Ayubowan Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, is known to be the Island of Paradise. It was thought that the Garden of Eden in the Bible was located on this teardrop island off the coast of India.
Full country name : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Capital : Sri Jayawardenepura
Commercial Center : Colombo
Area : 25,322 square miles
Population : 19.6 Million
Main Ethnic Groups : Sinhala 74.0%, Sri Lankan Tamil 12.75%, Indian Tamil 5.50% Moor7.0%, Others 0.8%
Religious Groups : Buddhism – 70 per cent, Hinduism-16 per cent, Christianity – 7 per cent, Islam – 7 per cent.
Literacy Rate : 91.8%
Topography : Flat coastal and Northern areas, Hills and Mountains in the Central and South Central areas.
Average Temperature : Colombo 30.60c to 24.10c, Kandy 29.00c to 11.50c Nuwara Eliya 20.20c to 11.50c
Rainfall : March- April – Inter Monsoonal May – September – South West Monsoonal October -November-Inter Monsoonal December – February – North East Monsoonal
Average Rainfall : 39′ – 197
Location : An island of the south – eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.
National Flower : The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata)
Gem & Jewellery
The gems of Sri Lanka are woven In to his history. The Mahavansa, the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka too mentioned about gems ant jewelley. Indeed, the lord Buddha himself is sad to have had to come to Sri Lanka from India to settle a dispute between two kings, Chulodara and Mahotara, over a throne of gems. King Solomon is reported to have had gems brought from this island to win the heart of beautiful Queens. The great traveler, March Polo, Was said to have been so awe struck by a priceless ruby In the possession of the king of Sri Lanka that he recorded it as been of “span In length, with out a flaw, brilliant beyond compare.
Sri Lanka became known as Ratna Deepa (The Island of Gems). Some of the rarest precious stones in the world are found in abundance in the reach earth under our feet and the hills above us. Among the Several world famous gems Sri Lanka’s blue sapphire Weighing 466 carats. the largest known sapphire in the world. Weighing in at 19kg was also discovered here. Other famous gems include the Blue giant of the Orient, Weighing nearly 500 carats and the bluebell of Asia, which weighs in at 400 carats. The renowned Sri Lankan Star sapphire is on permanent display at the Museum of Natural History in New York, but due to an oversight, the stone has been called the star of India.
Throughout history Sri Lanka’s gems and jewellery have adorned the crown jewels of many a royal family. A gem – a 105 carat cat’s eye – discovered In a paddy field In Sri Lanka, gained fame among the royalty of Britain and was Successively Admired by Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and Queen Elizabeth.
The process of mining for gems is begun at an auspicious time with a short religious ritual, The most common methods of mining are In pits and by tunneling. Surface gemming and dredging depends on the location and the type of deposits stones are normally found In a layer of coarse, pebbly material, which contains traces of clay and fine sand. This gravel containing gems is referred to as “illam” and is found just below the alluvial deposits.
The rarest gem in the world Alexandrite, is found in Sri Lanka.
Gem pits are of two kinds. The shallow ones are well shaped and circular, whereas deep pits are rectangular. To prevent the walls of the pits from cavlng-in scaffoldings are made and the spaces filled with leaves. The water is then pumped out of the pit. if the “illam” vein runs horizontally, tunneling has to be resorted to. Another method of collecting illam is to place wooden poles across the river bed and standing on a pole with a long stick, a person drags the gravelly sand to wards him. This is then collected in buckets.
Either way the gravel is then washed in large circular wicker buckets by immersing them in water and rotating them. This enables the light, ordinary pebbles and sediment to escape, leaving the heavier pebbles behind. Then the basket are held against the sunlight and the sorting is carried out. Each illam brings forth a variety of stones. The principal source of Alexandrite, the rarest gem in the world is Sri Lanka it was first pound in the Urals in 1830 ant is named after czar Alexander II who come of age on the day it was found. This stone shines green in natural light but turns raspberry red In artificial Iight. The cat’s eye ls another stone which is considered valuable and rare. It derives its name from fact that a silvery line runs across its greenish-gray surface, giving it a remarkable resemblance to the eye of a cat. The rarest type Is the black cat’s eye. Sri Lanka can boast of having 17 varieties of precious and semlprecious stone. The most notable are:- Blue Sapphire, Alexandrite Star Ruby, Yellow Sapphire, Star Sapphire, Amethyst, Garnet, Moonstone
Sri Lankan Arts & Crafts
Objects carved In wood, made of brass and silver decorated with lacquer hand woven cloth and lace, beautiful reed mats, attractive batiks, pottery, masks, are among the handicraft Items made by the traditional craftsmen of Sri Lanka. These are available In the government handicraft emporium called Laksala’ In Colombo and its branches In major Outstation cities and towns and In numerous privately owned handicraft shops.
