The temple of the Scared Tooth Relic or Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy is a vital place of worship for Buddhists across the world and by today has become an important tourist attraction. This palace is visited by Buddhist devotees from all part of the world. Many foreign tourists used to visit Kandy during the "Esala Perahara" time which usually schedule in July/ August Time. This is a colorful Buddhist cultural parade to tribute the Tooth Relic of Load Buddha and this event held for 10 days of time. Due to its cultural importance, this city was named as a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO.
Since ancient times the tooth relic, which was brought to Sri Lanka from India played a major role in the political scene of the country. It is documented that it was the prime duty of the then King to safeguard the tooth relic. Therefore it was protected by the many Sri Lankan Kings for centuries and centuries.
Since the arrival of the tooth relic in Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD, it was taken to various temples under the various Kingdoms. However, the tooth relic is now safely placed in its final resting place at the sacred temple of the Tooth which was brought to Kandy by King, Vimaladharmasuriya I. The king also created a golden casket to place the sacred Tooth Relic which can be seen even today at the temple.
An important feature is that the temple is built within the royal palace itself. This fact reveals the significance of the relic to the ancient Kings and their need to protect the sacred tooth.
Today the three main custodians of the sacred Tooth Relic that lie at the Sri Dalada Maligawa are The Malwatta, Asgiriya monasteries and the Diyawadana Nilame. Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing of the Sacred Relic with an herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers, called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.
The temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is one of the most significant sites in Sri Lanka amongst Buddhists, and this reverence is not limited only to Sri Lanka itself, but amongst Buddhist around the world.
Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Devon Falls is one of the most prominent waterfalls of Sri Lanka which is situated in Talawakele. It is a massive waterfall which is 318 feet high and has several continuous cascades. Positioned in the Devon Estate, this spectacular fall lies in close proximity to the St. Clairs waterfalls as well as the Radalla waterfall.
Travellers who wish to see the magnificence of Mother Nature through this great waterfall can do so by taking a drive through Avissawella from the Colombo. The Devon Falls can also be reached via the Hatton- Nuwaraeliya road. Howerve, many state that the best position to view the splendour of this unique waterfall is from the 20th milepost of the Talawakele highway where parking facilities and a special viewing area available.
The wide open space in front of the waterfall makes it look even more gigantic. The Devon Falls occupies a superb location close to Nuwaraeliya, Hatton Main road. Therefore, many local and international travellers visiting Nuwaraeliya during the April season make it a point to stop at this stunning roadside waterfall and take in its beauty. Those who travel by train on the Kandy Nuwaraeliya rail line can also catch a glimpse of the impressive Devon Falls.
The Devon Falls is located within close proximity to many attractions such as a kovil as well as many accommodation options that include the likes of a beautiful bungalow built by a British governor in the 1920s, as well as numerous hotels and guesthouses.
The famous St. Clare waterfall also can be seen proximity. Unlike St. Clare, Devon fall starts as a narrow strip and turns wide when falling down. You can get a good view of this fall from the viewpoint located in font of the Melsna Tea Castle.
This exceptionally picturesque waterfall can be witnessed at ease, and it is renowned for offering its viewers a picture that will be etched in their minds forever. If you want to reach close to the fall, you can do so by walking through the plantation.
One of the most impressive animals in the open park reserve are the 400 or more elephants that can be easily seen because of the openness of the environment. There is very little to obscure the view of the various inhabitants of the park.It is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 400 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants– feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as being an exciting location for bird enthusiasts.
The Udawalawa national park was established on 30 th July 1972.It lies in the lower catchment of Udawalawa Reservoir in the country's Intermediate Lowland region. This area falls into two administrative districts in two provinces. The parkland on the right bank of Walawe ganga is within Ratnapura district in the province of sabaragamuwa and the parkland on the left bank falls within Moneragala district in the province of Uva.
Another fascinating creature that can be found here are the Leopards that roam the area, though it is very difficult to spot this predator as leopards generally tend to hunt only at night.
Other animals that can be found here include Crocodiles, Water Buffalo, Jackals and Grey Langurs.
Various birds also inhabit or visit the park showcasing the ecological diversity that can be found here. This includes birds of prey like the White Bellied Sea Eagle, Changeable Eagle Hawk, Fish Eagle, and Crested Serpent Eagle. Birds of Prey are also joined by a variety of land birds including the Pied Cuckoo, Indian Peafowl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Indian Roller.
Plant life is also abundant here and visitors will see grassland and thorn scrub. Trees that grow here include Satin, Ebony, Ehala and many others.
