Colombo, Sri Lanka‘s bustling commercial hub The central area of the city is still known as Fort, is located on the country’s west coast and with a population of between 800,000 and one million (estimates vary) is by far the country’s biggest city, as well as the most developed. Colombo’s cosmopolitan side supports ever-more stylish eateries, galleries and shops. Surprises abound: with a little exploration you'll find great local food, characterful shops, and tiny, convivial cafes. Meanwhile a building boom like no other is transforming the city's skyline.
The temple of the tooth relic is The treasure of Sri Lankas 2500 year dated history and its traditions, customs and culture. The temple itself possesses an architecture, plus the Lord Buddhas left tooth relic which is worshipped according to a preserved set of customs, quite enchanting. And also the traditional dancing methods of four corners of the country is also presented while at the Paegent held every year as the Esela Perahera.
Large herds of elephants gathered at places where tanks and lakes are is what Minneriya National Park is special about. From out of all national parks which has wild elephants Minneriya would be the ideal place to explore their wild habitat and also wading birds. Other than for the Sambar deer, buffalos and crocodiles – wish for the best to see the leopards hidden at Minneriya.
Nuwara Eliya can be reached from Colombo via Kandy, which is the gateway to the Central Highlands of the island. Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya is the most scenic highland motor road of Sri Lanka. Though the city of Nuwara Eliya has no Railway station, the highland railway line that winds past the city of Nanu Oya makes the journey by train one of the most scenic and memorable experiences. The journey to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by train as well as by car is equally spectacular. The alternative route to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo is via Hatton which is located in the southern area of the Central Highlands.
Hauntingly desolate, windswept plateau set at an elevation of over 2,000m makes you feel like a world apart which is excellent for trekking which also has a 9km circular walk to World’s End where the cliff falls down dramatically 1000m. Starting your walk early morning is advisable as the plains often gets covered with clouds by the mid-morning.
Crack open a coconut, slip into a hammock and rock gently in the breeze, allowing the hours, days and even weeks to slip calmly by. Welcome to Mirissa, which is 4km southeast of Weligama, and is another quickly developing crescent of beach.
Modest guesthouses abound and there are a string of simple cafes along the sand that seem to come and go with the tides. So far the government has stopped the kinds of sand-encroaching construction as seen at Unawatuna, but only time will tell as visitor numbers just keep growing.
You’ll need to go to Weligama or Matara for most services, although there are internet and phone places, and small markets near the 149km marker.
The big unmissable destination in the south. It's at once endlessly exotic, bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds, and yet also, with its wonderful collection of Dutch-colonial buildings, a town of great beauty. Classic architecture melds with a dramatic tropical setting to create a reality that is endlessly interesting. Wandering the old walls and streets at random yields one architectural surprise after another as you explore the amazing collection of structures dating back through the centuries.
The 8th world wonder to be the glorious rock kingdom which was solely built basing a stand rock situated in the middle of a forest. The path is paved for you to explore the paintings of Sri Lanka’s ancient artists and architects, and 6th century engineers of water flow systems. Believe it or not and rate what Sigiriya would make you feel.
The second most ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka – a wide choice of places which once was the home to Kings and Queens, gave shelter to armies who fought to protect their motherland lies with the same glory. Gigantic tanks, palaces built on stories and hideouts of ancestors of Sri Lanka would allow you captures worth the walk.
The beginning of the reign of Sri Lanka, the first most glorious city with unbelievably high rise stupas, Buddha statues to heal your mind as of Hon. Jawaharlal Nehru’s and the city is quite busy with the devotees visiting the Sri Maha Bodhi and Buddhist stupas which will also bring peace and serenity to your inner soul.
Hikkaduwa has been a firm fixture on the Sri Lankan tourist map since the 1970s. This long exposure to international tourism has left it a little worse for wear. Uncontrolled and unplanned development has meant that the swaying palms of yesteryear have given way to an almost unbroken strip of cheap guesthouses and restaurants that vie among themselves to be the closest to the lapping waves. This in turn has led to terrible beach erosion, and in parts the once-famous sand has now been almost completely replaced with sand bags fighting a vain battle to retain what little beach remains (although in recent years sand does seem to be beginning to return to large parts of the beach – a trend we can only hope continues). To make matters worse, the appalling Colombo–Galle road, with its asphyxiating smog and crazy bus drivers, runs right through the middle of it all, which can make stepping outside of your guesthouse as deadly as a game of Russian roulette!
