Welcome to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia near south-east India. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. Sri Lanka's documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon. Sri Lanka's recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively ended when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers in 2009.

A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages. In addition to the majority Sinhalese, it is home to large groups of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka.


Whether it is Adam’s Peak (where Adam first set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven), “Sri Pada” (sacred foot print of Lord Buddha) or “Samanala Kanda” (the butterfly mountain) it is a beautiful and fascinating place. Whichever legend you care to believe the fact remains that it has been a pilgrimage center for over 1000 years. The pilgrimage season begins on Full Moon day (Poya Day) in December and runs till the start of the South West Monsoon in April. During the season a steady stream of pilgrims and tourists make the climb up the countless steps to the top. The walk is lit during the season by a string of lights, which is beautiful at night as they shake up the mountainside. It is not only the sacred footprint that pilgrims climb to see but also the first rays of dawn lighting up the holy mountain. Adam’s Peak has the unique species of forests belonging to the family of Dipterocarpace, which is never found at high altitudes.

Ahungalla is a small and serene traditional fishing village located on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka with the surroundings untouched and flourished with fauna, flora and wildlife. Golden beaches stretch northwards up the coastline from Ahungalla, broken only by the mouths of rivers feeding into the sea. A boat ride through the mangrove swamps of Ahungalla is the perfect way to appreciate the local flora and fauna. Ahungalla’s close proximity to the mouth of the river on the shoreline, offers locals an abundance of both river and sea fish. So as you would expect, the seafood here is exquisite.

Aluvihare is a rock monastery located in a picturesque valley 3kms north of Matale. It is easily recognized from the road as it has a boundary wall with a frieze of elephant heads. This sacred place is remarkable for the huge rocks that are an integral part of it, which is why it is classified as a rock temple. This is the temple where the “Tripitaka” along with commentaries were transcribed.

For over 1000 years Sinhalese Kings with occasional South Indian interlopers ruled from the great city of Anuradhapura. It is the most extensive and important of the Sri Lankan ancient cities. Anuradhapura was found in the 4th century BC and is famous for its Dagabas (Temples), Reservoirs, and beautifully landscaped gardens, the ruins of which still remain to this day. The sacred Bo Tree (the world's oldest tree on record) "Jayasri Maha Bodhi" and the "Ruwanwali Seya" Temples are two of Sri Lanka's most sacred places found in Anuradhapura. In addition to this there are many other historical and religious sites found in Anuradhapura.

Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka's southeast coast. The bay is located 320 kilometres due east of Colombo, and approximately 4 kilometres south of the market town of Pottuvil. While traditionally fishing has dominated the local economy, tourism has grown rapidly in the area in recent years. Tourism in Arugam Bay is dominated by surf tourism, thanks to several quality breaks in the area; however tourists are also attracted by the local beaches, lagoons, historic temples and the nearby Kumana National Park.

The Aukana Buddha is said to be the most magnificent and most well preserved ancient image in the island. Constructed in the 5th Century B.C., during the time of King Dhatusena, it stands 13 meters high, underneath a recently constructed brick shelter said to be a reconstruction of an image house which contained it 1,000 years ago. The name "Aukana" means "sun eating" and indeed this image is best viewed at daybreak.

The Attidiya - Bellanwila Bird Sanctuary features the painted stork, purple coot, black and yellow bitterns, little cormorant, darter, cinnamon, Asian open bill, lesser whistling duck, black-headed and glossy ibises, white-breasted water hen, moorhen, purple swamp hen, stork-billed and white-breasted kingfishers, rusty-ramped warbler and many more. In fact, more than 150 species of birds have been spotted here.

The Beli Lena caves are the most ancient archaeological site discovered in Sri Lanka to date. Excavations reveal that prehistoric man had lived here 2000 years ago. Among the findings made at the 03 Beli Lena Caves were three skeletal remains; lithe facts, zoo facts and food remains.

Bentota lies at the finishing end of the “Golden Mile” which is an hour’s drive from Colombo. Famous for its prime beaches Bentota is today one of Sri Lanka’s most sought after tourist destinations. The town of Bentota actually, sits on an estuary, where the river and the sea meet. This makes the area quite famous for water sports like windsurfing, scuba diving & snorkeling.

With 789 feet in height Bambarakanda is the tallest of all Sri Lanka’s falls. Glorious spectacles from October to March when heavy rains turn it in to an impressive, unbroken deluge it is a wet season fall. The main access to the falls is along a minor road via Haputale and Kalupahana 22 km from Balangoda.

Bandarawela, situated at 1,230 meters above sea level, was an alternative hill country resort to Nuwara Eliya during colonial times. The languid residents of low country can always be sure of enjoying fine refreshing air in the hills because Bandarawela's climate is drier and milder than that of Nuwara Eliya. This city is not of great interest in itself but it does make an excellent base for exploring other places in the area or to enjoy the breathtaking sceneries it offers. Bandarawela provides a strong base for excursions to Pilkington point, Dowa Temple, Lipton’s seat and Horton Plains and many more interesting places.