The climate in the park is characterized by a seasonal rainfall and uniformly high temperature conditions. The average annual rainfall is about 1500mm in the south end, and it gradually increases towards the north. The annual average temperature is about 32 C.
There is much to see in the Udawalawe National Park and a short amount of time to see it in. So, when choosing your accommodation you need to look at options that do not require that much travel time. With Big Game Safari accommodation options your tented safari camp will be set up within a 25 minute drive to the park entrance and just 200m away from its boundaries. The campsite, which is in a semi wilderness area overlooking a small lake, is frequently visited by wild elephants.
A visit to Udawalawe National Park presents an exciting opportunity to walk through nature in its own habitat. Take a safari at this national park, and embark on a journey like none other.
Udawalawe, Sri Lanka
One of Sri Lanka’s world heritage sites, Anuradhapura is home to the country’s tallest Dagoba. There are also remains of important ancient temples, monasteries, statues, ceremonial baths and much more. The temple of the holy Bo tree or Sri Maha Bodhi is one of the most vital places in Anuradhapura and for the entire faith of Buddhism. The sacred Bo tree is one of the branches of the original Bo tree in Bodhi Gaya, India where Lord Buddha obtained enlightenment at the foot of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi over 2500 years ago.Anuradhapura is home to many of the country’s earliest monuments. Since most of the constructions are of immense Buddhist value, this great city is also a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Some of the major constructions and developments took place during the periods of King Pandukabhaya, King Devanampiya Tissa, King Duttha Gamini, King Vattagamani Abhaya and King Mahasena.
The Anuradhapura period of the country is a testament to the architectural intelligence of the ancient Sinhalese civilisation. For instance, the Aukana Buddha, which is 13 metres in height, is carved completely out of rock. On rainy days droplets of water falling off the tip of the nose from the statue falls right between the toes of the Aukana Buddha.
Other main and striking constructions include Thuparama Temple and its guard stone, Isurumuniya temple, Ruwanveli Seya, Abhayagiri Stupa and Monastery, Jethawana Monastery and Ritigala.
The monuments that can be seen at present in Anuradhapura symbolize a rich period of heritage of almost fifteen centuries. Each King who ruled from this great city added their piece of art and expertise to make this ancient Kingdom a place that is visited even today by travellers and archaeologists from all across the world.
Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura
It is hard to believe - but there is no shadow of doubt at all - that this small tree with limbs so slender that they must be supported on iron crutches, is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world (2,250 years).
It has never since been without its hereditary attendants and the care, to the very end, of the country's kings. As lately as the reign of King Keerti Sri Rajasingha, a wall was built around the tree. In 1966 it was enclosed in a golden railing.
The great ancient Sinhalese Buddhist monuments of Anurdhapura are clustered around this Peepal tree (ficus religiosa) called Sri Maha Bodhi, a sapling of the Peepal Tree at Buddha Gaya, Northern India in whose shelter Gautama Buddha attained supreme enlightenment.
The sapling was brought to Sri Lanka by Buddhist nun Sanghamitta, the daughter of King Asoka of India in the 3rd Century B.C. To the north of the well protected and well adorned tree are three great monasteries: the Mahavihara, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavana.
Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
The famous Sinharaja Forest Reserve is known as a living heritage in Sri Lanka. Sinharaja Rain Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the last viable remnant of Sri Lanka's tropical lowland rainforest spanning an area of 18900 acres is located within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces of the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is bounded by rivers on three sides. On the north, Sinharaja is bounded by the Napola Dola and Koskulana Ganga. On the south and south-west are the rivers Maha Dola and Gin Ganga. On the west are the river Kalukandawa Ela and river Kudawa Ganga. To the east of Sinharaja is an ancient footpath near Beverley Tea Estate and by the Denuwa Kanda.
Positioned close to Ratnapura, a city synonymous to being a sanctuary of gems, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is spread across an area of about 19,000 hectares. Sinharaja, which means “Lion King” or “Kingdom of the Lion”, is a lowland rainforest. In 1978, it was selected as a World Biosphere Reserve and in 1988 UNESCO declared the rainforest a World Heritage Site.
Although, Sinharaja may not be among the largest forest reserve in the world, its importance lies in the very fact that it is home to many endemic species. Most trees that are found here are uncommon, and 60% of them are endemic. This amazing forest is also famous for its birds and is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of some of the most beautiful birds in the region. There are 26 types of endemic birds found in Sri Lanka and 22 can be observed at Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The Red-Faced Malkoha, Spot-Winged Thrush, Pompadour Green-Pigeon and Malabar Pied-Hornbill are just to name a few.
