Continent Srilanka

Continents

Why Travel Srilanka?

Colombo Colombo is the commercial capital and the largest city of Sri Lanka. A popular tourist destination, Colombo is a vibrant city with a blend of traditional and modernity. This small seaport with a natural harbor was introduced as "Colombo" by the Portuguese in 1505 and is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name Kolon thota, meaning "port on the river Kelani". It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbor with leafy mango trees". Colombo’s tropical climate makes it a year round destination for visitors and it also serves as the gateway to various Sri Lankan destinations. The strategic location of Colombo made it a trading hub for ancient traders during early centuries due to its large harbor. The main Colombo city is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and ancient historical colonial buildings and ruins that offers a variety of experiences. It has the lazy charm of the historical era combined with the liveliness of a modern city. It houses major corporate offices, hotels, restaurants and entertainment avenues. Colombo is an ideal location to start the Sri Lankan sojourn. Colombo airport is well connected with major cities of the world as all major airlines operate their flights to Colombo from different parts of the world. Below are some of the major attractions of Colombo: Galle Face Green Galle Face Green is located in the heart of the city along the Indian Ocean coast, and is a popular destination for tourists and residents alike. The Galle Face Hotel is a historic landmark on the southern edge of this promenade. Gangaramaya Temple Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo. The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. Viharamahadevi Park The Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park) is an urban park located next to the National Museum of Colombo and the Town Hall. It is the oldest and largest park in Colombo and features a large Buddha statue. The National Museum of Colombo Also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum, it is the largest museum in Colombo. Among its exhibits, it contains regalia of the 17th century Kandyan Kings. The Lionel Wendt Memorial Art Centre The Art Center provides a multi-functional creative experience with exhibitions, art shows and stage events. Visitors to the art center are also able to purchase various antiques as well as paintings and crafts by contemporary Sri Lankan artists. Colombo Zoological Gardens Colombo's zoo has a wide variety of animals, birds, and reptiles from all over the world. One of the most popular attractions to the zoo is the elephant show, which is held every evening. Casa Serena Art Gallery The Gallery is designed to exhibit a diverse array of art, photography, sculpture, video installations and craft. It focuses on contemporary and traditional arts and features the work of local and international artists. As part of the Urban Regeneration Program of the Government of Sri Lanka, many old sites and buildings were revamped to modern public recreational spaces and shopping precincts. These include Independence Memorial Hall Square, Pettah Floating Market and Old Dutch Hospital among others. The best time to visit Colombo, the ocean city of Srilanka is between January and March. Christmas time is also busy and bustling with tourists arrivals. A few Places to visit in Srilanka are : KANDY 114 KM (71 Miles) From Colombo Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka and lies in the midst of hills. It is the Capital of the Central Province. It is both an administrative ad religious city. Kandy is the second largest city in the country and is frequently visited by Buddhists especially of the Theravada School. Kandy is very famous among tourist for three main reasons: It is home to the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic ; Dalada Maligawa ), The Botanical Gardens ( Located in Peradeniya) and it always has a special place when it comes to festivities such as the Esala Perahara. Tooth Relic The Temple of the Tooth relic is the place that houses the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom, it is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhist around the world. The Palace of the Tooth relic, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of Buddhism. The temple is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Buddha and the testimony of a religion which continues to be practiced today. Parks and Gardens The Royal Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the whole island providing residence to over a large variety of plants, some even hundreds of years Festivals (annual pageant) Kandy as stated earlier is also very popular due to the annual pageant known as the Esala Perahera, in which one of the inner caskets used for covering the tooth relic of Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of the city. This casket is taken on a royal tusker. The procession includes traditional dancers and drummers, flag bearers