The first recorded Muslim settlement of the island took place at Beruwala in 1024 AD. The Ketchimalai Mosque on a headland in the town is said to be built on the site of the landing and is the focus of an annual religious feast. The drive down to Beruwala from Colombo is just one hour. The beaches extending from Beruwala to Bentota is known as the “Golden Mile”. The sunny beaches & the cool breeze brings about relaxation and offers leisure and recreational water sports facilities. In the vicinity of Beruwala lies the ancient “Kande Viharaya” which means Temple on the Mountain.

The Royal Botanical Gardens, the magnificent river girdled 57 hectare laid out in 1832 are among the finest in the world. Its treasures of tropical flora include fine collections of orchids, aromatic spices, medicinal herbs, palms and rare endangered plant species. These gardens were the naturally camouflaged operations headquarters of SEAC Supreme Allied Commander, Lord Louis Mountbatten during the 2nd World War.

The Bundala National Park is a nature reserve situated in the South East of Sri Lanka. This secluded reserve is renowned for its herds of wild Elephants. The vast jungle areas of the Bundala National Park allow these majestic creatures to roam in their natural surroundings, away from human influence. Hundreds of interesting species of birds, amphibians and reptiles also live within the boundaries of the Bundala National Park an ideal location for nature lovers.

With its meaning of 'Buddha image', Buduruwagala was named after rock-cut Buddha statues carved on a cliff located in the area. This 7-statue complex, which is of the Mahayana Buddha School, comprises of the huge standing Buddha figures traced back to 8th - 10th centuries AD. The central of three figures to Buddha's right is thought to be the Buddhist mythological figure, the Avalokitheswara Bodhisattva.

Colombo (derived from Sinhalese name Kola-amba- thota which means "mango harbor", altered by the Portuguese to honor Christopher Columbus), is the cultural capital and largest city and commercial center of Sri Lanka. (The new administrative capital of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardenepura-Kotte.) A vast majority of Sri Lankan corporations have their head offices located in Colombo. Some of the industries include chemicals, textiles, leather goods, furniture, and jewelry. Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century and controlled much of the trade between Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802 Sightseeing highlights include the Colombo National and Dutch period museums, old and new parliament houses, the Dehiwala Zoo, Gangarama Buddhist Temple, Town Hall, and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. Apart from excellent shopping, Colombo offers visits to one of the world’s leading tea auctions, an 18 hole Golf Course, seasonal Buddhist and Hindu pageants, international cricket tournaments, plush casinos, enjoyable evening entertainment and excellent restaurants. State-of- the-Art communications and Cyber services are available in the hotels and other outlets. Good road and rail transport links are possible from Colombo to all tourist resorts. A number of cruise lines also call at the Colombo Port. The Pettah area, which is in the heart of Colombo, is a beehive of activity. Traders and payment hawkers of all kinds flock to Colombo and it’s a well-known fact that Pettah is where the best bargains are available.

Dambulla is a world heritage site in Sri Lanka, located north of Kandy in Matale district. The town of Dambulla is built around a large granite outcrop, concealing an impressive Buddhist cave complex, Raja Maha Vihara, dating from the 1st century BC. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The murals, covering an area of 2,100 square meters, include depictions of Buddha's temptation by Mara, and Buddha's first sermon. Statues of the Hindu gods Vishnu and Saman are also present, reflecting the arrival of Hinduism in Sri Lanka during the 12th century

If you wish to explore natures enclosed beauty this is the ideal safari for you. A unique adventurous safari conducted exclusively by Tasks and only recommended for the physically fit. Safari begins when you enter Debara Ara jungle by Jeep. You then have to trek by foot deep into the jungle. As you proceed, you will encounter elephants, bear, wild boar, wild buffalo, jackal and numerous exotic birds.

Located proximity to the highway 24 km away from Badulla, the Dowa Cave Temple, near an old wooden bridge, attracts visitors with its ornamental gateway. The cave is situated by a stream at the bottom of a hill. It has a 4m Buddha image sculptured into a rock and some interesting paintings.

Closer to the end of the Ramboda Range of mountains lies the Mulhalkelle valley, through which the "Kurundu Oya" flows. This stream, which flows across the Kandy - Ragalla Road has given birth to the beautiful Kurundu Oya Falls.

Located in the Central province 07 kms away from Kandy, Embakke Devale consists of a single storied building, which was reconstructed during the Kandyan period. Devale consists of a Garbha, a sanctum, Dancing hall and a Drummers hall. The Drummers hall is an attraction to the visitor for the wood carvings on its ornate pillars and high- pitched room. It is believed that some of this wood carving had come from an abandoned royal audience hall in Gampola.

