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Sigiriya, The Ancient City, a world heritage site

Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos),[1] which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kasyapa, and after the king’s death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.

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.

http://sigiriya.org

Entrance Fee -US$ 30 per adult

Temple of the tooth, a world heritage site.

Without a doubt, the Sacred Tooth Relic (Dālada) of the Buddha is the most venerated object of worship for Buddhists.

Its present house, the Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dālada Māligāwa) in Kandy, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is considered the foremost sacred place of worship in the Buddhist world.

History

After the parinirvana of Gautama Buddha, tooth relic was preserved in Kalinga and smuggled to the island by Princess Hemamali and her husband, Prince Dantha on the instructions of her father King Guhasiva.[1] They landed in the island in Lankapattana during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic. The king enshrined it Meghagiri Vihara (present day Isurumuniya) in Anuradhapura. Safeguard of the relic was a responsibility of the monarch, therefore over the years the custodianship of relic became to symbolize the right to rule. Therefore reigning monarchs built the tooth relic temples quite close to their royal residences, as was the case during the times of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa and Kurunegala kingdoms. During the era of Kingdom of Gampola the relic was housed in Niyamgampaya Vihara. It is reported in the messenger poems such as Hamsa, Gira, and Selalihini that the temple of tooth relic was situated within the city of Kotte when the kingdom was established there.
Entrance Fee -US$ 10 per adult

Polonnaruwa, a world heritage site

Anuradhapura was a Capital of Sri Lanka at 1500 years. After destroy Anuradhapura with various effects Polonnaruwa became the Capital of Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa kingdom was started 1017 AD and it was finished at 1215 AD. There were two aggressions which were aggressed by India were cased to start and finish the kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

Colas who were inoculated Sri Lanka at 1017 AD avoid the Anuradhapura kingdom and started Polonnaruwa as their Kingdom. There after Sinhalese kings attacked Colas and created Polonnaruwa as Sinhalese Kingdom. Magha who was attacked Sri Lanka and who were in Kalinga of Indiya became final king of Polonnaruwa. King 2nd Parakramabahu who rescued Sri Lanka from Magha and started Dambadeniya as 3rd Kingdom of Sri Lanka

Entrance Fee -US$ 30 per adult

Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a world heritage site

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve’s name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.

The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

http://www.sinharaja.4t.com/

Entrance Fee -US$ 30 per adult

Old Town of Galle, a world heritage site

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

Galle provides an outstanding example of an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The most salient feature is the use of European models adapted by local manpower to the geological, climatic, historical, and cultural conditions of Sri Lanka. In the structure of the ramparts, coral is frequently used along with granite. In the ground layout all the measures of length, width and height conform with the regional metrology. The wide streets, planted with grass and shaded by suriyas, are lined with houses, each with its own garden and an open veranda supported by columns, another sign of the acculturation of an architecture which is European only in its basic design.

Dambulla Cave Temple, a world heritage site

Dedicated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, Dambulla Cave Temple (or the Golden Temple of Dambulla) is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Situated in Dambulla, Sri Lanka in a region which includes more than 80 caves, Dambulla Cave Temple features 5 well-preserved caves, each of which houses ancient statues of the Buddha and historic artwork depicting the Buddha’s life. The Dambulla Cave Temple grounds also features a functioning Buddhist Monastery dating back to the third and second centuries B.C

http://www.dambulla.com/Dambulla-Cave-Temple.html
Entrance Fee -US$ 10 per adult

Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela         

Pinnawela orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalla, halfway between the present capitol Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is a also breeding pace for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world.

Entrance Fee -US$ 20 per adult

National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka  

Dehiwala Zoological Garden is one of the oldest zoological gardens in Asia. It has a substantial collection of worldwide animals. It is open all year long and can be reached by public transportation. Diversity of the zoo is indicated by the presence of an aquarium walk through aviary, reptile house, butterfly garden and many cages and enclosures.

Sri Lanka has a history of collecting and keeping wild animals as pets by some Sinhalese kings as well as some British people. What is known today as National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka was founded by John Hagenbeck in the late 1920s. It was closed at beginning of world war II in 1939 because of the owner of that company was a German.

After liquidation of Zoological Garden Company in 1936, the government acquired much of the collection and added it to the Dehiwala Zoo (Zoological Garden of Ceylon) collection. Although Dehiwala Zoo officially began operating in 1939, an impressive animal collection already existed there as part of Hagenback company’s holding area, where public could visit.

Entrance Fee -US$ 15  per adult

Sri Lanka National Museum

The Colombo museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1 January 1877. Its founder was Sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. The Royal Asiatic Society (CB) was instrumental in bringing to the notice of Gregory on his appointment as Governor in 1872 the need for a public Museum with much difficulty the approval of the legislative council was obtained within a year. The Architect of the Public Works Department, J. G. Smither was able to prepare the plans for new structure on Italian Architectural style. The construction was completed in 1876 and the Museum commenced it functions in the following year

Established 1877

Location Colombo, Sri Lanka

Website http://www.museum.govt.lk

Entrance Fee -US$ 15 per adult

Adem’s Peak

Though not the highest mountain of Sri Lanka, the striking pyramid of Adam’s Peak (7,360 ft) is certainly the most remarkable. A depression in the rocky summit resembles a huge footprint, which has been venerated as a sacred sigh from remote antiquity. This was identified by Buddhists as the Buddha’s footprint, by Hindus as that of Shiva, and by Muslims as Adam’s. Later the Portuguese attributed it to St. Thomas the Apostle

The mountain is most often scaled from December to May. During other months it is hard to climb the mountain due to very heavy rain, extreme wind, and thick mist.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.

Yala is the home of wild elephants, leopards , wild boar, wild buffalo, deer, crocodiles, large flocks or birds and herds of wild animals. The western part of Yala (block one) is named as the area with the highest leopard concentration in the world.
It is more effective to start the safari tour in the early morning. The hotel will make arrangement to pack you breakfast to have it in the middle of the journey inside the park.

Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.

Yala is the home of wild elephants, leopards , wild boar, wild buffalo, deer, crocodiles, large flocks or birds and herds of wild animals. The western part of Yala (block one) is named as the area with the highest leopard concentration in the world.
It is more effective to start the safari tour in the early morning. The hotel will make arrangement to pack you breakfast to have it in the middle of the journey inside the park.

Entrance Fee -US$ 30 per adult

Peradeniya Royal Botanicle Garden

Approximately 68 miles or 110 kms away from Colombo and closer to Kandy is the Peradeniya Royal Botanical gardens. It is well known for sheer number and variety of plants that are indigenous as well introduced. The gardens contain over 4000 species and varieties making it one of the best and most valuable collections in the world.

Established in 1822, during the British rule, hence the “Royal”, the gardens are set in a horseshoe-shaped curve of the longest river in Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli. The gardens occupy about 150 acres, (60 hectares), with views of mountains to the south and jungle-covered hillside to the north. The garden complex is divided into several different zones, each specializing in one particular genre of flora.

Entrance Fee -US$ 10 per adult