THE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC – KANDY - ( SRI DALADA MALIGAVA)
Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple
Daily rituals are performed three times a day. One is early morning at 4.30 a.m. second is at 10.30. a.m. and the third is at 6.30. p.m. in the evening at 4.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. 32 measures of rice are cooked as offering for Breakfast and Lunch every day. 32 vegetables are cooked for alms and in the evening various medicinal drinks like koththamalli, tea, fruit juice, with beetle and banana are offered as Buddhist's believe treating Buddha's relic is like treating Buddha alive.
TRADITIONAL DANCE SHOW AT MALIGAWA-KANDY
Sri Lanka, a country rich with culture and tradition offers a vibrant and unique show of Sri Lankan traditional dances in the form of the Kandy Cultural show. The show takes place every evening and lasts for one hour.
ALUVIHARE ROCK TEMPLE - MATALE
The Aluvihare Rock Temple (also called Matale Alu Viharaya) is a sacred Buddhist temple located in Aluvihare, Matale District of Sri Lanka. Surrounded by hills, the Aluvihara cave temple is situated 30 km south of Kandy on the Matale-Dambulla road. The history of Aluvihare Rock Temple is traced back to the 3rd Century B.C to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. It is believed that the King built the dagoba, planted the Bo sapling and founded the temple after the introduction of Buddhism to the country during his reign. Aluvihare Rock Temple was the historic location, where the Pali Canon was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves. Many monastery caves, some of which exhibit frescoes are situated near this temple.
NALANDA GEDIGE –NALANDA-MATALE
Nalanda Gedige is an old stone building believed to be located in the center of Sri Lanka. What most people don’t know is that it was removed from its original place and relocated about 80 feet further from its original location. This was because the original location was flooded because of the Bowatenna tank
Estimates of its date of construction vary from the 8th to 10th centuries AD. This was a period of great turmoil on the island, with South Indian kings establishing themselves in the wake of the decline of the Sinhalese monarchy. It is possible that Nalanda Gedige was a bold attempt at a fusion of Tamil and Sinhalese cultures.
DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE ( GOLDEN TEMPLE)- DAMBULLA
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. 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 five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include Vishnu and the Ganesha. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square metres (23,000 sq ft). Depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first sermon. 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
SIGIRIYA (Lion Rock )
Sigiriya is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.[
POLONNARUWA ANCIENT CITY
The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was the kingdom from which Sri Lankan kings ruled the island from the 8th century until 1310 CE. Pollonnaruwa was the fifth administrative center of Rajarata.
The city is situated on the left bank of River Mahaweli. Archeological evidence and accounts in chronicles suggests that the city is as old as Anuradhapura. The Vijithagama settlement made by Vijitha in 400 BCE is thought to be situated near the town.
After ruling the country for over 1,200 years from the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, in 1017, Chola King Rajarajan I captured Anuradhapura and took King Mahinda V as a captive to India where Mahinda V would die in 1029. Cholas shifted the capital to Polonnaruwa and ruled Sri Lanka for 52 years. Polonnaruwa was named as Jananathamangalam by the Cholas. King Vijayabahu I defeated Cholas and regained the Sinhalese lineage. Polonnaruwa had previously been an important settlement in the country, as it commanded the crossings of the Mahaweli Ganga towards Anuradhapura.
Some of the rulers of Polonnaruwa include Vijayabahu I and Parakramabahu I (Parakramabahu the Great). Most of Polonnaruwa that remains today dates from after the 1150s, as the extensive civil wars that preceded Parakramabahu's accession to the throne devastated the city. Parakrama Pandyan II from Pandyan Kingdom invaded the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the thirteenth century and ruled from 1212 to 1215 CE. He was succeeded by Kalinga Magha the founder of the Jaffna kingdom. Kalinga Magha ruled 21 years until he was expelled from Polonnaruwa in 1236.The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
ANURADHAPURA ANCIENT CITY
Anuradhapur is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was 3rd capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata after Tambapanni andUpatissa Nuwara.