Near Kegalle on the Colombo Kandy road is the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage, a riverside sanctuary which cares for elephants displaced from wild habitats. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, established in 1975, commenced with seven orphans. The orphanage is home to hundreds of abandoned or injured elephants who are looked after with warmth, love and affection. The elephants at the orphanage are bathed daily in a river located nearby. The original objective of establishing the orphanage was more towards promoting tourism, but soon became a conservation and educational centre. With the help of local and foreign elephant experts, Pinnawala started a scientific captive-breeding program for elephants.

Ella is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 200 kilometers east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 meters (3,415 ft) above sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than surrounding lowlands, due to its elevation. The Ella Gap allows views across the southern plains of Sri Lanka.

The annual Esala Perahera, a magnificent, colorful pageant which takes place in the hill capital of Kandy every year in the months of July and August, is one that is eagerly looked forward to by all Sri Lankans. The pageant which originated from Indo-Aryan traditions in the early days was a ritual invoking the gods’ blessings for rainfall during drought. The annual Kandy Perahera continues for two weeks, with the commencement of the traditional "kap situweema" or planting of a tree and concluding with the water cutting ceremony.

Gadaladeniya Viharaya in Kandy Built almost exclusively of stone in 1344 by the Gampola King Wicramabahu, is situated on a hilltop, commanding views of the surrounding countryside. The architecture is Dravidian. The entrance porch features large stone pillars, which support a roof of huge stone slabs..

The Port of Galle – Sri Lanka’s 04th biggest town is 115 km south of Colombo and close to Hikkaduwa. Galle is a town rich in history and in fact, was the centre of Dutch rule in the 17th century. The majestic Galle Fort bears ample testimony to that fact. The City of Galle is one of the best-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia, and has been declared a World Heritage City. Galle was a major port in Sri Lanka and still handles shipping and cruising yachts. The Dutch Museum, Groote Kerk (Great Church) and the National Maritime Museum are some of the famous tourist attractions in Galle. The city is also famous for its delicate handmade lace and ebony carvings. The Galle International Cricket Stadium has also contributed to enhance the image of the city as a sports destination since of late.

Gilimale Forest is a low-lying wet zone forest that is adjacent with the peak wilderness sanctuary. Bird life enthusiasts visiting the Gilimale forest are bound to see birds such as layards parakeet, Ceylon blue magpie, red-faced malkoha, imperial wood pigeon, hanging parrot, chestnut backed owlet, yellow fronted barbet, black capped bulbul, spot winged thrush, brown caped babbler, orange billed babbler, Ceylon hill munia, Sri Lanka myna, white faced starking, legge's flower pecker and many more species of birds.

Gangarama, with its imposing buildings, not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake, was originally, only a little hermitage on a piece of marshy land. Today Gangarama temple serves not only as a place of worship but also as a centre of learning. It has main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhi tree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Simamalaka and the Relic Chamber. In addition the temple is comprised with a museum, a library, a three storeyed Pirivena and Educational halls.

Habarana is a small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. The location has some mid-range and up hotels aimed at package tourists, and is a departure point for other nearby locations of greater interest.Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants.Elephant back riding is also an attraction in this small city. Habarana is situated nearby to the ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin of Sigiriya and is situated on the main road from Colombo to Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa.

The 2nd hill country botanic gardens after Peradeniya Gardens, which was originally a plantation of Cinchona from which the anti-malarial drug quinine was found and later used for experiments in acclimatizing temperate-zone plants to life in the tropics, and were run by the same family for three generations, up to the 1940 Hakgala Botanical Gardens is located 10 km away from the town of Nuwara Eliya. Your trip to Nuwara Eliya is not complete without a visit to the Hakgala Gardens mainly because the site is legendary. It was once the pleasure garden of Ravana of the Ramayana epic and according to many; it was one of the places where the beautiful Sitha was hidden by the demon King Ravana. The present botanic gardens were founded in 1860 by the eminent British botanist Dr. G.H.K. The Garden consists of an outstanding collection of fauna and flora.

Hanthana is a range of mountains spread on the outskirts of Kandy from which many glorious rivulets and streams flow. One of the streams flows past the village of Uda peradeniya and the University.

Hikkaduwa is a fishing village located 98 km away from Colombo and is the most popular of the beach centers in the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is blessed with natural attractions of wide and sun kissed beaches, magnificent coral gardens populated with turtles and exotic fish where best snorkeling and scuba diving facilities offering the best to the water sports lovers. Visitors can also take a safari down the Madhu River in Balapitiya, or witness the moon stone mines and a cinnamon plantation in Meetiyagoda. Hikkaduwa is also a town of historical value, a short trip inland will bring you to the Gangarama Maha Vihara - a Buddhist temple which consists of many educational paintings.

