herds can be easily seen during dry spells at the small scale reservoirs like Butuwe (derived from the word “WanaButewa”) and Mahaseelawa while Uraniya is best known for its aquatic avifauna, wild buffalo, mugger or mash crocodile & salt water crocodiles. The black sloth bear is more difficult to spot as it’s more of a solitary animal of nocturnal habits and sightings tend to be a seasonal occurrence.
Mirissa and its breathtaking sandy beach pretty much transforms your dreams and visions of a tropical paradise into an everyday reality.
Located close to the Southern tip of the Island of Sri Lanka and only about 200 km from the Equator, this secluded crescent shaped beach is the perfect place to sit back, relax and forget about all the hussle and bussle of your other life that’s a million miles away.
This small sandy tropical beach boasts some of Sri Lanka’s best and most stunning sunsets and sunrises.
Word has reaches us that many people visiting Sri Lanka have been taking side trip to Mirissa to do some Whale and Dolphin watching . A Company based in Mirissa reports to be able to introduce you to Spinner, Striped, Bottlenose and Spotted Dolphins. Large whales are also seen in the waters off Mirissa.
The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle”, withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored. The Galle Fort also houses the elite Amangalla resort hotel, located near the Dutch Reformed Church. It was originally built in 1684 to house the Dutch Governor and his staff. It was then converted into a hotel and named then as the New Oriental Hotel in 1865, which catered to the European passengers traveling between Europe and Galle Port in the 19th century.