Wood Carving is practised by traditional craftsmen in the Kandyan region and Galle. Religious and secular objects, household articles, figurines, wall decorations are among the several items carved in wood, The art is even extended to decorating doorays, pillars, doors ant windows wooden furniture, of places of worship. Moratuwa, a suburb of Colombo is well known for wooden furniture.
This is a skilled craft practised in the Kandyan region by tratitional craftsmen. Lac workers in the Kantian region adopt the finger nail technique which is a unique style in creating patterns on items like ash trays, teapots, ornamental pots, jewellers boxes which are collectors’ items. (Suggested illustrations: Lacquer items).
Brassware and Silverware
Traditional brass products are commonly used as decorative items in Sri Lankan homes. These include oil lamps, trays, wall plaques, lamp stands, religious statuettes, ornamental figurines, vases, letter openers and trays, serviette holders, cigarette tins and match box holders among many other articles. Silver is used in making more expensive objects like tea services, jewellery cases, trays, cutlery and other utility items.
Colorful, dramatic fabrics designer garments in a wax resist dyeing technique of Indonesian origin but distinctly Sri Lankan Design, The batik tradition based on the cultural tradition of Sri Lanka, There are vivid colourful batik styles in Sri Lanka, There are Batik cloths, scarfs, wall hangings made the men and women make the batik items in rural areas.
The tea sector In Sri Lanka has always been a vital component Of her economy. It is also the country’s largest employer providing employment both directly and Indirectly to over One million people. It also contributes a significant amount to Government revenue and to the gross domestic product.
Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, acclaimed as the best tea In the world has its inherent unique characteristics and reputation running through more than a century. The Influence of climatic conditions of its plantation Imparts to the product a variety of flavors and aromas, synonymous with quality.
Sri lanka as the 3rd biggest tea producing country globally, has a production share of 9% In the international sphere, and one of the world’s leading exporters both a share of around 19% of the global demand. The total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at approximately 187,309 hectares.
Sri Lanka produces tea throughout the year and the growing areas are mainly concentrated in the central highlands and southern inland areas of the island. They are broadly grouped under these headings according to their elevatlons, with high growns ranging from 1200 m upwards, medium growns covering between 600 m to 1200 m. and low growns from sea levelly to 600m.
High grown teas from Sri Lanka are reputed for their taste And aroma. The two types of seasonal tea produced In these areas Dlmbula and Nuwara Ellya are much sought after by blenders in tea importing countries.
Uva teas from Eastern Highlands contain unique seasonal characters and are widely used ln many quality blends particular in west Germany and Japan.
The medium grown teas provide a thick coloury variety which are popular in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America.
The teas produced In low grown areas are mainly popular In Western Asia, middle Eastern countries and CIS countries. Most factories ln these areas produced what are known as leafy grade Of tea where the tea leaves are well twisted and can grade into long particles.
Sri Lanka mainly produced orthodox teas. In the orthodox process Of production, semi dried green shoots are raptured by roll gin achieved from a rotary movement. The rolling When tea leaves are crushed an oxidation process process ruptures and twists the leaves. When tea leaves are crushed an oxidation process begins, which is followed by firing and commonly known black tea is produced.
Sri Lanka also produces tea by unorthodox method, namely Cut Tear and Curl (C.T.C). Green tea, lnstant tea, Blo tea, and flavored tea are also produced in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is blessed with innumerable waterfalls. In fact the island nation has highest waterfall density (number of waterfalls per unit area) in the world. There are some 103 rivers and streams in Sri Lanka. Radiating from the hills, fed by two half-yearly monsoons, these rivers rush down the rocky precipices and form spectacular waterfalls. Only some of these picturesque waterfalls can be viewed with ease, while others are located inside thick forests and around tea plantations.
