Cities

Kataragama

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kataragama is a multi-religious sacred city as it contains an Islamic mosque within its temple complex as well. Kataragama is one of Sri Lanka’s holy places where Hindu, Buddhist and Muslims visit on religious pilgrimage. It is a large Complex with the ‘Mahadewala’ – Main Hindu shrine being the most important place. This shrine of God Skanda, the Hindu war God who is worshipped as the Kataragama Deviyo is venerated by pilgrims of all three religions.

It is believed that King Dutugemunu the warrior king and Sinhala folk hero built a shrine here for worship of the Kataragama God in the 2nd century BC. There is also a first century BC Buddhist Dagoba – ‘Kiri vehera’ at this site. According to the legend, Lord Buddha, on his third and the last visit to Sri Lanka, was believed to have met the King Mahasena who ruled over the Kataragama area in 580 BC.
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Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka and South Indian refer to the place as Kathirkamam and it has a famous Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Kathirkaman. The presiding Deity is Lord Murugan or Skanda. Out of love for Lord Murugan and to lessen bad fate, bhakters pierce their cheeks and tongues with vels, pull large chariots carrying Murthi of Murugan with large hooks that have been pierced through the skin of their backs. This practice is known as Kavadi. The annual Hindu Kataragama festival is held in July and August.

The local river namely Manik Ganga (River of Gems) is a sacred place where the pilgrims take a bath to purify oneself. Local residents declare that one can be healed of ailments by bathing in it not only from its high gem content but also the medicinal properties of the roots of various trees that line the river through the jungle.
In spite of the differences of caste and creed, many Sri Lankans show great reverence to God Kataragama. They honour him as a very powerful deity and beg divine help to overcome their personal problems or for success in business enterprise.

Things to do in Kataragama

  • Visit the Kataragama Temple
  • Visit the Kirivehera
  • Visit the Maha Devale
  • Take part of view the Kataragama Festival

Kalutara

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kalutara is one of the most pleasant beach holiday resorts in Sri Lanka located on the western coast which was once an important spice trading center. The city’s name is derived from the Kalu Ganga River which translates directly to ‘the Black River’. In the 11th Century, the town was temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince.

The region was later planted with coconut trees, whose produce are still used in internal and external trading markets.

Along with luxurious resorts and boutique hotels, the town also houses fortifications dating back from the times when the Portuguese, Dutch and British fought for control of the area and made it one of the country’s many spice capitals. It is a picturesque area with the scenic views of a golden beach, fringed with abundant palms, facing the Indian Ocean, with a rich historical and cultural heritage making it an important and ideal location for tourism.

Kalutara is also a perfect place for bargain shopping as it is famously known for quality bamboo basket, mats and other wicker products as well as the finest tasting mangosteens in the country.

Things to do in Kalutara

  • Visit the Kalutara Bodhiya
  • Visit the Richmond Castle
  • Visit the Kalutara Beach

Kalpitiya

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kalpitiya lies on the sharp tip of Puttalam and is bestowed with unspoilt, natural beauty, however it is fairly untouched by tourism and is surrounded by a close-knit fishing community.

The beach is a famous spot for whale and dolphin watching and the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka, the Bar reef is just an hour’s boat ride away from the coast.

This breathtakingly beautiful reef is home to numerous species of tropical fish including manta rays, sharks, turtles and other forms of marine life protected by colourful layers or coral. Further out is Turtle Point Lodge which consists of two underwater ridges, and the stunning Pearl Banks which is a protected home to rare pearl oysters. The underwater currents here are rather faint making swimming, snorkeling and diving safe and pleasant activities. The warm, golden sand stretches out a great distance and is ideal for relaxation and sunbathing. Boat rides around the lagoons are perfect ways to explore the hidden wonders around the beach and visitors can even canoe down the river.

This is also the only place on the west coast where tourists can enjoy a 4WD jeep ride along the deserted sand dunes between the ocean and inland, offering a unique way to enjoy the evening sunsets.

Things to do in Kalpitiya

  • Go windsurfing or kitesurfing
  • Take a Dolphin watching tour
  • Visit the Dutch Fort of Kalpitiya
  • Go diving

Kalkudah

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kalkudah is a charming curve of beach burrowed a few kilometres north of Passikudah. It has been famously described as one of the most paradisiacal places in Sri Lanka. Like other beach resorts on the east, it has been recovering from years of being war torn and tsunami battered. This serene area is likely to be redeveloped, however for now the few who venture out here have the whole place to themselves. It is postcard perfect with an untouched beach, dotted with occasional fishing boats and backed by green, swaying palms. Kalkudah is well protected from the annual monsoon by an off shore reef and is the perfect place for swimming, sun bathing, windsurfing and water skiing along with many other water activities. The combined area of Kalkudah and Passikuda was declared as the National Holiday resort in 1973.