The trees and birds are not the only factors that attract locals as well as international travellers to this stupendous forest reserve, it is also the extensive variety of butterflies, insects, endemic mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
The dense vegetation makes it quite difficult to spot larger mammals. However, there is a good probability of seeing a wild boar, mongoose and barking deer. The most commonly seen large mammal is the purple-faced langur, which is a species of monkeys endemic to Sri Lanka. Among the animals that can be spotted rarely, are the fishing cats, leopards and porcupines. It is said that there is a black leopard or Panther at the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
Those who decide to go trekking at the forest will have to be on the lookout for the uncountable number of leeches! Due to the enormous amount of leeches found here, visitors are provided with leech-proof socks.
It will take an approximate drive time of four hours to reach Sinharaja from Colombo. Travellers will find that the drive to this remarkable rainforest is truly worth it because of the breathtaking hill country that can be witnessed on the way and the astonishing wildlife that can be viewed and explored at the forest.
Sinharaja, Sri Lanka
A splendid ancient rock fortress and ruins of a unique ancient castle, Sigiriya is the brainchild of King Kasyapa who ruled the country between 477and 495 AD. The summit of this extraordinary rock is 600 feet high, above the jungles that surround the base of it. Sigiriya is a unique witness to the civilization of Ceylon during the years of the reign of Kassapa I. The site of the 'Lion Mountain' was visited from the 6th century AD, by passionate admirers. The frescoes of Sigiriya inaugurated a pictorial style which endured over many centuries.
The history of Sigiriya, however, extends from prehistoric times to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The earliest evidence of human habitation is in the Aligala rock-shelter which lies to the east of the Sigiriya rock. This is a major prehistoric site of the mesolithic period, with an occupational sequence starting nearly five thousand years ago and extending up to early historic times. The historical period at Sigiriya begins about the third century B.C., with the establishment of a Buddhist monastic settlement on the rock-strewn western and northern slopes of the hill around the rock.
It is believed that Sigiriya was occupied during prehistoric times. Rock inscriptions and caves reveal that nearby rocks surrounding Sigiriya were inhabited as early as the first century and these caves were donated to the Buddhist monastic as residences. However it was during the reigning period of King Kasyapa that Sigiriya transformed in to a city and fortress. The King developed the summit of the rock amazingly with the inclusion of defence structures, gardens and palaces.
Sigiriya mainly consist of a palace created on the summit of the rock, the terrace with the lion gate, mirror wall with beautiful frescoes, the moats and of course the beautiful gardens at the base of the rock.At the summit of the rock is the fortified palace with its ruined buildings, its cisterns and its rock sculptures. At the foot of the rock are the two quarters of the lower city which are defended by a massive wall: the eastern quarter (perhaps postdating the 5th century), which has not been sufficiently excavated, and the aristocratic quarter of the capital of Kassapa I, noteworthy for its terraced gardens embellished by canals and fountains, as well as for numerous monumental remains which have been disengaged from the forest which had invaded the ruins.
Many remains of Sigiriya still seem to surprise archaeologists, antiquarians and travellers about the creativity and knowledge of its builders. For instance, the cisterns dug into the rock in the summit still retain water. The gardens, moats and walls surrounding the base of the rock are also picturesque and astounding.
The Frescoes are regarded as the most fascinating features of all. These are paintings of figures of women known as the cloud damsels. These paintings are made different to each other by the mood, face, clothes and body. It is recorded that originally there were 500 paintings forming a massive gallery of paintings at the rock. As large as two football fields the area that contained the paintings is known as the biggest frescos ever made by man. However, today only 23 paintings are visible.
Sigiriya is truly an incredible work of art that is simply matchless. It is the finest example of Sri Lanka’s ancient culture, philosophy, beliefs and civilisation.
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka
The name Galle is synonymous with the attractive Dutch fort, is a tropical paradise that blends in a rich heritage and immense religious value. Due to its vibrant history and ethnic significance, UNESCO declared Galle, the capital of Southern Sri Lanka, a World Heritage Site.The southern coastal belt is the most popular among the tourists and comes to life mainly from October through April when the monsoon moves northeast and the sea becomes calm with blue skies. The earliest European administrative centre of Sri Lanka was the major port and the largest city until the British shifted the port to Colombo. The City of Galle had been the European administrative centre over 4 centuries.
Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, Galle was known as Gimhathiththa. During the early 16th century when it was under Portuguese rile, Galle was transformed into a significant port. Following the occupation of the Dutch up until the invasion of the British, Galle reached a noteworthy amount of development with its peak mostly occurring during the 18th century.
