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Culture & Heritage


Adam's Peak
Adam's Peak, Sri Pada, Sri LankaAdam's Peak, Sri LankaSri Pada or Adam's peak is a mountain covered with lush green jungles is located in the Ratnapura district. It has a long history, which dates even before the religions existed. It stands close to 7400 feet above sea level.
It is said that Alexander the Great has visited Sri Pada in the year 324 B.C. Ibn Battutta the Moroccan-born Muslim traveler visited Sri Lanka (Ceylon) to make a pilgrimage to the sacred Adam's Peak.
The sacred footprint on the rock formation is considered as Lord Buddha’s by the Buddhist, and as Lord Shiva’s the Hindus. The Muslims believe that it is Adam’s footprint. When Portuguese Christians came to the island in the 16th century they claimed the impression to be the footprint of St. Thomas who, according to legend, first brought Christianity to Sri Lanka.
The pilgrimage to the top of the sacred rock usually takes place during the month of April, which is normally the dry season. The pilgrims climb the mountain before dawn, to witness the splendid view of the sunrise and the formation of the triangular shaped shadow of the mountain itself.
The area surrounding the sacred mountain is covered with flourishing greenery. The region along the mountain is a wildlife reserve providing shelter to many species varying from elephants to leopards, and many endemic species.




Anuradhapura—A World Heritage
Anuradhapura, Sri LankaThe city of Anuradhapura, which is declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO is situated close to 200 kilometers north of Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. This world famous city was Founded in the 4th century BC and remained as the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom till the beginning of the 11th century AC. During this era it remained as one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. It was also a wealthy city which created a unique culture and a great civilization. The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world.
Today this marvelous city of Sri Lanka, with its surrounding monasteries covers an area of over 40 square kilometers and is one of the world's major archaeological sites.
The Sri Maha bodhiya is perhaps the oldest living tree in the world. Around 245 BC, Sanghamitta Theri brought with her a branch of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightment. The tree was planted on a high terrace about 21 feet (6.5 m) above the ground and surrounded by railings. Today, the tree is one of the most sacred relics in Sri Lanka, respected by Buddhists all over the world. A wall was built around the tree during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha, to protect it from wild elephants.
Ruwanwelisaya. After defeating the Tamil king Elara, King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka built this magnificant stupa. The stupa is known as Ruwanwelisaya, Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagaba. The compound is supported by stone elephants, and the surrounding wall is decorated with 1,900 figures of elephants - 475 on each side. Successive kings added to the palace over the years.
Lovamahapaya is situated between Ruvanveliseya and Sri Mahabodiya. It is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya. The building was completely destroyed during the reign of King Saddhatissa.
Isurumuniya Viharaya (temple), originally known as Meghagiri Vihara is a famous site in Anuradhapura. The vihara itself is built on a rock and the sacred tooth relic of Buddha has been originally kept here when it arrived to the island from India in the 312 AC. The temple carved out of solid rock, houses a large statue of the seated Buddha. You can climb up steps to the top of the rock above the temple to get a good view of the countryside. On the terraces outside is a small square pool; they are also some beautifully carved elephants, commonly known as the bathing elephants.
The Isurumuniya Lovers carving is also a heavily admired site. It is a 6th century Gupta style carving. The carving shows of a woman seated on a man’s lap. It is said that this figure symbolizes Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala.
Other places to visit in Anuradhapura include Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa, Lankarama, The ancient Magul Uyana, Naka Vihara and the Samadhi Statue.
The revival of the city of Anuradhapura began in earnest in the 1870s. The modern city is a major road junction of northern Sri Lanka and lies along a railway line. The headquarters of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon is in Anuradhapura.
Today this world heritage city draws visitors globally, and offers an experience that will last a lifetime. 

Belihuloya
Belihuloya, Sri LankaBelihul oya, which is known as one of the best nature and activity locations in Sri Lanka is located 160 Kilometers from the capital city Colombo. This beautiful hillside location is a climatically transitional area, linking both the dry and wet zones and the hill and low country at an altitude of less than 1500m. As a result, the vegetation consists of moist semi-evergreen forests, tropical savanna forests, dry patana grasslands and montane temperate forests, making it one of the richest bio-diversity spots in Sri Lanka – a perfect location for nature lovers. Belihul Oya is home to 15 fish species, 50 reptile species, 150 bird species, 30 amphibian species, 80 butterfly species, 40 mammal species, 60 land & water snail species & about 150 flora species.
Belihul oya holds some of the important places, such as the Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, which was founded in the year 1991. Further the Samanalawewa Dam is considered to be valuable asset to the nation, which is also located in Belihul oya. The dam is primarily used for hydroelectric power generation in Sri Lanka. It is located in the Uda Walawe basin. It was built at the confluence of the Walawe river and the Belihul Oya, a location 400 metres (1,300 ft) above mean sea level.
River Belihul Oya
The River Belihul Oya, just 20km in length, originates on Horton Plains National Park (1524m) high above, then flows, gushes, tumbles & drops through an assortment of eco systems all the way to into modern man-made Samanalawewa Reservoir. The river, watched over by series of mountain peaks including Gon Molliya ("The Hump of an Ox") & Paravi ("Pigeon"), crates some very beautiful waterfalls in its downhill path, including Baker's Falls on Horton Plains, Pahanthuda Falls & Demodara Falls. Paddy fields surrounding the settlement are fed by streams from the river.
Activities at Belihul oya include Trekking, Kayaking, and Camping. A dip in the river Belihul oya would be an unforgettable experience.



Dambana Vedda Village
Dambana Vedda Village, Sri LankaDambana, also known by the locals as the Village of Indigenous People of Sri Lanka is situated 300 Kilometers from Colombo. Main attractions of this village are the untouched Jungles and Jungle villages.
The remote jungle village holds a population of only about 350 families, a number significantly reduced from a once thriving community. The influence of the modernized society affected the culture & tradition of the Veddha’s at risk. These traditions have been practiced for centuries. Visitors to this remote village get the chance of meeting the Veddha’s, learn about their traditions, and experience the way they live and behave. The chief of the Veddha tribe fears that their way of life will come to an end due to civilization.
Camping near the Veddah Village and getting involved with them in these activities would surely be a very important and memorable event in anyone's life. One of their traditional forms of invoking the blessings of gods is a famous dance called "Kiri Koraha". They are also expert hunters.
Dambana not only offers its Jungles and Veddha’s to its guests, but gods blessings through the nature and wildlife.





