Cities

Kalkudah

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Kalkudah is a charming curve of beach burrowed a few kilometres north of Passikudah. It has been famously described as one of the most paradisiacal places in Sri Lanka. Like other beach resorts on the east, it has been recovering from years of being war torn and tsunami battered. This serene area is likely to be redeveloped, however for now the few who venture out here have the whole place to themselves. It is postcard perfect with an untouched beach, dotted with occasional fishing boats and backed by green, swaying palms. Kalkudah is well protected from the annual monsoon by an off shore reef and is the perfect place for swimming, sun bathing, windsurfing and water skiing along with many other water activities. The combined area of Kalkudah and Passikuda was declared as the National Holiday resort in 1973.

Things to do in Kalkudah

  • Go sailing  or snorkeling on sea
  • Visit the Passikudah beach
  • Learn about coconut production at the Coconut Culture Park

 

Jaffna

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Jaffna is an ancient port city located in the northernmost region of Sri Lanka. It is also the driest place in the country and one of the oldest habitation sites in lower south Asia, populated by Tamil speaking people. About a million people call this picturesque, lagoon filled peninsula home. Jaffna is the heart of Sri Lanka’s Tamil culture and still thrives with traditional Hindu kovils and Catholic churches. Due to the Sri Lankan Civil War, access to the North was greatly restricted and the strong hold of the militant groups has taken a heavy toll. The flat Jaffna Peninsula is almost an island, though attached to the main land by just a strip of sand called Elephant Pass. The Peninsula is made of limestone, unlike most other parts of Sri Lanka and the porous stone absorbs the rain very quickly and conveys it to the water table. It is in close proximity to the sub-continent of India and separated from it by the Palk Strait and the Bay of Bengal. After almost 20 years, tourists can now travel to Jaffna either by land or air. It has many features to offer, ranging from a rich culture and history to a remarkable environment and salubrious climate.

Things to do in Jaffna

  • Visit Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil
  • Visit the Jaffna Public Library
  • Visit the Jaffna Market
  • Visit the Jaffna Fort
  • Visit Sri Nagavihara International Buddhist Centre
  • Visit the Jaffna Central Railway Station
  • Visit Neduntheevu (Delft Island)
  • Visit Dambakola Patuna
  • Visit Sangamitta Temple
  • Visit Kantharodai Viharaya

Induruwa

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Induruwa is a picturesque beach town located a few kilometers south of Bentota on Sri Lanka’s west coast. Its tranquility and seclusion has made in the ideal location for swimming and sun-bathing in utmost relaxation and privacy. The inhabitants of this scenic area live the simple life make set in a small fishing village, making it a major touristic attraction for those who seek the effortless side of paradise. Offering a calmer surrounding than some of its neighboring beach towns, Induruwa may not have many captivating activities to partake it or luxurious accommodation options, however it is one of the best places to enjoy a peaceful time in a tropical beach paradise. The nearby water lagoons and the Maadu River both house amazing and abundant species of Sri Lankan flora and fauna, making Induruwa attractive for tourists interested in the natural environment and bird watching.

Things to do in Induruwa

  • Visit the Induruwa beach
  • Engage in watersports
  • Visit Galapota Temple
  • Visit Aluthgama Market

Hikkaduwa

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Hikkaduwa is a small, peaceful beach town located on the admired southwest coast of the island. It is exceedingly popular among both domestic and international tourists for family holiday to Sri Lanka and is famously known for its upbeat, superb nightlife and delicious roadside cuisine where both Sri Lankan and Western food are available. The sunny palm-fringed beach has mesmerized travelers for centuries and it is the ideal place to relax, enjoy the sun and have the option of swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving. The coast is dotted with shops where equipment can be bought or rented. Hikkaduwa is also an internationally popular destination for board-surfing and surfing. Being the site of the famed coral garden, glass bottomed boats are available on hire and visitors can explore the stunning underwater fantasies. A reef of lime stones run parallel to the coast acting as a natural protector for the corals which lie between the wall of lime stone and the coast. Thrill seekers can walk 200 m into the sea with ease as the depth is quite shallow. There are also plenty of road side shops which offer a range of cheap shopping of clothing and footwear to jewelry. As dusk approaches, the town throbs with the hottest beats played by the many nightclubs that line the shore.

Things to do in Hikkaduwa

  • Spend time on the Hikkaduwa beach
  • Visit a turtle hatchery
  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling
  • Take a boat ride on the sea, and see coral sanctuary
  • Try windsurfing, kitesurfing and scuba diving

Hambantota

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Hambantota is a coastal city in the south of Sri Lanka just a few kilometres away from Tangalle. It is fairly undeveloped and was devastatingly struck by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. However it is currently undergoing a number of major development projects, including the construction of a new sea port, international airport and an international cricket stadium that will host games for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. It is most famous for its salt flats and intensely hot arid zone climate. With sweeping sandy beaches on the side and majestic views on the vast, glittering ocean, it is also a convenient base for exploring the flora and fauna enjoying a thrilling wildlife experience of the nearby Yala National Park and the temples at the religious town of Kataragama. Besides sun bathing, swimming and various other water sports the area also attracts tourists with its great natural beauty and cultural heritage.

