Tourist Attraction Places in Sri Lanka
Nuwara-Eliya the 'heart' of the tea country located at an elevation of 1980 meters in the central highlands of a tropical island, it offers the best both worlds advantages, of tropical abundance and pleasant cool mountain climate. While the time climate is sub-tropical, night temperature plunge low enough to produce frost.
Poḷonnaruwa is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage
Sigiriya is an ancient palace located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.
Kandy from a place called Delgamuwa. In 1592 Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in the island after the coastal regions had been conquered by the Portuguese. Several invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch (16th, 17th and 18th century) and later by the British (most notably in 1803) were repelled. The kingdom tolerated a Dutch presence on the coast of Sri Lanka, although attacks were occasionally launched. The most ambitious offensive was undertaken in 1761, when King Kirti Sri Rajasinha attacked and overran most of the coast, leaving only the heavily fortified Negombo intact. When a Dutch retaliatory force returned to the island in 1763, Kirti Sri Rajasinha abandoned the coastline and withdrew into the interior. When the Dutch continued to the jungles the next year, they were constantly harassed by disease, heat, lack of provisions, and Kandyan sharpshooters, who hid in the jungle and inflicted heavy losses on the Dutch. Dutch map of Kandy approximately 1765 The Dutch launched a better adapted force in January 1765, replacing their troops' bayonets with machetes and using more practical uniforms and tactics suited to jungle warfare. The Dutch were initially successful in capturing the capital, which was deserted, and the Kandyans withdrew to the jungles once more, refusing to engage in open battle. However, the Dutch were again worn down by constant attrition. A peace treaty was signed in 1766. The Dutch remained in control of the coastal areas until 1796, when Great Britain took them over (while the Netherlands under French control) as part of the Napoleonic wars. British possession of these areas was formalized with the treaty of Amiens in 1802. The next year the British also invaded Kandy in what became known as the First Kandyan War, but were repulsed. As the capital, Kandy had become home to the relic of the tooth of the Buddha which symbolizes a 4th-century tradition that used to be linked to the Sinhalese monarchy, since the protector of the relic was the ruler of the land. Thus the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth were placed in close proximity to each other. The last ruling dynasty of Kandy were the Nayaks. Kandy stayed independent until the early 19th century. In the Second Kandyan War, the British launched an invasion that met no resistance and reached the city on February 10, 1815. On March 2, 1815, a treaty known as the Kandyan Convention was signed between the British and the Radalas (Kandyan aristocrats). With this treaty, Kandy recognized George III as its King and became a British protectorate. The last king of the kingdom Sri Vikrama Rajasinha was captured and taken as a royal prisoner by the British to Vellore Fort in southern India along with all claimants to the throne. Some of the family members were also exiled to Tanjore (now known as Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu). Their erstwhile living place is still referred to as "Kandy Raja Aranmanai" on the eastern part of Thanjavur town on Old Mariamman Koil Road.
Galle & Mathara
Matara is situated in the very South of Sri Lanka, about 160 km from Colombo. The sea frontage to Matara city gives a glamorous look with a beach which extends to about half a kilometer in distance. When compared to other beaches this beach is full of various kinds of trees as shades. Polhena, Matara's beach area is 2 km away from the city center. There anybody can swim safely for it is naturally fenced with coral. The river Nilwala which runs through the city falls into the sea at Totamuna, which is also a part of the city. The Crow Island is a small island facing the beach and it is a spectacular sight with its greenery filled with trees. Matara, as commerv\cial center of Sri Lanka's South, consists of high buildings with a lot of business activities where many reputed companies from Colombo having their branches in the city. The bus terminal facing the sea beach provides a lot of facilities for the passengers who come in and out of the city with state as well as private transport.
Ratnapura a district of Sri Lanka in the Sabaragamuwa Province. The gem-mining centre of Sri Lanka is also a major crossroad between southern plains and the hill country to the east. A bustling market city servicing most of the surrounding towns. Many of the prominent gem dealers in Sri Lanka operate from this town. Scenery around the town is excellent and charming. There is a route to Sri Pada from Ratnapura direction. Excursions include Sinharaja Forest Reserveand Udawalawe National Park. The route towards hill country is beautiful. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching. Visit traditional gem mining and cutting operations.
