Cities

Gampaha

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Located in the western part of the country, just a few kilometres north of Colombo separated by the famous Kelani River, sits the urban city of Gampaha. It is renowned for Ayurveda and indigenous medicine practice.

Gampaha is the second most developed district in Sri Lanka and there are programmes to make it the best place to live in the country. In the recent years Gampaha has faced rapid development, many new shopping complexes, roads, bridges and flyovers has been constructed.

Private institutions carry out many development programmes in the area.

Dambulla

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Dambulla is a popular destination in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. With a history that dates back to the 1st century, Dambulla has historic statues and paintings in its caves that has made it a popular destination for archeological studies. Some major attractions in the area include the Dambulla cave temple, the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, the Iron wood forest and the Na Uyana Aranya.

Things to do in Dambulla

  • Visit the historic sites including the Dambulla cave temple
  • Take a trip to Sigiriya
  • Go on safari to Minneriya
  • Visit Sam Popham’s Arboretum
  • Try hot air ballooning
  • Visit Namal Uyana

About the Dambulla cave Temple

The Dambulla cave temple (also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla) is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka. The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. King Valagambahu sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years during his exile from Anuradhapura. After reclaiming his capital, the king converted the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are.

The temple is composed of five caves under vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. The cave’s base is built at the base of a 150m high rock. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various Gods and Goddesses. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of Gods & Goddesses.

It is believed that Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these caves as there were burial sites that contained human skeletons aging 2700 years old.

The first cave is called Devaraja lena (lena in Sinhalese meaning cave), or “Cave of the Divine King.” This cave is dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha, hewn out of the rock. At the feet is Buddha’s favourite pupil, Ananda; at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves.

In the second and largest cave, in addition to 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha, are the gods Saman and Vishnu, which pilgrims often decorate with garlands, and finally statues of King Vattagamani, who honored the monastery in the first century B.C.

The third cave, the Maha Alut Vihara, the “Great New Monastery” acquired ceiling and wall paintings in the typical Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasingha (1747-1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist. In addition to the 50 Buddha statues, there is also a statue of the King.

The fourth and fifth caves are smaller; they date from a later period and are not of such high quality. There is a small Vishnu Devale between the first and second caves.

Chilaw

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Chilaw lies just a few kilometres south of Puttalam and is an admirable city where people of varying backgrounds, religions and ethnicity live together in peace and harmony. The beach is calm and tranquil allowing you to lay back in complete relaxation and swim at ease.
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Relating to the post Portuguese and Dutch colonial era, the town is famous for pearls and a large fishing community which specialize in crab and prawn farming.
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As it is in close proximity to the Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary, tourists can also enjoy a day excursion to explore the natural wonders of the country after a day on the beach.
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Things to do in Chilaw

  • Visit Munneshwaram Hindu temple
  • Visit Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary
  • Take a trip to the beach
  • Visit the fishing villages and see the catch of the day

Batticaloa

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Batticaloa is a small rustic beach town situated next to one of the largest lagoons in the eastern region of country.
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It is the heart of a very fascinating culture as the Dutch invaders formed their first footprint here in 1602 and built a large fort in 1665, which is still visible near the vast lagoon. The area is famous for the musical sounds of the singing fish which can be heard in the lagoons when the light of a full moon shines on it. The sea is a beautiful, wide stretch of soft sand and shallow water which is safe for swimming and wading in to the distance of about 150 – 200 metres from the shore. The beach is also dotted with delightful rock pools inhabited by a variety of interesting sea creatures.

Luxurious accommodation is not an option here as the area was right in the zone of the Sri Lankan Civil War which carried on for almost 20 years, and it was one of the worst hit areas of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

However it shows promising chances of being a successful touristic area due to its mysterious unfamiliarity and seclusion.

Things to do in Batticaloa

  • Take a walk down Kallady Beach
  • Visit the Batticaloa Fort
  • Visit the Batticaloa Lighthouse
  • Visit St. Mary’s Cathedral

Bandarawela

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Bandarawela is a picturesque mountain resort located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Due to a higher altitude, it has a cooler climate throughout the year. Linked to a royal and colonial past blended with a lush forestation has made this town a base for eco-tourism.
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The history of this area commences from the time of the great Sinhalese King Valagamba who fell back and regrouped in the Dhowa region to fight against Chola invaders of India. During British colonial era, the city rapidly developed due to the vast tea plantations and modern infrastructure. Many features belonging to this colonial period can still be seen as most of the buildings were built under British architectural influences.

