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Tourist attractions Sri Lanka

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  • 1 Polonnaruwa Citadel Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    LKA - Polonnaruwa

    The Citadel - itself enclosed inside the walled city of Polonnaruwa - had double walls to protect the "thousand rooms" of Parakrama Baku's palace, the centre of power. The marvellous bas-reliefs with elephants in the Council Room have withs..

  • 2 Polonnaruwa: Crematory Monastery Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Polonnaruwa

    The remains of the Alahena Pirivena, a huge monastic complex, were uncovered thanks to funding from UNESCO. And this is just one of the complexes in the city of monasteries built by Parakrama Bahu outside the walled city of Polonnaruwa.

  • 3 Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum Recommended Recommended

    Museums and art

    LKA - Polonnaruwa

    Although there's nothing like on site exploration, Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum is a must for anyone trying to understand this site. The buildings are reconstructed in maps, outlines and models. Remarkable statues.

  • 4 Medirigiriya Recommended Recommended

    Archaeological and historical sites

    LKA - Medirigiriya

    The holy site of Medirigiriya is known for its Mandalagiri Vihara, a vatadage (circular temple) built on a rock; 68 pillars in 3 concentric rows raise their sculpted tips up to the sky. They surround a dagoba framed by 4 buddhas at the 4 cardinal poi..

  • 5 Dambulla Rock Temple Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Dambulla

    Dambulla Rock Temple is a major pilgrimage site with 157 statues of the Buddha in various postures - sitting, standing and reclining - and remarkable 18C Buddhist rock paintings. Tourists are not allowed to use the pilgrim's way to reach the esplanad..

  • 6 Palace of the Tooth Relic Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Kandy

    The Sri Dalada Maligawa houses the Relic of the Buddha's Tooth, still the object of fervent worship. It is preserved in the 6th casket in a set of cases, itself enclosed inside a gold reliquary protected by a gold railing. A real fortress!

  • 7 Royal Palace Complex of Kandy Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Kandy

    The ancient royal palace with its many outbuildings is located on the north shore of Lake Kandy. The white-walled complex is elegantly outlined against the dark backdrop of Udawattakele Forest. Don't miss the National Museum in the Queen's Palace and..

  • 8 Temples of the Gods in Kandy Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Kandy

    In various eras (14C-18C) the Singhalese sovereigns erected a sanctuary devoted to each of the four gods watching over the holy city of Kandy. The temples dedicated to Vishnu and Natha are the most remarkable, attracting a great many worshippers.

  • 9 Udawattakele Forest Reserve Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    LKA - Kandy

    Overlooking Kandy to the north, Udawattakele Forest Reserve is a lush environment and a haven for numerous monkeys and many species of birds (Layard parakeets, yellow-headed bushtits and blue-winged leafbirds). For your safety it is advisable not to ..

  • 10 Peradeniya Botanical Gardens Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    LKA - Kandy

    Past rulers harnessed the power of the Mahaweli in Peradeniya, then the British created a botanical garden here in the 19C. Now the largest garden on the island, it boasts a vast range of tropical plants from here and elsewhere including orchids, pal..

  • 11 Kataragama Devale Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Embekke

    Kataragama Devale, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Viharaya form a group of temples founded in the 14C before Kandy became the capital of the Singhalese kingdom. The centrepiece here is a striking dig-ge (hypostyle drummers' room preceding the temple) d..

  • 12 Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage Recommended Recommended

    Industrial tourism and theme park

    LKA - Rambukana

    Elephants have always been revered in the Buddhist faith, from the animals in ritual processions, caparisoned in gold and silver to the favourite iconographic themes on rock paintings and bas-reliefs. The island is concerned about the fate of its ele..

  • 13 Adam's Peak Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Dalhousie

    The outline of Adam's Peak forms a perfect cone. This holy mountain has the distinction of reconciling all the different religions, each one seeing the mark of its own god in the footprint stamped on its summit. There are 4,500 steps to the top, clim..

  • 14 Sinharaja Forest Reserve Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    LKA - Ratnapura

    Sinharaja is the last example of primary tropical rainforest on the island, boasting a profusion of native plant and animal species with huge trunks, giant flowers, monkeys and birds. An exceptional site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • 15 Lipton's Seat Recommended Recommended

    Nature and gardens

    LKA - Haputale

    The name Lipton's Seat says it all. This precise spot in the Haputale Mountains overlooking the Dambetenna Tea Estate is where Lipton used to sit and contemplate his plantation with its stony landscape and green tea bushes. Magnificent!

  • 16 Buduruvegala Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Wellawaya

    Buduruvegala. From afar it looks like a reclining elephant, but is in fact a boulder featuring seven outlined figures carved out of the rock in the 8-10C. In the centre is a gigantic effigy of the Buddha (15m high); on either side are three giants ho..

  • 17 Maligawila Recommended Recommended

    Archaeological and historical sites

    LKA - Maligawila

    A path cleared in a lovely forest connects two imposing statues representing the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara and the Buddha. These tangible remains of a vanished 7C religious complex were saved from being swallowed up by the vegetation by reconstructi..

  • 18 Galle Fort Recommended Recommended

    Architecture, castles and historic districts

    LKA - Galle

    As early as 1589 the Portuguese built Fort Santa Cruz to protect the town of Galle. The Dutch developed the fortifications and built the Fort Quarter inside the ramparts. This intact area constitutes the vital and palpable memory of that past linking..

  • The great Sri Lankan writer Martin Wickramasinghe (1890-1976) tried throughout his life to restore his countrymen's religious and cultural identity. In addition to his writings he amassed a vast collection of domestic and ritualist folk objects, now ..

  • 20 Mulgirigala Recommended Recommended

    Religious buildings

    LKA - Tangalla

    You can see Tangalle Beach from the four temples built on the upper terrace of the Mulgirigala rock temple complex clinging onto a hillside surrounded by palm trees. The site, said to go back to the 3C B.C., is decorated with superb murals.

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