There is much to see at Anuradhapura, including the sacred Bodhi tree, eight major palaces, monasteries and monuments. 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. Thuparamaya. Thera Mahinda himself introduced Theravada Buddhism and also chetiya worship to Ceylon. At his request King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya in which was enshrined the collarbone of the Buddha and is considered as the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka, after the introduction of Buddhism. This chetiya was built in the shape of a heap of paddy. This dagaba was destroyed from time to time. During the reign of King Agbo II it was completely destroyed and the King restored it. What we have today is the construction of the dagaba, done in 1862 AD. As it is today, after several renovations, in the course of the centuries, the monument has a diameter of 59 ft (18 m), at the base. The dome is 11 feet 4 inches (3.45 m) in height from the ground, 164½ ft (50.1 m) in diameter. The compound is paved with granite and there are 2 rows of stone pillars round the dagaba. During the early period vatadage was built round the dagaba. Lovamahapaya is situated between Ruvanveliseya and Sri Mahabodiya. It is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya. In ancient times the building included the refectory and the uposathagara. (Uposatha house). There was also a simamalake where the sangha assembled on poya days to recite the formula of the confessional]. The famous Lohaprasada built by King Dutugemunu described as an edifice of nine storeys, was a building of this class. One side of the building was 400 ft (120 m) in length. As the roof was covered with tiles made of bronze, this was known as the Brazen Palace. There are 40 rows, each row consisting of 40 stone pillars and a total of 1600 stone pillars were used for the building. It is believed that it took 6 years for the construction of the building and the plan was brought from the heavens. The building was completely destroyed during the reign of King Saddhatissa. Abhayagiri Dagaba. King Valagamba ascended the throne in 103 AD. He waged war with the Tamils and was defeated. When he fled, a Nigantha named Giri shouted words of derisive mockery at him. Later the king collected an army attacked the Tamils by slaying the last of their leaders, and recovered the throne he had lost. It is said that he demolished Nigantaramaya (the temple of the Niganthas) and built the Abhayagiri Vihara in the same premises. Shortly after this event, the monks of the Mahavihara took disciplinary action against one of the bhikkus of the Abhayagiri Vihara, for violating a rule of the vinaya. Thereafter the bhikkhus of the Abhayagiri Vihara founded a separate sect there. King Valagamba's reign is marked by an important event - the first schism in Buddhism in Ceylon. Most learned bhikkhus lives in Abhayagiri Vihara. It consisted of a large library. It is recorded that during the reigns of King Voharakatissa and King Gothabhaya this library was destroyed and the heretical monks driven away. King Parakramabahu renovated Abhayagiri Vihara, then the height is said to have been 140 cubit]s. In the year 1875, Abhayagiri Vihara which had a diameter of 307 feet (94 m) at its base, stood to a height of 231 feet (70 m). The relics of the Buddha are said to have been enshrined in a figure of a bull made out of thick gold. Jetavanarama. King Mahasen (273-301 AD) built this largest stupa in Ceylon, and possibly the whole world. A part of a sash tied by the Buddha is believed to be enshrined here. Its height is said to be 400 feet (120 m). This is considered as the largest stupa in the whole world. This stupa belongs to the Sagalika sect. The compound of the stupa is 8 acres (3 ha). One side of the stupa is 576 feet (176 m) in depth. The 4 flight of steps at the four sides is 28 feet (8.5 m) in depth. The doorpost to the shrine which is situated at the courtyard is 27 feet (8 m) in height. It is a foot (0.3 m) underground. There are some stone inscriptions in the courtyard with the names of donors inscribed. Mirisaveti Stupa. King Dutugamunu after defeating King Elara, built the Mirisaveti Stupa. After placing the Buddha relics in the scepter, he had gone to Tisawewa for a bath leaving the scepter. After the bath he returned to the place where the scepter was placed, and it is said that it could not be moved. The stupa was built in the place where the scepter stood. It is also said that he remembered that he partook a chilly curry without offering it to the sangha. In order to punish himself he built the Mirisavetiya Dagaba. The extent of this land is about 50 acres (20 ha). Although the king Kasyapa I and Kasyapa V renovated this, from time to time it was dilapidated. What stands today is the renovation done by the cultural Triangle Fund. Lankarama was built by King Valagamba, in an ancient place at Galhebakada. Nothing is known about the ancient form of the stupa, and later this was renovated. The ruins show that there are rows of stone pillars and it is no doubt that there has been a house built encircling the stupa (vatadage) to cover it. The round courtyard of the stupa seems to be 10 feet (3 m) above the ground. The diameter of the stupa is 45 feet (14 m). The courtyard is circular in shape and the diameter is 1332 feet (406 