of the provinces of the old Kandyan kingdom, the Nilames wearing their traditional dresses, torch bearers and also the grandly attired elephant. This ceremony which is annually held in the months of July or August attracts large crowds from all parts of the country and also many foreign tourists. Kandy is must for anyone's itinerary when visiting Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka which at the same time show cases the Sri Lankan Culture at its highest level. TRINCOMALEE 264 KM (164 Miles) From Colombo Trincomalee is a port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. The city is located on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours.Trincomalee is an anglicized version of the Tamil word Tirukonamalai (which means "lord of the sacred hill"); it is a hill situated in the end of a natural land formation that resembles an arc. It is one of the main where Tamil is spoken at large scale. Historically referred to as Gokanna or Gokarna it has been a sea port that has played a major role in maritime and international trading history of Sri Lanka. The Bay of Trincomalee provides security and is openly accessible to all types of sea crafts in all weathers. The beaches are used for recreational purposes such as surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching. The city is renowned for housing the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka. It is home to major Sri Lankan naval bases and a Sri Lankan Air Force base. Religious Significance Trincomalee is considered a very sacred place by the Tamil and Sinhalese. Trincomalee and its surroundings have both Hindu and Buddhist sites of historical importance. These sites are sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists. It has been said that King Mahasena destroyed the Sivan Temple and on top of it built a Mahayana temple. Despite the historical rivalries between the two ethnic groups initiated by kings such as Mahasena the Theravada Buddhists have maintained a remarkably peaceful relationship with the Hindus. Rare hot spring wells The hot springs in Trincomalee is always a major tourist attraction. There are the seven hot springs of Kanniya on the way to Trincomalee. The seven springs are enclosed by a high wall, each of which is again enclosed and bound by smaller walls to make up wells. The use of the springs for bathing however is under strict control. Harbour The Trincomalee boasts a record as the fifth largest natural harbor in the world In the map Trincomalee isn't quite populated a lot and is less developed. However it is used as a commercial seaport. DAMBULLA 177 KM (110 Miles) From Colombo Sri Lanka is rich and overflowing when it comes to colourful history, many came and went, the essence of the dominance still lingers about in the cities and buildings. From Portuguese to Dutch, Sri Lanka has suffered and bloomed through many events. Damulla is a large town situated in the Matale district, pretty near to Colombo. It is also given the title of a World Heritage Site. The town's most fascinated fact seems to be the time period of it's construction, it was built in just 167 days. Bursting with beautiful sites like the ironwood forest, rose quartz mountain, Rangiri Stadium and Na Uyana Aranya, one can't exactly pinpoint what this town is most known for. Dambulla Cave Temple It's glory is recognised and that is why it holds the title of a world heritage site, Dambulla Cave Temple lies in the central part of the country and is also known as the Golden Temple. People from faraway places come to see the cultural beauty with their own eyes. Inside the caves around the golden temple there are paintings and statues strewn all over, all related to the life of Gautama Buddha, his life and the events that took place in it. Vishnu, Ganesha and Demon—Mara are historic gods and goddesses that also have some paintings and structures sculpted for them, situated in the caves. It's predicted that the site has 2700 human skeletons buried underneath it. GALLE 128 KM (79 Miles) From Colombo Galle is situated in the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka; it is one of the country's integral cities. Galle has a colorful history and beauty that renders many speechless. The city is filled with Dutch-colonial buildings people come from faraway places to see. The air is filled with the sweet smell of spices and the salty winds give it a authentic recognition. Galle is filled with art that's rare, the streets are filled with people who are ambitious and hardworking, showcasing their efforts in one the best displays that please the eye immensely. The classic architecture fuses with the tropical setting that's the envy of many man-made resorts and architects. Galle is said to be a heavenly piece of art, tropical heaven and rich in history. Galle Fort The fort built by the Portuguese in 1588 holds most of the attention as you can explore the city of Galle through it's walls. The Fort has a multi-religious ethnic population and embedded deep inside it's walls is a rich history people