Dambulla
The city of Dambulla is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. It is a part of the Cultural Triangle declared by UNESCO, and is on the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy about 19Km from Sigiriya. Major attractions of the city include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days. The city also boasts to have the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Namal Uyana.

Dambulla Rock Temple
The temple is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. There are over 80 caves in the surrounding and some of them have been used by the monks as meditation locations. 5 caves are considered to be the major attractions, which contain statues and historic paintings. Since it's founding in the 1 century BC by King Valagamba, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and paintings over the years. The temple is a perfect location to view evolution of the ancient Sri Lankan arts. The combination of materials of many eras has made Dambulla a unique and historically important site.

Namal Uyana
Namal Uyana (aka Ironwood forest) is a forest with 72 kinds of healing plants, which is spread over 1000 hectares of land. Massive pink quartz mountains make this spot one of the rare sites in the world. It contains the largest plant fossil deposit in Sri Lanka. In the year 2005 it was declared as a National Forest reserve by the then Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapakse. Today Namal Uyana is a tourist attraction with hundreds of locals and foreigners visiting throughout the year.
Modern Dambulla includes many marvelous locations, such as the Heritance Kandalama, which was built by the world famous Architect Geoffrey Bawa. His miraculous designs have won the hearts of many locals as well as foreigners. Dambulla has kept its architectural standards high even in the modern era.


Galle—The Old World's Romantic City
According to Sir James Emerson Tennant Galle was the "Tarshish" referred to in the Bible as the port where ships trading with King Soloman obtained their Elephants, Peacocks and Gemstones. Most certainly the place where the Galle Fort now stands as well as other areas in Galle like Unawatuna, Magalle, Kaluwella and even the China Gardens (which held a colony of Chinese traders several years ago) were all areas with historic connections which go back long before the Portuguese Era. International traders, Persians, Moor traders from the Persian Gulf, South Indian traders, Malays and a host of other nationalities lived and traded in Galle. The Cripps Road inscription reveals the polyglot and poly-ethnic character of Galle. Even in early British times the earliest Embassies were situated in Galle. For example the first Consul from USA was resident in Galle.
The Galle dutch fortress was built by the Dutch during their reign of rule between 1656 to 1796. It is the largest and the most secured fortress in Sri Lanka. It was declared an archeological reserve by the U. N. since 1969. In December 1988, UNESCO declared Galle Fortress as a World Heritage Site and their 38th Monument. A Parliament Act titled Galle Heritage Foundation Act was passed in 1994 in Sri Lanka.
In addition to all these declarations, Galle Fort is unique, very special and charming as there are no other sites, areas, fortress or location when compared with Galle Fort walled city of 38 hectares (90 acres) in the whole country.
Eighty per cent of Galle Fort has remained valued residential location. It has around 375 dwelling houses of Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils, Burghers and other denominations living for years in total harmony without any communal differences. Galle Fort remains an esteemed and respected residential location for centuries, with its rich religious, educational and cultural values.
The sea beaches and the beautiful ramparts surrounding the Fortress have become nature’s inspiration which has been frequently featured in numerous magazines both here and abroad. The world famous southern coastal town of Hikkaduwa hosts the beach festival each year. It has become so popular that the amount of people gathering each year has increased.
The events in Galle doesn’t end there, the Galle Literary Festival which is major event is hosted in this spectacular city. Galle surely is a Jewel of a Festival.

Jaffna
Jaffna District, also known as ‘Yalpanam’ is the northernmost region of the Island of Sri Lanka. It is one of the oldest habitation sites in Lower South Asia, populated by Tamil speaking people. Jaffna is situated within ten degrees of latitude to the north of the equator. It is in close proximity to the sub-continent of India and separated from it by the Palk Strait and the Bay of Bengal. The 30 foot tall Palmyrah tree, which can be seen all over the peninsula makes it a unique part of Sri Lanka.
The peninsula is almost an island, which is connected to the rest of Sri Lanka through the Elephant pass. Elephant pass which is a narrow walkway is considered to be the gateway to the Jaffna peninsula. It is said that wild elephants did roam these lands.
Jaffna Fort, which was built in 1680 by the Dutch, is one of the splendid architectures of the 16th century. The Jaffna fort is the one of the best and strongest forts in Sri Lanka. Another marvelous place to visit in Jaffna is the Nallur Kandasamy Kovil. The historic Kandaswamy Temple stands at Nallur 1.5 km from Jaffna on the Pointpetro Road. The temple was built in the 15th century, by Sanpaha Perumal the adopted son of Bhuvanekabahu, the king of Kotte, who led an expedition to the North and brought Jaffna under the suzerainty of Kotte.
Nallur Kandaswarmy Kovil is a largely Hindu area and many temples are characterized by vertical red and white stripes on the outer walls. The beautiful large and airy complex has shrines to several deities. Men should note that shirts and shoes should be removed before entering.
Apart from the ancient monumental structures, Jaffna also has some spectacular beaches. These beaches draw the maximum number of tourists and they too love to bask in sunlight in the wonderful sandy beaches of Jaffna. However of all the beaches in the city, Casuarina Beach in Karainagar is one of the best. Other beaches include Santhakulam and Thondaimannar.
Jaffna cuisine is Sri Lanka's only indigenous Tamil cuisine. Pittu a well known dish to all Sri Lankans, probably came to Sri Lanka with the Malay regiments of the European colonial period. It is however completely naturalized now and is a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine. Jaffna also produces some delicious types of mangoes. They are commonly known as ‘Karuththa Kolumban’ by the locals. Jaffna cuisine, the one and only indigenous Tamil cuisine delights and fulfills the taste buds of many travelers.