Bambarakanda Ella is the highest waterfall in Sri Lanka with a height of 263m (865 feet). It is a seasonal waterfall and is at its peak capacity October to March. The main access to the falls is along a minor but motorable road via Haputale and Kalupahana. Kalupahana is 22 km from Balangoda or 32 km from Wellawaya. From Kalupahana proceeding 3 km along a narrow road through Weerakoongama one can reach the fall. The beauty of the fall is that the whole stream sways to and fro due to the very strong winds blowing across it.
Diyaluma is the 2nd highest waterfall of Sri Lanka with a height of 559 feet. Fed by the Poonagala Oya, the fall is13 km from Wellawaya town and 6 km from Koslanda in the Hills. The fall has a folklore attached to it. According to a legend Gods, seeing the heartbreak of a prince whose runaway romance ended in the death of his sweetheart whom he had tried to haul over the Diyaluma precipice, created this beautiful cascade to weep forever in the wilderness.
Duhinda is a spectacular waterfall situated close to Badulla, an ancient hill capital. Fed by Baduluoya, a tributary of Mahawelli Ganga, the fall is 210 feet high. To reach the fall, one has to travel about 5 km from Badulla along the Mahiyangana road, and trek for another 2 km, away from the main road.
This waterfall is very close to Colombo can be reached off Dedigama-where the famous Kotavehera Dagoba is located. The fall is 35 feet high and presents a breathtaking sight. Literally Galagediyana means large number of stones and it is one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka.
Ravana Ella is one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka. The fall is connected to the legend of Ramayana. The cave hidden behind the falls is believed to be one of the places where Ravana hid Sita. The fall is fed by a tributary of River Kirindi and is visible from the Ella-Wellawaya road. The fall has a height of about 30 feet and plunges over a series of steps into the valley.
Bopath Ella is a spectacular waterfall situated close to Colombo. The fall has a height of 100 foot. The name Bopath Ella derives from its perfect heart-shaped head, much like the leaf of the sacred Bo tree. Due to its proximity to Colombo, the fall is a favorite picnic spot.
Saint Claire Waterfall
Saint Claire is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka. It is composed of two waterfalls-“Maha Ella” and “Kuda Ella”. “Maha Ella” is 80m high and falls in three cascades down to Kothmale fall. “Kuda Ella” is 60m high and flows to the Kothmale fall too. The fall can be seen clearly from A-7 road, 3 km off Thalawakalle.
Devon’s waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls of Sri Lanka. The fall is situated in the Devon estate, named after Devon-a pioneer coffee planter. It is gigantic fall, 318 ft high and has several cascades that add to its beauty. The clear space in front of the fall magnifies the gigantic nature of the fall. It can be reached via Hatton-N’Eliya road and it is off Lindula by the roadside.
Alupolla Ella fall has a height of 200 ft and is composed of three parts. The fall is located 25 km away from Ratnapura in the Wewalwatte village.
Sri Lankan Indigenous People (veddha)
The terms Vedda and Wanniyala-Aetto are the two terms most commonly used to refer to the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. Those who are not of the indigenous descent use the term Vedda when referring to the group, but the people themselves use the term Wanniyala-Aetto, meaning forest dwellers. The Vedda immigrated to Sri Lanka from India at a time that is unknown. They claim to be the first inhabitants of the country, although there is little proof and much argumenton who the first inhabitants actually were. The original Veddas lived in rock caves and survived off the land and the animals that they hunted. The original weapon of the Vedda was a bow and arrow, that they constructed themselves, but today the shotgun has replaced that.
The Veddas do not kill young or pregnant animals; they kill only what they need to survive. The food is then shared with their family and others. In addition to the animals that they hunt the Veddas also eat the fruit and honey that they gather from the land. Many of the Vedda people also practice a type of agriculture called chena cultivation. It is a slash and burn method which the new government sanctions. Mass ceremonies were held to legally wed those who were already wed according to Vedda belief. It was also ruled that the woman had to take the man’s name in marriage. With the new laws it has became very difficult to trace the descent of many of the Vedda people. Death like marriage is also made to be very simplistic. The Veddas do not hold any large ceremonies and their loved ones are quickly placed in the ground. The bodies in a traditional burial were covered with juices from the leaves of jungle trees or a lime tree.