Get enchanted by the wilderness, the little baby elephants and their habitats would explain you everything – that the wild is not wild at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Be there the right time to see them enjoy the waters with the baby elephants and push them to drink their bottle of milk.
In the east of the Horton Plains, feature’s the island’s most charming villages – dotted with spectacular waterfalls like Ravana Falls, the widest of them all. Thrill seekers and nature lovers would find a range of activities such as canoeing, rock climbing and trekking. Perched on a hillside, surrounded by tea plantations, pine forests, pretty little bungalows and many more.
Located at an elevation of 1118 feet from the sea level rises a massive rock from the surrounding plains of Dambulla of 600 feet high and over 2000 feet in length. It is home to the Worlds most acclaimed Cave complex of magnificent Buddha Images and Rock Paintings of vivid colours and shapes constructed and painted from around 2nd Century BC (Anuradhapura era ) and continued up to the Kandyan era of the 18th Century. Sinhalese people call it as ' Dambulu Gala' ( Dambulla Rock) and the Temple is called as the ' Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya' (Golden Rock Dambulla Temple).
Trincomalee, one of the finest natural deep-water harbours in the world is located 257 km north-east of Colombo, which is considered as the commercial hub of Sri Lanka. Trincomalee is home to the fine beaches of Nilaveli, Uppuveli and the off-shore Pigeon Island. Recently Trincomalee has become popular as a Whale Watching destination as well. The Dive centres at Nilaveli and Uppuveli offer touriststhe opportunity to enjoy their holidays in diving, snorkeling and swimming.
Inside the jungles of Kitulgala there are plenty of camping opportunities which can be coupled with White Water Rafting, Bird Watching, Jungle Walks, River bathing and many adventure activities. If you are looking at an adventure and leisure base close to Colombo, Kithulgala is THE PLACE. Being so close to Colombo if you stay for one night you would be able to do many adventure and leisure activities such as White Water Rafting, Bird Watching, Walking in the Jungle, Visiting pre historic caves, Bathing in the river, Trekking to Waterfalls, Adventure Jumps and slides in natural ponds, River Expeditions, Rain Forest Walks and Trails, Flat Water Rafting, Waterfall Abseiling, Mountain biking etc. Our Rain Forest Campsite is located in the Jungles of Kitulgala near small scenic waterfall where you can have a relaxing holiday by the water.
The Arugam Bay Beach is a wide sweeping sandy beach in front of the village of Arugam Bay and is an attraction for surfing and swimming all year-round.
Surfing : Arugam Bay is renowned for its fantastic waves, which attract surfers from all over the world. Although you can surf here all year round, the most favoured season is from April to October with the average height of waves being 1.5 to 2.5 meters. Main surf spots are Pottuvil point, Main Break and Crocodile Rock.
Dive : You can enjoy diving and snorkelling around Arugam Bay. If you are a serious scuba diver, you can charter a boat and head for the Basses Reefs, which is a “must see” dive site in Sri Lanka.
Kalpitiya is a mesmerizing archipelago on the northwestern side of Sri Lanka. It comprises of 14 islands that are becoming more and more popular amongst surfers and sun seekers. Aside from the perfect, all year round weather and the great swell, Kalpitiya is a fascinating marine reservation. If and when you’re tired of surfing, we recommend you to take your time and marvel at the sand dune beaches or the bar reefs. Book your surf camp adventure in Kalpitiya today and discover the true meaning of relaxation.
Slowly but surely re-emerging as a bastion of Hindu tradition, art and creative culture, Jaffna is once again welcoming visitors and looking to rise again. It’s an intriguing, unimposing and mostly untouristed place that's a thoroughly rewarding place to invest a few days discovering Sri Lankan Tamil culture. Inescapably, decades of war, emigration, embargoes and loss of life and property have deeply affected this historic Tamil town.
As in its name Wil-pattu is a Land of Lakes with the unique feature of beautiful lakes, natural and are sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that get filled after heavy rains. This is 152 meters above the sea level and is located in the lowland dry zone bordering to Anuradhapura and Puttlam. Being one of the largest and the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka Wilpattu owns more than 60 natural lakes within itself though situated in the dry zone. There is one simple and unique reason, the world has its eye on Wilpattu other than for the dry zone lakes – The Leopard. A remote camera survey has captured 49 leopards in Wilpattu which are identical and is mostly found in the core area of Yala block I and Horton Plains National Park. After nearly 16 years the park was open for travelers though about only a 25% could be traveled by them due to the forest or scrub.