Kandy
The Royal city of Kandy, Sri Lanka’s hill capital is situated 465 meters above sea level and 115 kilometers from the commercial capital. It is the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, and is a major tourist destination. This amazing city is renowned for its culture and beauty. The name Kandy was derived from the Word Kanda, which means mountain. The locals call it as ‘Mahanuwara’, which meant ‘Great City’. Kandy was founded in the 14th century and has a population of 14,000.
Temple of the Tooth relic
Buddhists consider it as a sacred city, since the “Dalada Maligawa” (the temple of the sacred tooth relic) is located in the heart of Kandy town. Temple of the tooth holds Sri Lanka’s most important historical object, a sacred tooth of the Buddha. The story goes that this tooth has been taken from Buddha’s Cremation in 543 BC. Then the tooth was smuggled into Sri Lanka in the 4th Century AD. The temple was said to have been constructed in 16th Century.
Esala Perehara
Kandy also holds the Great annual festival (Perehera) that attracts thousands once a year in the months of July or August. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and nicely decorated elephants. There are fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandian dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants are usually adorned with lavish garments. The festival ends with the traditional 'diya-kepeema'.
Another place visited by most tourists is the The Royal Botanical garden - Peradeniya. It is believed that the garden used as a pleasure garden of King Wickramabahu III. The Commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia Earl Mountbatten had the headquarters in the garden during the Second World War. This 147 acre land is a beautiful park with numerous tropical plants and adored by many as the best in the island. The park has more than 5,000 species of trees, plants and creepers.
Kandy is synonymous with arts and crafts of Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the country. Kandy is probably the best place to buy most of the handicrafts produced in Sri Lanka because there are number of shops catering to the tourists.
Kandy is undoubtedly one of the liveliest and happening destinations of Sri Lanka, with its age old culture and its hospitable people serving the holidaymakers.

Kataragama
Kataragama is a regionally popular place of pilgrimage of Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and indigenous Veddha communities of Sri Lanka and South India, where the god Muruga is the main deity. Today it is a fast developing township surrounded by jungle in the deep south of Sri Lanka. But in medieval times it was only a small village. It is situated 228km South of Colombo. It is one of the 16 principal places of Buddhist Pilgrimage to be visited.
Katharagama is famous for the Hindu Shrine (Devale) and Dageba (Buddhist Pagoda - Kirivehera). Lord Buddha and his third and the last visit to Sri Lanka were believed to have met the King Mahasena who ruled over the Katharagama area in B.C.580. Thus the Sri Lankans believe that Katharagama was sanctified by Lord Buddha.
Katharagama God is indigenous and long-celebrated in Sri Lankan lore and legend, and originally resides on the top of mountain called Waedahiti Kanda just outside of the Katharagama town. Since ancient times an inseparable connection between the God and his domain has existed. God Katharagama is popularly known among the Hindus as God Skandha, and Sivaites of South India call the God Subramanya. Following are the other names to identify the same God in the Hindu texts; Kandasamy, Kadiradeva, Kadiravel, Kartikeya, Tarakajith etc. The God Katharagama’s image is depicted either with six heads and 12 hands, or one head and 4 hands. The God’s vehicle is the peacock, which is native to Sri Lanka and India.
Katharagama is a multi-religious sacred city as it contains an Islamic Mosque within its Devale complex as well. It holds its annual festival that celebrates the God’s courtship and marriage to a Vedda princess, in July to August. During this time thousands of pilgrims practice self-mortification in fulfillment of vows to the Gods. Devotees fast, meditate and pray; bathe in the Menik Ganga (River) and then worship at the Maha Devale before facing their ordeal. This includes the famous "fire walking" - when believers walk on a bed of burning, live coal. Kawadi Dancing is also very popular among the tourists.
Kataragama offers a wide network of hotels, guest houses as well as free pilgrim rests.

Kelaniya
Kelaniya is a small town which is situated about 7 kilometers from Colombo, on the Colombo-Kandy Road. The closest towns to Kelaniya are Peliyagoda and Kiribathgoda. The historic town which is situated on the Banks of Kelani River is famous mainly due to the Buddhist temple.
Known as the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, it is one of the most sacred worshipping places of the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. Situated about six miles from Colombo, set within a sacred area of around ten acres, the Kelani Vihara stands beside the Kelani river as evidence of a Buddhist tradition in this country. The fame and respect is given to this temple because the site was sanctified by the visit of Lord Buddha. In the past Kelaniya itself was a large city and the Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya was one of the largest and one of the most beautiful temples of Sri Lanka.
In recent times Kelaniya Temple has become famous because of the beautiful paintings of Solias Mendis depicting various events in the history of Sri Lanka. Solias Mendis, who was a simple villager from Madampe made history when he painted the drawings of the Kelani Raja Maha viharaya.
Each year Duruthu Maha Perahera draws many tourists to this location. Thousands of Buddhists come to see the Buddhist Pageant of Kelaniya in the month of November/December every year. This historic city, with its temples, rivers, paintings and colourful Pereheras make it one of the perfect places to visit.




Mihintale
Mihintale, known as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka is a mountain peak, which is situated 8 miles from the historic city of Anuradhapura. Sri Lankans believe it to be the site where Buddhism started in the year 247 B.C. History states that it was a meeting between Mahinda, who was the son of the great Indian emperor Ashoka and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is said that after this event the king and 40,000 residents of Anuradhapura converted to Buddhism. Today Mihintale is a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.
While some of these structures are in an almost perfect state of preservation, some others are in complete ruin. The most spectacular of these is the Kantaka Chaitiya, which displays some of the finest architecture of the early Anuradhapura era. The climb to the peak consists of almost a thousand steps, which are carved in rock. The Journey to the top may seem difficult, still the awesome architecture of the once Reigning Anuradhapura era will motivate travelers to climb to the peak.
Other Architectural structures include Ambasthala Dagaba, The Cave of Arahant Mahinda, Maha Stupa (Also known as Maha Saya), Aradhana Gala and Kaludiya Pokuna. Kaludiya Pokuna is the largest of the Mihintale ponds. This archeological marvel shows the development of irrigation engineering at the time of our fore fathers. Surrounded by thick jungles and archeological remains of a monastic complex, Kaludiya pokuna is one interesting place to visit.
General Information:
Population - 22,000
Distance from Colombo – 217 km / 12 km East of Anuradhapura
Main Attractions - Kantaka Chaitiya, Maha Stupa and Kaludiya Pokuna
Weather - Warm and Sunny


Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka’s medieval capital was established as the city of the land in 11th century A.D. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE to reunite the country once more under a local leader. Polonnaruwa replaced Anuradhapura as the capital city of Sri Lanka, due to the invasion of the south Indians. It remained as the capital from the 11th century to the 13th century.
History states King Maha Parakramabahu the first as the most valued King during the Polonnaruwa period. He ruled the entire country from 1153 AD to 1186 AD. During his period he built 165 dams, 3000 canals, 163 major tanks and 2376 minor tanks. Out of these the biggest tank was the Parakrama Samadra. This artificial lake which provides irrigation for 18,000 acres of paddy fields for two seasons a year was named after the great king.
King Maha Parakramabahu united Sri Lanka in the year 1153. After his death the Sinhalese kingdom began to fall apart, due to civil war and foreign attacks. At the end of 13 century the glory of Sri Lanka faded. For 70 years Sri Lanka was ruled by the Cholas.
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned Archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Polonnaruwa is the 2nd largest city in north central province. But it is known as one of the cleaner and more beautiful cities in the country.
General Information:
Population - 106,000
Distance from Colombo – 216 km
Main Attractions – Parakrama Samudra, King's Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Vatadage Relic House lavished with moonstones, guardstones and sculptured railing, Kiri Vihara - the best preserved of all Sri Lanka's un-restored dagabas; Gal Vihara - the most impressive sculptures are the colossal Buddha images carved on the face of a granite boulder. The recumbent Buddha measures 14 metres and the standing figure is 7 meters in height.


Sigiriya
Sigiriya also known as the Lion's rock and considered to be the 8th wonder of the world by many is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. Sigiriya is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
There are many different stories of how the masterpiece Sigiriya came into existence. Originally it is believed that this great rock palace was built under the rule of Moggallana, after defeting Kasyapa who was his brother. Moggallana was the rightful owner of the throne. His father King Datusena's reign saw 15 years of peace and prosperity in the land. He built the greatest tank in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Kalaveva, which he considered as all the wealth he ever possessed.
An Alternative story states that the primary builder was King Datusena, and it further goes on to say that Kasyapa fulfilled the dream of his father of building a palace in the sky. Other stories identify Kasyapa as a playboy king, and Sigiriya as his pleasure palace.
Frescos
Sigiriya is one of most popular tourist destinations in the country. It is also renowned for its ancient paintings (Frescos). These are also known as ‘Sigiri Apsaras’. These frescoes have survived thousands of years and are still in amazing condition, mainly due to the natural pigments used by the artists. There are similarities between the Ajanta caves of India and these world famous frescos of heavenly maidens.
Other than the Frescos, the 400 foot rock contains gardens and water gardens. It is an experience all holidaymakers will treasure.

General Information:
Distance from Colombo – 169 km / 5 hour drive
Main Attractions – Frescos, Gardens of the Sigiriya city, water gardens, The Mirror Wall
Weather - Warm weather / Sunny
Travel tips – A bottle of Water is essential


Trincomalee
Trincomalee is a port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. It is known by a variety of names such as Kona Malai and Tiru Kona Malai. It has one of the world's finest natural harbours and can accommodate large vessels. Due to this reason Trincomalee was favoured by the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British. Trincomalee is the site of the “Sacred Hill of the Three Temples.” Situated on the eastern seaboard, the place finds mention in the Mahavamsa.
Historical Locations include the Fort Fredrick, which was built during the time of Portuguese in the year 1624. Koneswaram Pilgrimage is one of the main locations to visit. Other such famous tourist sites are the seven hot springs of Kinniya, Lover’s leap and Nilaveli beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Lovers Leap
Lovers Leap is located next to Koneswaram Temple. The history behind its name dates back to the period of the Dutch. Apparently the daughter of an Old Dutch official threw herself off the cliff when her forbidden lover had to sail back to Europe. There's a memorial and shelter, commemorating the legend behind the name.
The Koneswaram Pilgrimage
The Koneswaram temple is also known as Thrikkoneswaram. It is a hindu temple and is one of the five ancient sivan temples around the island. The original ancient Hindu Kovil that stood here is said to have been destroyed by the Portuguese. Its scenic view attracts many tourists to this location. There is a stunning view of the Trincomalee habour and the Indian Ocean.
Fort Frederick
Fort Frederick was built during the time of Portuguese in the year 1624, and was taken by the Dutch in 1639, and abandoned soon afterwards, only to be re-fortified by them again in 1675, and named Fort Frederick after Frederick the Great. t is part of those walls and gate that still stand, as the next focal point of interest in Trincomalee, besides the harbour. The spotted deer that roam within the Fort is one of the charming sights in Trincomalee. The herd had grown from a pair brought as pets in the early years of British rule.
Other Activities:
  • Glass Boat Rides
  • Scuba Diving
  • Fishing trips

General Information:
Distance from Colombo – 260 km / 6 hour drive
Main Attractions – Nilaveli Beach, The Seven Hot Springs of Kinniya, Fort Frederick, Koneswaram temple, Dolphin / Whale Watching, Pigeon Island,
Weather - Warm weather / Sunny
Travel tips – A bottle of Water is essential, Advisable to wear cotton cloths


Adventure



Safari
Sri Lanka, well known for its great safari trips is one of those few places in the world with a breathtaking array of landscapes and wildlife packed into a relatively compact area.
Sri Lanka's three main national parks offer a total protected area of more than 250,000 hectares and boast a stunning array of wildlife. In addition to the highest density of leopards anywhere in the world, there are sambar, spotted and barking deer, water buffalo, sloth bears, abundant birdlife, butterfly swarms, iguanas, mongooses, fishing cats, wild boar, monkeys and crocodiles.
The Sri Lankan elephant also known as the ‘Aliya’ is the largest mammal to roam the paradise island. Elephant safari’s can be a one of a kind experience. A traveller to this beautiful island destination would not want to miss a lifetime experience of a ride on the biggest animal in the country. Travelers will get to ride through wilderness regions and attractive riverside scenery. They will have the opportunity to picnic with them, feed and even swim with them. Uda Walawe National park is the best place to view elephants in the wild.
Leopard safari is another past time that tourist from all over the world enjoy in this neck of the woods. Travelers take a trip through Sri Lanka's national parks in search of the country's top predator. The Yala National Park is undoubtedly the best park in Asia to see the elusive leopard. The leopard is best sighted at dawn or dusk when they come down from the shade of the trees to hunt.
These safaris provide great opportunities for explorers to witness animals such as the flamingos, turtles, crocodiles, giant squirrels and spotted deer. From October to December you may not see much other than deer and crocodiles. World famous sites such as the Sinharaja Forest enable visitors to absorb and experience the unique sights and sounds. On the way travelers will come across rusty spotted cats, deer, squirrels, porcupines, pangolins, 45 species of reptiles, 147 species of birds and many stunning butterflies.
Away from the sunny, dry forests are the sandy, blue beaches of Sri Lanka. In the South West, in the town of Panadura is visitors can enjoy canoe safaris through the wetlands. Between the month of February and July the female turtles lay eggs in the soft sand. The turtle watch begins after night falls.
General Information:
Travel tips – A bottle of Water is essential, Watch out for leeches, Most of the parks close in September during mating season
Hotspots – Uda Walawe National Park, Gal Oya National Park, Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla National Park, Yala National Park, Bundala National Park, Sinharaja National Park, Panadura Wildlife Resource Centre