Things to do in Hambantota

  • Visit Bundala National Park
  • Visit Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary
  • Visit Kumana National Park
  • Visit Mahapelessa Hot Springs
  • Visit Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens
  • Visit Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium

Habarana

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Habarana is a small picturesque city in the Anuradhapura District in the northern central region of Sri Lanka. The city is famed for its chain of high class tourist resorts which are extremely eco-friendly and have been built towards the beneficial aspects of the natural environment.

It is an ideal destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safari tours in the nearby Minneriya Sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants and other species of wildlife. It is also the site of a famed organic farm which specialise in high yield argro-crops. Situated near the ancient rock fortress and castle ruin of Sigiriya and the Dambulla Cave temple, Habarana also attracts those who are interested in the intriguing history of this tiny island as day excursion can be taken to the ancient areas of the country to explore the past lives of great kings and their monuments. It is a renowned paradise for those who love natural history and wildlife and offers some of the most amazing Sri Lanka holiday packages.

Things to do in Habarana

  • Visit Minneriya National Park
  • Visit Kaudulla National Park
  • Visit Ritigala Forest Monastery
  • Visit Hurulu Eco Park
  • Visit Habarana Buddhist Temple

Gampola

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Gampola is a large town located in amidst the central highlands of the country, near Kandy. The longest Buddha statue in South Asia, the Saliyalapura Temple is located in here and the town was one the capital city during ancient times when the country was ruled by King Buwanekabahu the fourth, who ruled for 4 years in mid fourteenth century. Among the remnants of Gampola era, three of the most famous temples and an ancient stone scripts helps to reveal a considerable amount of vital information regarding the lives of the people here during that time. The statue of Buddha and the temples indicate South Indian influence in their art work and style. One of these temples possesses a large collection of wood carvings, where no other temple in Sri Lanka owns such a collection. It is a town of great historical value and provides tourists a glimpse into the cultural past of Sri Lanka.

Things to do in Gampola

  • Visit Saliyalapura Temple
  • Visit Ambuluwawa Biodiversity Complex
  • Visit the Tea Plantation Workers Museum and Archive

Gampaha

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Located in the western part of the country, just a few kilometres north of Colombo separated by the famous Kelani River, sits the urban city of Gampaha. It is renowned for Ayurveda and indigenous medicine practice. Gampaha is the second most developed district in Sri Lanka and there are programmes to make it the best place to live in the country. In the recent years Gampaha has faced rapid development, many new shopping complexes, roads, bridges and flyovers has been constructed. Private institutions carry out many development programmes in the area.

Dambulla

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Dambulla is a popular destination in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. With a history that dates back to the 1st century, Dambulla has historic statues and paintings in its caves that has made it a popular destination for archeological studies. Some major attractions in the area include the Dambulla cave temple, the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, the Iron wood forest and the Na Uyana Aranya.

Things to do in Dambulla

  • Visit the historic sites including the Dambulla cave temple
  • Take a trip to Sigiriya
  • Go on safari to Minneriya
  • Visit Sam Popham’s Arboretum
  • Try hot air ballooning
  • Visit Namal Uyana

About the Dambulla cave Temple

The Dambulla cave temple (also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla) is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka. The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. King Valagambahu sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years during his exile from Anuradhapura. After reclaiming his capital, the king converted the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are.

The temple is composed of five caves under vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. The cave’s base is built at the base of a 150m high rock. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various Gods and Goddesses. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of Gods & Goddesses.

It is believed that Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these caves as there were burial sites that contained human skeletons aging 2700 years old.

The first cave is called Devaraja lena (lena in Sinhalese meaning cave), or “Cave of the Divine King.” This cave is dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha, hewn out of the rock. At the feet is Buddha’s favourite pupil, Ananda; at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves.

In the second and largest cave, in addition to 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha, are the gods Saman and Vishnu, which pilgrims often decorate with garlands, and finally statues of King Vattagamani, who honored the monastery in the first century B.C.

The third cave, the Maha Alut Vihara, the “Great New Monastery” acquired ceiling and wall paintings in the typical Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasingha (1747-1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist. In addition to the 50 Buddha statues, there is also a statue of the King.

The fourth and fifth caves are smaller; they date from a later period and are not of such high quality. There is a small Vishnu Devale between the first and second caves.

Chilaw

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Chilaw lies just a few kilometres south of Puttalam and is an admirable city where people of varying backgrounds, religions and ethnicity live together in peace and harmony. The beach is calm and tranquil allowing you to lay back in complete relaxation and swim at ease. Relating to the post Portuguese and Dutch colonial era, the town is famous for pearls and a large fishing community which specialize in crab and prawn farming. As it is in close proximity to the Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary, tourists can also enjoy a day excursion to explore the natural wonders of the country after a day on the beach.

Things to do in Chilaw

  • Visit Munneshwaram Hindu temple
  • Visit Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary
  • Take a trip to the beach
  • Visit the fishing villages and see the catch of the day
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