In the past, people farmed small areas of land in the forest, cultivating them for a couple of years, and then letting them rest. The men both hunted and gathered while the women were just gatherers. Often, the women supplied more food for the family because the man was not always successful in his hunt. The original diet of the veddas developed over many years to be a very balanced and nutritious one. However, the government made it illegal to kill wild animal’s ant then most Veddas turned into vegetarians. With this turn illness and obesity were seen for the frst time among the people. The group had also never used or abused alcohol until the new government regulations were set into place, then alcoholism and mental illness were also seen for the first time. The government restrictions also brought other big changes. Their culture and language slowly started to vanish, and today there is not an original Vetda language remaining, and there is, at the most, only a few hundred Vedda people left that have not inter-married with other races and still practice the old ways of living. Many traditions ant religious rituals began to disappear. The original Vedda religion was actually a type of cult, based on the worship of ancestral spirits, known as Ne yaku.They asked fort he blessings of the Ne yaku and other spirits in order to keep the spirits of their dead happy. They feared that the spirits would bring them tragedy. The Veddas believed that their deceased were always with them and they weren’t actually dead until everybody that knew them was also dead. The Vedda marriage ceremony was one of simplicity. It involved the woman tying a bark rope, that she hat woven, around her husband to be’s waist to show that she accepted him as her mate. Vedda women are in several ways considered the equals of man. In many cultures a person’s decent is traced through the man but in the Vedda culture it is traditionally traced through the woman. When a man and a woman married they took her name.
The clothing of the Veddas has also changed. The traditional dress consisted of the men wearing a loin cloth and the women wearing a piece of material that covered the area between their naval and their knees. The men now wear a strong and the women wear a piece of clothing that covers from the breast-line to the knees. Almost all activities of the veddas follow the changing of the seasons. The Veddas year is determined by two main monsoons. The first, lasts from June to August and covers the southern and western coastal areas and the central hill country. The second, lasts from November to the end of January and covers the northern and eastern parts of the island, which is the area where the Veddas live. The time spaces between the two major monsoons bring thunderstorms. If these rains do not come the Veddas experience drought and food becomes hard to come by. The Vedda culture has been deeply affected by the government of Sri Lanka and may one day cease to exist. The few original Vedda that are still out there have changed dramatically. They no longer speak their native tongue and many other aspects of their lives have changed due to the laws they were forced to live under. The vedda culture is one of uniqueness but may one day no longer be here for us to study. It has already lost many of its original features and may soon lose them all.
The concept of ayurveda is old as the civilization of mankind. This had taken many turns, inherited many an ideology along the passage of time, getting refined in to a fine art. The word ”ayu|eda” is made of two syllables. The just part ”ayur” means long life ”veda” means science. A man who wishes to live a long and healthy life should follow this concept. Ayurveda shows how you can achieve this long and healthy life. The basic rule or the law is to live among and to take care of oneself with nature.
The creatures living on the surface cannot live under water and those that live under water cannot live on surface. Nature is considered as the mother of all beings, and that all living creatures are dependant on nature for their survival i.e. everything revolves around nature and nature itself brings up, preserves its creations. Ayurveda strictly follows the rules of nature, as It points out: what, when why, how, how much: to, eat, work: rest, wash, bathe which help us to lead a perfectly healthy life.
There are two divisions ln Ayurvedic treatment.
To Protect the health of oneself
To take care of the sick
To lead a healthy life one has to follow the ayurvedic principles. To take care of the sick, the ayurvedic physician has to get a through knowledge so that hc could determine whether the invalid is ill mentally or physically or both. Where for each patient, the physician has to diagnose the root of the cause and treat it accordingly. Since when the root of the illness is destroyed, the illness would not rise again. Almost all prescriptions used in curing are produced by raw materials found naturally, where no artificial substances are used. These would come from roots, stems, barks, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits & nuts of many a plant. From animals: milk, honey, pearls, musk, shells and from earth iron, gold, silver & copper are used. Ayurvedic drugs do no harm to the organs of the body and do not give rise to any side effects. It has been shown in medical studies that drugs used ln ayurveda act as nutrients. The treatments done in ayurveda vary from simple oral treatment to more complex acupuncturing, electro treatment and inoculation by injection.