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
It is believed that from the 4th century BC, it was the capital of the Sinhalese until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).
Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.
According to Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, Thera Mahinda came to Sri Lanka from India on the full moon day of the month of Poson (June) and met King Devanampiyatissa and the people, and preached the doctrine. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is revered by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. Therefore, in the month of Poson, Buddhists make their pilgrimage to Anuradhapura and Mihintale.
“Mahinda” was the son of Emperor Ashoka of India. King Ashoka embraced Buddhism after he was inspired by a very small monk named “Nigrodha.” The King who was in great misery after seeing the loss of life caused by his waging wars to expand his empire, was struck by the peaceful countenance of such a young monk. Meeting this young monk made a turning point in his life and he thereafter, renounced wars. He was determined to spread the message of peace, to neutralize the effects from the damages caused by him through his warfare. As a result, both his son and daughter were ordained as Buddha disciples, and became enlightened as Arahats. In his quest to spread the message of peace instead of war, he sent his son Mahinda, to the island of Lanka, which was also known as “Sinhalé”. This island was being ruled by his pen friend King Devanampiyatissa. Thus, “Mahinda” was the exclusive Indian name which in Sinhalé, became commonly known as “Mihindu” in the local vernacular “Sinhala”.
The Avukana statue is a standing statue of the Buddha near Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka. The statue, which has a height of more than 40 feet (12 m), has been carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century. It depicts a variation of the Abhaya mudra, and the closely worn robe is elaborately carved. Constructed during the reign of Dhatusena, it may have been made as a result of a competition between a master and a pupil. Avukana statue is one of the best examples of a standing statue constructed in ancient Sri Lanka. It is now a popular tourist attraction in the country.
Located in the village of Avukana near Kekirawa in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is close to the Kala Wewa reservoir, and is positioned facing it. It has been carved out of a large granite rock face, but is not completely separated. A narrow strip of rock has been left at the back of the statue, connecting it to the rock face and supporting it. However, the pedestal on which the Buddha stands, which is carved in the form of a lotus flower, has been carved separately and positioned under the statue. The statue alone is 38 feet 10 inches (11.84 m) in height, and with the pedestal the total height of the Avukana statue reaches 42 feet (13 m). The statue had been located within a large image house or shrine, of which parts of the walls still remain. It had been made of brick and stone, and was 74 feet (23 m) long and 63 feet (19 m) wide.
Ritigala is an ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Sri Lanka. The ruins and rock inscriptions of the monastery date back to 1st century BCE. It is located 43 km away from the ancient monastic city of Anuradhapura.
Ritigala Mountain at a height of 766 m above the sea-level is the highest mountain in the north-central dry plains of Sri Lanka. The mountain mass about three miles long and about two miles wide at its widest point is covered with dense jungle inhabited by wild elephants, leopards and bears. It is the watershed of the Malwatu Oya which feeds the Nachaduwa tank and Kalueba Ela which feeds Huruluwewa. The Ritigala Mountain has been declared a Strict Natural Reserve in order to maintain its pristine environment. Ritigala mountain’s cloud cover and mist that cloth it most of the year round has resulted in a flora much more commonly found at the central hills of wet zone than those in the dry plains: the upper part of the mountain is well known for its flora, some of which are rare; it has also a range of wild orchids.
Ritigala is home to 70 rock caves that were believed to had been inhabited since the first century BC. Mahavamsa, the great historical chronicle of Sri Lanka narrates that Ritigala was known by the name of “arittha-pabbata” during the reign of Pandukabhaya (377-307 BC), the third king of Sri Lanka. Since then Ritigala had been, at intervals, a sanctuary for the kings at war against the Dravidian invaders to the island till the 7th century: King Dutugemunu (161-137 BC) and King Jetthatissa in the seventh century.
Kataragamam temple in Kataragama, Sri Lanka, is a temple complex dedicated to Kataragama deviyo. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the Sinhala Buddhists, Hindu Sri Lankan Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors and the Vedda people. It is a collection of modest shrines, of which the one dedicated to Kataragama deviyo, is the most important. For most of the past millennia, it was a jungle shrine very difficult to access; today it is accessible by an all-weather road. Almost all the shrines— and the nearby Kiri Vehera— are managed by Buddhists, apart from shrines dedicated to Teyvāṉai and Shiva and mosques.