If you're looking for some serious beach time, then Nilaveli could be just the ticket, for the sands are golden and the ocean inviting. Offshore, Pigeon Island offers fine diving and snorkelling.
Lying at the borders of the Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces of Sri Lanka, the national park at Udawalawa was established as a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the reservoir crossing Walawe River. Udawalawa is rated for the migrant birds and friendly wild elephants which could be sited at various open locations. Apart from the large herd of elephants of approximately 250 in numbers the rusty-spotted cat, fishing cat and Sri Lankan leopard makes Udawalawa their home. White wagtail, vblack capped kingfisher, cormorants, spot-billed pelican, Asian openbill, painted stork, black headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill are some migrants that never misses Udawalawa at their travel.
Seafood and generally known for the spicy savories served at beach restaurants and hotels are not what which wraps up Negombo. The blue waters beyond the Negombo beach are decent for a dropdown right after the International airport of Bandaranaike at Sri Lanka.
You might expect an overrun and packed beach here, due all the luxury around – but the Bentota beach proves you wrong as the sublime stretch of golden sand could barely make you find another tourist’s footprint around. Experience the luxury and serenity of the golden beaches and green and blue oceans at Bentota.
In between the sacred Dambulla and World Marvel Sigiriya lies the place of accommodation and arrangement portal for elephant rides. Habarana has a railway station where you could get down from expecting to visit Minneriya and Kaudulla national Parks.
Pasikuda beach is a popular tourist destination not only among foreigners but also among locals. The soft sandy beach and the shallow waters makes it a must see for visitors from all over. Pasikuda pronounced as 'Paasik kudah' is known to have one of the world's longest shallow coastlines. Since the water current is relatively weak you can walk around 250 meters out into to the sea. Use caution while swimming, however, since there are no lifeguards around the public beach area.
This wonderland provides a home to thousands of colorful birds ranging from diminutive little bee-eaters to memorably ugly open-billed storks. It shelters almost 200 species of birds within its 62-sq-km area, with many journeying from Siberia and the Rann of Kutch in India to winter here, arriving between August and April. Four of Sri Lanka’s five species of marine turtles (olive ridley, green, leatherback and loggerhead) lay their eggs on the coast.
Though Tissamaharama is visited mainly in view of it being the gateway to the Yala National Park, “Tissa” as it is affectionately called, in its own right, is a major cultural and nature attraction. Three ancient stupas and two ancient irrigation reservoirs make Tissamaharama worth touring. On the northern side, the town is bounded by lovely expanses of paddy fields. In the middle of the paddy fields is the Santagiri or Sandagiri dagoba, the largest stupa in Tissamaharama.
It is believed that Munishwaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here. Munishwaram means the first temple for Shiva (Munnu + Easwaran). A Shiva Lingam was already here when Lord Rama visited this place. Lord Rama after his victorious battle left for Ayodhya with Sita in one of King Ravana’s Vimanas. He felt he was being followed by a Bramhaasthi Dosham (a malevolent black shadow) as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin.
When the Vimana was passing over Munishwaram, he felt the Vimana vibrating, and realized the Brahmaasti Dosham was not following him at this particular point. He stopped the Vimana at this juncture and asked god Lord Shiva for advice. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised installing and praying at four lingams located at Manavari, Thiru Koneshwaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India as the only remedy to get rid of the dosham. The first lingam was installed at Manavari about 5km from here, near the banks of the Deduru Oya. At the Manavari Temple Chilaw Manavari is the first lingam installed and prayed by Rama and till date this lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Rameshwaram is the only other lingam in world named after Lord Rama. You will be attending a Special Pooja at this Temple.
Ramboda is an area, where the forces of Rama's gathered to fight against King Ravana. The hills of Ramboda are also believed where Hanuman was searching for Sita Devi. The Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka has built an Anjaneyar temple with Hanuman as the presiding deity. This temple is called Sri Baktha Hanuman temple and the image of Lord Hanuman here is 16 Feet tall.
Gayathri Peedam is believed to be the place from where King Ravana's son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and pooja's and in turn was granted super natural powers by Lord Shiva. The Gayathri Cathedral also known as Sri-Lanka Theeswarar Temple which he built is situated in an area fondly identified as Sri-Nagar which means the Metropolis of Prosperity.