m). Isurumuniya is situated near Tisawewa and was built by King Devanampiyatissa to house 500 newly-ordained children of high caste. King Kasyapa I (473-491 AD) renovated this viharaya and named it as "Boupulvan, Kasubgiri Radmaha Vehera". This name is derived from names of his 2 daughters and his name. There is a viharaya connected to a cave and above is a cliff. A small stupa is built on it. It can be seen that the constructional work of this stupa belong to the present period. Lower down on both sides of a cleft, in a rock that appears to rise out of a pool, have been carved the figures of elephants. On the rock is carved the figure of a horse. The carving of Isurumuniya lovers on the slab has been brought from another place and placed it there. A few yards away from this vihara is the Magul Uyana. The ancient Magul Uyana is situated close to Isurumuni Vihara and Tissawewa and contains several ponds. There are remains of small cells, seats made of stone steps, and taps of aesthetic sense. According to legend it is believed that Prince Saliya met Asokamala in this garden. The largest pond in this garden is 31 x 55 ft (9.5 x 17 m) in length and breadth. This is not a place of worship.  Vessagiri About half a mile (1 km) to the south of Isurumuniya is situated Vessagiri on a mountains region. Scattered are 23 caves made of stone. Above the caves are inscribed the names of donors. These are the oldest inscriptions in Ceylon written in Brahmi script. Rathna Prasadaya was built by Kng Kanittha Tissa who ruled Ceylon from 167-186 AD. It is known that during the 8th and 10th centuries Mihindu II and Mihindu IV renovated that building. The bhikkhus of the Tapovana belonging to the Pansakulika sect resided here. Beautiful guard stones of the Abhayagiri Viharaya were found here. The Queen's Palace, containing the largest and the most beautiful moonstones, is near Ratna Prasadaya. According to an inscription, the Dakkhina Stupa was constructed by Uttiya, a Minister of King Valagamba. For sometime by an error it was considered as Elara's tomb. King Kanittha Tissa had build an alms hall, King Gottabhaya built an uposathagaraya, where the bhikkhis assembled for the ceremony of confession, while King Agbo I constructed a large building. The Bhikkhus of the Sagalika sect resided here. The most popularly known fact is that this stupa was constructed on the tomb of King Dutugemunu. Human bones that were collected were sent to France and according to the scientific analysis it was revealed that these ashes belong to King Dutugemunu. Sela Cetiya is one of the 16 main places of worship and is situated to the west of Jetavanaramaya. This was constructed by King Lajjitissa who ruled in the first century BC. The diameter of the base of the stupa is 37½ feet (11.4 m). This stupa has been given this name as the platform and stupa has been constructed in stone. A moonstone and guardstones can be seen here. Naka Vihara is a square-shaped stupa built of bricks. This is constructed according to an unusual model and would have been similar to the 7 storeyed building (Satmahal Prasadaya) in Polonnaruwa. Excavations done in this place reveal that there were several clay caskets. Kiribath Vehera. The remains of this vihara shows that it is 30 feet (10 m) in height and the circumference is 425 feet (130 m). The date of construction and the king who built it, is unknown. In close proximity to this are the ruins of an image house. There is controversy whether the Pattamaka Chetiya built by King Devanampiyatissa is one and the same. The most magnificent specimen of bathing tanks is the pair known asKuttam Pokuna at Anuradhapura, near Abhayagiri Vihara. The garden which separates these 2 ponds is 18½ ft (5.6 m). The larger of this pair is 132 ft in length and 51 ft in breadth (40 by 15.5 m), while the smaller is 91 feet long, the breadth is the same (28 by 15.5 m). The depth of the smaller pond is 14 feet (4.3 m) and the larger pond is 18 feet (5.5 m). The sides and the bottom of the ponds were faced with well cut granite slabs. Round the pond is a magnificent wall. Leading to the pond are a beautiful flight of steps on both sides, and decorated with "punkalas" and scroll design. There were underground ducts bringing water into these ponds and others emptying them. A wall is built to enclose the ponds, and inside it is a small compound. Samadhi Statue, in the Mahamevuna Park, is one of the best pieces of sculpture on the site. The statue is 8 feet (2.4 m) in height and made of granite and the Dhyana mudra is symbolished - The posture of meditation in which Buddha sits in the cross-legged position with upturned palms, placed one over the other on the lap.  Toluwila Statue Which has a close resemblance to the Samadhi statue at Anuradhapura, was found among the ruins in a temple at Toluwila in Anuradhapura. It is 5'9" (1.75 m) in height. The gap between the knees is 5'9" (1.75 m). The width between the shoulders is 3'5" (1.04 m). At present this statue is placed near the main entrance to the Colombo Museum. In the sacred city of Anuradhapura and in the vicinity are a large number of other ruins. These have not been identified properly and many have been destroyed either by Tamil invaders or by vandals. Neither tourists nor pilgrims havepaid much attention to these ruins and information regarding this is meager.