Things to do in Kalkudah

  • Go sailing  or snorkeling on sea
  • Visit the Passikudah beach
  • Learn about coconut production at the Coconut Culture Park

 

Jaffna

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Induruwa

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Induruwa is a picturesque beach town located a few kilometers south of Bentota on Sri Lanka’s west coast. Its tranquility and seclusion has made in the ideal location for swimming and sun-bathing in utmost relaxation and privacy. The inhabitants of this scenic area live the simple life make set in a small fishing village, making it a major touristic attraction for those who seek the effortless side of paradise.
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Offering a calmer surrounding than some of its neighboring beach towns, Induruwa may not have many captivating activities to partake it or luxurious accommodation options, however it is one of the best places to enjoy a peaceful time in a tropical beach paradise.
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The nearby water lagoons and the Maadu River both house amazing and abundant species of Sri Lankan flora and fauna, making Induruwa attractive for tourists interested in the natural environment and bird watching.

Things to do in Induruwa

  • Visit the Induruwa beach
  • Engage in watersports
  • Visit Galapota Temple
  • Visit Aluthgama Market

Hikkaduwa

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Hikkaduwa is a small, peaceful beach town located on the admired southwest coast of the island. It is exceedingly popular among both domestic and international tourists for family holiday to Sri Lanka and is famously known for its upbeat, superb nightlife and delicious roadside cuisine where both Sri Lankan and Western food are available. The sunny palm-fringed beach has mesmerized travelers for centuries and it is the ideal place to relax, enjoy the sun and have the option of swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.

The coast is dotted with shops where equipment can be bought or rented. Hikkaduwa is also an internationally popular destination for board-surfing and surfing.

Being the site of the famed coral garden, glass bottomed boats are available on hire and visitors can explore the stunning underwater fantasies. A reef of lime stones run parallel to the coast acting as a natural protector for the corals which lie between the wall of lime stone and the coast. Thrill seekers can walk 200 m into the sea with ease as the depth is quite shallow. There are also plenty of road side shops which offer a range of cheap shopping of clothing and footwear to jewelry. As dusk approaches, the town throbs with the hottest beats played by the many nightclubs that line the shore.
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Things to do in Hikkaduwa

  • Spend time on the Hikkaduwa beach
  • Visit a turtle hatchery
  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling
  • Take a boat ride on the sea, and see coral sanctuary
  • Try windsurfing, kitesurfing and scuba diving

Hambantota

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Hambantota is a coastal city in the south of Sri Lanka just a few kilometres away from Tangalle.

It is fairly undeveloped and was devastatingly struck by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. However it is currently undergoing a number of major development projects, including the construction of a new sea port, international airport and an international cricket stadium that will host games for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

It is most famous for its salt flats and intensely hot arid zone climate. With sweeping sandy beaches on the side and majestic views on the vast, glittering ocean, it is also a convenient base for exploring the flora and fauna enjoying a thrilling wildlife experience of the nearby Yala National Park and the temples at the religious town of Kataragama.
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Besides sun bathing, swimming and various other water sports the area also attracts tourists with its great natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Things to do in Hambantota

  • Visit Bundala National Park
  • Visit Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary
  • Visit Kumana National Park
  • Visit Mahapelessa Hot Springs
  • Visit Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens
  • Visit Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium

Habarana

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Habarana is a small picturesque city in the Anuradhapura District in the northern central region of Sri Lanka.
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The city is famed for its chain of high class tourist resorts which are extremely eco-friendly and have been built towards the beneficial aspects of the natural environment.

It is an ideal destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safari tours in the nearby Minneriya Sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants and other species of wildlife.
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It is also the site of a famed organic farm which specialise in high yield argro-crops.

Situated near the ancient rock fortress and castle ruin of Sigiriya and the Dambulla Cave temple, Habarana also attracts those who are interested in the intriguing history of this tiny island as day excursion can be taken to the ancient areas of the country to explore the past lives of great kings and their monuments. It is a renowned paradise for those who love natural history and wildlife and offers some of the most amazing Sri Lanka holiday packages.

Things to do in Habarana

  • Visit Minneriya National Park
  • Visit Kaudulla National Park
  • Visit Ritigala Forest Monastery
  • Visit Hurulu Eco Park
  • Visit Habarana Buddhist Temple

Gampola

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Gampola is a large town located in amidst the central highlands of the country, near Kandy.

The longest Buddha statue in South Asia, the Saliyalapura Temple is located in here and the town was one the capital city during ancient times when the country was ruled by King Buwanekabahu the fourth, who ruled for 4 years in mid fourteenth century. Among the remnants of Gampola era, three of the most famous temples and an ancient stone scripts helps to reveal a considerable amount of vital information regarding the lives of the people here during that time.
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The statue of Buddha and the temples indicate South Indian influence in their art work and style. One of these temples possesses a large collection of wood carvings, where no other temple in Sri Lanka owns such a collection. It is a town of great historical value and provides tourists a glimpse into the cultural past of Sri Lanka.
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Things to do in Gampola

  • Visit Saliyalapura Temple
  • Visit Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex
  • Visit the Tea Plantation Workers Museum and Archive
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