Sri Lanka is a beautiful island located in the Indian Ocean. Although this is a very tropical country in general, due to its geographical location, Oceanic wind and monsoon rains have a beneficial effect on the climate. Rich in culture, biodiversity, and history Sri Lanka is one of the most popular tourist destinations for its climate, seafront, and natural forests.
Sri Lanka still has a significant amount of ruins of the centuries-old monument which marks important incidents/events that took place in the past. Most of these have earned world recognition for its archaeological value.
Sigiriya Rock – Lion Rock
Built-in 5th century by king Kashyapa is one of most tourists attract place in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya reflects the advancement of architectural, water engineering skills, arts, and crafting in ancient Sri Lanka. Lion gates, Frescoes, Mirror walls add unique and significance to the Sigiriya. In 1982 UNESCO declared Sigiriya as world heritage under the name ancient city of Sigiriya.
Galle Dutch Fort.
Galle, one of the major cities in the southern part of Sri Lanka known for the historical monument built in 1588 by the Portuguese and acquired and renovated by the Dutch in 1684. This was used as a defense fort for many battles. Dutch reformed church, National Maritime archaeology museum (used as a warehouse during the Dutch period) are some remaining buildings built during the Dutch period. Galle fortress received recognition as a world heritage for unique architectural value by UNESCO.
Sacred city Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura was the first kingdom of Sri Lanka. After the arrival of Buddhism many kings who reign make significant contributions towards Buddhism. Ruins of palaces, pagodas built in that era still can be seen at the Anuradhapura sacred city. Among those Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanwali pagoda, Thuparama, Abayagiri pagodas, Samadhi statue, Twin ponds, Ismuruni lovers are some of the places, monuments in the sacred city Anuradhapura.
Polonnaruwa Historical Site
The second kingdom of ancient Sri Lanka is another ancient city with archaeological value. Ruins of royal palaces and religious places in Polonnaruwa also take a significant place in the country’s history. Parakrama Samudra among the places/monuments such as Galviharaya, Nishshanka Latha Mandapaya, Lankathilalka are some famous with local and foreign tourists.
Temple of Tooth – Kandy
Temple of Tooth in Kandy is one of the holy places of Buddhists. after the passing of Lord Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved and later brought to Sri Lanka in the Anuradhapura era. it was the king’s sole responsibility to preserved and protect the Tooth relic, after passing through different kingdoms tooth relic was placed in the current temple at the time of king Veera Narendra Singha. Every year in the month of July / August the Esela procession is organized to pay homage to the tooth relic which is one of the most celebrated events in Sri Lanka.
SANGILIYAN THOPPU AND STATUE
Sangilean thupoo was the royal residence of king Cankili ii, the last king of Jaffna. During the Portuguese invasion, the palace was significantly damaged. Even for today’s ruins of the palace foundation, archway can be seen.
Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla cave temple is also known as the golden temple of Dambulla. Dambulla temple is most popular for the cave complex. There are about 80 caves around the temple out of 5 caves that take significant place among others Namely Devaraja Cave Temple, Maharaja Cave Temple, Cave of Great New temple, Paccima Temple, and Cave of the second new temple. All these caves decorated with paintings and statues of Lord Buddha and reflect the significant events of the history of Buddhist culture. Mahiyanganaya, Yapahuva, Kelaniya temple, Nag Vihar also has significant place.
Most tourists get attracted to its sandy beaches and other coastal features. The southern and eastern coast is very much popular among tourists for surfing, deep-sea swimming, snorkeling, etc.
It wasn’t popular destinations until the mid-90s today Mirissa grab more attention as an ideal destination for whale watching.
Hikkaduwa coral reef.
Hikkaduwa which is one of the national marine parks in Sri Lanka earns popularity for coral sanctuary.
Kalpitiya belongs to the Puttalam district and gaining popularity among tourists. It’s famous for the coral reef and as an ideal place to watch dolphins.
In 2003 pigeon island is recognized as a National marine sanctuary. Rich with variety corals and fishes pigeon island is one of popular for scuba diving. Nilaveli is another popular coastline in proximity to Pigeon Island.
Tourists can enjoy and have facilitated Boat tours to the coral reefs. Not just beach experiences island also provide safari in a wildlife sanctuary.
Yala National park
Yala National Park Is the second-largest Wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka cover the part of southern and Uva province. Yala gives the best safari experience on the island. Yala is famous for Asian elephants, aquatic birds are very common animals in the sanctuary and Sri Lankan sloth bear, Sri Lankan Leopard, Wild Water Buffalo, Red Slender Loris, golden palm civet, etc are some other animals inhabitant in Yala. Most of the animals come out to the lagoon during the dry season which falls from February to June is the best time to visit.