The Horton plains form an undulating plateau over 2000 meters high, which consists mainly of grasslands interspersed with patches of forest, with some unusual high-altitude vegetation. The plains are more often than not, visible only before 10.00am due to the heavy mist, which engulfs the area. The most unique feature of the Horton Plains is the "World's End". This is a sheer 1,000 feet vertical escarpment which visitors throng to see. The Horton Plains was once the hunting ground for Mr. Farr, a former British Governor which is today home to rare species of fauna and flora.

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna district located on a peninsula of the same name. Being strategically located and known for rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) away from Kandarodai which served as a famous emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century- long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo.

Kalpitiya is located in Puttalam district, North Western province of Sri Lanka. It is known for its serene beauty. It consists of 14 islands. The people of Kalpitiya are mostly fishermen. It is now developing as an attractive tourist destination.

The Kalametiya Bird Park is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest Bird Sanctuaries. The sanctuary is a wetland with two salty lagoons, mangrove swamps and open areas with pockets of scrub jungles. The Park is a very important site for migrant shorebird and is quite famous for its flamingoes, Black Capped Purple Kingfisher and many other migratory birds. Birds such as the Asian Open Bill, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Swamp Hen Glossy Ibis, Common Snipe, and Black Winged Stilt are also quite frequently seen at the Kalametiya Bird Park.

Kalutara, which is located south of Colombo was once an important spice training center controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Today it has a reputation for fine basket ware. South of the Kaluganga Bridge on the main road is the Gangatilaka Vihara, which has a hollow Dagaba and beautiful interior paintings. Thousands of devotees flock the temple daily & travelers proceeding down south never fail to drop in a few coins as an offering to the gods to provide them with journey mercies. Kalutara is also famous for the fleshy & juicy mangoosteen fruit.

Kandy - (the Sacred City of Kandy) - is a city in the centre of Sri Lanka. It lies in the midst of hills of rare vegetal species. The Kandy Valley crosses an area of tropical plantations. The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth. It was one of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city. The Temple of the Tooth, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of one of the most important religions of humanity, Buddhism. The Temple of Kandy is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Lord Buddha and the testimony of a cult which continues to be practiced today. Kandy has now grown out to encompass Peradeniya, home to the Botanical Gardens. Kandy is also particularly famed for the great Kandy Esala Perahara (a Pageant of Elephants and Dancers), which is over ten days in the month of Esala (August) having many attractions to justify.

Kataragama is a place of worship not only for Hindus, but for Buddhists, Muslims and Christians as well. Kataragama Devala is situated by the Menik Ganga (river) with a Buddhist Temple and an Islamic Mosque surrounding the Devale complex. Still, the major part of devotees who actively participate in the Kataragama Festival are Hindus, as the proceeding honor Skanda (also known as Murugan), the deity of Kataragama.

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is one of the most sacred worshipping places of the Buddhists of Sri Lanka since it is a site made hallowed by the visit of Lord Buddha. In the past Kelaniya it was a large city and the Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya was one of the largest and one of the most beautiful temples of Sri Lanka. The temple draws many visitors to explore its eastern architecture, remarkable frescoes and to learn of the many legends that surround this religious site.

Kelani Valley Forest Reserve (Kitulgala) is an ideal venue for Bird watching. Watch out for the Ceylon blue magpie, racket tailed drongo, stork billed kingfisher, white breasted, king fisher, three toed kingfisher, green billed coucal, Ceylon gray horn bill, red-faced malkoha, yellow fronted barbet, and the ceylon spur fowl which are a few of the birds that feature at the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve.

Rafting, one of the up & coming adventure sports in Sri Lanka is an ideal sport for young & the old alike. Experience the thrills &spills of an exciting rafting adventure in Kithulgala with Boulder Rivers proving the ideal setting. The Kelani River offers good class rapids of 3 to 3.5 with a total stretch of 5 strong rapids.

The Knuckles National Heritage and Wilderness Area or the Knuckles Mountain Range is a mountain range that covers an area of 155 sq km. The forest contains five major Forest formations and includes a wide variety of uncommon and endemic fauna & flora. The knuckle is a mountain range with fascinating and out of this world mountain scenery. A number of large mammals like Elephants, Leopards, Sambhur, Deer, a large numbers of reptiles, birds and fishes etc. are found in abundance at the knuckles range. Out of the many endemic birds and reptile species, the Blotched Filamented Barb & Martins tine Barb (Fish), Tenant's Horned Lizard, and the Marbled Cliff Frog are endemic to this mountain range

The southern beach resort of Koggala is located just 05 minutes away from Galle. Koggala is the birthplace of a very famous writer & novelist the late Mr. Martin Wickramasinghe whose most famous novel being “Madol Duwa” which revolves around a tiny island located in Koggala. It is actually this fact that has really put Koggala on the map. Koggala is also home to an interesting museum of southern folk art & culture, which contains hundreds of exhibits that attracts visitors all year round.