The stream that runs from the hill, catered to the needs of Sita Devi during her stay at Ashok Vatika. She is said to have bathed in this stream. About a century ago of three idols were discovered in the stream, one of which was that of Sita. It is believed that the idols have been worshipped at this spot for centuries. Now there is temple for Lord Rama, Sitadevi, Luxshmana, and Hanuman by the side of this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hanuman's are found by this river and some are of small size and some are of large size, which tells us of the immense powers of hanuman transforming himself into any size. You will be attending a special pooja in this sacred temple.
Hakgala Garden is the exotic pleasure garden where king Ravana kept the depressed Sita, insisting that she marry him. It was here where the heart-warming meeting took place between her and Hanuman, who brought her Rama’s ring with the news that Rama was looking for her. He offered to carry her back but she refused saying it would be an insult to Rama’s honour if he did so. Part of this majestic garden still exists. It is also said that Hanuman nearly destroyed it in order to prove to Ravana of the forces against him.
Divurumpola means a ‘place of oath’. This is the place where Sita underwent the “Agni” test.She came unscathed and proved her innocence and purity. The message of Rama’s victory over Ravana was sent to Sita. After a bath and adorned with jewels she was taken on a palanquin before Rama. Meeting her husband after such a long time she was overcome with emotion, but Rama seemed lost in thought. At length he spoke, "I have killed my enemy. I have done my duty as a true king. But you have lived for a year in the enemy’s abode. It is not proper I take you back now."Sita was shocked. "You have broken my heart" she said,"only the uncultured speak like this". Have you forgotten the noble family I come from? Is it my fault Ravana carried me off by force? All the time, my mind, my heart, and soul were fixed on you alone, my lord! She turned to Lakshmana and said with tears streaming from her eyes, "prepare for me a fire. That is the only remedy for this sorrow of mine."Lakshmana in suppressed anger, looked at Rama’s face, but there was no softening, he lighted a big fire. Sita reverently went round her husband and approached the blazing fire.Joining her palms in salutation, she said, "if I am pure, of fire, protect me."With these words she jumped into the flames. Then arose from out of the flames Agni, the fire-god,whom she had invoked. He lifted Sita from the flames unharmed, and presented her to Rama. "Don’t I know that she is spotless and pure at heart? cried Rama, standing up to receive her. It’s for the sake of the world that I made her go through this ordeal of fire, so that the truth may be known to all." Today the temple is revered for the oath taken by Sitadevi and even the legal system permits and accepts the swearing done at this temple while settling disputes between parties.
Rawana Ella Cave is where Ravana was hiding Sita. Ravana Ella Cave located at the massive Ella Falls; a breathtaking 1080 feet high waterfall that cascades into several falls. The rocky undergoes of the waterfall is Khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes faster decay as hard gneiss or granite. This has resulted in many caves being formed near the falls. King Ravana is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfall. A nearby pool bored out of the rock by the gushing waters is where Sita is said to have bathed Ravana.
This is the temple of Lord Karthikeya Subramaniam at Kataragama. Lord Karthikeya was requested to go to the battlefield by Lord Indra on the last day of war. This was done to protect Lord Rama from the wrath of Brahmasthra aimed by King Ravana which other wise would have weakened Lord Rama. The benefit was one of the most powerful weapon brahma asthra aimed at Lord Rama for the second time was rendered useless by the presence of Lord Karthikeya.
According to Ramayana, after meeting Seetha Devi Lord Hanuman decided to test the strength of the mighty King Ravana and his army of Rakshasas. In the event that unfolded Lord Hanuman's tail was set on fire by the Rakshasas, who in turn went on to torch some parts of King Ravana's empire. Ussangoda is one of the torched areas, which is said to have been an airport used by King Ravana.
This is the first Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka and also the only Panchamuga (five faced) Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka. Its the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Ajanyear. The chariot festival is held annually end Dec/ beginning of January.
After King Ravana’s death, Vibeeshana was coroneted as King of Lanka by Lakshmana at Kelaniya. There are murals enshrined outside the Buddhist temple depicting the crowning of Vibeeshana. The Kelani River is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana and Vibeeshana palace was said to be on the banks of this river. The reason Lakshmana crowned Vibeeshana, was because Rama had to return to India as he had to continue his self-exile of 14 years to honour the commitment to his father, King Dasarath of Ajodhya. King Vibeeshana was considered a fair king, as he supported Rama against his own brother’s injustice. Many devotees that visit king Vibeeshana’s shrine pray to him asking his intervention to a fair recourse to their problems .