A royal residence in 13th century Yapahuwa was able to preserve some interesting remains. While many traces of other ancient defenses are still be seen, an ornamental stairway remains it’s the main draw. The ruined walls of Yapahuwa form a rough semicircle. The ends join the foot of the high steep-sided rocky granite outcrop. The outer fortification, an earthen rampart extends to about a mile is about 20feet in height. Over the rampart are the ruins of a brick wall that was erected for defenses. Around the rampart was a moat. Around the rampart was a moat. Access to the fortress was by means of the three gates that connected to three causeways.
The area is thought to have been inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. As indicated in a Brahmi inscription indicted under the drip ledge of cave No.2 history could be traced back to 2nd century BC. Images and paintings in these cave date back to the 1st century BC. But the paintings and statues were repaired and repainted in 11th , 12th & 17th century AD. The caves in the city provided refuge to King Valagamba in his 14 year long exile from the Anuradhapura Kingdom. Buddhist monks meditating in the caves of Dambulla at the time provided the exiled king protection from his enemies. When King Valagamba returned to the throne at Anuradhapura kingdom in the 1st century BC, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla as a gratitude to the monks in dambulla.
The earliest evidence of human habitation at Sigiriya was found from the Aligala rock shelter to the east of Sigiriya rock, indicating that the area was occupied nearly five thousand years ago during the Mesolithic period. Buddhist monastic settlements were established in the western and northern slopes of the boulder-strewn hills surrounding the Sigiriya rock, during the third century B.C. Several rock shelrets or caves had been created during this period. These shelters were made under large boulders, with carved drip ledges around the cave mouths. Rock inscriptions are carved near the drip ledges on many of the shelters, recording the between the third century BC and the first century AD in 477 AD, prince Kasyapa seized the throne from King Dhatusena, following a coup assisted by Migara, the king’s nephew and army commander.
Plonnaruwa is the second (Medieval) capital of Sri Lanka which lasted for about 200 years from about 1055 AD. But there is evidence that Polonnaruwa was a strategic point during A’pura period. When large irrigation works commenced after king Vasaba some of the complexed irrigation networks and large tanks were constructed in Polonnaruwa area. (Girithale, Kanthale, Minneriya, Minipe, Elahara, Kaudulla & Maduru Oya). King Vijayabahu (Kitti) (1055-1110) was the hero who recaptured Rajarata from the Cholas. But while Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real Polonnaruwa hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I (1153-1186).
During the British period Anuradhapura became the capital of North Central province from 1873. All the administrative & commercial building were constructed amidst monuments. British and Sri Lankan archeologist tried their best to conserve the ancient monuments. But as due respect for the religious places were not given by the British, great Sri Lankans like Walisundara Harischandra launched a campaign to declare A’pura a sacred city and a new administrative city to be built away from the sacred city. As a result of this strong agitation A’pura was declared a sacred city in 1958 and a new administrative city was built Central Cultural fund was set up in the 1980s with the assistance of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization).
Aluvihara considered being a Sri Lanka temple that one should not miss during the holiday in Sri Lanka . This region is named after this renown Sri Lanka temple. Aluvihara is adorned by innumerable caves and a range of rock peaks. Archeologists endorse the legendary belief that the Dagoba and Bo-tree at Aluvihara can be traced to the reign of King Devanampiyatissa of Anuradhapura. The Chatragala and Yanthragala found amidst the remains of this Dagoba, which had collapsed and now preserved near the Bo-tree (ficus religiosa) are said to be proof of this, since it was during King Devanampiyatissa’s reign there existed the cult of enshrining Yanthragala in chetiyas with Chatra-gal subsequent fixed to these.
Available historical records suggest that Senkadagalapura (an early name for Kandy) was established by king Wickramabahu III during the period of his reign from 1357-1374 AD. Some scholars contend that the original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara located near present Watapuluwa. The more popular historical name Senkadagala - according to folklore has originated from one of the several possible sources. These include naming after a Brahmin with the name Senkada who lived in a cave near by, a queen of King Wickramabahu named Senkanda, and after a coloured stone named Senkadagala. The present name Kandy is only an anglicized version of Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land of mountains) originated in the colonial era. After King Wickramabahu III who founded the city, Senasammata Wickramabahu of Gamopola ascended the throne in the 15th cenruty (1473-1511) making it the new capital of the Kandyan Kingdom.
Situated 7 kilometers from the town of Pilimathalawa in Kandy district and surrounded by tea plantations and paddy fields, the historic Embekke Devalaya is an ancient shrine and a temple dedicated to lord Kataragama. Build by king Vikramabahu the 3rd of Gampola (A.D 1357-1374) the shrine consists of three sections, the sanctum or the Garbha, the Digge or dancing hall and the Hevisimandapaya or the Drummers hall. Embekke is world famous for wood carvings in the pillars of the drummer's hall which are considered to be some of the best exhibitions of ancient Sri Lankan craftsmanship. Embekke is a national heritage site which attracts a large number of both local and foriegn tourists annually.