Up until the 1940s a majority of the pilgrims were Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka and South India who undertook an arduouspadayatra or "pilgrimage on foot". Since then most pilgrims tend to be Sinhala Buddhists and the cult of Kataragama deviyo has become the most popular amongst the Sinhalese people.
GADALADENIA TEMPLE- PILIMATHALAWA
Gadaladeniya Temple, which is situated at Pilimatalawa on the Kandy-Colombo Road, just passing Kadugannawa, is famous for its beautiful stone carvings. This temple was built on a flat rock at Diggala in the 14th Century.
Faded paintings from around that time provide many clues as to the manner in which the temple was built. The art is South Indian, so the general belief is that the workers were also brought down from abroad. The chief architect of this temple had been a South Indian called Ganesvarachari. Therefore, this temple is essentially a South Indian design.
The genius of the Kandyan master craftsmen is very obvious in this region; whereby Gadaladeniya Viharaya is built of stone, the nearby Lankatilaka Viharaya and its Devale are built of clay bricks with a unique architectural design; Embekke Devale is built of wood while the mysterious Galengolla Potgul Viharaya with its valuable ola leaf manuscripts has a cover-up in the style of Florentine rebirth and its interior resembles a Christian basilica with cupola (dome) and octagonal pillars.
The Gadaladeniya Temple also contains a beautifully painted giant wooden chest holding paintings and sculptures of great historical and artistic importance. The entrance to Gadaladeniya features large stone pillars, which support a roof of huge stone slabs.
Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.
The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population.The 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 heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of "an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries."
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.
MULKIRIGALA ROCK TEMPLE
Mulkirigala Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient and an archaeological Buddhist temple in Mulkirigala Sri Lanka. The temple site is situated 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Mulkirigala Junction and can be reached from either Dikwella or Tangalle. It is also known as the Little Sigiriya
According to the ancient chronicle Mahavamsa, the Mulkirigala temple was constructed by King Saddhatissa in the third century. After this period the temple received royal patronage by numerous successive kings. In 461-479 AD period a stupa was constructed at Mulgirigala was by King Datusena and the temple was further developed by King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe (1747-1782).
As mentioned in the Bodhi Vamsa chronicle, one of the temples known as Giriba Viharaya where one of a Bo sapling out of 32 saplings germinated from Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is planted, which was currently identified as Mulkirigala temple.
During the Polonnaruwa period this temple was known as Samuddagiri Viharaya, according to the Rev. Kamburupitiya Wanaratna Thero who had read the stone inscription of the pond.
Also with the arrival of the Europeans, Mulkirigala was named as Adam’s Berg. It is believed that Europeans confused Mulkirigala with theSri Pada (Adam’s Peak) and have believed tombs of Adam and Eve were located here
Mulkirigala Viharaya contains many Kandy era wall paintings based on Jataka stories, such as Wessanthara, Telapatta and Shivi.
EMBEKKE DEVALAYA( WOOD CARVING TEMPLE
Embekka Devalaya is situated in Medapalata Korale of Udunuwara in Kandy district. The easiest way to get to Embekka is coming from Colombo - Kandy main road at Pilimathalawa. There is a clear sign post hosted by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka at the start of the road to Embekka. It is about 7 – 8 km (5.0 mi) from Pilimathalawa to Embekka from the Colombo - Kandy main road. On the Daulagala road proceed about a mile and you will come to the Gadaladeniya junction, which you can see the famous Gadaladeniya Viharaya right at the junction. Both roads from the junction would take you to Embekka. The shortest would be the one to the right, but if you wish to see the Lankathilaka Viharaya you should take the road to the left. If you take the road to the left you can see the Embekka Ambalama just before you arrive at the Embekka Devalaya.
Embekka Devalaya (Embekka Temple) was built by the King Vikramabahu III of Gampola Era (AD 1357 - 1374) in Sri Lanka.
