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Main Cities
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NILAVELI

The place located in east of the country 120 km from Colombo and 14 km from Trincomalee. The natural harbor and beach is one of finest in world. Nilaveli is ideal place for water sports like scuba diving.

TRINCOMALEE

Eastern Sri Lanka’s major town, TRINCOMALEE (or “Trinco”) has been celebrated since antiquity for its superlative deep-water harbor, one of the finest in Asia – the legendary Panduvasudeva is said to have sailed into Trincomalee (or Gokana, as it was originally known) with his followers, while the town served as the major conduit for the island’s seaborne trade during the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods. The harbor was later fought over repeatedly during the colonial period and even attracted the hostile attentions of the Japanese air force during World War II.

Trincomalee suffered massively following the onset of the civil war in 1983. Although Trinco avoided the massive bomb damage inflicted on Jaffna, the town’s position close to the front line made it the island’s major collecting point for war-displaced refugees, while tensions between the town’s Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese communities regularly erupted into communal rioting. Things have been a lot quieter following the expulsion of the LTTE from the east in 2007, and Trinco is now once again looking to the future with renewed, if cautious, optimism.

SIGHTS IN TRINCOMALEE

The town itself possesses an understated but distinct charm all of its own, with an interesting old fort and sleepy backstreets lined with pretty colonial villas dotted with mosques, churches and dozens of colorful little Hindu temples. Catering to the town’s predominantly Tamil population, the temples give parts of the city a decidedly Indian flavor, especially at around 4pm when Trinco fills with the ringing of bells and the sound of music from myriad temples for the late-afternoon puja.

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Eastern Sri Lanka’s major town, TRINCOMALEE (or “Trinco”) has been celebrated since antiquity for its superlative deep-water harbor, one of the finest in Asia – the legendary Panduvasudeva is said to have sailed into Trincomalee (or Gokana, as it was originally known) with his followers, while the town served as the major conduit for the island’s seaborne trade during the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods. The harbor was later fought over repeatedly during the colonial period and even attracted the hostile attentions of the Japanese air force during World War II.

Trincomalee suffered massively following the onset of the civil war in 1983. Although Trinco avoided the massive bomb damage inflicted on Jaffna, the town’s position close to the front line made it the island’s major collecting point for war-displaced refugees, while tensions between the town’s Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese communities regularly erupted into communal rioting. Things have been a lot quieter following the expulsion of the LTTE from the east in 2007, and Trinco is now once again looking to the future with renewed, if cautious, optimism.

SIGHTS IN TRINCOMALEE

The town itself possesses an understated but distinct charm all of its own, with an interesting old fort and sleepy backstreets lined with pretty colonial villas dotted with mosques, churches and dozens of colorful little Hindu temples. Catering to the town’s predominantly Tamil population, the temples give parts of the city a decidedly Indian flavor, especially at around 4pm when Trinco fills with the ringing of bells and the sound of music from myriad temples for the late-afternoon puja.

TRINCOMALEE

The Bay of Trincomalee harbor is renowned for its large size and security; unlike every other in the Indian Sea. The beaches are used for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching.

Recent data (especially from the Sri Lankan Navy) points to a commercially feasible strike rate for whales which extends Sri Lanka’s Blue Whale watching season from May to August off Trincomalee. This over-turns the prevailing view that the Blue Whale season finishes in April. Whale watching can now become commercially established during the ‘East Coast Season’. The combined Mirissa (December to April) and Trincomalee (March to August) seasons for watching Blue Whale now gives Sri Lanka the longest and best Blue Whale watching season in the world, spanning at least 9 months.

During May to August, Blue Whales remain close, around 6-8 nautical miles East of Trincomalee, about 30 minutes in travel time. Koneswaram Temple atop Swamy Rock is the best publicly accessible on-shore whale watch point in the world for watching Blue Whales.

ANURADHAPURA SACRED CITY

Anuradhapura, aptly appointed the heart of the Sri Lankan history and Buddhism, is the largest and oldest of Sri Lanka’s ancient cities and dates back to the 6th century BC. It was made capital in 377 BC and remained an important center of power till the 12th century AD. Most memorable are its gleaming white dagobas – large bell-like structures some 60 meters high which house Buddhist relics. However, it is best known for the Sri Maha Bodhi, which is the oldest documented tree in the world (2200 years). This was grown from a cutting of the Bo tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment.

