Tourist Attractions in Sri Lanka
Few years ago these books were written down once again and this is one of the few places where visitors can see the method of preparing the Ola leaves as pages of books and the method of writing on them.
Avukana Buddha Statue
The other 3 figures consist of Maitreya Bodhisattva in the center and Vajrapani or Vajrasattava to the right and Padmapani or Manipadma Bodhisattava to the left. The figures are in high relief and had earlier been finished with stucco. The figures are dated to 8th century A.D.
Beruwela and Bentota are the best areas for water sports such as water Scooter rides, wind surfing. para-sailing, water skiing, and river cruising. Beruwela has necessary facilities for Deep-sea Fishing and Wreck & Coral Reef Diving.
Bundala National Park
The remains of the buildings during the period and the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule are found in every area of the city. None of the Portuguese & Dutch fortifications are found today but some of their buildings and churches could be seen in the Fort & Pettah areas. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street – the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area where there is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Kaymans Gate with the Belfry at the original gate to enter the Fort, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhaal dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple, Davatagaha Mosque, Colombo Museum and the Natural History Museum are some of the sites to be visited. Also visit the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall), see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square.
Colombo National Museum
In the first Cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47ft long cut out of the Rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism all around. The frescoes on the walls and the ceiling are the oldest here but they are over painted in the Kandy period. In the Second Cave, the finest and the largest of all, there are 150 life-size statues of the Buddha in various postures with few statues of Gods and Kings. The ceiling is also covered with frescoes, which depict great events in the life of the Buddha and landmarks in the history of the Sinhalese people.
Dutch Period Museum, Pettah, Colombo (closed on Fridays)
Flood Plains National Park
Stroll around the lighthouse and harbour or visit the old town where you can see the traditional lace makers and wood carvers and purchase some the finest souvenirs.
The Dutch Fort – Galle
Today, the 90-acre Galle Fort shows no evidence of the Portuguese founders. The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was built inside of it. Between the two walls, a covered passage connected the central bastion with the Fort’s two half bastion’s overlooking the sea.
Gal-oya National Park
Permits and Trackers could be obtained from the Wild Life Office at Inginiyagala close to the Lake. (Check the availability of the boat before sending tourists).
Hakgala Botanical Gardens
Close to the Rest House is the “Martel Tower” of the Dutch of which the only other example is found in France. Is used now as a Marine Museum and from the rood of the upper floor you can get a “Gunner’s view” of the ships passing on the shipping lane. The Salt-terns Maha-Lewaya and Koholankala Lewaya are famous for Birds as well specially for a large flock of Lessor Flamingos.
Surfers find the break at Hikkaduwa to their fancy.
For those who are more adventurous can go for diving to the Black Coral Gardens, beyond the Coral Reef in deep waters, only deep divers could see and admire or they could go for wreck diving to several ship wrecks close to Hikkaduwa.
Horton Plains National Park
Its flora has high level of endemism. The hills are covered with diverse wet low evergreen forest with even large trees grown flattened to the ground on the higher windswept slopes. Horton Plains harbours 52 species of resident birds and 11 species of migrant birds. More then 2,000 to 3,000 Sambhur, Bear Monkey, Leopard, Barking Deer, Giant Squirrel, Fishing Cat, Wild Boar and Hares roam in the forests and grasslands but only seldom they could be seen other than the Sambhur in the evening and morning.
For accommodation Ginihiriya Bungalow (Anderson Lodge) with 4 DBL rooms and 2 separate dormitories (Vana Nivahana) serve for groups. Two escarpments- “World’s End” and “Little World’s End” falling from the Horton Plains 1000 feet and 3000 feet respectively, to the land below and the Baker’s Falls are places you should visit. This is the only Park where visitors could walk on their own on the designated tracks.
The Buddhist Vihara at Nagadeepa (Nainativu ) Island is a place sanctified by the visit of the Buddha and the dagoba is an old one. The large number of dagobas in the Kantharodai site dates from 2nd to 10th Centuries A.D. At Keeramalai is a freshwater bathing pond on the beach and is said to possess therapeutic properties.
Close by are the remains of the Royal Palace (Maha Wasala), Palle Wasala- where the Queens stayed-now used for the National Museum, Meda Wasala where other close relatives lived, Audience Hall, Natha Devala and Vishnu Devala are situated. The Bathing Pavilion (Ulpenge) is by the Lake and in the Center of the lake is the Island called “Kiri samudraya” (Milk white ocean) used by the kings as the summerhouse. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture.
