One of Sri Lanka’s most perfect and elegant statues, the Aukana Buddha lies to the west of the large Kala Wewa tank. Creation of both the temple and the tank (reservoir) is attributed to King Dhatusena in the 5th century. The statue stands 12m high, carved from a single rock and is completely free-standing. It is an example of the Abhayamudra Buddha, showing superhuman qualities. The right handed gesture, raised to the right shoulder with the palm spread, signifies lack of fear. The left hands position draws the worshipper to Buddha for release from their earthly bonds. The statue has gained significance in recent times due to the destruction of similar Buddha in Afghanistan.
The Aukana Buddha can be visited en route to Anuradhapura and can easily be combined with the ancient monastery site of Sasseruwa. It only takes a maximum of 45 minutes to visit the site. The nearby Kala Wewa tank (reservoir) is also an excellent place to stop off and have a picnic with a most satisfying viewAdd to my trip
SigiriyaDiscover the Past
Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. It is a popular tourist destination, also known for its ancient paintings (frescos), very similar to those in the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiraya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.Add to my trip
Ritigala nestles deep inside the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve, found just off the Anuradhapura-Habarana road, and is the partially excavated ruins of an extensive Buddhist Monastery. It was abandoned following invasions in 10th and 11th centuries and today holds special appeal with its curious blend of nano-safari and archaeology. Walking around the beautiful ruins does certainly give you a feeling of adventures in search of mythical pasts; it is easy to imagine yourself as Indiana Jones whilst clambering over the overgrown relics of a forgotten time.Add to my trip
Tissamaharama named after the man-made reservoir Tissa Wewa, is one of the most pleasant towns in the southern coast is homes to many remarkable bird life and provides the scenic backdrop to the town. Tissa was the sanctuary in the deep south, where Sinhalese patriots fled to rally support against marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India. Known by the name of Mahagama (great town), it was one of the principal settlements of the southern province of Ruhuna. Mahagama was founded in the third century BC by a brother of the King Devanam Piya Tissa of Anuradhapura, & later rose to prominence under King Kavantissa, father of the hero of the nation, King Dutugamunu of Ruhuna.
Modern Tissa is a bustling city with the main street lined with banks, shops & little cafes and kiosks. Refreshing breeze from the large reservoir sweeps the town. The town in turn is bounded by a beautiful expanse of paddy fields. In the midst of paddy fields stands most impressive of Tissa’s dagobas (stupas). The combination of cluster of dagobas & two beautiful tanks lend Tissa a certain distinction & a sense of history making it in sharp contrast with the other towns of southern coast.Add to my trip
Kaudulla National ParkEco Tourism
A park premeditated with offering protection for the herd of elephant witnessed sometimes over 250 during the migration season, Kaudulla National Park provides a measure of protection not just for that single species, but for a host of others such as many mammals, birds and reptiles all scaled or feathered, leafy or hairy.
Located 190 kilometers from the capital city of Colombo it can be accessed through Habarana Trincomalee road from the Gal Oya junction which is only 6 kilometers from the Park. The Kudulla National Park plays a vital role in the region’s planned wild life protection which clearly stands attest the protection of bountiful natural heritage not just for survival but also to flourish for the future generations.
Located between Wasgamuwa National Park and Minneriya National Park this 6656 hectare conservations include semi mixed evergreen grass lands and riverside forests as well. Known for the flamboyant array of aquatic birds such as cormorants, painted storks and others, which attracts photographers from around the region, the wetlands of Kudulla Park is also home for fishing cats, sambar deer, the endangered rusty spotted cat, sloth bear and even at times leopards.Add to my trip
Lunugamvehera National ParkResearch Tourism
Lunugamvehera National Park is the immediate catchment of the Lunugamvehera reservoir. And serves as a link between the Ruhunu Yala National Protected area complex on the east side and Udawalawe National Park to its west and facilitates the ranging of elephants to and from areas such as Haldummula and Koslands in the Uva and Southern region of Sri Lanka. Located 261 kilometers from Colombo, Lunugamvehera National Park can be accessed via the ancient religious city of Tissamaharama or the next National conservation of Uda Walawe.
Lunugamvehera National Park, which is a contiguous stretch of forests of famous Ruhuna (Yala) National Park, was declared in 1995, with the objectives of protecting the catchment area of Lunugamvehera reservoir and wildlife resources therein. Protection of this catchment area is vital to maintain the water levels of five other reservoirs downstream Kirindi Oya river and wetland characteristics of Bundala National Park, too.
