What to see and do in the Cultural Triangle

Dambulla Cave Temples

The city of Dambulla is home to the most impressive of the many cave temples found in Sri Lanka. There are five caves under a vast overhanging rock, which towers 160 metres over the surrounding plains. The caves house over 150 statues of Lord Buddha, god and goddesses as well as a few kings who have been vital in Sri Lanka’s history. The Buddha statues found inside the caves offer a large variety, both in term of size and attitude. Each of the ceilings in the five caves is covered with intricate and detailed religious paintings, some dating over 2000 years old. One cave has over 1500 paintings of Buddha covering it.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya, which has been declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World, is a magnificent ancient rock fortress and palace ruin. It is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and an amazing ancient water garden which still works in the rainy season. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings, which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa in 5AD as a fortress, and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is another World Heritage Site and was the Capital of Sri Lanka from 11th - 13th Centuries and contains some splendid and spectacular statues. Lankatilake, Tivanka and Thuparama are the most beautiful and largest Image Houses and Tivanka has the best examples of frescoes of the Polonnaruwa period. Rankoth Vehera and Kirivehera are well preserved large stupas, and Gal Vihare - a rock shrine, has four beautiful Buddha statues carved from the living rock and is a must to visit.

Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka from the 4th century BC until the 11th century AD and is situated about 205km north from the current capital city of Colombo. Today the city is famous for its well preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization, which include dagobas, monastic buildings and pokunas and is one of the eight World Heritage Sights of Sri Lanka. The ancient Bo Tree, grown from the original tree in Buddha Gaya under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment is situated here. Just 13km away from this ancient city lay Mihintale one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent Buddhist sites, where Buddhism originated in the island in 247BC.

Bicycle Tour

A great way to see Amradhapura is by bicycle tour. The tour will be conducted by qualified guides and will start from Thissawewa Rest, Anuradhapura and will take 1 ½ to 2 hour to visit the ancient city. It is a leisurely ride along lake bunds through paddy fields and rural villages. The scenic tour will take you past large stupas, temples, ancient ponds, lakes and many other ruins in this first capital city of Sri Lanka.

Hot Air Ballooning

Float peacefully over the Sri Lankan countryside, over villages and farms, as they wake up at dawn. View the rivers and lakes and cultural sites around Sigirya from the sky on a special balloon flight finishing with champagne and a light breakfast.

Minneriya National Park

The park is located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa and is home to a variety of wild life including Sambar Deer, elephant and leopards. The Minneriya tank, which was built by King Mahasena, is the main feature of the park and during the dry season peak months of August and September up to 300 elephants gathers around this tank, providing a spectacular sight dubbed as ‘the gathering’. It is also common to see huge flocks of birds that come to fish at the tank as the water level recedes. It is the ideal setting for all nature lovers and a unique experience for all.

Ayurveda Treatments

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest medical practices. Used in India and Sri Lanka for over 5000 years, it uses only natural remedies. The practice focuses in the balance between mind, body and spirit. Using plant based treatments massages are preformed to eliminate toxins and rejuvenate the body. Today about 60% of the population of Sri Lanka still uses it.


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