The turtle hatchery located in Kosgoda is famous for several species of turtles, specially the endangered hawksbills. Eggs which are left uncovered on beaches all around the coast are brought by fishermen of Kosgoda area, which has led to the hatching and release of 100,000 young turtles in only two years since the hatchery opened.

The temple is built on the summit of the rock called Panhalgala in the village of Rabbegamuwa, Udunuvara division of Kandy district. It can be approached from two directions, one from the Colombo-Kandy road and another from the Gampaha-Kandy road. Lankatilaka, together with another Buddhist shrine at Gadaladeniya and the Embekke Devale form an important trio possessing their individual architectural and decorative merits to attract connoisseurs and scholars from all over the world. Overlooking the eastern escarpment of the rock, the surroundings provide a magnificent panorama with distant hills, paddy fields and diverse vegetation. Apparently the site had been selected as usual for its beauty and peaceful environment, at a proper distance from bustling village life. This hamlet is well known for its traditional vocations, which are obviously part of its cultural heritage handed down from ancient times.

Located within Dambetenna Estate (off Haputale) this was a favorite look out point of Sir Thomas Lipton, the great Tea pioneer, when surveying his vast Tea Plantations.

The city of Mahiyangana is the home of the Veddhas, the world’s primitive tribes. Veddhas are the descendants of the Yaksa and Naga tribes that inhabited Sri Lanka thousands of years ago. The Veddhas are also known as “Vannilaetto” which means ‘those of the forest’. The mahiyangana temple is one of the significant temples that were visited by Lord Buddha 26 centuries ago. The veddhas were the immediate beneficiaries of that visit since they converted to the practice of Buddhism after watching him levitate.

The rocky hill of Mihintale is synonymous with Buddhism in Sri Lanka. For it was on this very rock that "Mahinda Thero" had his first encounter with King Devanampiyatissa, which in turn led him to converting into Buddhism. Mihintale soon become a great monarch city comprising 04 rocky hills. Today, Mihintale, which is situated 11km east of Anuradhapura, is visited by thousands of devotees who climb up the 1,840 steps to reach the dagoba located on top of this sacred rock.

Situated in the Polonnaruwa district in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka the Minneriya National Park covers an area of 8,889 hectares. Hundreds of animal and plant species are found in the Minneriya National Park. This includes Deer, Sambhurs, Monkeys, Mongoose, Leopard, Bats and reptiles like Crocodiles, Pythons, and Monitors. Around 160 species of birds, 09 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species have been found in the Minneriya National Park. The Minneriya National Park also consists of wet lands, which have global significance.

The town of Mount Lavinia is situated 30 minutes from the Colombo city limits. The famous landmark is the Mount Lavinia Hotel. The Hotel was originally the weekend abode for the former governor of Sri Lanka, the late Sir Thomas Maitland during Colonial times. It is today considered the most romantic and serene relaxation hotel in Sri Lanka. The hotel overlooks the bay of Mount Lavinia and offers a breath-taking view of the Colombo skyline by night. The Mt. Lavinia beach is probably the most famous beach in Colombo and is a popular place for the Colombo city dwellers to relax and enjoy their evenings and weekends.

Founded in 1st century BC Mulkirigala rock temple is smaller than sigiriya but rises almost vertically out of the surrounding forest. There are several theories as to the origin of this temple. It is believed to be one of 64 temples erected by King Kavantissa, father of Dutugemunu, who ruled from Mahagama, a principality in the kingdom of Ruhuna. According to historians, this may have been the Samuddagiri or Muhudugiri temple built by Kavantissa.

The Munneswaram temple, dedicated to Lord Ishwara is reminiscent of other celebrated and renowned temples like Koneswaram and Thiruketheeswaram in which, three Sivalingams are enshrined. Munneswaram has preserved its sylvan charm and enchantment, with the scenic surroundings with vast acres of paddy and hemmed in by tanks, which irrigate all farming and cultivation there. The main temple has been revamped, largely due to generous donations and assistance by devotees, who throng the sacred precincts to invoke and implore the deities and solicit spiritual succor and material comfort.

The Muthurajawela marsh is situated approximately 40 minutes away from Colombo on the Colombo-Negombo highway which is rich in plant and animal life. The area is home to around 40% of the vertebrae species of Sri Lanka and mammals such as the Fruit Bat, Slender Lorris, Otter, Fishing Cat and Mouse Deer. Hundreds of beautiful butterflies and multi-colored dragonflies abound here making it a nature lover's delight. The Muthurajawela Wetland Conservation Project Visitors' Center is the place to visit in order to experience the delights that the marshy land has to offer. A boat trip conducted by this center is the ideal way of exploring the marshes. A well-informed guide employed and trained by the center accompanies each boat ride.

NALANDA GEDIGEBuilt in the 8th century, Nalanda Gedige a religious site in Matale uniquely blends the architecture of Hindu temples in south India and the more traditional Sri Lankan Buddhist architecture. The temple is noted for its stone carvings of sexual objects, which are very similar to the famous Khajuraho carvings in India. Even though little visited this site stands next to a beautiful reservoir and is a very atmospheric spot.

