• Thanushree Anil

5 Jaw-dropping sites in Sri Lanka


Srilanka has an abundant history reaching up to at least 125,000 years back with cinnamon being originated, with the oldest democracy in Asia, with the first country in the world to have a female prime minister and much more.

Srilanka, the teardrop-shaped island country at the Indian Ocean separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait.


Sri Lanka

The land bridge that used to exist between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka now only have a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. Stories claim that it was travelable up until 1480 AD and later cyclones deepened the bridge.


An area of 65,610 km2 and historical scenic beauty to view and awe, Sri Lanka is a gem spot for its biodiversity as well as its history.

Here are the 5 prime locations that are a must-see.

Sigiriya

Standing tall and majestically at 660 ft high, the ancient rock fortress and palace was home to the King Kashyapa. The architect of Sigiriya was Maya Danava, a descendant of Danu.


Declared as the UNESCO world heritage site in 1982, the rock fortress proves to be evidence of a well-planned city in the 5th century AD. The word Sirigiriya or the Sinhigiri means the Lion’s Rock, it consists of 1200 steps to reach the fortress. It would take a minimum of 1.5-3 hours to climb up.


Elephant rides with Sigiriya fortress at the background

The entrance to the royal palace at the top of the Sigiriya rock is through the Lion staircase which has two paws of a lion in front made of brick and covered with plaster. Currently, they are the only remnants of the lion structure that must have once stood there.


The lion rock of Sri Lanka astounding ancient engineering and architectural excellence. A unique harmony between nature and human imagination,

Lion Rock with only the paws remaining

Sigiriya rock fortress has admirable urban planning, construction technology, architecture, hydraulic engineering, and fine art to top it all off.


Paintings found in the depression of the fortress caves depict impeccably beautiful damsels floating among the clouds. There may have been five hundred paintings originally. It is also believed that it must have been in one of these caves King Ravana imprisoned Sita Devi after abducting her.


January to April is the best time to visit Sigiriya when the climate is moderate and suitable for day trips.



Adam’s Peak

An ancient pilgrim site claimed by one too many faiths for its sacredness. The Pearl of the Indian Ocean is ancient to the core with its legends, folklore, and myths.


Adam’s Peak which is a sacred mountain situated in the southern country hill with its scenic view is believed to have footprints; in Buddhism, the footprints of Buddha when he was going to paradise; in Hinduism, the footprints of Lord Shiva; For the Christians and Muslims it would be the footprints of Adam when he was cast out of Eden’s Garden.


The scenic view of Adam's Peak

Adam’s peak is also known as ‘Sri Pada’ meaning sacred foot. The footprint on the summit is sheltered under a tiny pavilion and painted in gold and said that the true footprint lies underground of the irregular depression under the pavilion.


The perfectly triangular outlined shadow of the irregular shape of the summit is quite the wonder and the explanation given by the Buddhists is that it is not a shadow but a physical representation of the “Triple Gem” which is The Buddha, the fully enlightened one. The Dharma, the teachings passed on by the Buddha. The Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice Dharmas.


The ascent of Adam’s Peak is traditionally made by night, allowing you to reach the top in time for dawn, which offers the best odds of seeing the extraordinary views free from the cloud as well as a chance a glimpsing the peak’s enigmatic shadow during the months of January to May

The perfect triangular shadow casted by Adam's Peak

Yala National Park

Embracing the far-reaching Indian Ocean, the Yala National Park is one of the most visited national safari parks in Sri Lanka.


Used as a hunting ground by the British in 1938 it was declared as a national park with its diverse biodiversity and ecosystem located in a dry semi-arid climatic region.


The safari park houses the largest bank of leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, crocodiles, and wild buffalos; 44 diverse mammals 215 bird species with seven endemic species.



Yala is one of the 70 important bird areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. 90 waterbird species (with half migrants), 47 reptile species (with 6 endemic species), 18 amphibian species (with 2 being endemic), and 21 freshwater fish species have also been recorded in Yala national park. All five globally endangered sea turtles also have been recorded to visit the coastline of Yala.


The best time to visit Yala national park is between February and July when the water levels of the park are quite low while bringing the animals into open.

Safari

Polonnaruwa

Royal Capital for the Cholas and the Sinhalese kingdoms the city was a thriving commercial and religious center for Sri Lanka a few centuries back.

One of the archaeological treasures, it is a delight to see the massive structure of walls of the royal palace that could have been seven floors and with magnificent architecture.


Ruins of the palace

Under the president, Maithripala Sririsena the Polonnaruwa is undergoing critical developments under the project “ Awakening of Polonnaruwa”.

Polonnaruwa is one of the most cleanest and picturesque cities in the country with its large area comprising of exquisite historical architecture and construction. Also, the nature around the city is nothing more than delightful.


At present, there are shops, educational institutions a little far away from the ancient city called the new town.


The best time to visit Polonnaruwa is July, August and then January, with less or no tourist traffic in March.


Colombo

Last but not the least, the most populous city in Sri Lanka housing a variety of ethnicity ranging in language, religion, and culture.


Sprawling with culture, the streets of Colombo is the new age Sri Lanka and it does justice to be the capital of the country too.


There are tons of activities that you could in the commercial capital of SriLanka.



You could walk touring the city’s forts and Pettah districts indulging with the indigenous people with its vivid and bustling streets filled with the aroma of street food and refreshing yourself with ice-cold beers at the Dutch Hospital Complex.


The manicured green grass awaits golfers at the Royal Colombo Golf Club that have been a spot for all the golfers all around the globe. Savor the tea from Sri Lanka’s heart while riding in a tuk-tuk.

End your day by visiting the Galle Face Green and the historical National Museum, take in the historical Buddhist artifacts and priceless collection of rare palm-leaf manuscripts among the grand golden throne of the King Of Kandy.


Sri Lanka is a five-course meal ranging from history to technology to culture, that land has been home to humans and gods alike with footprints as evidence.


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