Whale Watching
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is situated within the International Whaling Commission's protected zone. The common whale species that swim the seas of Sri Lanka are the Blue whale and the Sperm Whale. This usually takes place during the months of January to April. The sea off the South coast of the paradise island is becoming the probably the best place in the world to see Blue whales and Sperm whales.
A high concentration of blue whales and sperm whales has been spotted in the seas off Dondra Head along the Deep South coast of Sri Lanka during the months of January to April. Dondra Ponit / Mirissa, is known as the best place in the Island to watch Blue whales.
Blue whales can grow up to 33 meters in length and weigh up to 180 metric tons. They are often seen as singles or pairs but there are occasions where they are with calf. It is believed that while some of the blue whales off Dondra Head/ Mirissa could be resident whales, others could be migratory ones crossing over to the Arabian Sea from the Bay of Bengal, during January, and then returning back in April.
Kalpitiya which is located approximately 160km from Colombo is presently known as a new unique tourism destination in South Asia. Apart from the main attractions such as the Dutch Fort & St Peter's Kerk church, Whale watching is a popular activity that attracts many tourists each year. Whales, and particularly dolphins, are also sighted in Kalpitiya
General Information:
Travel tips – Take Ginger Ale (or Spirite) to prevent and stop motion sickness, Take a good pair of binoculars, Choose clear / calm days, Carry a good zooming camera, A hat can be protection from the sun for your skin and eyes, don’t forget your sun block and sun glasses
Hotspots – Dondra point / Mirissa, Kalpitiya


Nature & Enviorenment


Beaches
Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as "the finest island of its size in the world". The wonderful pristine beaches of the island have everything that a tourist can imagine. With all this activity available inland, it’s easy to forget that Sri Lanka also has some magnificent beaches, with one at Unawatuna being acclaimed as one of the world’s top 10. Starting from Nilaveli in the North East right down to Mount Lavinia in the west coast, Sri Lanka has no scarcity in offering tourists with its beautiful sandy beaches.
Sri Lanka’s best coastline extends from Negombo in the northwest to Trincomalee in the northeast, passing miles and miles of beautiful beaches in the south coast and the deeper south of Sri Lanka.
Mount Lavinia is one spectacular beach close to the commercial capital Commercial. Mt. Lavinia is a popular bathing spot, enticing tourists with the white sand and tranquil waves. The well-known Mount Lavinia hotel is located here, reaching itself towards the sea. This is known to be a British Colonial theme hotel and is said to be the most sort after romantic hotel in Sri Lanka for weddings.
Arugam Bay, known and loved by many tourists and locals is a laid-back little village. The unspoilt white sand beaches lined with swaying palm trees, the great surf, sand dunes, the many little guesthouses and restaurants serving excellent seafood are characteristic of this exotic beach town. It takes close to 8 hours from Colombo to get to Arugam bay and the closest city being Ampara.
The southern coastal belt has many pockets of absolutely gorgeous flat and wide sandy beaches. The lagoons found in this area make safe all-year round swimming. Bentota has possibly the best beach in the entire south coast, while Hikkaduwa is famed for its corals and water-based activities like diving and snorkeling. The south coast is affected by the south-west monsoon from May to September, so the best time to enjoy the south coast beaches are from November to April.
General Information:
Travel tips – Carry your sunscreen and shades
Hotspots – Negombo, Wadduwa, Bentota, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Tangalle, Arugam bay, Trincomalee
Beach Hotels – Wadduwa Blue waters, Bentota beach hotel, Nilaveli beach hotel


Botanical Gardens
Known by tourists for its sandy beaches and historic sites, Sri Lanka is not short of Botanical gardens. The soothing greenery and man made ponds provide travelers and botanist, an insight into the world of plants. It can also be said that the gardens induce the every visitor to fall in love with Mother Nature, and find the inner peace that Mother Nature has to offer each human being.
There are two major Botanical Gardens that exist in Sri Lanka. Both the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hakgala Botanical Gardens offer a diverse selection of plants and the chance to partake in a relaxing stroll through nature. Both gardens have a long history, one of them dating back to the time of King Vikramabahu the third.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens (Royal botanical gardens) is probably the best botanical garden in the country. Occupying 59 hectares (146 acres), it has about 4,000 species of plants. The most important specimens of the garden include palms, some of which are planted in impressive avenues. Significant, too, are the collections of orchids, gymnosperms, and flowering trees. The best known attraction of the garden is the orchid House, which houses more than 300 varieties of exquisite orchids. A spice garden gives you a first hand introduction to the trees and plants used for the traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Mahaweli River, Sri Lanka's longest river surrounding this garden gives an added beauty to this garden.
Hakgala Botanical Garden is situated on the Nuwara Eliya-Badulla main road, 16 km from Nuwara Eliya. The garden has a cool temperate climate because of altitude is 5,400 feet above the sea level. The mean annual temperature ranges between 16°C to 30°C during course of a year. From December to February it has a cold climate, while the warm climate persists from April to August. The Garden was established in 1861 for experimental cultivation. Later In 1884 it transformed to a botanical garden. Since then many sub tropical and some temperate plants were planted in the gardens. There are over 10,000 species of flora planted here and during the Spring season in Nuwara Eliya thousands of visitors come to see the blooms here. Number of annual visitors is around 500,000. The garden is famous for number of species of Orchids and Roses are planted there.
General Information:
Travel tips – If you are preferring cold climate the best time is in the months of December to February, and the sunny whether starts from the month of April all the way to August
Hotspots – Peradeniya, Hakgala, Henarathgoda
Distance from Colombo – Peradeniya : 110km; Hakgala : 125km; Henarathgoda : 34km