HISTORY

Anuradhapura first became a capital in 380 BC under Pandukabhaya, but it was under Devanampiya Tissa (r 247–207 BC), during whose reign Buddhism reached Sri Lanka, that it first rose to great importance. Soon Anuradhapura became a great and glittering city, only to fall before a South Indian invasion – a fate that was to befall it repeatedly for more than 1000 years. But before long the Sinhalese hero Dutugemunu led an army from a refuge in the far south to recapture Anuradhapura. The ‘Dutu’ part of his name, incidentally, means ‘undutiful’, because his father, fearing for his son’s safety, forbade him to attempt to recapture Anuradhapura. Dutugemunu disobeyed him, and later sent his father a woman’s ornament to indicate what he thought of his courage. Dutugemunu (r 161–137 BC) set in motion a vast building program that included some of the most impressive monuments in Anuradhapura today.

RANGIRI DAMBULLA STADIUM

Situated in the dry zone, the original rationale behind the project was that it provided Sri Lanka with the potential to host one-day matches throughout the year. Construction was funded by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) and championed by the then BCCSL President, Thilanga Sumathipala. Construction took only 167 days. After construction and the inaugural match it sat idle due to complications with the lease and the contractors. International cricket finally returned in May 2003, the venue staging all seven matches of the tournament because of monsoon rains in the south.

The pitch is bowler friendly. Seamers benefit in the morning because of the high water table and heavy sweating. Spinners benefit in the afternoon when the pitch can crumble. After 6 years since 2010, the first day-night ODI was held on 28 August 2016, during the ODI series against Australia after upgrading floodlights to ICC Standards. This match was the final ODI for Sri Lankan great Tillakaratne Dilshan.

CHINA BAY GOLF COURSE

TRINCOMALEE

The Bay of Trincomalee harbor is renowned for its large size and security; unlike every other in the Indian Sea. The beaches are used for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching.

The city also has the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka. It is home to major Sri Lankan naval bases and a Sri Lankan Air Force base. Trincomalee which is a natural deep-water harbor that has attracted seafarers like Marco Polo, Ptolemy and Sea Traders from China and East Asia since ancient times. Trinco, as it is commonly called, has been a sea port since the days of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings.

ANURADHAPURA

For well over a thousand years, the history of Sri Lanka was essentially the history of ANURADHAPURA. Situated almost at the center of the island’s northern plains, the city rose to prominence very early in the development of Sri Lanka, and maintained its pre-eminent position for more than a millennium until being finally laid waste by Indian invaders in 993. Today, Anuradhapura remains a magical place. The sheer scale of the ruined ancient city – and the thousand-plus years of history buried here – is overwhelming, and you could spend days or even weeks ferreting around amongst the ruins.

At its height, Anuradhapura was one of the greatest cities of its age, functioning as the island’s center of both temporal and spiritual power, dotted with dozens of monasteries populated by as many as ten thousand monks – one of the greatest monastic cities the world has ever seen. The kings of Anuradhapura oversaw the golden age of Sinhalese culture, and the temples and the enormous dagobas they erected were amongst the greatest architectural feats of their time, surpassed in scale only by the great pyramids at Giza. The city’s fame spread to Greece and Rome and, judging by the number of Roman coins found here, appears to have enjoyed a lively trade with the latter.

WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

Occupying a vast swathe of land stretching all the way up to the border of the Northern Province, Wilpattu National Park is the largest in Sri Lanka, and was formerly the most popular until the onset of the civil war, when its position straddling the frontline between Sinhalese and Tamil areas led to the widespread destruction of local infrastructure and killing of wildlife. The park finally reopened in 2009 and its wildlife is now gradually recovering, although the effects of long-term poaching mean that the overall density of wildlife remains significantly lower than in parks such as Yala, Uda Walawa and Minneriya, although there’s a small but significant chance of spotting the leopards and sloth bears for which the park was once famous, not to mention elephants, deer, and many types of bird. Equally, the lack of visitors and the size of the area open to visitors (around eight times larger than that at Yala, for instance) means that it’s also supremely peaceful compared too many other parks.

An unusual feature of Wilpattu’s topography is its numerous villus. These look like lakes (indeed the park’s name derives from villu-pattu, “Land of Lakes”), though they’re actually just depressions filled with rainwater which expand and contract with the seasons, attracting a range of water-birds and wildlife.