The Devalaya in Embekka is dedicated to the worship of Mahasen, popularly known as Katharagama Deviyo. A local deity called Devatha Bandara is also worshiped at this site. The shrine consists of three sections, the "Sanctum of Garagha", the "Digge" or "Dancing Hall" and the "Hevisi Mandapaya" or the "Drummers' Hall". The Drummers' Hall that has drawn the attention of visitors to the site, due to the splendid wood carvings of its ornate pillars and its high pitched roof
ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS-PERADENIYA
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 the National 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
The origins of the Botanic Gardens date as far back as 1371 when King Wickramabahu III ascended the throne and kept court at Peradeniya near Mahaweli river. This was followed by King Kirti Sri and King Rajadhi Rajasinghe. A temple was built on this location by King Wimala Dharma, but it was destroyed by the British when they were given control over the Kingdom of Kandy. Thereafter, the groundwork for a botanical garden was formed by Alexandar Moon in 1821. The Botanical Garden at Peradeniya was formally established in 1843 with plants brought from Kew Garden, Slave Island, Colombo, and the Kalutara Garden in Kalutara. The Royal Botanic Garden, Peradeniya was made more independent and expanded under George Gardner as superintendent in 1844. On his death in 1849 George Henry Kendrick Thwaites became superintendent. He served until 1879, when he was succeeded by Henry Trimen, who served until 1895. The Garden came under the administration of the Department of Agriculture when it was established in 1912.
HAKGALA GARDENS – HAKGALA-NUWRA ELIYA
Hakgala Botanical Garden is one of the five botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. The other four are Peradeniya Botanical Garden,Henarathgoda Botanical Garden, Mirijjawila Botanical Garden and Seetawaka Botanical Garden. It is the second largest garden in Sri Lanka. The garden is contiguous to Hakgala Strict Nature Reserve
Hakgala Botanical Garden is situated on the Nuwara Eliya-Badulla main road,16 km from Nuwara Eliya. The garden has a cool temperate climate because of altitude is 5,400 feet above the sea level.
The garden was established in 1861 as an experimental cultivation of Cinchona, a commercial crop thriving at the time. Once after the Tea replaced the Cinchona, it was turned into an experimental Tea cultivation. In 1884 it transformed to a garden. Since then many sub tropical and some temperate plants were planted in the gardens.
There are over 10,000 species of flora planted here and during the Spring season in Nuwara Eliya thousands of visitors come to see the blooms here. Number of annual visitors are around 500,000. The garden is famous for number of species of Orchids and Roses are planted there.
WILPATHTHU NATIONAL PARK
The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The leopard population in Wilpattu is not known.
From December 1988 to March 16, 2003, the park was closed due to Security Concerns the Country was facing. After nearly 16 years, it was reopened to visitors. Visitors can currently only tour some 25% (75% of the park is dense forest or scrub) of the park. The best time to visit Wilpattu is during the months of February and October.
The painted stork, the open bill, little cormorant, Sri Lanka junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) along with many species of owls, terns, gulls, eagles, kites buzzards are to be found at Wilpattu National Park. Wetland bird species that can be senn in Wilpattu are the garganey (Anas querquedula), pintail (Anas acuta), whistling teal (Dendrocygna javanica), spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia), white ibis (Threskiornis malanocephalus), large white egret (Egretta alba modesta), cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) and purple heron (Ardea purpurea).
The most common reptiles found in the park are the monitor lizard (Varanus bengalensis), mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), common cobra (Naja naja), rat snake (Ptyas mucosus), Indian python (Python molurus), pond turtle (Melanonchelys trijuga) and the soft shelled turtle (Lissemys punctata) which are resident in the large permanent Villus.
PINNAWALA ELEPHANT ORPHANGE
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located atPinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi). 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 orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC)
The orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Young elephants sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought period. Other orphans have been displaced from their wild habitat by development projects or have been found abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded
The elephants are fed in their stalls. There is very little food they can gather from the premises of the orphanage except some grass. Large quantities of jackfruit, coconut, kitul(sugar palm), tamarind and grass, brought in daily, form the bulk of the elephants food. Each adult animal is given around 250 kilograms (550 lb) of this green matter per day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize.
MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK
Minneriya National Park is located 182 km away from Colombo in the North Central Plains of Sri Lanka. Being part of the elephant corridor which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks, Minneriya National Parkaffords the opportunity to sight herds of Elephants throughout the year.May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephants.
Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants. Individuals of elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700. They migrate here from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefited from food and shelter of the park's forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.
The park is also important habitat for the two endemic monkeys of Sri Lanka, purple-faced langurand toque macaque. Large herbivorous mammals such as Sri Lankan sambar deer and Sri Lankan axis deer also frequent the park. Rare and endangered species such as Sri Lankan leopardand Sri Lankan sloth bear also inhabit in Minneriya. Minneriya is one of areas that the gray slender loris is reportedly found in Sri Lanka.
The Minneriya reservoir is an important habitat for large water birds such as lesser adjutant, painted stork, and spot-billed pelican
Minneriya is a dormitory for many resident as well as migrant bird species. Instances of occurring a flock of 2000 little cormorants have been reported.
PINNAWALA OPEN ZOO
Pinnawala Open Zoo (also called Pinnawala Zoo) is a zoological garden in Pinnawala, Sri Lanka, which is situated closer to thePinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The zoo was opened for public on 17 April 2015. This is the first open-air zoo in Sri Lanka and second zoo in Sri Lanka after Dehiwala zoo. The zoo was opened for the visitors free of charge from 17 – 30 of April 2015
The Pinnawala zoo is home for the many endemic animals in Sri Lanka. The constructions are still underway. The crocodile and sloth bear ranges are still in construction. There are internal road network throughout the zoo.
The zoo is divided into two sections: the Sri Lankan zone and the World zone. Currently, the zoo is home for many native animals such as chital, Sri Lanka Leopard, Purple-faced leaf monkey, Wild boar, Sambar, Asian elephant, and different endemic bird species. The leopard watching area is the largest of them all.
YALA NATIONAL PARK
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park(block 1) and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.
There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilizations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009 after the security situation in the park improved
BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK
Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 kilometres (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.
The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary on 5 December 1969, and was upgraded to a national park on 4 January 1993 with land area of 6,216 hectares (24.00 sq mi). However the park was regazetted in 2004 and the original park was reduced to 3,698 hectares (14.28 sq mi). In 1991, Bundala became the first site in Sri Lanka to be designated a Ramsar wetland. In 2005, Bundala was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. In January 2006, an area adjacent to Bundala covering an area of 3,339.38 hectares (12.8934 sq mi) was declared as the Wilmanna Sanctuary.
UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas
Udawalawe is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants, which are relatively easy to see in its open habitats. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir,with a herd of about 250 believed to be permanently resident. TheUdawalawe Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 for the purpose of looking after abandoned elephant calves within the park. A total of nine calves, on two occasions in 1998 and 2000, with another eight calves in 2002, were released in the park when old enough to fend for themselves.
The rusty-spotted cat, fishing cat and Sri Lankan leopard are members of the Felidae family present in Udawalawe. The Sri Lankan sloth bear is seldom seen because of its rarity. Sri Lankan sambar deer, Sri Lankan axis deer, Indian muntjac, Sri Lankan spotted chevrotain,wild boar and water buffalo are among other mammal species. Golden jackal, Asian palm civet, toque macaque, tufted grey langur andIndian hare also inhabit the park. A study conducted in 1989 found that considerable numbers of golden palm civets inhabit the forests of Udawalawe Five species of mice also have been recorded from the park. The endemic Ceylon spiny mouse, known from Yala National Park, was recorded in Udawalawe in 1989. Indian bush rat and three species of mongoose are also recorded in the national park.
