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The Golden Temple of Dambulla

Dating back to the First Century BC, the Golden Temple of Dambulla has been the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus alike for 22 centuries. It is Sri Lanka’s most popular historic site. The Cave monastery, home to Buddhist monks is covered with exquisite 2,000 year-old murals depicting the life and times of the Lord Buddha. The shrines also house a collection of 157 statues of Buddha in various sizes and poses, including a 15 metre long reclining Buddha and vividly coloured frescoes on the walls and ceiling, making this the largest antique painted surface in the world.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress and city

Built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century, Sigiriya or Lion Rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction. The most striking portion of Sigiriya, a terracotta and grey core of rock set in the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, rises a sheer 200 metres above a forested plain, its flattened summit sloping gently. A series of moats, ramparts and water gardens — remnants of an ancient city — spread out on two sides of the rock,with the remains of a pair of giant stone lion’s paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace.

Sacred Temple of the Tooth, Kandy

The monumental ensemble of Kandy, rebuilt in the reign of Keerti Sri Rajasinha, is an outstanding example of a traditional type of construction in which the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth of Buddha are juxtaposed. The Temple of the Tooth, the palatial complex, and the sacred city of Kandy are directly and tangibly associated with the history of the spread of Buddhism, one of humanity's great religions. Built to house the relic of the tooth of Buddha, which had come from Kalinga (Orissa State, India) to Sri Lanka during the reign of Sri Meghavanna (310-28), when it was transferred a final time, the Temple of Kandy bears witness to an ever flourishing cult.

Old Town of Galle

Galle provides an outstanding example of an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The most salient feature is the use of European models adapted by local manpower to the geological, climatic, historical, and cultural conditions of Sri Lanka. In the structure of the ramparts, coral is frequently used along with granite. In the ground layout all the measures of length, width and height conform with the regional metrology. The wide streets, planted with grass and shaded by suriyas, are lined with houses, each with its own garden and an open veranda supported by columns, another sign of the acculturation of an architecture which is European only in its basic design.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa was established as the capital after Anuradhapura had been invaded in the late 10th century. Under King Parakramabu, who ruled in the late 11th century, Polonnaruwa became a magnificent walled city. He built the vast reservoir, Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama) still in use today, and ordered the construction of monasteries, temples, palaces, bathing pools and Buddhist statues, all set in a forested park surrounded by moats.

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is a mountain station at 1,868 m (6,128 ft) of altitude, in a splendid landscape. The city pretends to be particularly well-kept and neat, and the always green grass gives to the locality an aspect of “colonial British style". Nuwara Eliya was built entirely during the 19th century and its architecture mimics that of an English country town, with red-brick walls, country house like hill club and mock-Tudor half-timbering.

Negombo

Negombo situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name once has been a trading port for Portugese and Dutch and is a ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the airport. Attractions in the city are the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now a part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective. The stretch of road towards Kotchchikade comes to life at dusk (most shops are open at daytime too) with many handicrafts and curio shops, gem shops, restaurants and internet cafes catering for tourists.

Pinnawala

See baby jumbos wondering around their cramped foster home or bottle fed and bathed by their human foster fathers at Pinnawala, about 90Km from Colombo towards Kandy is the home to some 60 or more elephant orphans. A place you will really enjoy and never forget. Most orphans are accustomed to their curious human visitors are harmless. Started in 1972 the Elephant Orphanage was relocated to at the present site in 1975 Bathing time at Ma Oya just in front of the orphanage is sharp at 10.00am and 2.00pm. Feeding time is about and hour earlier. Pinnawala is about 3 km from Rambukkana junction on Colombo-Kandy (90km from Colombo) road. Travellers by bus from Colombo or Kandy could take the Rambukkana bus from Kegalle town.

Habarana

Habarana is the heart of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka Habarana is the centre point from which guests could explore the glorious past and the historical myths of Sri Lanka. Culture tourists as well as wildlife enthusiasts are bound to find this location a haven to escape to. Habarana is closely located to the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks which are the transit points to hundreds of Asian elephants and other wildlife during the dry season. The sacred city of Anuradhapura, cave temples in Dambulla and Sigiriya the rock fortress are just few of the sites worthy of the attention of a history buff. The rest tourists could escape to the silence and stillness that Habarana, Sri Lanka has to offer; it is a place where tranquility is personified.

Safari

Sri Lanka is a tropical country with diverse ecological conditions that provoke an equally diverse range of wildlife. With many flora and fauna being endemic or indigenous to the island, Sri Lanka boasts a biota that is as unique and varied as it is abundant. Sri Lanka’s three main national parks - Yala, Wilpattu and Uda Walawe - offer a total protected area of more than 2603 sq km (260300 hectares) and boast a stunning array of wildlife. Yala has become recognised for having the highest density of leopards in the world. Wilpattu is one of the best places on the island to spot the much illusive sloth bear, and in Uda Walawe large herds of wild elephants roam through the park. In all three parks it is also common to see deer, wild boar, monkeys, and water buffalo.

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