Lakes and Rivers

Lakes
Sri Lanka is a land that is extremely fertile and blessed with a rich offering of natural resources. Dams on the Mahaweli and other rivers have created large reservoirs. In addition, a series of small reservoirs called tanks dot the north central plains, storing water during the dry season. History states that some of the tanks were constructed 2,000 years ago. Beira Lake which is located in the heart of the Colombo is one of the famous lakes in the country. This man made lake was originally constructed during the colonial era of both the Portuguese and the English and was used to ferry goods in the area quickly and efficiently. Originally 100 hectares in size the lake has been shrunk to its current size of 60 hectares due to urbanization.
Bolgoda Lake is presumed to be the largest natural lake in Sri Lanka and covers almost two thirds of the Kalutara district. It extends from Anguruwatota to Piliyandala. The depth is said to be 20 to 50 feet. Other such lakes are Diyawanna Oya and Kandy Lake.
Rivers
Rivers that flow through this paradise island originates from the central highlands, and then reaches the Indian Ocean. Mahaweli River is the largest of the 103 river basins found in Sri Lanka. It covers about 16% of the island's total area. The river itself has a winding course, rising about 50 km south of Kandy and flowing north then north-east to the sea near Trincomalee covering a distance of 335 km.
Below is the list for the longest rivers in the country:
NameDestinationTotal Lenght
Mahaweli RiverTrincomalee335 km
Malvathu RiverMannar164 km
Kala OyaAnuradhapura148 km
Kelani RiverColombo145 km
Yan OyaMullaithivu142 km
Deduru Oya 142 km
Walawe Ganga 138 km
Maduru Oya 135 km
Maha Oya 134 km
Kalu RiverKalutara129 km



Waterfalls
Waterfalls can be called as natures musicians. The roaring sound of the water as it dashes to the ground below creates a sound that many modern instruments cannot duplicate. Sri Lanka has its own set of musicians; in fact there are 130 of them. Many tourists are transformed by the sight, smell, touch and sound of moving water. Sri Lanka, in comparison to its size, has perhaps the largest number of waterfalls of any country in the world. Bambarakanda Falls is the highest of its kind, and stands 863 feet from sea level.
Bambarakanda Falls
Despite it being the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka, it is a seasonal waterfall and is at its peak capacity from October to March. The main access to the falls is along a minor but motorable road via Haputale and Kalupahana. Kalupahana is 22 km from Balangoda or 32 km from Wellawaya. From Kalupahana proceeding 3 km along a narrow road through Weerakoongama one can reach the fall. The other way is to take the 15 km road from Ohiya. The beauty of the fall is that the whole stream sways to and fro due to the very strong winds blowing across it.
Diyaluma Falls
Diyaluma ranks as the second highest waterfall out of the 130. The water flows from 557 feet above sea level. The name Diyaluma is originated from the Sinhala word “Diya Haluma”, which means “Rapid flow of water”. On one side of the fall the land is covered in deciduous plants. Wildlife found in the area includes lizards. The fall is located along the Koslanda - Welawaya road in the Badulla District.
St Clair’s Falls
Considered to be the widest of its range, St Clair’s is known as the Little “Niagara of Sri Lanka”. It is situated in a scenic location, 3km west from Talawakele town on Hatton-Talawakele Highway in Nuwara Eliya District. This beautiful waterfall surrounded by bright green tea plantations gets its name from a nearby tea estate known as St Clair’s tea plantation, which was founded in 1875 by a Britisher named James W Ryan. History states that the name St Clair was used to the plantation after the founders son fell in love with a girl called Clair.
List of Waterfalls:
WaterfallHeight
Aberdeen Falls98 m
Baker's Falls20 m
Bambarakanda Falls263 m
Bopath Ella Falls30 m
Devon Falls97 m
Diyaluma Falls220 m
Dunhinda Falls63 m
Hunnas Falls60 m
Kirindi Ella116 m
Laxapana Falls129 m
Lovers Leap30 m
Nanuoya Falls60 m
Ramboda Falls109 m
Ravana Falls25 m
St.Clairs Falls80 m
Sri Pada Falls75 m
Windsor Forest Falls10 m


Mountains & Peaks
The central and southern part of the country holds many mountains that are highly ecological and rich in bio diversity. These stunning mountains are where many major rivers originate. These lush green peaks are safeguarded as forests in Sri Lanka.
Mount Siri Pada/Adams peak
Siri Pada, also known as the mountain of Butterflies is situated in the Ratnapura district. It is 2243m high and, though it is the second highest peak in the land, its position in relation to the topography is so dominant that it stands out. Four major religions consider this mountain to be their sacred ground. This is the only mountain in the world for such an event to take place. To the Buddhist, the imprint found on the summit of the mountain is the hallowed footprint of the Lord Buddha hence the Name Sri Pada. To the Hindus, the footprint is that of God Shiva. To the Christians, it is the footprint of St. Thomas, and to the Islam, it’s the foot print of Adam, hence the title Adams peak.
Piduruthlagala Mountain/Mount Pedro
This mountain is the highest in Sri Lanka, reaching 2534m towards the sky from sea level. Located in the Nuwara Eliya District overlooking the town and a sea of green tea, it is shrouded in forest, dripping with waterfalls and ensconced with Rhododendron bushes and wildlife. The climb to the top will be an awesome experience. The plants and species living in these mountain ranges are endemic. The famous ayurvedic plant called soma plant is found in this mountain. This rare plant is only found in these mountains as well as the Himalayas in India. The coldest part of Sri Lanka is situated in this mountain. It is a village called Shanthipura.
Knuckles Range
Originally called the Dumbara Kanduvetiya (Misty Mountains) the Knuckles were named by British surveyors who saw that the five peaks resembled a clenched fist. Since it is situated in the Intermediate Climatic Zone, the largely untouched and rugged terrain, 1,864m at its highest point, enjoys varied rainfall and temperature. This combination has fostered a diverse range of habitats from lowland semi evergreen forest and patana to montane wet evergreen forest that harbour a great degree of wildlife all vying for your attention as you journey through. The Knuckles Mountain Range covers parts of Kandy and Matale districts.
General Information
Travel tips – Due to security reasons some mountains are prohibited for trekking and hiking. Ex - Pithuruthalagala
Hotspots – Adams peak, Pithuruthalagala, Knuckles, Namunukula, Haputhale, Gongala, World's End, Hunnasgiriya, Hantana, Mihintale