Udawalawe is also a good birdwatching site. Endemics such as Sri Lanka spurfowl, red-faced malkoha, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, brown-capped babbler, and Sri Lanka junglefowl are among of the breeding resident birds. White wagtail and black-capped kingfisher are rare migrants. A variety of water birds visit the reservoir, including cormorants, the spot-billed pelican, Asian openbill, painted stork, black-headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill.
HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK
Horton Plains National Park in Ohiya is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the world famous Ohiya Gap/Dondra Watch and 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya.
The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains. Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest, and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals, and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon.
The sheer precipice of World's End and Baker's Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.
HIKKADUWA CORAL REEF NATIONAL PARK
Hikkaduwa National Park is one of the two marine national parks in Sri Lanka. The national park contains a fringing coral reefof high degree of biodiversity. The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary on May 18, 1979, and then on August 14, 1988, upgraded to a nature reserve with extended land area. The growth of the number of visitors in the next 25 years increased the degradation of the coral reef. To reduce the effects to the ecosystem, the reef was declared a national park on September 19, 2002.
Hikkaduwa coral reef is a typical shallow fringing reef with an average depth of around 5 metres (16 ft). The coral reef reduces the coastal erosion and forms a natural breakwater. The coast of the national park extends four km. Generally the coast is narrow, ranging from 5–50 m according to the climatic conditions of the year. Scuba diving is a popular recreation here.
The national park situated in the wet zone and receives a 2,000 millimetres (79 in) of annual rainfall. The rain is received in both southwestern and northeastern monsoon seasons, in April–June and September–November respectively. Inter-monsoon season is a dry period which is considered the best season to visit the park
PIGEON ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province, encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island's name derives from the rock pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka.Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Pigeon Island consists of two islands; large pigeon island and small pigeon island. The large pigeon island is fringed by a coral reef, and is about 200 m long and 100 m wide. Its highest point is 44.8 m above mean sea level. The small pigeon island is surrounded by rocky islets. The national park is situated within the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The mean annual temperature is around 27.0 °C (80.6 °F). The annual rainfall ranges between 1,000–1,700 millimetres (39–67 in) while most of the rain is received during the North-eastern monsoon season from October to March.
DEHIWALA ZOO PARK
National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka (also called Colombo Zoo or Dehiwala Zoo) is a zoological garden in Dehiwala, Sri Lanka, founded in 1936. Its sprawling areas are host to a variety of animals and birds. The zoo exhibits animals but also places an emphasis on animal conservation and welfare, and education.
Visions for the zoo include, "To create one of the world’s outstanding zoological institutions, that is a centre of the excellence for conservation, research and education" and mission is "Resourceful conservation of animals by means of a learning, achieved through the exhibition of species which were adopted with loving care". The zoo has 3000 animals and 350 species as of 2005. The annual revenue is LKR 40 million.
The zoo exchanges its residents with other zoological gardens for breeding purpose
KOSGODA TURTEL HATCHERY
The "Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery" is a non - profitable organization which is maintained for the survival of Sea Turtles for the next generation. The "Turtle Farm" is situated in Kosgoda (southern part of Sri Lanka - Galle District) near to the beautiful beach. That is 5m from the Galle - Matara main road. The center was started in 1986 and up to now we have released more than 500,000 Sea Turtles to the ocean.
There are five varieties of Sea Turtles found in Sri Lanka, namely Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Green Turtle,Hawksbill Turtle and Leatherhead Turtle. The all major nesting habitats are located in the Galle District (Bentota, Induruwa, Kosgoda, Thibbattawa, Ahungalle, Balapitiya and Unawatuna) and Hambantota District (Rekawa, Wellodaya, Kahanda modara, Walawemodara and Yala.
BATIK INDUSTRY ( FACTORY )
Over the past century the Indonesian art of batik-making has become firmly established in Sri Lanka. The Batik industry in Sri Lanka is a small scale industry which can employ individual design talent and creativity. Its economic benefit is profit from dealing with foreign customers. It is now the most visible of the island's crafts with galleries and factories, large and small, having sprung up in many tourist areas. Rows of small stalls selling batiks can be found all along Hikkaduwa's Galle Road strip. Mahawewa & Upcountry side Kandy & Matale . On the other hand, is famous for its batik factories.