are besotted with. This glorious building suffered through the Boxing Day Tsunami and was later restored to it's magnificent beauty. It has been given the title of Unesco World Heritage Site because of it's endless glory. It's a beautiful travelling location which gives you a experience that's hard to forget. BENTOTA 85 KM (52 Miles) From Colombo Bentota is a small town situated on coastal areas in Sri Lanka. Positioned 65 kilometers south of Colombo the capital, in the Bentota region of the Southern Province It is quite famous for its breath taking view, and especially the Bentota Beach. Bentota Beach If you are looking to spend your holidays and give yourself a calm and natural treat, with no bars and restaurants, this is the most refreshing and relaxing site. The Bentota Beach which extends across 7-8 kilometers is truly a symbol of peace, calmness and cleanness. One of its strongest points is its quiet surroundings which, according to many people, run the natural and relaxing environment of the beach. There is plenty of space of everyone to settle in perfectly and enjoy the sun bath to the fullest. Bentota River While enjoying the eye catching view of the Bentota beach another thing that caught the attention of many tourists is the stunning Bentota River. it is highly recommended by people who have taken the 2-3 hour ride on boat of the river. People have witnessed different kinds of animals, birds, reptiles such as crocodile, iguana etc in their natural habitats, which makes it an animal’s lover dream as well. The River is also pretty popular for water activities like surfing and boating. HIKKADUWA 119 KM (73 Miles) From Colombo Hikkaduwa is the name of a small town which is located on the south coast of Sri lank around 98 KM on the south of Colombo. It is well known for the Hikkaduwa beach which is labeled as one of the best surfing site in Sri Lanka and for Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary which is located a few meters away from the shore. Hikkaduwa Beach and Surfing Hikkaduwa Beach and Surfing Hikkaduwa beach is one of the most popular tourist places in Sri lanka Known for the harmonized and calm environment. The Beach is considered to be one of the finest places in the country for surfing and it is also well known for seafood currie which gives an extraordinary touch while having the perfect day on the beach. You can enjoy Surfing to the fullest in the months of November to March when waves rise up. Many tourists have recommended surfing in these months. Hikkaduwa Coral Sanctuary and Snorkeling While enjoying the beach and the sea, it is necessary to have a look inside the sea to investigate and examine the aquatic life. Whoever has visited the Beach has highly recommended snorkeling. It is very much suitable if one wants to watch all the beautiful fishes and marine life closely. People get a chance to look at a lot of different types of small and big fishes and turtles etc. very closely. So, whenever you get the chance to visit Sri Lanka and especially Hikkaduwa beach, don’t forget to experience surfing as well as snorkeling, it will be an experience of a life time. UNAWATUNA 128 KM (79 Miles) From Colombo Unawatuna is a town in coastal Area of the Galle District in Sri Lanka. It is one of the most famous and largest sources of attraction for people. The main things that catch the attention of people are its beautiful beach and corals. Unawatuna Beach and Corals The Unawatuna beach is a major source of tourist attraction. The beach is a beautifully stretched area of land covered with sand that can raise the standards of any holidays with its exotic view and extraordinary environment. Corals are basically aquatic invertebrates that are established in colonies of a number of indistinguishable polyps. One of the things of this beach that hands it the grip over the others is these corals which are viewed and examined while snorkeling. One of the main preferences of tourists is to enjoy the marine life and examine it carefully and if you are one of them then the Unawatuna beach might just be the place to spend your holidays. Unawatuna Jungle Beach Jungle beach is a small beach which looks like it is located in middle of a jungle. The beach is most of the times over crowded, yet it is clean most of the time and because of its refreshing scenery and pleasant weather along with the breathtaking sea view it is labeled as paradise by many. NUWARA ELIYA 165 KM (103 Miles) From Colombo Nuwara Eliya meaning "city on the plain or "city of light" is a town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. It is one of the major tea producing areas in the world. The tallest mountain in Sri Lanka "Pidurutalagala" oversees this beautiful city. It is the most visited hill country. History Nuwara Eliya is said to have been founded by a couple of British officers who apparently got lost while elephant hunting. The British governor Sir Edward Barnes was notified about the town and he himself decided to reside at Nuwara Eliya and subsequently creating a health resort that