Wildlife (Flora & Fauna)


  • Horton Plains National Park


Horton plains National park is a 2100m highland located 32 kilometers from Nuwara Eliya. The name Horton plains was given to the park, honoring the then Governor Sir Wilmot Robert Horton. This park is known to be the highest plateau in the country. Horton Plains was first declared a nature reserve under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance in December 1969, later in the year 1988 this was declared as a national park.
Park receives rainfall from both northeast & southwest monsoons as well as inter-monsoonal rains. The mist and the majestic clouds forming in the park can be a totally awesome experience. The park is characterized by a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, covered in upper tropical montane forest and wet patana grassland.
Horton Plains National Park is of considerable conservation importance as it contains most of the habitats of endemic plants and animals representative of the country's wet and montane zones. Spanning approximately 10,000 hectares the park is also home to a wide variety of flora (57 species, 29 endemic to Sri Lanka) and 24 species of mammals such as elk, deer, giant squirrel, wild boar, wild hare, porcupine and leopard. Fishing Cats and European Otters visit the wetlands of the park to prey on aquatic animals. One of Sri Lanka’s least known mammals, the mouse-deer can be seen in the park.
For bird enthusiasts, there are 87 species (14 of which are endemic), including many migratory birds. All six highland endemic birds are found here, including Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, Sri Lanka Wood-pigeon, and Sri Lanka Bush-warbler. Yellow-eared Bulbul and Black-throated Munia are widespread throughout the highlands.
The colonially famous Farr Inn, named after the fisherman Thomas Farr and Governor Horton's hunting lodge is being renovated and transformed into a Visitor Centre whilst conserving the colonial architecture. The Farr Inn was built in 1901. It is at Farr Inn that Governor Horton had discussions with the then Rate-Mahattayas regarding various matters.
Worlds End & Bakers Falls
World's End is a sheer precipice with a 4,000 ft drop. It is situated at the southern boundary of the park. Another cliff known as the Lesser World's End is located not far from World's End. Baker's Falls, a waterfall formed by Belihul Oya, a tributary of the Walawe River is named after Sir Samuel Baker, who was a hunter and explorer. The falls are 20 metres high. Slab Rock Falls lies 1 km to north of Baker's Falls.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 163km
Travel tips – Polythene is completely banned and facilities have been provided within the Park for garbage disposal. Hunting and the use of flashlights have been strictly prohibited.
Hotspots – Bakers Falls, World's End

  • Kumana National Park
Kumana is Sri Lankas best location to witness migratory birds and aquatic birds in large numbers. Species such as flamingos, herons, ibis and many others nest in the mangrove swamps especially in the months of May and June. Kumana is also known as the Yala East national park. This bird watching heaven Lies on the south -east coast in Eastern Provience, 12 km south of Arugam bay, and is accessible from the Wellawaya -Pottuvil Road. Total area of the park is 18149 hectare with 285.3 hectare in Block II and 17,863.4 hectare in Block I.
‘Kumana Villu’ (world famous mangrove swamp) is one of the most significant features of the park. It is a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the ‘Kumbukkan Oya’ through a half mile long narrow channel. It is at this mangrove swamp that many water birds nest in May and June. Commonly spotted birds include pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and little cormorants. The very rare black-necked stork has also been spotted at the swamp. If the tourists are lucky they might even spot the endemic Red faced Malkoha in forest areas.
Besides the prolific birdlife, Kumana is also home to some of the mammals found in the larger Yala (West) park, such as elephants and leopards. The vegetation in Kumana consists mainly of mangrove trees, kumbuk trees and the karan fern, as well as the open marsh area.
The mangrove swamp is surrounded by plains and the jungle. The flat terrain of the coast is broken by numerous, rocky outcrops. There are large saline lagoons along the coast, often surrounding the extensive plains.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 391 km
Travel tips – Don’t forget to carry your camera, since there will be plenty of rare birds to capture.

  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Situated in the northwest of the town of Kegalle, Pinnawala elephant orphanage is a refuge for orphaned and abandoned wild elephants. Established in the year 1975, this institution has become so popular among the tourists. Governed by the Department of National Zoological gardens, the orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers. This 24 acre breeding ground has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world.
From its humble beginnings of just 5 orphan elephants, the park has grown into a world famous elephant orphanage with 69 Asian elephants. At Pinnawala an attempt was made to simulate, in a limited way, the conditions in the wild. Animals are allowed to roam freely during the day and a herd structure is allowed to form.
At 8am everyday the babies are fed on milk in the mornings and allowed to roam freely on the 12 acre grassland. At 10am and 2pm the animals are walked 400 meters to the river Maha Oya for a two-hour bath. From 4:30pm and 6pm in the evening the animals are taken to their stalls and tethered for the night.
Each animal is also given around 76 kilograms of green manure a day and around 2 kg from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. They get access to water twice a day from the river. Around 110 people are employed to care for the herd feeding them with leaves from palm trees. About 14,000 kg of food is needed every day. A baby elephant can consume around 12 liters of milk a day. They are bottle fed by the staff in the orphanage.
The orphanage is open to the public daily, and all admission fees are used to look after the elephants. Visitors to the park can view many different aspects of the care and daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding of elephant calves, feeding of all other elephants, and bathing.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 80 km
Main attractions - Observing the bathing elephants, bathing times 10am and 2pm daily
Travel tips – This is not one of those places where a tourist can go on elephant rides. Have some extra cash for elephant souvenirs which are sold in shops nearby.