Panchakarma is a another effective form of ayurvcdic treatment. Various effects that take place when the human system grows old could be minimized or reversed by applying principles of ayurvedic treatment. Ayurveda is an ancient form of healing, which had been improved through generations of healers who have thought of nothing but the well being of the living. One could find many a proficient physician of ayurveda in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Botanical Gardens
A visit to the Royal Botanical Garden Paradeniya near Kandy, Hakgala Gardens near Nuwara Eliya and Botanical Gardens Gampaha will pay rich dividends. To the botanist, this is indeed a land of plenty. The diversified climate allows for the growth of tropical as well as sub-tropical trees. The luxuriant undergrowth and tall majestic trees of the wet-zone tropical forest contrast with the arid scrub land and talipot palms of the dry north. In the hills, vegetation varies from the almost treeless patnas of Horton Plains to the dark cloud forests, wreathed with the protected OId Man’s Beard Moss.
From March to May, numerous flowering trees such as the fiery Poincianas regia, the white Mesua ferrera and the cherry blossom-like Tebebuia burst into bloom and flowering orchids include endemic varieties such as the protected Vanda and Wesak Orchids. National emphasis has also been placed on the human.plant relationship: official recognition has been given to the Na Tree (Mesua nagassarium) and the BlueWater Lily (Nymphaea stellatac), as the national tree and flower respectively. Along the coast bordering estuaries and lagoons, are the mangrove habitats which provide sanctuary for the island’s diverse coastal fishery resources.
Sri Lanka has a rich and exotic variety of wildlife and a long tradition of conservation rooted in its 2,230 year old Buddhist civilization. The following are the most important sanctuaries in terms of attractions, accessibility and availability of facilities.
The animals to be seen in Sri Lanka’s national parks include elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sandbur, deer and monkeys, wild buffalo, wild boar (pig), porcupine, ant-eater, civet cat, jackal, mongoose, Loris (unique to Sri Lanka) several varieties of lizards, squirrels, reptiles and amphibians. Each park however has its own specialties.
As the August moon waxes in the Buddhist month of Esala, the streets of Kandy erupt in a ten-day-long pageant which few can match in antiquity, grandeur or barbaric splendor, Young men morify their flesh while fulfilling vows to the Hindu god of Skanda by walking “in harness” with spikes in their backs accompanied by a fabulous procession.
The Procession includes fire-juggling acrobats, sumptuously-decorated elephants, traditional dancers, oboe-tooting musicians, banners, palanquins, whip crackers, torch bearers and thousands of barefoot pilgrims and swordsmen. To top it off, all this has happened every since about 300 AD.
The action is made even more mesmerizing because it happens at night. The old cannon booms after dusk and the Perahera (Paraders) take to the streets for ten nights, with the parades growing ever longer each night until of pageantry, when the parade is at its finest.
The festival is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and is dedicated not just to Skandsa but also to Buddha. It is held to invoke the blessings of the gods for rain, fertility, successful cropsand good health. Elephants feature heavily as they are symbols of abundance and fertility – the “clouds who walk the Earth”, instrumental in attracting the vital rains for harvest time.
The most treasured item in the procession is a copy of a golden reliquary said to hold a tooth of the Buddha. Legend has it that the Buddha’s toots was brought to Sri Lanka in the third century AD, hidden in the tresses of a princess. Pilgrims flock to visit the golden temple, Sri Dalada Maligawa, situated beside a tree-lined lake, every day of the year to catch a glimpse of the golden casket which holds the venerated molar.
Located in the north-central province of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya-a city, palace and garden complex centering a 200 metre high rock-is unofficially known as the 8th wonder of the world. Literally, the word Sigiriya means the Lion Rock. Sigiriya is Sri Lanka’s most recognizable landmark and has been declared as a World Heritage Site.