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POLONNARUWA ANCIENT CITY

Polonnaruwa was the island's medieval capital between the 11th and 13th century. Built alongside a large ancient artificial lake there are well-preserved ruins of palaces, bathing pools, stupas and exquisite rock sculptures of Buddha at the Gal Vihara. Start with a visit to the museum which, although small, is excellent.

HISTORY

For three centuries Polonnaruwa was a royal capital of both the Chola and Sinhalese kingdoms. Although nearly 1000 years old, it is much younger than Anuradhapura and generally in better repair. The monuments are arranged in a reasonably compact garden setting and their development is easier to follow. All in all, you’ll probably find Polonnaruwa the easier of the two ancient capitals to appreciate. It is best to explore by bicycle, which you can rent from several places in town. Under King Parakramabahu I (r 1153–86), Polonnaruwa reached its zenith. The king erected huge buildings, planned beautiful parks and, as a crowning achievement, created a 2500-hectare tank, which was so large that it was named the Parakrama Samudra (Sea of Parakrama). The present lake incorporates three older tanks, so it may not be the actual tank he created.

PALLEKELE INTERNATIONAL STADIUM

Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, also known as Muttiah Muralitharan International Cricket Stadium, is a cricket stadium in Kandy, Sri Lanka. In July 2010, The Central Provincial Council in Kandy has planned renamed the stadium to honor the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, but hasn't officially named yet. The stadium was opened on 27 November 2009 and became the 104th Test venue in the world in December 2010. The stadium is located about a half-hour drive east of Kandy. The stadium is wholly owned by Sri Lanka Cricket and has a capacity of 22,000.

VICTORIA GOLF CLUB DIGANA

KALKUDAH

Kalkudah and Passikudah are two separate beaches situated nearby in Batticloa district of eastern province nearly 300 km from Colombo. These are famous for its sand and calm water.

SIGIRIYA

Around 15km northeast of Dambulla, the spectacular citadel of SIGIRIYA rises sheer and impregnable out of the denuded plains of the dry zone, sitting atop a huge outcrop of gneiss rock towering 200m above the surrounding countryside. The shortest-lived but the most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval capitals, Sigiriya (“Lion Rock”) was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982 and is the country’s most memorable single attraction – a remarkable archeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic setting.

HISTORY

Inscriptions found in the caves that honeycomb the base of the rock indicate that Sigiriya served as a place of religious retreat as far back as the third century BC, when Buddhist monks established refuges here. It wasn’t until the fifth century AD, however, that Sigiriya rose briefly to pre-eminence in Sri Lankan affairs, following the power struggle that succeeded the reign of Dhatusena (455–473) of Anuradhapura. Dhatusena had two sons, Mogallana, by the most pre-eminent of his various queens, and Kashapa, his son by a lesser consort. Upon hearing that Mogallana had been declared heir to the throne, Kashapa rebelled, driving Mogallana into exile in India and imprisoning his father. Threatened with death if he refused to reveal the whereabouts of the state treasure, Dhatusena agreed to show his errant son its location if he was permitted to bathe one final time in the great Kalawewa Tank, whose creation he had overseen. Standing in the tank, Dhatusena poured its water through his hands and told Kashapa that the water, and the water alone, was all the treasure he possessed. Kashapa, none too impressed, had his father walled up in a chamber and left him to die.

MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK

Just a ten-minute drive east of Habarana, Minneriya National Park offers something of a change of scenery for anyone suffering ruin fatigue. Its centerpiece is the large Minneriya Tank, created by the famous tank-builder and monk-baiter Mahasena, and despite its relatively small size, the park also boasts an unusually wide range of habitat types, from dry tropical forest to wetlands, grasslands and terrain previously used for slash-and-burn (chena) agriculture. Much of the area around the entrance is covered in superb dry-zone evergreen forest dotted with beautiful satinwood, palu (rosewood), halmilla and weera trees – though the thickness of the forest cover means that it’s relatively difficult to spot wildlife.