The pilgrimage season begins on Full Moon day (Poya Day) in December and runs till the start of the South West Monsoon in April. During the season a steady stream of pilgrims and tourists make the climb up the countless steps to the top. The walk is lit during the season by a string of lights, which is beautiful at night as they shake up the mountainside. It is not only the sacred footprint that pilgrims climb to see but also the first rays of dawn lighting up the holy mountain. Adam’s Peak has the unique species of forests belonging to the family of Dipterocarpace, which is never found at high altitudes.

The streets of Colombo transforms under the weight of 100 colorful elephants during February's full moon. The Navam Perahara, which started in 1979, attracts more than a million spectators every year to the Gangaramaya Temple, at Hunupitiya on the banks of the picturesque Beira Lake. The event usually has as many as 1000 performers. The fearsome kas karayas inaugurate the processions by cracking their whips in the air, while schoolchildren scurry behind, carrying colorful flags. Plenty of noise is contributed by percussion bands, conch shell blowers, stilt-walkers, flautists and drummers. But the real guests of honor are the 100 elephants, brought from different parts of the island and decorated in true style.

The western coastal region starts from Negombo, a bustling town situated just 12 km away from the Bandaranaike International Airport north of Colombo. Negombo is home to the largest Catholic community in Sri Lanka, which can be considered as a legacy of the Portuguese, who industriously spread Catholicism during their rule. Many 17th-centuries Dutch buildings also remain in Negombo. Negombo is one of Sri Lanka’s busiest fishing centers and is also famous for coconut products, cinnamon, ceramics and brassware. The beauty is found on the beaches and around the lagoons, where colorful fishing boats lie on the blue water against a backdrop of palm trees and blue sky. Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective.

Nilaveli is a coastal resort town located about 16 km North-West of Trincomalee, Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined, until 2010 onwards, we can see a significant increase in the number of tourists. Once again Nilaveli has become one of the main tourist beach attractions in Sri Lanka.

Also known as the “City of Lights” and “Little England”, Nuwara Eliya was the favorite hill station of the British who tried to create Nuwara Eliya into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club, with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, and it's strict formal dinner attire; the 18 hole golf course, race course etc., all remind you of 'England'. Blessed with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it's hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. The areas around Nuwara Eliya also provide the main output of tea in Sri Lanka. A trip to the highlands of Sri Lanka is never complete without witnessing the age-old traditional tea plucking and sipping a cup of “Ceylon Tea”. Visitors to Nuwara Eliya can also taste the freshly plucked strawberries and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nilaveli is a coastal resort town located about 16 km North-West of Trincomalee, Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined, until 2010 onwards, we can see a significant increase in the number of tourists. Once again Nilaveli has become one of the main tourist beach attractions in Sri Lanka.

Pasikudah or Pasikuda is a coastal resort town located about 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined. Pasikudah and Kalkudah are located few km apart. Since the end of the civil war in 2009 and the completion of Tsunami rehabilitation projects, Pasikudah has become a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners alike. This is because Pasikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world. In other words, people walk kilometers into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep and the current is relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka's coasts.

Panduwasnuwara, in Kurunegala- Chillaw road, was the capital of king Panduvasdeva, who succeeded Vijaya, the first king of Sri Lanka (Circa 5th century B.C.). Several sites here specially the molted tower where Princess Unmada Chitra, a princess who was so beautiful that she drove men crazy, was confined because of an ominous prophecy of untimely death in the family is a must see location. A forested mound is also identified as the tomb of king Vijaya. Panduvasnuwara's many other archeological remains date from the 12th century when it was known as 'Parakramapura' and was used by Sri Lanka's great medieval king Parakramabahu I as a stepping stone to his great capital - Polonnaruwa. Among the many impressive ruins are the citadel walls and moat, the royal palace with carved pillars and guard stones, and a beautiful Bodhigara, the edifice round the bo tree, sacred to Buddhists.

The historical Pidurangala Temple is located just behind the Sigiriya rock. The ancient monastery is a despoiled dagoba at the base of the hill and a long cave at the pinnacle. The steps to the top are made of rubble and climbing it in itself is an experience. The Pidurangala temple features caves with old statues, inscriptions, ponds and remains of dagobas on the top of the rock, a pillared hall and a large stupa, which is believed to be the cremation site of King Kasyapa.

Polonnaruwa, situated 218 kilometers from Colombo is yet another well planned medieval city defended by enclosed walls, graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes which bears witness to a glorious past. A dominant feature of the city is the vast irrigation lake of 5940 acres aptly named "Parakrama Samudraya" or the sea of Parakrama after its royal builder King Parakramabahu depicted an example of the advanced engineering and construction skills prevalent during the ancient times. This gigantic reservoir was built to collect rain water, which did not permit a drop of water to go waste.