Built in the 5 century AD, this magnificent complex of geometrically laid gardens, pools, fountains as well as oldest surviving murals of maidens was palace of the King Kasyapa. The Complex consists of the central rock, rising 200 meters above the surrounding plain, and the two rectangular precincts on the east (90 hectares) and the west (40 hectares), surrounded by two moats and three ramparts.
The pleasure gardens on the western side of the rock are studded with ponds, fountains and promenades showing a glorious past. The miniature water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and watercourses. The largest water garden has a central island surrounded by water and linked to the main precinct by cardinally oriented causeways. The fountain garden is a narrow precinct on two levels. Western half has two long and deep pools, with shallow serpentine streams draining into the pools. These fountains are still active during the rainy season from November to January.
Climbing up the rock you will see the Mirror Wall, a highly polished rock surface that has weathered the times to shine and reflect even today. In a sheltered pocket are the famous frescoes of beautiful maidens, which appear to rise out of the clouds. A climb to the top is rewarded by a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
Located near the southern end of the country, Galle enjoys a nice coast line. And it’s a district that enjoys a great variance of scenarios, from beaches to marsh lands to dry planes to hills.
To add to the natural beauty, Galle has a great history too. The history goes in to king solomon’s time. It is believed that Galle is the ancient seaport “Tarshish”, from which king solomn drew the ivory and other valuables. It’s been the most prominent seaport before the western rule of the country. Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Malays and Indians were doing business through Galle port, The “modern” history of Galle starts in 1505, when the first Portuguese ship was drawn by a storm and the captain Lourenzo de Almeida came near Galle. But he did not land, Later they occupied many Sri Lankan Coastal towns, and by 1597, built a small fortification in Galle.
Later, Portuguese had to surrender to the Dutch armies. In 1640, the Dutch took over Galle. It was they who built the Fort in the year 1663, in the way it’s seen now. They built a fortified wall, using solid granite, and built three bastions, sun, moon and star. There was a developed town center, and a whole lot of buildings.
After the British took over the country from the Dutch, in Year 1796, they kept the Fort in the same way, and had it as the administration center of Galle.
Galle is also famous for handicrafts and, mostly, jewelry.
Sri Lanka has loads of history, Dambulla is a part of the Cultural Triangle declared by UNESCO is on the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy about 19 km from Sigiriya. There are over 80 caves in the surrounding and some of them have been used by the monks as meditation locations.
Major attractions are spread over 5 caves. Which contain the statues and the paintings. Since it’s founding in the 1 century BC by King Valagamga, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and painting over the years. Hindu statues are believed to be of the 12 century AD and the latest paintings are of the late 18-century. The temple is perfect location to view evolution of the ancient Sri Lankan arts. Dambulla is a unique and important historical site because of the amalgamation of the materials from many eras.
Close to Dambulla deep inside the jungle is perhaps the oldest garden in Sri Lanka is the Iron Wood Forest and the largest Rose Quartz Mountain Range in South Asia. The site had been declared as a human sanctuary by king Dappula in 10 century AD as shown in an inscription at the entrance to Namal Uyana. Trees believed to have been planted b those who sought sanctuary here and subsequently turned in to a vast plantation of Iron wood forest.
Apart from the biodiversity of the site as it contains many other plants, its is also geologically important because of the rose quartz mountain range in the garden. Which is believed to be over 500 million years old. White rose and violet colour quartz deposits can be seen here.
Anuradhapura Kingdom lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380BC. This city is home to many of the earliest grandest monuments of Sri Lanka. A popular destination of Sinhalese Buddhist’s prilgimages because of its many ancient Buddhist monuments.
Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.
Polonnurawa-located at a distance of 216 km from Colombo-was the capital of Sri Lanka in medieval times. Used by the Sri Lankan kings as a ‘country residence’ from the 7th century, Polonnurawa became Sri Lanka’s capital in the 11th century AD.
During its time the city was fortified with three concentric walls, beautified with parks and gardens and sanctified by many a shrine and sacred place. The city and the surrounding area were watered by a unique irrigational complex known as the Sea of Parakrama (Parakrama Samudra).
Places to See
Parakarma Samudra is a man made irrigation tank spread over an area of 5940 acres, built by the King Parakramabahu. It is one of the most striking features of Polonnurawa.