The principal attraction here is elephants. Minneriya forms part of the elephant corridor that joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa national parks, and large numbers of the beasts can be found here at certain times of year during their migrations between the various parks – local guides should know where the greatest concentrations of elephants are at any given time. They are most numerous from July to October, peaking in August and September when water elsewhere dries up and as many as three hundred or more come to the tank’s ever-receding shores from as far away as Trincomalee to drink, bathe and feed on the fresh grass that grows up from the lake bed as the waters retreat – as well as to socialize and search for mates. This annual event has been popularly dubbed “The Gathering”, the largest meeting of Asian elephants anywhere in the world. At other times, you may spot only a few elephants, which in fact are often more easily seen from the main Habarana–Polonnaruwa road that runs along the park’s northern edge. Other mammals found in the park include sambar, spotted deer, macaque and purple-faced langur monkeys, sloth bears and around twenty leopards (although these last two are very rarely sighted), plus an enormous number of birds.

SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS

The legendary sky citadel of Sigiriya, the “Lion Rock” famous for its frescoes of ‘Celestial Maidens’ is possibly the most impressive site in Sri Lanka. Built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century on top of a vast 200m granite rock it took seven years to build and was abandoned after ten years of occupation when the King, defeated by his brother, committed suicide. Although it is a steep climb, the views and frescoes are definitely worth the effort. Sigiriya is best visited first thing in the morning or just before sunset when it is cooler and less crowded.

HISTORY

The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kasyapa (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m high (the 'Lion's Rock', which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.

Sigiriya is a unique witness to the civilization of Ceylon during the years of the reign of Kasyapa. The site of the 'Lion Mountain' was visited from the 6th century AD, by passionate admirers. The frescoes of Sigiriya inaugurated a pictorial style which endured over many centuries. The poems inscribed on the rock by certain of these admirers, and known as the 'Sigiri graffiti,' are among the most ancient texts in the Sinhalese language, and thus show the considerable influence exerted by the abandoned city of Kasyapa on both literature and thought.

ASGIRIYA STADIUM

Asgiriya International Stadium, is a cricket stadium situated in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Asgiriya Stadium is the private property of Trinity College, Kandy. It is around a 10-minute walk from the centre of the city. The venue would usually be used when an international team toured Sri Lanka for a Test Match. Asgiriya became Sri Lanka's the second Test venue, after the Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium, when it hosted Greg Chappell’s Australian cricket team in Sri Lanka in 1982–83.

NUWARA ELIYA GOLF CLUB

BATTICALOA

Batticloa is situated in the east coast of Sri Lanka with a great lagoon and beach with a fascinating culture of the east. The Dutch made their first footstep in Sri Lanka here in 1602. The Dutch fort was built in 1665 is visible near the Batticloa Lagoon.

POLONNARUWA

The great ruined capital of POLONNARUWA is one of the undisputed highlights of the Cultural Triangle – and indeed the whole island. The heyday of the city, in the twelfth century, represented one of the high watermarks of early Sri Lankan civilization. The Chola invaders from South India had been repulsed by Vijayabahu and the Sinhalese kingdom he established at Polonnaruwa enjoyed a brief century of magnificence under his successors Parakramabahu and Nissanka Malla, who planned the city as a grand statement of imperial pomp, transforming it briefly into one of the great urban centers of South Asia before their own hubris and excess virtually bankrupted the state. Within a century, their enfeebled successors had been driven south by new waves of invaders from southern India, and Polonnaruwa had been abandoned to the jungle, where it remained, unreclaimed and virtually unknown, for seven centuries.

Polonnaruwa’s extensive and well-preserved remains offer a fascinating snapshot of medieval Sri Lanka and are compact enough to be thoroughly explored in a single (albeit busy) day. Remains aside, Polonnaruwa is also a good jumping-off point for the national parks at Minneriya and Kaudulla.

HISTORY

The history of Polonnaruwa stretches far back into the Anuradhapura period. The region first came to prominence in the third century AD, when the creation of the Minneriya Tank boosted the district's agricultural importance, while the emergence of Gokana (modern Trincomalee) as the island's major port for overseas trade later helped Polonnaruwa develop into an important local commercial centre. As Anuradhapura fell victim to interminable invasions from India, Polonnaruwa's strategic advantages became increasingly apparent. Its greater distance from India made it less vulnerable to attack and gave it easier access to the important southern provinces of Ruhunu, while it also controlled several crossings of the Mahaweli Ganga, Sri Lanka's longest and most important river. Such were the town's advantages that four rather obscure kings actually chose to reign from Polonnaruwa rather than Anuradhapura, starting with Aggabodhi IV (667–683).