  • Sinharaja Rain Forest
Known as the most valued natural asset of the nation, Sinharaja national reserve is located in the south west of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. This majestic rainforest was deemed an International Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and deservedly designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989.
Stretching its boarders in three districts, namely Ratnapura, Galle and Matara, this one of the few virgin rain forests left in the world. Located on the Rakwana mountain range, the forest is separated from the central mountain ranges. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of Lion. The reserve is only 21 km from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south. This 8,900 hectare forest is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
The inhabitants of this tropical forest include leopards, giant squirrels, purple-faced leaf monkeys, leeches, water monitors, and torque macaques. The vivid types of Bird life in this rain forest include Ceylon Spur fowl, Ceylon Jungle fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Ceylon White-headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Munia, Ceylon Hill Myna, Malabar Trogon, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Green Imperial Pigeon, and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. Sinharaja is home to 95% the endemic birds of Sri Lanka.
The complex vegetation structure of the rain forest provides a variety of dwelling places or niches for animals. The vegetation of Sinharaja is that of humid wet evergreen forest type with a high degree of endemism. Over 60% of countries endemic plant species can be found within the boundaries of Sinharaja. Out of the170 species of orchids found in Sri Lanka, 74 of them found nowhere else in the world. Sinharaja has some of the best wild orchids in the world. Orchids such as the jewel orchid, foxtail orchid and the rare pitcher orchid can be found in the deep shade and humidity of the forest floor.
There are 32 medium to large villages surrounding the rainforest, and around 7,000 people reside here. Only two villages, Warukandeniya and Kolonthotuwa are located within the reserve. The villages’ infrastructure is poor, and the road network, often very poor so the people have to carry their produce over long distances to market. Several community-based organizations exist in each buffer zone village. In one formed by the Forest Department called Friends of Sinharaja (Sinharaja sumithuro) the members help to manage and protect the forest.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 90 km
Getting there - From Nothern or western parts of the country you can reach Sinharaja via Ratnapura, Kiriella, Kalawana, Weddala, From the South you can enter sinhraja from Deniya. Coming form Hambantota, Udawalawe you can enter Sinharaja from Rakwana side.
Travel tips – Watch out for the leeches


  • Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is located 180km north of Colombo. The park which remained closed due to security reasons was reopened in March 2010. According to the Department of Wildlife Conservation sources, infrastructure facilities of this sanctuary, covering 131,667 hectares, is being prepared for tourists. Declared as a sanctuary in 1905, Wilpattu is known to be one of the oldest parks in Sri Lanka. It was declared as a National park in 1938. Situated in the Dry zone, rainfall is mainly from the Northeast monsoons from October to February.
The word Wilpattu means “Land Of lakes”, as the name suggests there are nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks that are found throughout park. These natural lakes are scattered throughout the park, forming the unique appearance that no other park has in Sri Lanka. Willu’s provide the animals and plants with the daily dosage of water to survive, and the existence of the surrounding thick jungles is due to the refreshing water supply from the lakes.
31 species of mammals have been identified within Wilpattu national park. Mammals that are identified as threatened species living within the Wilpattu National Park are the elephant, Sloth bear, leopard and water Buffalo. Sambhur, spotted deer, mongoose, mouse and shrew are more of Wilpattu's residents. The most common reptiles found in the park are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger crocodile, Common cobra, Rat snake, Indian python, Pond turtle and the Soft shelled turtle who are resident in the large permanent Villus.
Wilpattu’s cultural heritage too is worth exploring. The ruins of an ancient building found in Kali Villu is believed to be the ruins of Kuveni’s palace. Another ancient love story unveiled 2000 years ago between Saliya – the son of Dutugemunu and Asoka mala has a background of Maradanmaduwa located within the national park. Ruins of pre-Vijayan periods too have been found from the area. Historians believe that Kudrimalai was a famous port in ancient times.
It has been revealed that ancient habitats were here thousands of years ago. Stone tools, as well as Myasin Fossils of the Mesothic age can be seen every where in this reserve. An ancient burial site has been found in the vicinity of Pomparippu. A specialty of this site is the fact that human remains and every day items have been found is a number of small clay pots contained within a larger clay pot in graves. It is believed that ruins connected to Kuweni are to be found here.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 183 km
Travel tips – January to May is the peak season, If you want to hire a jeep you need to get one from turn off point along the Puttlam-Anuradhapura Road


  • Yala National Park
Yala National Park / Ruhuna National Park, which is approximately 1,259 square kilometers in extent, is well recognised as one of the best parks in the world to observe and photograph leopards. Situated in the southeast region of the island in the dry zone boarding the Indian Ocean, this world famous national park was initially established in 1894 as a Game Sanctuary. Later in the year 1938 under the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance this was declared as a national park. The park consists of five blocks.
Menik ganga was once been the major source of water for the park is very often dry now; Inside the park lakes, water holes, small streams, etc. provide just enough water not only for the animals and birds but also for the weary traveller.
A recent survey has revealed that the Yala Block One of the Ruhuna National Park has the biggest mugger crocodile population in the world. There are over 500 mugger crocodiles in the area which covers around 140 square kilometres.
Yala National Park is famously known for its highest concentration of leopard per square kilometre. The perfect time to explore this natural reserve would be during the break of dawn and dusk, as it is during this time that leopards emerge out of the shady jungle and roam about. Travelers here have amazing and memorable leopard sightings.
Including Sri Lankan Elephant, 44 species of mammals are resident in Yala National Park. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is omnivorous. It feeds on nuts, berries, and roots, as well as carrion and meat. One of its main staples is insects, which it removes from rotting stumps and trees with its long, hairless snout and its naked lips. It rarely kills animals. This bear also likes honey. The animal is known to climb trees and endure attacks by swarming bees to reach the honeycombs.
The park was affected by the Boxing Day tsunami in the year 2004. 47 people were killed and there is a memorial in remembrance of them at Patanagala.
General Information
Distance from Colombo – 300 km
Travel tips – The Park is closed from 1st September to 15th October annually. Jeep tours are a popular way to get around the park and spot the wildlife. Accommodation is available at tourist bungalows by the Department of wild life conservation.
Getting there – Via South Coast: Tangalle and Hambantota
Via Udawalawe from Ratnapura, Haputale
Via Bandarawala, Tanamalwila from Nuwara eliya

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