The batik art panels provide quilters, craft and home sewers, and interior designers with an opportunity to combine an ancient art form with a contemporary use. Since each batik piece is individually handmade, the colours and designs may vary. Originally, when batik-making was a cottage industry, one artist created the entire batik from start to finish
TEA FACTORY & PLANTATION
The tea factories found on most tea estates in Sri Lanka are crucial to the final quality value of manufactured tea, and The Giragama Tea Factory Sri Lanka has never been an exception. On a visit, one will be able to see the regular and consistent processes which lead to the eventual sale of the estate's tea, at the factory which was the countries very first and whose building is also the longest.
Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a very long and colorful history. Sri Lanka was affectionately known as Ratna-Dweepa which means Gem Island. The name is a reflection of its natural wealth. Marco Polo wrote that the island had the best sapphires, topazes, amethysts, and other gems in the world. Ptolemy, the 2nd century astronomer recorded that beryl and sapphire were the mainstay of Sri Lanka’s gem industry. Records from sailors that visited the island states that they brought back “jewels of Serendib”. Serendib was the ancient name given to the island by middle – eastern and Persian traders that crossed the Indian Ocean to trade gems from Sri Lanka to the East during the 4th and 5th century.
Sri Lanka is famous for its spices and spices gardens. These spice gardens offers 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 renowned for its quality spices. During ancient times the Greeks, Romans and the Arabic maintained there 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. Also the Spices are use 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 farmed since ancient times, thrive in the hills.
Sri Lanka is blessed with over one hundred waterfalls. The tallest is the Bambarakande Falls which cascades down 263 meters like liquid light. It is only four miles away from the Colombo-Bandarawela road in a forest glade, but it is not visited often, though well worth the trip.
Bambarakanda is taller than the famous Diyaluma falls which is only 220 meters but thought to be the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
With an appearance and location which often make people believe that it is the highest waterfall in the isle, this lanky “Diyaluma” waterfall pours its way down and flows towards Kirindi Oya underneath a bridge on the highway from Beragala to Wellawaya. The extent of water spilt downwards is so great during the rainy season that it makes amends for the monotonously undisturbed water trunk falling from head to foot with no intermediate cascade whatsoever.
Ramboda Falls is 109m high and 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and 729th highest waterfall in the world. It is situated inPussellawa area, on the A5 highway at Ramboda Pass. It formed by Panna Oya which is a tributary of Kothmale Oya. Altitude of the falls is 945m above sea level.
Dunhinda Falls is a waterfall located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Badulla town in Sri Lanka.The Dunhinda Falls is one of Sri Lanka's most beautiful waterfalls.The waterfall, which is 64 metres (210 ft) high gets its name from the smoky dew drops spray, (Dun in sinhala means mist or smoke) which surrounds the area at the foot of the waterfall. The water fall is created by the river called Badulu Oya which goes through the Badulla town
INDEPENDENT SQUARE- Colombo
Independence Memorial Hall (also Independence Commemoration Hall) is a national monument in Sri Lanka built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule with the establishment of Dominion of Ceylon on February 4, 1948. It is located at the Independence Square (formally Torrington Square) in the Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo. It also houses the Independence Memorial Museum.
The monument was built at the location where the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule, with the opening of the first parliament by the HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester occurred at a special podium February 4, 1948.
Located at the head of the monument is the statue of the first prime minister of the country Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake "The Father of the Nation". Most of the annual National Independence Day celebrations have been held here. Apart from a monument it served as the ceremonial assembly hall for the Senate of Ceylon and the House of Representatives of Ceylon until the parliament was moved to the new parliament complex. Currently it is the venue for religious events and annual national day celebrations
COLOMBO NATIONAL MIUSEUM
National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of theKandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka.
The Colombo museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1 January 1877. It founder was Sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time
Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence.
The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture.
This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises.
Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.
The NavamPerehera attracts both local &foreign visitors & is the most talked about cultural pageant in the City.