The "Puna Ela" is one of the principal branches of the mighty Mahaweli River. The Water leap of the Puna Ela is referred to as the Ramboda waterfall. The Ramboda falls is a gigantic waterfall, which is divided into 03 parts.

Ratnapura the “City of Gems” bordering the hill country is world renowned for precious stones. These precious stones are dug up by hand from gem mines located in the hills and fields around Ratnapura namely Sapphires, Rubies, Moonstones, and semiprecious stones as Beryl, Zircon, Garnet, Amethyst and Quartz. The Ratnapura town has an excellent view of the Adam's Peak on the eastern horizon, and is surrounded by forested hills. The Gemological and National Museum located in Getangama on the outskirts of the Ratnapura town offers a wide range of gems for sale, and you can also view the operation of the raw stones being cut and polished.

Given birth to by the hills of the Uva region, the famous Ravana Falls drops abruptly from the rim of a mountain. Legend has evidence that the mighty King Rawana after capturing Sita the beautiful wife of Prince Rama held her hostage in this area. Sita was supposed to have bathed in the cool and refreshing waters of the pools created by the Ravana Falls

Ruins and remains found on the hill at Ritigala have led archaeologists to believe that a monastery existed in the 04th century B.C. It was believed to be used as a fortress during this era where pre-Christian inscriptions are also found. The Ritigala strict nature reserve is a 'beautiful' mountain range located in the north central province of Sri Lanka covered with thick forest, which is well known for its stock of over 200 species of medicinal plants many of which are endemic to Sri Lanka and a few endemic to Ritigala.

There's nothing better for bird life enthusiasts than taking the early morning nature hike to Sepala Wewa. The bird watching is done through a typical Sri Lankan native village. This enables the guest to have a first class experience and taste the true flavor of Sri Lankan village life as well. All this happens simultaneously, as they feast their eyes on colorful tropical bird life. This is a one off experience, which can only be viewed at Sepala Wewa.

Nilaveli is a coastal resort town located about 16 km North-West of Trincomalee, Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined, until 2010 onwards, we can see a significant increase in the number of tourists. Once again Nilaveli has become one of the main tourist beach attractions in Sri Lanka.

The spectacular Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, 19 kilometers North East of Dambulla is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The Rock was the Fortress of the "King Kasyapa" who murdered his father and stole the throne from his elder brother who was the rightful heir to the throne. Kasyapa built his fortress in this 182-meter high rock to protect himself from his enemies. Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa 477 - 495 AD. Following Kasyapa's death it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British Explorer John Still. Today Sigiriya is famous for its ‘Mirror Wall’, which consists of poems and paragraphs carved by visitors to the rock many years ago and for its magnificent frescoes of shapely be- jeweled maidens, vibrant colors and the water garden similar to the Ajanta frescoes of India. Sigiriya is in fact, the best-preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium and has been named as a UNESCO world heritage site and 08th Wonder of the World.

Sri Lanka's tropical rain forest the Sinharaja is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The Sinharaja forest, which is situated 30 km from Galle, covers an area of 8900 hectares, and is in fact one of the few virgin forests left in the world. The forest covers a series of mountains and ridges rising abruptly from 90m to 1170m above mean sea level. The Sinharaja forest includes streams, springs, rivers, waterfalls, and is home to leopards, deer, monkeys, butterflies and a variety of trees, shrubs and medicinal herbs are also found within the forest. The Sinharaja forest is unique because it is the only location in Sri Lanka where the altitude changes within one kilometer in an area measuring 01 km from east to west. This factor has contributed to the amazing variety of species of fauna and flora. The largest mammal inhabiting the Sinharaja forest is the Leopard, which is very rarely spotted, also very rarely spotted are the rusty spotted and wild fishing cats. Sambhur, Deer, Wild Boar and Langur Monkeys are much more commonly seen at the Sinharaja forest with 20 species of birds and 45 species of reptiles.

Situated within the Yala Park 24kms from Tissa is Situlpahuwa a monastic complex. According to the ancient chronicles this has been a centre of Buddhist meditation and one of the largest housing up to 12000 monks. There are many drip edge caves comprising of donator inscriptions and is a must see for all tourists.

Situated 195 km from Colombo, Tangalle is one of the nicest places along the coast particularly if you just want somewhere to laze and soak up the sun. Tangalle is becoming a popular venue for water sports due to the wide stretch of sandy beaches and is very famous for delicious and palatable seafood dishes.

Nilaveli is a coastal resort town located about 16 km North-West of Trincomalee, Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined, until 2010 onwards, we can see a significant increase in the number of tourists. Once again Nilaveli has become one of the main tourist beach attractions in Sri Lanka.

