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
Nuwara EliyaNuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya meaning "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light", is a town in Sri Lanka. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) in the central highlands and is considered one of the most important locations for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The town is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the highest mountain in Sri Lanka.Add 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
Mihintale, one of Sri Lanka’s most significant cultural sites, lies 13kms east of Anuradhapura and is where Buddhism originated on the island. In 247 BC King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura, was deer hunting on the plains beneath Mihintale, and met Mahinda, son of the Indian Buddhist emperor, and chose the path of Buddhism for the Sinhalese nation following Mahinda’s persuasion.
Despite this, Mihintale is less famous than many cultural triangle sites, but those who visit are rewarded with a beautiful location with magnificent views, along with the experience of visiting a working Buddhist temple, the intriguing excavated ruins of a former monastery, a stunningly set dagoba and arguably the most religious rock in Sri Lanka- where Mahinda preached Buddhism to the deer-hunting King Tissa below. Well-worth a visit and easily combined in a day with Anuradhapura, Mihintale is a little-known gem that will enthral all culture-junkies.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
Located between Belihui Oya and Wellimada is Haputale, a small town perched steeply on both sides of a sharp ridge at the southern edge of Sri Lanka’s flamboyant scenic hill country. 122 kilometers from the capital of Colombo Haputale could be reached by train in 9 to hours whilst public bus or hired transport will yake an hour less to reach this panoramic small town. Haputale is renowned, like so many other hill towns on the island, for its spectacular views. While you travel make sure to turn off the air conditioner and grab a window seating to feast your eyes on magnificent waterfalls looming mountain ranges and the misty breeze that will gently blow on to your face as you experience the temperature decreasing as you near you destination. One of the most disconcerting is obtained from the main street, which seems to disappear into thin air, although in reality it just makes a right turn. On a clear day you can see from this ridge all the way to the south coast, and at night the Hambantota lighthouse situated at the Southern coastal areas of Sri Lanka could also be sited.
The Diyaluma Falls is a 220-metre high waterfall on the Punagala Oya located very close to the A4 road between Koslanda and Wellawaya. The Punagala Oya rises from the Mahakande pass and flows into he Kuda Oya, a tributary of the Kirindi Ganga, which flows into the sea near Tissamaharama. The Diyaluma Falls, the second highest in Sri Lanka, is the last of a series of waterfalls on this river.Add to my trip
The palm fringed bay and picturesque coves of Tangalle are a natural treasure, with a lazy town littered with gentle reminders of the Dutch days of the 18th century and beautiful villas looking out over shimmering sands at Seenimodera. Located 195 kilometers form the beautiful capital Colombo and 35km east of Matara, is a pleasant fishing port situated on one of the finest and largest bays in the island, which is protected from the ocean by an enclosing reef. You can arrive at this exquisite destination both by train and bus or hired transport with in 4 to 5 hours.
Exhibiting fine beaches, good swimming and more than reasonable diving, it is a popular destination on the south coast. It is believed that the name is derived from ran-gala or golden rock, from a legend that tells of a time when a holy man once partook of a meal there, and the rock was turned to gold whilst further research also reveals that it means the projecting rock, because long ago the town was protected from the ocean by a long rocky slab that projected into the sea across the mouth of the bay.Add to my trip
Situated 87 km from the capital of the island Colombo, is the small amazing town of Ambalangoda, a coastal town located along the coastal ride towards Galle, where you will see fearsome looking masks on display at establishments lining the road. A town famous for the carving of masks used in exorcism ceremonies and several forms of dance-drama by the local cultures of the country Ambalangoda could be reached by train in 3hours and 2 to 21/2 half hours by bus or hired transport. It is very weird yet wonderful, to find a town almost in the middle of this tourist development, which is exceedingly low-key, un-exposed and under-developed but famous for mask-carving – that is the town of Ambalangoda.
Ambalangoda unlike the other coastal areas does not posses the beauty nor the surfing waves or the vibrant beach water activities or the fine white sandy beaches but rather is a suitable location of adventure and discovery rather than relaxation and luxury. It is a town with a long stretch of wild beach you can explore all to yourself, whilst giving you a feeling of seclusion hard to find on this coast.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
Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rainforest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in the country. Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. The Academy Award-winning "The Bridge on the River Kwai" was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.Add to my trip
RatnapuraLesser Known Attractions
Ratnapura is the name of the provincial capital of Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the Ratnapura District in which the town is situated. Some say the modern name is derived from the Portuguese name Rapadura for jaggery, the palm candy produced traditionally in this region, but the more common explanation in Sri Lanka is that it comes from the Sinhala "ratna" meaning gems and "pura" meaning city. Ratnapura is also spelled as Rathnapura. Located some 101 km south east of Colombo, it is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Apart from gem mining, the town is known for rice and fruit cultivations.Add to my trip
The name "Colombo", first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name Kolon thota, meaning "port on the river Kelani". It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbour with leafy mango trees". Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.Add to my trip
Hambantota is a rural town in southeastern coastal area of Sri Lanka. It is also the capital of the Hambantota District in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.Add to my trip
Galle"Gaul", and in Sinhalese IPA: [ɡaːlːə]) is a town situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle was known as Gimhathiththa before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. The major river is Gin River Gin Ganga which starts from Gongala Kanda and passing villages such as Neluwa, Nagoda, Baddegama, Thelikada, Wakwella and kisses the sea at Ginthota. In Wakwella over the river there is Wakwella Bridge which is the longest bridge in Sri Lanka.Add to my trip
Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²). Anuradhapura is also significant in Hindu legends as the fabled capital of the Asura King Ravana in the Ramayana.Add to my trip
The sheer precipice of World's End and Baker's Falls are among the tourist attractions of the park.Add to my trip
PolannoruwaDiscover the PastThe 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. Add to my trip