Adam's Peak (also Adam's Mount; Sinhalese Samanalakanda "butterfly mountain", Tamil Sivanolipatha Malai ), is a 2,243 metres (7,359 ft) tall conical mountain located in central Sri Lanka. It is well-known for the Sri Pada "sacred footprint", a 1.8 m rock formation near the summit, in Buddhist tradition held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Shiva, in Christian tradition that of St. Thomas, and in Muslim tradition that of Adam. Sri Pada is revered as a holy site by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. It has specific qualities that cause it to stand out and be noticed; including its dominant and outstanding profile, and the boulder at the peak that contains an indentation resembling a footprint. Śrī Pada is an important pilgrimage site, especially for Hindus and Buddhists. Pilgrims walk up the mountain, following a variety of routes up thousands of steps. The journey takes several hours at least.
Buduruwagala is located about 5 km from the Wellawaya on the Thanamalwila road. The name Buduruwagala means “the rock with the statue of Buddha” And this is exactly what it is. Seven figured are carved in this rock with a massive 51 foot Buddha statue in the Abhaya Mudra gesture at the centre. The rock it self has shape of a kneeling elephant with its head own. Although there is no documented information about this site in the ancient scriptures, it is now believed this carvings were done during the last days of the Anuradhapura period. (between 8 - 10 Century). These carvings are of the Mahayana Buddhist style and similar to the statues at Dova Temple.
Horton plains are at Nuwaraeliya, Badulla and Rathnapura districts. There are two main entrances to this plain. Those are Pattipola entrance via Nuwaraeliya and Ambewela or Ohiya entrance via Welimada or Bandarawela. Large Savannah plains, Waterfalls, High pure water, Forests and several natural and high eco diversity areas are available to visit at Horton Plains. Horton Plains is controlled by Wild life department of Sri Lanka. Hoton plains are invented by Horton who was animal hunter in British governing period. Earlier this place is identified as ‘Maha Eliya’. Eliya means Plains and Maha means Big. In this case real meaning of this name is a Large Plain. This area is high more than 2300m above from sea level.
Everything about Ella is so pretty. It is a quiet, rather sleepy Hill Country village with wonderful views down to the plains below through the so called Ella Gap. The High Street is filled with quaint little cafes and restaurants but still remains very relaxed and calm. The town has a lovely climate too, so it’s no wonder that Ella is Sri Lanka’s most popular destination for budget travellers looking to explore the interior. Once at Ella, you can simply spend a few days enjoying the splendid views. The more adventurous can go on a highly enjoyable walk through tea estates to a viewpoint called Little Adam’s Peak, giving spectacular views. There is also the Ravana Ella Waterfalls, which are spectacular after the rains.
Whitewater rafting is at once a challenging recreational activity and an exhilarating water sport. Yet contrary to the general public perception, Whitewater rafting is not a sport that demands great physical strength. Dexterity with an ore in the hands, an average level of physical fitness and an unruffled temperament would do. Whitewater Rafting, generally enjoyed in the white-waters as well as in other turbulent waters, brings about enthralling experience to the water sport enthusiasts. Though ability to swim is a definite advantage, the Personal Flotation Device, the necessary outfit for a whitewater rafting enthusiast is guaranteed to save him from drowning in the rapids should he fell over board.
Yala National Park
Yala National Park affords the greatest opportunities to sight the Sri Lanka’s broad variety of wildlife: colorful painted stork in troops are seen perched at the shores of lagoon where the crocodiles too have chosen to doze off; lovely fantail peacocks in their resplendent blues and greens parade about amidst the woods where monkeys hang, leap and chatter; in the bush jungle are the Elephants; crossing the tracks and wandering off into the thorny scrub jungle is the star attraction of the park: the leopard. Yala’s arid boulder-scattered parklands are dramatically different from the lush jungles and paddy fields that cover so much of the island. This background was so suited to viewing elephants, leopards, wild boar, spotted deer, crocodiles.
Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park is located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa. Covered an area of 8890 hectares park is an ideal place for elephant and leopard watching. The vegetation of this park is mixed evergreen and scrub areas. The important feature of this park is that 3rd century built Minneriya Tank is located in the park. During the dry season Minneriya tank becomes the ideal place to observe its natural wild life.Minneriya National Park is home to 24 species of mammals,160 species of birds, 75 species of butterfly?s, 9 species of amphibians, 26 species of fish and 25 species of reptiles. Day jeep safari with a reliable guide will get you the opportunity to evident the natural beauty of the park and most of the wildlife. If you are lucky you will be able to get photographs of leopards and bathing elephants at the tank.
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is the largest and the oldest protected areas in Sri Lanka. The park lies within the North-central & North-western providences covering an area of 131693 ha. Wilpattu National Park comprises of a complex of Natural lakes called Villus surrounded by grassy plains, set within scrub jungle. This was declared as a sanctuary in 1905 and upgraded to a National Park in 1938.
Kumana National Park
Kumana National Park in Sri Lanka is renowned for its avifauna, particularly its large flocks of migratory waterfowl and wading birds. There are several tanks found here such as Kumana lake, Okanda Lake, Kiri Pokuna, Thunmulla Lake and few others. Most of these lakes are covered with lotuses and it manifests a fascinating view before us. The majority of birds’ habitats are found around the lagoons.
Sri Lanka - described by Marco Polo as the most beautiful island in the world - is an increasingly popular destination for those seeking a holiday away from the usual tourist circuit. Known as the island of serendipity, it offers a wide variety of sights, terrain and accommodation. If you are seeking adventure, Sri Lanka offers hill country plantation estates to jungle, rainforests to tree houses alongside rapid rivers. Go in search of wild Elephants and eagles, or adopt the bygone community life of the traditional Veddah villagers on an eco estate.