Little visited in recent years, the atmospheric city of Trincomalee is set amongst miles of golden-sand beaches, where visitors are few and a warm welcome is assured. Located on one of the world’s best natural harbors, the city was disputed by Dutch, Portuguese and British powers, and was the headquarters for the Allied forces in World War II. Now it is one of Sri Lanka’s most pristine tourist destinations, with Buddhist and Hindu Temples set alongside churches and mosques. In the agricultural hinterland rice is the major crop while around the coast undeveloped, palm-fringed beaches are perfect for swimming and scuba diving from May to October. Trincomalee can be reached in a few hours from the Cultural Triangle by road via Habarana.

The Udawattekele Sanctuary is an area of rainforest rich in species that have still been protected. The sanctuary consists of 160 acres of tropical rain forest and provides home for flora, fauna, birds and monkeys. Some of the birds that inhabit the Udawattekele Sanctuary are the Layards Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Yellow Fronted and Ceylon Small Barbets, Black Capped Bul, Brown Capped Babbler, Emerald Dove and many more.

The Udawalawe National Park is situated in & around the Udawalawe Reservoir in South central Sri Lanka. Herds of wild elephants roam the banks of the reservoir while small game like deer or barking deer are spotted regularly as well.

Unawatuna is a coastal town in Galle district of Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and famous for its beautiful beach and corals. It is a suburb of Galle, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast to the city center and approximately 108 kilometres (67 mi) south of Colombo. Unawatuna is situated at an elevation of 5 metres (16 ft) above the sea level.

Vavulpane is renowned for the magnificent cavern which lies secluded in the Ratnapura district about 280 meters above sea level. This geological phenomenon consists of 12 caves of different sizes, streams and a waterfall. The water within this cavern is believed to cure the skin ailments of anyone who bathes in it since it contains a high percentage of Calcium Carbonate and Iron Hydroxide. The main cave at Vavulpane is about 457 meters in length, 09 meters in breadth and 4.2 meters in height. The crystallized limestone formations in these caves, which have been formed by sea creatures proving that these formations were once part of a prehistoric sea bed. In fact, Vavulpane is the only place in the world where mince and crystallized formations are found in close to each other. After careful studying, scientists have confirmed the age of these caverns to be more than 500 million years old. These caves at Vavulpane are also home to 25 species of Bats.

Situated 176 km. north of Colombo, Wilpattu is approximately 1,908 sq.km. In extent it has a dense jungle cover, which makes it a more exciting park where animals have to be tracked. There are numerous delightful little lakes - known as villus - and the leopard and sloth bear are the specialty rather than elephants.

The Wirawila Bird Sanctuary is located about 10 miles beyond Bundala. The Sanctuary comprises of two tanks Wirawila and Tissa. Many aquatic species of birds and several jungle types including hornbills make their homes here.

As foreign invasions took place, the Capital of Sri Lanka started shifting south. The ancient city of Yapahuwa is one such city. This rock fortress rising 100 meters from a plain is similar in concept to Sigiriya, which was built in the 13th century B.C. Yapahuwa’s magnificently carved ornamental staircase, which leads up to the ledge holding its Royal Palace, is its best point. The rock itself stands at 91 meters high and the ruins of the steps are adorned with images of musicians and dancers.

The zone jungles of Wanawagawa provide all adventure seekers a Night Safari not to be missed. You can climb a rock outcrop and sit around a bonfire enjoying a drink while dinner / snacks are prepared on the rock itself. Wanawagawa is a place of unbelievable tranquility and beauty. If you are lucky enough you just might be able to see a few creatures of the night gently walking beneath the rock and drinking water from the natural pools in the rock itself.

The Wasgamuwa National Park was formerly a strict natural reserve. The park is adorned by a mountain range, and surrounded by 02 rivers. This includes the Mahaweli River, which is the longest river in Sri Lanka. The Wasgamuwa National Park consists of a tropical dry mixed green forest cover and features more than 200 species of mammals. The park also features 163 species of birds of which 05 are quite common to Sri Lanka, 52 species of butterflies, which includes 07 naturally, endangered species and 15 species of amphibians. In addition to the Leopards, Bears, Deer, Samburs, Wild Boars, Crocodiles and Pythons found here, probably the focal point of the Wasgamuwa National Park is the population of around 15 Elephants that dwell and breed in it.

Also known as Ruhuna is an important national park on the south east coast of Sri Lanka. The reserve covers 979 km², although only the original 141 km² are open to the public. Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. The latter zone is punctuated with enormous rocky outcrops. The range of habitats gives rise to a good range of wildlife. Yala has the world's highest concentration of Leopards, although seeing this largely nocturnal carnivore still requires some luck. There are good numbers of Asian Elephants, crocodile, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo and Grey languor amongst other large animals. The open parkland attracts birds of prey such as White-bellied Sea Eagle and the wetlands have waders, Painted Storks, and the rare Black-necked Stork. Land birds of course are in abundance, and include Sirkeer Malkoha, Indian Peafowl and Sri Lanka Jungle fowl.

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