Lunugamvehera is in the Dry zone of Sri Lanka, therefore the park is exposed to annual drought, relieved by the south western monsoon. Out of 23,498 hectares of total land area 14 percent, is land under the reservoir. Nearby Thanamalvila area receives a 1,000 millimetres of annual rainfall.Add to my trip
Udawalawa National ParkNature Trails
Known as the second largest park for herds of wild elephants, the Udawalawa National Park lies in the lower catchment of Udawalawa Reservoir in the country’s Intermediate Lowland region it was established as a National Park on 30th July 1972. It This area falls into two administrative districts in two provinces. The parkland on the right bank of Walawe ganga is within Ratnapura district in the province of Sabaragamuwa and the parkland on the left bank falls within Moneragala district in the province of Uva.
The dry land area of the Park is about approximately 28910 hectare. The reservoir of Udawalawa is surrounded by open plains and foothills such as kalthota Escarpment and spectacular Diyawinne Fallto the north and Ulgala, in the west. The climate in the park is characterized by a seasonal rainfall and uniformly high temperature conditions. A short dry spell is experienced in February- March and a prolonged dry period is observed from mid May to end of September.Add to my trip
Wasgamuwa National ParkResearch Tourism
Declared a strict natural reserve as way back as in 1938, Wasgomuwa was elevated to the level of a National Park in 1984. Situated 260 kilometers from Colombo, the park occupies areas of the North Central and Central provinces with a total land area of 39,000 hectares. The park consists mostly of Riverine Forest, Grasslands and Wetlands encompassing many different habitats for its inhabitants. The park is almost entirely surrounded by the Maheweli and Amban Rivers. Wasgomuwa is famous elephant country and has a reputation for having less habituated pachyderms than most other parks.
Wasgomuwa is one of the least visited and most un-spoilt of Sri Lanka’s national parks. Established in 1984 to protect wildlife displaced by forest clearance, this park is enclosed and protected by two mighty rivers which flank its borders: the Amban Ganga to the east and The Mahaweli Ganga to the west.Add to my trip
Lahugala National ParkBird Watching
Located about 16km inland to the west of Potuvil is the 1554 hectare Lahugala Kitulana National Park. The Pottuvil-Monaragala trunk road runs through the south-eastern sector of the park. It is 2 km off the main Monaragala – Pottuvil road some 5 km from Pottuvil. The park lies between larger wildlife reserves of Gal Oya National Park to the north and Ruhuna Yala National Park to the south, the Lahugala park is part of the protected ‘Elephant Corridor’ for the elephant population to move freely across the south-eastern part of the island initiated by the Governments as part of its nature and wild life conservation project.
The Lahugala Park was primarily declared as a sanctuary on 1st July 1966 which was later upgraded as a National park on 1st October 1980. Although considered as the smallest national parks in the country, the Lahugala Park is a popular location for elephant enthusiasts and bird watchers. The main reason for the large attraction of elephant herds in this park is contributed to the presence of the beru grass, which grows in the pastures around the main three tanks in the park. With the arrival of rain in October, most of the herds of elephants drift back to their regular haunts.Add to my trip
Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka is a major tourist destination. ( 115kM from Colombo at 465 meters above sea level). Famous for the
Temple of the Tooth and many other temples the city could be called the cultural capital of the island.
Kandy Perahera, the pageant of the temple of tooth where Buddha’s tooth is kept is held either in July or August each year to parade the golden caskets is a must see itenary if one is visiting Sri Lanka during these months. The final night procession is the most spectacular event of the country. More than 50 elephants parade the city accompanied by the drummers, dancers and chieftains.
the city established in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule ended. This bustling market town is rich in cultural diversity has plenty of iteneries to offer to the tourists from songs dances and handy crafts to ancient temples and adventure activities. Kandy is a good transit point to the cultural triangle to the north or hill country to the south. The city is also a good source of souvenirs or to experience many cultural performances at it’s various hotels in the city.Add to my trip
Dambulla Golden Temple and Cave Temple are two engrossing cultural historical sites in one place. For the serious culture junkies, they offer hours of exploration. Your first sight of Dambulla will be the giant gold Buddha sitting on the roof of the Golden Temple. Built in 2001 it is said to be the largest o f its kind in the world.
Aside from this eye-catching, if slightly tacky, recent addition, the ancient caves reward immediately those who’ve endured a steep climb up to them with a fine panorama of surrounding jungle, tanks and Sigiriya Rock, 19km away. The caves at first came into use as a refuge for King Valagambahu in 1st century BC. Concealed by the local monks, upon returning from exile to his throne at Anuradhapura, he had the magnificent cave temple built for them. There are five main caves, created by a cliff overhang, fronted by an assortment of monastic buildings surrounding a ceremonial courtyard. Each cave is spectacularly painted and different from the next.Add to my trip