The Citadel housed the palace and the administrative buildings of King Prakramabahu who ruled in12th century AD and is enclosed by a huge rampart more than a metre thick. It is an impressive building with fine stone carvings. The Royal Bath is outside the rampart with a flight of steps leading to it. The beautiful bath is made of stone with a small pavilion probably used as a changing room.
It is a rock cut Buddhist shrine dating back to 12th century AD. It contains magnificent images of Buddha carved out of stone.
A circular relic chamber built enclosing a dagoba that had been a popular architectural style in ancient Sri Lanka.
A relic chamber built by King Parakramabahu I to house the sacred Tooth Relic.
A stone pond built in the shape of a lotus flower in eight parallel tiers probably to provide seating to the monks while bathing.
Arugam Bay is located at the “end of the road” on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. If you’re after remote rural life with all the atmosphere of jungle and adventure this is the place for you. There is no thoroughfare through our village, and once there it is very hard to leave!
The village of Arugam Bay is 5 km south of Pottuvil and on the edge of Yala East National Park.
Arugam Bay is a place for surfers, watersports freaks and wildlife aficionados with cheap to reasonable priced hotels and guesthouses.
Unfortunately Arugam Bay is on its way to become a major tourist destination, so you better hurry up while its still laid-back and original.
Arugam Bay is listed as one of the top ten surf points in the world. Situated on the southeast of Sri Lanka , Arugam Bay receives the same Antarctic winter swells that hit Indonesia ‘s southern shores in the middle of the year. The best time of the year for surf is between May and November when the predominant wind is offshore for at least the first half of the day.
Whether you want to dine on the beach in view of the sea or watch the world pass by from a sidewalk cafe, the cuisine of Arugam Bay offers just what you’re looking for. A stroll along Main Street will take you past many traditional Sri Lankan restaurants serving some of the best rice and curry on the island.
You’ll find a variety of accommodation in Arugam Bay with something suitable for every budget. Many of the hotels are small ‘guesthouses’.
Situated 250 km from the capital Colombo, Trincomalee is a natural harbor. Horatio Nelson, the British admiral of the 18th century had described Trincomalee as the finest harbor in the world. Trincomalee offers some of the best sea bathing in the country. In the northern stretch of ‘Trinco’, known as Nilaweli, shallow beach goes up to half a mile into the sea. The hot wells and the Pigeon Islands are the important places of tourist interest in the vicinity. There is an old Portuguese/Dutch fort reminiscent of the Colonial era.
Nilaveli-situated at a distance of 271 km from Colombo-is a prime beach resort on the East coast. The beach has ample water sports facilities including fishing and sea angling. Nilaveli is ideally suited for sun bathing and diving. A few metres from the coast is a small rocky island good for snorkeling.
Located 98 km south of Colombo, Hikkaduwa is one of the most popular beach resorts of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s only marine sanctuary is located here. It is an ideal place for nature lovers with its abundant corals and tropical fishes. Hikkaduwa has something to offer to everyone-coral for snorkellers, waves for surfers and white pristine beaches for those who want to relax and enjoy Sun and sand.
The large shallow body of water is enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals it is home to countless number of colourful coral fish, lobsters, large turtles and microscopic marine creatures. Approximately 200 m away from the beach there is a collection of tiny islets that are surrounded by beautiful coral formations. The four different shipwrecks waiting to be explored are a treat for the diving enthusiasts. The corals are located only 4 m below water, therefore can be easily accessed by novice divers; however if diving is too adventurous visitors could take a trip on a glass bottomed boat to enjoy the beauty of the coral sanctuary.
Unawatuna, near Galle is a beautiful wide curving golden beach. The beach has been acclaimed amongst 12 best beaches in the world. There is a reef protecting the beach, which makes it safe for bathing.
Rumasssala, a rocky outcrop projecting into the sea at Unawatuna is connected to the legend of Ramayana. It is believed to be a piece of mountain that was fallen when Lord Hanuman brought the mountain to Sri Lanka in search of a medicinal herb to treat Laxamana-Rama’s brother wounded in battle. The serene surroundings and the Dutch architecture add to the charm of the place.