Heritage destinations of Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura

The largest and oldest of all Sri Lanka's ancient cities

Anuradhapura is a fitting climax to any tour of the Cultural Triangle. From the 5th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka 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 the World.

It became even more important when the Arhath Mahinda from India officially introduced Buddhism to king Dewanampiyatissa in the year 247 B.C. King Dewanampiyatissa who was ruling from Anuradhapura embraced the faith of Buddhism and began to spread it throughout the nation, making Anuradhapura the cradle of Buddhism.

AlsoThe city had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world, situated in the dry zone of the country the administration built many tanks to irrigate the land.

Polonnaruwa

The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms.

The ruins of the ancient city stand on the east shore of a large artificial lake the Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama), created by King Parakramabahu I (1153-86), whose reign was Polonnaruwa's golden age.

Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers.

Dambulla

The largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.

The rock towers 160 m (520 ft) over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding.

Major attractions of the area include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium

The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya

The Lion Rock is a citadel of unusual beauty.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, built by King Kassapa in the 05thcentury A.D. which was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The Lion Rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens. The majestic Lion’s Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the “Heavenly maidens” of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 feet high Mirror Wall.

Kandy

Kingdom of the island and home to the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The Kandyan kingdom, located 488 meters above sea level, is the last stronghold of the Sri Lankan monarchy and to this day, the city stands strong in the knowledge of this proud legacy. From 1590, for 225 years, Kandy was the Capital city.

With Kandy located in the centre of the island and in a high elevation, the city has a relatively wetter and cooler temperatures than that of the tropical climate of the rest of the country.

The Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5 km to the west of the city centre at Peradeniya and is visited by 2 million people per year.