SRI KAILASANATHAR SWAMI KOVIL
Sri Kailasanathar Swami Devashthanam is a kovil hidden inside a bushy surrounding behind the Fort Railway Station. Built during the Portuguese era, it was a family kovil. Apparently, it is the oldest Hindu temple in Colombo. Although it is Sri Kailasanathar, Swami Devashthanam, many still identify it as the kovil at the Captain's Garden. Though I presumed it as an unseen and unknown kovil, we later realised that it is popular even among non-Hindus. The number of Sinhala notices displayed there makes it obvious.
The entrance to the road leading to the kovil is near the famous second-hand bookstores at D. R. Wijewerdene Mawatha. Turn right from the main road and kovil Veethi, leads to the kovil over the Fort railway lines. As soon as you take a right turn from the kovil Veethi, to the kovil grounds, there are two kovils in the vicinity; a new building and an old colour-faded building. According to the kovil Manager, the faded building is the Ganapathi Kovil and the new-fangled building is the Easwaran Kovil.
LIPTON SEATS VIEW POINT
Near the Dambatenne tea factory, the Lipton’s Seat lookout rivals the views from World’s End (and it’s free). The Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton used to survey his burgeoning empire from here.
Take the signed narrow paved road from the tea factory and climb about 7km through lush tea plantations to the lookout. From the tea factory the ascent should take about 2½ hours
Lipton Seat is an observation point and atleast 7 districts can be seen in this location.
DIKWELLA BLOW HOLE HUMMANAYA
Hummanaya is the only known blowhole in Sri Lanka and it may be the second largest blowhole in the world. Meaning of the word “Hummanaya” is the distance a sound of "hoo" can be heard.
It is located after Matara and Dikwella town in the Southern Province and at small fishing village called Kudawella 1.1 kilometres (0.7 mi) to the right. Dikwella is a coastal town 180 kilometres (111.8 mi) far away from Colombo and 22 kilometres (13.7 mi) from Matara.
There is a rock with a long but narrow fracture in the middle; At once rough sea waves gush through the crack and pass out through the hole at the bottom of the rock and blow out high in to the sky displaying a marvel water fountain.
Surrounding area is always filled with whoosh caused by seawater rushing through the natural hole and it can be heard somewhat far away from the site.
Occasionally the blowhole shoots water several feet above the rock. If sea is rough with strong winds and waves gush fast, the height of the water blow-up goes up 25 metres (82.0 ft) to 30 metres (98.4 ft). but when sea is calm and quiet the situation will be reversed as shown in the photograph.
This site has now been developed as a tourist attraction. A visitors' information center on marine life and a viewing platform have already been built up
KANDY ESALA PEREHERA
The Kandy Esala Perahera (the Esala procession of Kandy) is a grand festival celebrated with elegant costumes and is held in July and August in Kandy. This historical procession is held annually to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha, which is housed at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. A unique symbol of Sri Lanka, the procession consists of many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances, in addition to the elephants who are usually adorned with lavish garments. The festival ends with the traditional diya-kepeema ritual, a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, Kandy.
The Kandy Esala Perahera begins with the Kap Situveema or Kappa, in which a sanctified young Jackfruit tree (Artocarpus integrifolia) is cut and planted in the premises of each of the four Devales dedicated to the four guardian gods Natha, Vishnu, Katharagama and the goddess Pattini. Traditionally it was meant to shower blessing on the King and the people
For the next five nights, the "Devale Peraheras" take place within the premises of the four Devales with the priest of each Devale taking the pole every evening, accompanied by music and drumming, flag and canopy bearers, spearman and the Ran Ayudha, the sacred insignia of the Gods.
On the sixth night, the Kumbal Perahera begins and continues on for five days.
The Randoli Perahera begins after five nights of the Kumbal Perahera. Randoli refers to palanquins on which the Queens of the ruling Kings traditionally traveled.
After a further five nights of the Randoli Perahera, the pageant ends with the Diya Kepeema, which is the water cutting ceremony at the Mahaweli River at Getambe, a town a few miles from Kandy. A Day Perahera is held to mark the ceremony.