Colombo Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka - Ceylon, teardrop of India, resplendent isle, Island of Dharma and pearl of the Orient. These names only go to reveal the richness and beauty, the intensity of affection that this tiny island evokes among its tourists and visitors. Sri Lanka is an island where people are friendly, food is delicious and costs are low.
World Heritage Sites
UNESCO has declared seven sites in Srilanka as World Heritage Sites. Six of the historical marvels span nearly 2500 years of history; from the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the cave temples of Dambulla to the magnificent temples and palaces of the royal city of Kandy. The Dutch fortification at Galle stands as a living World Heritage Site.
Colombo: The largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo is the commercial center of the country. The opening of the Suez Canal made this city an important port for transit and catering between Europe and Far East countries. To the north of the city is the fort district the country's business center. South is the Galle Face Green, a seafront expanse of the occasional green graced cricket games. Further south lies Cinnamon Gardens which is a fashionable neighborhood with mansions and tree lined streets.
Anuradhapura: This place was the royal capital and residence for 119 Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD. Anuradhapura is a Buddhist pilgrimage spot. The holy Bo-tree which has grown from the very tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment is found here. 'Thuparama Dagoba' in Anuradhapura contains the collarbone of Lord Buddha as a relic. Even today Anuradhapura is venerated as a holy city, although the city lies scattered with erected stone pillars, remains of walls from palaces, monasteries and temples. The imposing Dagoba seem to rise majestically from the old trees into the sky.
Kandy: Kandy is nestled within green hills with a very special atmosphere. Founded in the fifteenth century by a nobleman of the Singhalese court, Kandy is a city surrounded by numerous legends. Kandy's main attraction is the 'Dalada Malingwa' - the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Brought to Srilanka in 4th Century AD, this sacred relic is the symbol of sovereignty and is always enshrined in great splendor. Dalada Malingwa is a magnificent shrine with decorative walls, turrets, golden roof and fine woodwork.
Adam's peak: It is believed that Lord Buddha placed his footprint on this summit during his third visit. Thus was born the name Sri Pada, which means sacred footprint. This mountain is also known by other popular names such as Samantakuta, Samanhela and Medumhelaya. The Christians call the mountain Adam's peak derived from the Portuguese 'Pico De Adam' which means Peak of Adam. This mountain is 7360 feet in height and is the fourth highest mountain in Srilanka. Devotees can be seen climbing this mountain to pay obeisance.
Dambulla Vihara: Located north of Kandy, this place is considered by most as the center point of Srilanka. Dambulla is a town built around a vast isolated rock with a mass of about five hundred feet. The view from the top of this rock is breathtaking. A magnificent rock temple sits amidst the rocks. There are images and deities of Buddha and Buddhism in these caves. The frescoes on the walls and ceilings could date back to the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The ceilings in the rock temple depict the history of the Sinhala People.
Sigiriya Rock: The history of Sigiriya (Sigiriya means Lion Rock) dates back to over five thousand years. This place is one of Srilanka's major attractions and is a World Heritage Site. The colossal plan of the royal palace, the water gardens and fortifications are fascinating.
Gal Vihara: Located in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and built in the twelfth century A.D., this place has a group of Buddha images that probably mark the high point of Sinhalese rock carvings. The Gal Vihara consists of four separate images of different postures carved and cut from one long slab of granite. The first posture is a Samadhi image in meditation posture while the second is inside a cave and the third is a standing Buddha image which is 23 feet in height. Fourth is a recumbent Buddha image measuring about forty six feet.
Tirukoneswaram Kovil: On the topmost pinnacle of the Fort Frederick's promontory known as Swami Rock, is the Tirukoneswaram Kovil. Three ancient bronze images and a Shiva Lingam are found at this temple. Puja services are colorful at twilight on Fridays in this temple. The place Trincomalee takes its name from the site of this temple.
Kataragama Deviyo: This is a religious place visited by Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims alike.
Sri Lanka map
- The hilly regions of Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and parts of Western provinces have abundant waterfalls.
- Nuwara Eliya is Srilanka's premier hill resort. Situated in the central mountains about 2000 meters above the sea level, this hill resort has splendid scenery and fine bracing mountain climate. Being the heart of Srilanka's tea country, Nuwara Eliya is known for some of the country's best tea production. Pidurutalagala is another mountain peak that is located in this district. A tourist can enjoy excellent walks and drives, exceptionally good golf in this place. Gardens of flowers, trout hatchery, fruits and vegetables, the Haggala Botanical gardens famous for its collection of roses and the rare femery are part of this place.
- Negombo is the major beach resort situated in the north coast of Colombo. Situated about forty kilometers north of Colombo, Negombo is close to the international airport. Long sandy beaches invite the tourist for long walks and sea baths. This place has old-world atmosphere with its seventeenth century churches and forts. It has dozens of guest houses, luxury hotels and simple guest houses to suit all kinds of tourist budgets. Negombo lagoon has outrigger canoes dating back to the Dutch era of colonization where one can explore fishing villages.
- Sri Lanka is a top birding destination in the world. The island has twenty seven endemic species, and fifteen of them are declared endangered.
- The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a biodiversity hotspot with its unique eco system.
Buddhist temples of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is known all over the world for its Buddhist temples. The Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharya is known for its beautiful mural paintings and is a seat of learning. Dipaduttaramaya is Colombo's oldest temple built in 1806. Gothami Viharya has mural painting by well-known artist George Keyt assisted by Manjusri. Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharya is one of the three places in Srilanka visited by Lord Buddha. While Paramanadapurana Viharaya is a very old temple built in 1806, the Vajiraramaya is recognized as a high seat of learning. Most of these temples are located at Colombo.