Royal Botanical Gardens – Peradeniya
There are 5 Palm Avenues beautifying the gardens, the earliest and tallest Palm Avenue (Royal Palm Avenue) was planted in 1905 and the Double Coconuts from the Seashells Island, with the largest seed of all plants in the world is one such avenue.
Century B.C. by King Dutugemunu (167 –137 B.C.). Today Kataragama is a place of worship for Buddhists, Hindus and some Muslims. This is a very popular place of pilgrimage for south Indian Hindus as Kataragama God came from India, married a Jungle Girl and lived here. When his Indian wife came in search of him he refused to go back. All of them lived here happily.
There are separate shrines for the two wives Tevani Amman Kovil for the Indian wife and Valli Amman Kovil for the Sri Lankan wife. During the month of July a 10 day festival is held here with the Perahera, Fire walking, hanging on hooks and other penance’s. The best time to be in the Devala is at the time of the Pooja (Offerings) to see the rituals and the Virgin Dancing girls offering light and dancing in the Devala.
Kosgoda Turtle Hatchery
The eggs collected by the Villagers and Fishermen are purchased by the Kosgoda Hatchery and kept in sandy pens until they are hatched. The newly hatched ones are kept in tanks and released to the sea in the night. This Hatchery alone has released more then 1,750,000 young turtles to the sea. An endowment by the Hasselblad Estate was responsible for the establishment of this hatchery.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple
Knuckles Range Forest Reserve
This range is in the Kandy District on the Kandy-Mahiyangana road. This range gets rain during both monsoons- Northeast and Southwest. 35 mountain peaks in the range are above 3,000 feet and the 2 highest peaks are above 6,000. More than 100 species of birds are found and out of them 20 are endemic, 28 Fishes-9 endemic and 3 species of them are found only in the Knuckles Range and large number of trees are endemic. The approach to the range is from several areas and the easiest is through Hunasgiriya, Looluwatte and Corbet’s Gap and from there to Kaikawala or Meemure or Na-ela and trekking from there.
Kavdulla National Park
Lahugala-Kitulana National Park
Some of the monuments found here are the oldest in the country and the large number of Brahmi inscriptions dates from the 3rd century B.C. Kantaka Cetiya, Ambastala Dagoba, Maha Thupa, At Vehera, Alms Hall, Girihandu Seya, Indikatu Seya, Old Hospital and Kaludiya Pokuna are some of the interesting sites at Mihintale.
Visitors can set sail on guided boat rides through the different ecological settings of the marsh sanctuary and the lagoon, or walk in nature trails and watch birds. Some 40% of the vertebrates of Sri Lanka are recorded here. Plant life is also rich-the marsh vegetation includes mangroves, ferns and many grasses and sedges. Birds are numerous. Commonly sighted species includes Cormorants, Storks, Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Grey Herons, Purple Coots, Little Green Herons, Yellow Bitterns, Black Bitterns, Moorhens and White-breasted Waterhens.
Few miles away are the two settlements of Veddhas-the aborigines of Sri Lanka. They are living at Dambana-15 miles away and Hennanegala- 25 miles away, near the entrance to Maduruoya National Park.
Minneriya National Park
Maduruoya National Park
Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom in the spring (march to May) and the fall (August and September). These are the “seasons” when low-country folk flock to Nuwara Eliya to escape the sea level heat and humidity.
Catamaran trips in the sea and boat trips in canal can be organized. From November to April, diving facilities are available in this quaint village. The streets on either side of the Hotels are dotted with Souvenir Shops, Restaurants etc.
The Vata-da-ge is a unique creation of the Sri Lankan artists. Polonnaruwa – the medieval capital was fortified with inner & outer moats and inner & outer walls. The Parakrama Samudra is on the western side of the city. The Royal Palace, Audience Hall and other buildings in the inner city were enclosed by another tall wall.
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Spice Gardens at Matale
Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve
Sinharaja can be reached from Colombo via Matugama (174 km) or Ratnapura (154 km) to Kalawana, Weddagala and up to Kudawa Base Camp. From Galle to Deniyaya and Mederpitiya (10 km) and from there to Pitadeniya Camp and enter the Reserve. The best period to visit is between December to early April and from August to September.
Sita Amman Kovil
Somawathie Chaitiya National Park
The Fort, which had only 3 Bastions was taken by the Dutch in 1639, but abandoned, re-fortified in 1675 and named it Fort Fedrick. In 1795the British captured it after a 4-day bombardment and it became the first possession of the British in Sri Lanka. Nilaveli-10 miles away is the finest beach in Trincomalee starting at Uppuveli- 5 miles away extending all the way to Nilaveli. Pigeon Island is a great place for Diving, Snorkeling and sea bathing.