was internationally renowned. The town was later the ultimate destination for English pastimes such as golf, fox hunting, polo, etc. Nuwara Eliya also has an archeological importance as well in which pre-historic human remains are found. The city is has a good reflection of the colonial period even new hotels are furnished according to the colonial era. Modern Day Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya is now a modern, busy city with department stores, fast food chains. Nevertheless the further away you are away from the busy town the more you will be revisiting the past. Tourists will find a variety of recreational activities to do in this beautiful city, Nuwara Eliya is known to have the best 18-hole golf course in Asia and that's not all horse-riding, boating, bird-watching and hiking are few of the many fun things you can do. Tea Production Sri Lanka is produces a significant share of the world's best tea and in the mean time is also one of the world's largest exporters of tea. Since the introduction of tea to Sri Lanka in mid 19the century Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of the tea industry. Waterfalls Little England" is also home to some beautiful waterfalls such as Ramboda Falls, Devon Falls, and Laksapana Falls. Trekking and hiking expeditions usually evolve around these land marks. Climate Natives usually tend to visit the hill country during the summer time, just to escape the excess humidity that accompanies with the heat since Nuwara Eliya has a average temperature of 16 degrees and sometimes can decrease to extreme conditions such as 3 degrees due to the high altitudes. Seetha Eliya Seetha Eliya is a village in which the Seetha Kovil is located (Hanuman Kovil) and is found on the way to Badulla. The Temple is said to be built where the king Ravana hid princess Seetha from Rama. Horton Plains Horton Plains is yet another national park in Sri Lanka located at the highest plateau in the island. The park is very famous among nature lovers. However within Horton Plains are the World's End exhibiting an abrupt drop of 1000m offering a breath-taking view of land including tea estates. SIGIRIYA 169 KM (105 Miles) From Colombo Sigiriya also known as the Lion's Rock is a rock fortress and a palace located in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. This ruin is surrounded by gardens, ponds and other structures. Sigiriya was built by King Kassapa and it is included as a World Heritage site. Sigiriya is the best preserved city centre in Asia. History Earlier is was a rock-shelter mountain monastery which was donated by Buddhist devotees. Later King Kassapa renovated it by building gardens and palace. After his death it was again used as a monastery. Human habilitation in Sigiriya at its earliest was found to be nearly five thousand years during the Mesothilic period. Rock inscriptions are carved near the drip ledges on many of the shelters, recording the donation of the shelters to the Buddhist monastic order as residences. These have been made within the period between the third century B.C and the first century A.D. In 1831 Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British army while returning on horseback from a trip to Polonnaruwa came across the "bush covered summit of Sigiriya". Sigiriya came to the attention of antiquarians and later archaeologists. The Sigiriya complex itself consists of the central rock and two rectangular precincts which are surrounded by two moats and three ramparts. The city is based on a square module. Structure of The Lion Rock The Sigiriya Rock is actually a hardened magma plug from an extinct volcano. The most significant feature of the rock would be the Lion staircase leading to the palace garden. The Lion could be visualized as a huge figure towering against the granite cliff. The opened mouth of the Lion leads to the staircase built of bricks and timber. However the only remains of this majestic structure are the two paws and the masonry walls surrounding it. Nevertheless the cuts and groves in the rock face give an impression of a lion figure. Frescos There are only two pockets of paintings covering most of the western face of the rock. The ladies depicted in the paintings have been identified as Apsaras. However a lot of these ladies have been wiped out when the palace was again converted into a monastery so as to not to disturb meditation. The Gardens The gardens are amongst the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms; water gardens, Cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens. The Mirror Wall Originally this wall was so well polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of a kind of porcelain, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors to the rock. Well preserved, the mirror wall has verses dating from the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts. Further writing on the mirror wall has now been banned. ANURADHAPURA 213 Km (132 Miles) From Colombo Anuradhapura is one of the ancient cities in Sri Lanka, well known for its ruins depicting early Sri Lankan civilization. It is very famous among Buddhists pilgrims. Anuradhapura was earlier the capital of the Island (in ancient times) and most of the Kings who ruled Sri Lanka resided in this vast city. The city is now named as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The ruins in Anuradhapura Ruins are the only remains of what Anuradhapura used to be. Ruins generally have three classes of buildings: 1.Dagobas ( bell-shaped masses of masonry) 2.Monastic Buildings 3.Pokunas ( bathing tanks/ tanks that supply water for drinking) Major Tourist Attractions at Anuradhapura The Eight Great Places For Veneration. 