The pleasant climate and rich historical background has made this town a major tourist attraction.
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Things to do in Bandarawela

  • Take a scenic train journey
  • Visit a tea factory
  • Visit a tea plantation

Badulla

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Badulla marks the southeast extremity of the picturesque Hill Country and is a gateway to the arid east coast. It is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest towns continuously covered in a pleasant humid mist and entwined by the Badulla Oya River, and has a local reputation as a base for black marketers. The Portuguese occupied it briefly developing it under European influence, and then torched it upon leaving. For the British it was an important and active social centre mainly for planters, although the teeming roads have changed the atmosphere quite drastically today. The economy of the district is mainly based on agricultural farming of tea, vegetables and paddy along with livestock. The major attractions of this unique town are the ample, beautiful waterfalls which cascade silkily down the green hills shrouded in romantic mist. Visits to Welimada, which specializes in potato farming, can also be organised for those interested in the agricultural practices of the country. Trekking and camping are enjoyable activities to partake in as the pristine environment offers the experience of utmost adventure on travel to Sri Lanka.

Things to do in Badulla

  • Visit the city of Welimada to agricultural practices
  • Trek through the scenic country side
  • Take a trek to see Dunhinda Falls
  • Visit Bogoda Bridge
  • Visit Dhowa Rock Temple
  • Visit Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya
  • Visit St Mark’s Church

 

Arugam Bay

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Anuradhapura

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, distinguished for its well-preserved ruins of ancient civilization. According to Mahawamsa, the great chronicle of the Sinhalese, the city of Anuradhapura was named after a minister called Anurada who found this area as a village settlement by the Malwatu Oya in the second half of the 6th century BC. It is said that King Pandukabhaya made it his capital in the 4th century BC.

In this sacred city, there are eight main places of worship known as Athamasthana. They are: Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiriya, Jetavanaramaya, Mirisawatiya and Lankaramaya. In the vicinity of Anuradhapura there are a large number of ruins consisting of three classes of buildings, dagobas, basic buildings, and pokunas (bathing-tanks). The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of stonework, altering from a few feet to over 1100 ft in circumference. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC.

One of the best specimen of bathing tanks or pools in ancient Sri Lanka is the pair of pools known as “Kuttam pokuna” (Twin ponds).

The city also contains a sacred Bo-Tree, Sri Mahabodhiya, it is said that Sanghamitta Their brought with her a branch of the Bodhi tree under which prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment. This is the oldest living tree in documented history.

Things to do in Anuradhapura

Ambewela

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Ambewela is one of the most beautiful places in Sri Lanka situated in the Nuwara Eliya district.

It famously has highest and widest grass grounds in the country which is home to healthy pedigree cows and other farm life. It is said that the best milk produce comes from this area and there a quite a few milk factories dotted around the picturesque scenery. The cleanliness of the milking process is also of great importance with automatic milking parlors maintaining the highest levels of hygiene set by the Alfa Laval Company of Sweden.

These measures ensure that the milk produced in the farms is of the very best qualit

Things to do in Ambewela

  • Visit the Ambewela dairy farm
  • Visit a tea factory
  • Visit sites close to Nuwara Eliya
  • Take a trek to visit the leading waterfalls
  • Visit the Kothmale Reservior

Ahungalla

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Ahungalla is clearly the most beautiful stretch of coast between Bentota and Galle on the west coast of the island.
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It is known for its swaying coconut palms, green vegetation, clear blue sea and golden sandy beach which all provide tourists with an atmosphere of utmost relaxation.

Basket ware and handicrafts can be bought from local street side vendors and the area around Ahungalla is famous for its traditional hand carved masks made from light wood and painted with vegetable paints. The roadside stalls, attractive jewelry and seafood are typical of the other such tropical beaches in the west and prove to be a major attraction among tourists as they are interesting cultural lures. Accommodation is excellent here as the town plays host to some of the most luxurious hotels on the west, with breathtaking views of the vast Indian Ocean making it absolutely worthwhile to travel to Sri Lanka. It is an ideal location for swimming, turtle watching, sunbathing, snorkeling and a variety of other water sports. The variety of birds and elephants in the surrounding jungles also give a thrilling wildlife experience to the visitors.
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Things to do in Ahungalla

  • Take a mangrove river safari
  • Visit the mask museum
  • Go turtle watching
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