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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
(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
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.
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.
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
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
Dambana not only offers its Jungles and Veddha’s to its guests, but gods blessings through the nature and wildlife.
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
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 (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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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
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, 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
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.
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 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
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.
Population - 106,000
Distance from Colombo – 216 km
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 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
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
- Glass Boat Rides
- Scuba Diving
- Fishing trips
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
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.
Travel tips – A bottle of Water is essential, Watch out for leeches, Most of the parks close in September during mating season
– 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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 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:
|Mahaweli River||Trincomalee||335 km|
|Malvathu River||Mannar||164 km|
|Kala Oya||Anuradhapura||148 km|
|Kelani River||Colombo||145 km|
|Yan Oya||Mullaithivu||142 km|
|Deduru Oya|| ||142 km|
|Walawe Ganga|| ||138 km|
|Maduru Oya|| ||135 km|
|Maha Oya|| ||134 km|
|Kalu River||Kalutara||129 km|
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.
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 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:
|Aberdeen Falls||98 m|
|Baker's Falls||20 m|
|Bambarakanda Falls||263 m|
|Bopath Ella Falls||30 m|
|Devon Falls||97 m|
|Diyaluma Falls||220 m|
|Dunhinda Falls||63 m|
|Hunnas Falls||60 m|
|Kirindi Ella||116 m|
|Laxapana Falls||129 m|
|Lovers Leap||30 m|
|Nanuoya Falls||60 m|
|Ramboda Falls||109 m|
|Ravana Falls||25 m|
|St.Clairs Falls||80 m|
|Sri Pada Falls||75 m|
|Windsor Forest Falls||10 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
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
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.
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 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
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.
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
Hotspots – Bakers Falls, World's End
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
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
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
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,
Distance from Colombo – 80 km
Main attractions - Observing the bathing elephants, bathing times 10am and 2pm daily
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.
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
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.
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
Travel tips – Watch out for the leeches
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.
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 / 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
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
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