Kumana National Park
Kumana national park is one of the national parks adjourned to the Yala wildlife sanctuary. Kumana is a famous bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka. It’s home to about 255 bird species including indigenous and migrant birds. Pelicans, Spoonbills, Pacific golden plover, Lesser sand plover, ruddy turnstone, wood sandpiper are some of the birds seen at the Kumana. During the period of April to July, many birds migrate to Kumana. Kumana is popular among locals and foreigners as a bird paradise.
Wilpaththu National park
Located in northwest closer to the city of Mannar, Wilpaththu is the largest national park on the island. Natural lakes in the sanctuary add uniqueness to the Wilpaththu. The animal population of Wilpaththu includes 30 species of mammals in which Sri Lankan elephants, sloth bear, leopard are few commonly seen in the sanctuary. Other than mammals birds such as the Sri Lankan Jungle fowl, the Painted Stork, Little Cormorant, and reptiles such as the mugger crocodile, rat snake, Indian python, are commonly seen animals in Wilpaththu.
Other than the above three wildlife sanctuary Minneriya National park, Kaudulla national park, Hurulu eco-park also take much tourist attraction.
Horton Plains National Park
Horton plains national park located on the highest plateau proximate to the misty Nuwara Eliya, One most tourist attracted national park. Rich in rare and unique plants baker’s fall makes the Horton plains more attractive. And Horton plains also known for the World’s End inside the park. The national park also facilitates a camping experience for local and foreign tourists.
Sinharaja is the largest rainforest in Sri Lanka covering the area of 88.64 km2 in Sabaragamuva and southern province. It is home to many rare indigenous and endangered animals and trees. Among those Sri Lankan leopards, purple-faced languor, Sri Lankan Blue Magpie, Red-faced Malkoha are some commonly seen in Sinharaja. Waterfalls inside the forest add more beauty to Sinharaja.
Pidurangala is another mountain in the proximity to Sigiriya. You can have an amazing view of Sigiriya from Pidurangala mountain. Legend says that King Kassapa arranged Pidurangala for the monks who lived at the Sigiriya. Pindurangala is one of the easiest mountains to climb.
Bambarakanda is the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. It originated from a branch of one of the main rivers in Sri Lanka and an approximate height of the fall is 263m. A walk through pine forest to the natural pool at the base makes an ideal day out. The heavy fall of water can be seen from March to May.
Knuckles Mountain Range
Knuckles Mountain range consists of 9 peaks above 1200m of height. Three main rivers are originated from the knuckles mountain range. The knuckles mountain range is famous among the hiker and one toughest hiking / Camping destinations.
Followed by many faith according to their religion this mountain is more popular as Sri Padaya, the Sacred footprint of Lord Buddha. Thousands of people visit every year to pay homage.
Bopath Ella -Watterfall
Most tourists attracted waterfall in the Rathnapura area. 30m height of fall has the shape bo leaf.
After the Sinharaja, Makandawa forest reserve is highest in indigenous plants and animal populations. The purple-faced leaf monkey, earless lizard, kangaroo lizard are species that can be seen Makandava.
Bible rock is also known as Bathalegala rock, shows quite a similar shape to Sigiriya. Bible rock belongs to the Allagalla mountain range and located in the Kegalle district. It’s one famous among local hikers and camping. Comparing to the mountain this is a moderate level in the difficulty of hiking.
Named after the king Ravana, the approximate height of 25m. As per legend, it says that Ravana has kept Sita in one of the caves behind the waterfall kidnap her.
St. Clairs’ Fall
Known as Little Niagara of Sri Lanka, st Clairs’ fall is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka.
Named after the third-largest city of Scotland, Aberdeen is one of the beautiful waterfalls in the Nuwaraeliya district. Falls through Kehelgamuwa mountain.
Seven Virgin Mountain Range
Its a mountain range located in Maskeliya. In 2019, this mountain range was open for foreign and local mountaineers.
Proximity to Matale Riverston is one of worth visiting mountain peak. It gives the best view of the countryside. It’s popular for mini-worlds’ end among locals.
These were some and most popular place among tourists. Chariot path mountain another place associate with Ravana legend also very popular among local campers. Other than the Kanneliya forest, Belihul Oya, Diyaluma some other place popular among tourists.
Feeling the touch of the sun kiss, experience wilderness in safari, breath-taking views from the top of the mountains, and hospitality Sri Lanka can give you the best experience of traveling.
By Sash Fonseka