1. Sri Maha Bodhi – It is the sacred Bodhi Tree ( Fig Tree ) which is believed to be a direct descendant from the original Bo tree under which The Lord Buddha reached his enlightenment. 2. Ruwanwelisaya – It is the stupa built by King Dutugamunu. The stupa is considered as one of the world's tallest monuments. 3. Thuparamaya – It is another dagaba in Anuradhapura. Following the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka it was the first dagaba to be built in Sri Lanka which also enshrines the collarbone of the Buddha. 4. Lovamahapaya – Also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya. This building was also built by King Dutugamunu. 5. Jetavanaramaya – The Jetavanaramaya is yet another stupa which was initiated by King Mahasena. A part of a sash or belt which was used by the Buddha himself is believed to be enshrined here. 6. Abhayagiri Dagaba - This ruin is considered one of the most extensive ruins in the world and has a roof made of gilt bronze or tiles of burnt clay. The Abhayagiri Dagaba attracted scholars in the ancient times from all over the world. 7. Mirisaveti Stupa– Another masterpiece built by King Dutugamunu. 8. Lankarama – This stupa was built by King Valagamba. Famous Structures in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka Other Famous Structures in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka Isurumuniya Vessagiri Toluwila Statue Magul Uyana Kuttam Pokuna Samadhi Statue Rathna Prasadaya Kiribath Vehera Naka Viharaya Sela Cetiya Dakkhina Stupa Queen's Palace Ritigala NEGOMBO 40 KM (25 Miles) From Colombo Negombo (Migamuwa) is a town of about 40 km north of Colombo. It has a small port and its economy is based on centuries old fishing industries and tourism. During the Dutch and Portuguese invasion it was used as a trading port. Beach The beaches of Negombo are most of the time less crowded and unexplored which means that the beach is mostly to yourself. Recreational sports such as Diving and surfing are famous among tourists. The Muthurajawela Marsh off Negombo lagoon just south of the town is a unique wetland habitat and the largest marsh in Sri Lanka popular with eco enthusiasts. Kite Surfing The latest exhilarating extreme sport in Sri Lanka, it is a fusion of Kite flying , Wind Surfing , Wave boarding and Surfing. It is a bit difficult to master however, well qualified trainers are available at your disposal so that within a week you will be able to kite-surf like a pro. Churches Negombo has a majority of Roman Catholics since the European Colonization. Negombo is also known as Little Rome due to Portugese Era Churches. YALA National Park 305KM (190Miles) From Colombo Yala National Park is situated in the south-east region of Sri Lanka and is the 2nd largest National Park in the island, situated some 300 km away from Colombo. It was at first established in the early 1890s as a game sanctuary . The park is located in the dry-zone region where the drought season is very long .The day time average temperature is over 30 degrees which is not uncommon in the region. The parkland makes up most of the reserve but also includes lakes, beaches, jungle, rivers and scrubland. This variety in habitats provides an excellent range in wildlife. The largest concentration of Leopards can be seen in this region though the chances of seeing this animal are very low, and the creature is said to be one of the most endangered species. About 32 species of mammals, 125 species of birds and many reptiles and lagoon fauna species have been recorded in the park. The Yala National Park is famous among visitors as the best place to view large mammals within one territory. History The Yala National Reserve was a part of the Ruhuna Kingdom. The Situl Pahuwa temple housed more than 12000 inhabitants. The Magul Mahavihara, which is also another temple within the park was the place where King Kawantissa and Vihara Maha Devi were married. Cultural Significance Yala was where Ravana established his kingdom. The many mane-made tanks show that yala was used as an agricultural center with an intensive irigation system. The temple Situlpahuwa is within Yala and was built during the 87 BC and the Akasa Stupa in 2 BC. During the colonial era Yala was used as a place to hunt down game. Even today more than 400,000 pilgrims visit the stupas within the confinements of the park.

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