Although major developments took place during foreign rule, Galle was an eminent seaport in prehistoric times as it is documented that valuable spices were traded through the port of Galle. Rich civilisations such as Arabs, Indians, Greeks, Persians and Romans used this port as a major business hub in South Asia.
The city of Galle which is 119 kilometres away from Sri Lanka’s commercial centre Colombo, is home to about 100,000 people. This remarkable coastal city has a well established rail road system and it is linked by rail to Colombo and Matara.
The exciting beach of Unawatuna is positioned a mere 6 kilometres southeast from the city of Galle. During October and April many tourists arrive in the country just to experience and explore the enthralling beach life of this splendid city.
With many attractions located in and around Galle, visitors are sure to enjoy the rich cultural amd historical valued of the city. Attractions such as the Galle Fort, The Maritime Museum and famous Galle lighthouse are some of the many sights within this city. The Galle International Cricket Stadium that holds several international as well as national matches is one of the most recent additions to the historical city of Galle.
Galle is a perfect example of the fusion of European and Asian styles. Its natural beauty, superb archaeological location and rich heritage have made it an outstanding coastal city of Sri Lanka.
Galle features a tropical rainforest climate. The city has no true dry season, though it is noticeably drier in the months of January and February. As is commonplace with many cities with this type of climate, temperatures show little variation throughout the course of the year. Average temperatures hovers at around 26 degrees Celsius throughout the year.
Galle, Sri Lanka
The Cave Temple in Dambulla is the largest in the country. Five major caves form this great temple which houses statues and paintings of Buddha , whereby the largest cave boasts of 48 statues. There are nearly 80 caves found in the surrounding area that were said to have been used by Buddhist Monks.Situated 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy, the temple is the largest and the best preserved temple of the various cave temples in Sri Lanka. The Golden Temple of Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. It is a popular tourist attraction and also a religious site.
This impressive cave temple dates back to the 1st century BC and is regarded as one of the finest in Asia. It is believed that King Valagambahu developed these enormous caves in to a temple. After escaping from Anuradhapura from the South Indians, the King is said to have taken refuge for a period of 15 years at these caves. It was during this period that the king converted the caves in to a remarkable temple.
Many kings who followed expanded the temple adding art and colour, and by the latter part of the 11th century, the Cave Temple in Dambulla had transformed itself to a unique and important place of worship.
The first cave known as the Cave of the Divine King is home to the 14-meter statue of Buddha made out of rock can be found. The 15m long statue of the Buddha is the main attraction of the cave. At his feet is Ananda, Buddha’s favorite student and at his head is Vishnu, who is said to have used his divine powers to create the caves. The statue has been painted number of times in the course of its history, the last time painted in the 20th century.
The second cave, which is, also the largest cave found in the temple, is known as the Maharaja Lena. This cave houses 40 seated and 16 standing statues of the Buddha as well as statues of the Gods Saman and Vishnu.There is also a spring which drips its water through a crack in the ceiling and is also said to have healing properties. Paintings of the 18th century adorn the walls depicting scenes from Buddha’s life, from the dream of Mahamaya to the temptation by the demon Mara. The pictures also relate important events of Sri Lankan history.
The Great New Monastery, which is the third cave, holds paintings that resemble a form of Kandyan art technique. There are 50 Buddha statues in this cave and a statue of King Kirthi Sri Rajasinha who took major efforts to preserve the Cave Temple in Dambulla while he was ruling in the Kingdom of Kandy. The remaining caves which are smaller in size dates to a later period. The temple is in use even today and that is the reason why it is known as one of the best-preserved ancient temples of Sri Lanka. This exceptional cave temple has become a significant historical site mainly because it boasts a combination of material and art from many diverse eras.
Dambulla, Sri Lanka
The major beach resort
Negombo is a beautiful beach resort on the western coast of Sri Lanka, just a short drive north of Colombo. As it is also very close to the airport, Negombo is a convenient place to either begin or end your trip to Sri Lanka. You can relax on beautiful beaches, view incredible sunsets and enjoy western and Sri Lankan food. Sea food is very popular and is caught fresh daily by Negombo fishermen.
Negombo, Sri Lanka
Commercialized with an essence of nature
In the north western province of Sri Lanka is the District of Puttalam and the town. The town features main tree occupations, production of salt, coconut production and fishing. Other than the commercialized aspect, Puttalam also features one of the best, largest and breath taking lagoons in Sri Lanka.
Puttalam, Sri Lanka