Throughout the anarchic later Anuradhapura era, Polonnaruwa held out against both Indian and rebel Sinhalese attacks until it was finally captured by Rajaraja, king of the Tamil Cholas, following the final sack of Anuradhapura in 993. Rajaraja made it the capital of his short-lived Hindu kingdom, but in 1056 the city was recaptured by the Sinhalese king Vijayabahu (1055–1110), who retained it as the new Sinhalese capital in preference to Anuradhapura, which had been largely destroyed in the earlier fighting. Vijayabahu's accession to the throne ushered in Polonnaruwa's golden age, although most of the buildings date from the reign of Vijayabahu's successor Parakramabahu, reigned 1153–86. Parakramabahu developed the city on a lavish scale, importing architects and engineers from India whose influence can be seen in Polonnaruwa's many Hindu shrines. Indian influence continued with Parakramabahu's successor, Nissanka Malla, reigned 1187–96, a Tamil from the Kalinga dynasty and the last king of Polonnaruwa to enjoy any measure of island wide power.

Nissankamalla's death ushered in a period of chaos. Opposing Tamil and Sinhalese factions battled for control of the city-the next eighteen years saw twelve changes of ruler-while at least four invasions from India threatened the stability of the island at large. This era of anarchy culminated with the seizure of the increasingly enfeebled kingdom by the notorious Tamil mercenary Magha (1215–55). Under Magha the monasteries were pillaged and onerous taxes imposed, while his soldiers roamed the kingdom unchecked and the region's great irrigation works fell into disrepair, leading to a decline in agricultural produce and a rise in malaria. Although Magha was finally driven out of Polonnaruwa in 1255, the damage he had inflicted proved irreversible, and Polonnaruwa was finally abandoned in 1293, when Bhuvanekabahu II moved the capital to Kurunegala. The city was left to be swallowed up by the jungle, until restoration work began in the mid-twentieth century.

WASGAMUWA NATIONAL PARK

Wasgomuwa National Park is one of the most unspoilt of all Sri Lanka’s reserves, enjoying an isolated position and being largely enclosed – and offered a measure of protection – by two large rivers, the Amban Ganga and Mahaweli Ganga, which bound it to the east and west. The park straddles the northeastern edge of the hill country, and ranges in elevation from over 500m to just 76m along the Mahaweli Ganga; it comprises mainly dry-zone evergreen forest along the main rivers and on the hills, and open plains in the southeastern and eastern sections. The park features the usual cast of Sri Lankan fauna, including up to 150 elephants, best seen from November to May (and especially from Feb–April); at other times they tend to migrate to Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks. Other wildlife includes sambar and spotted deer, buffalo and rarely sighted leopards and sloth bears, plus around 150 species of bird, including a number of endemics.

DAMBULLA GOLDEN TEMPLE

Dambulla’s famed Royal Rock Temple is an iconic Sri Lankan image – you’ll be familiar with its spectacular Buddha-filled interior long before you arrive in town. Despite its slightly commercial air, this remains an important holy place and should not be missed if you are anywhere nearby. You can visit it as a day trip from Kandy, or stop by on your way to or from Sigiriya. Dambulla has ATMs, grocery stores and plenty of other shops.

CAVE TEMPLES

Dambulla is renowned for its Cave Temples, which were built by King Valagambahu in the 1st century BC in gratitude for the shelter he sought in the caves when fleeing from Indian invaders. Sited on a gigantic granite outcrop, which towers more than 160m above the surrounding land, the caves are completely covered by ancient frescoes depicting religious and secular scenes. Protected within the caves are hundreds of statues of Buddha, many carved out of the rock itself, of which the largest is the 15m long reclining Buddha. There are five separate caves containing about 150 Buddha images. Most of the paintings in the temples date from the 19th century.

WELAGEDARA STADIUM

Welagedara Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. The stadium was officially declared open by the then Minister of Home Affairs, Justice Felix Dias Bandaranaike in 1972. It is currently used mostly for cricket matches and hosts the Wayamba Cricket Team. The stadium can hold at least 10,000 spectators. Welagedara stadium hosted its first international match when Pakistan played there in 1985. In recent times it has regularly hosted international tour matches, unofficial test matches and U19 one-day games. The giant Elephant Rock provides a dramatic backdrop for the Stadium.

ROYAL COLOMBO GOLF CLUB

ARUGAM – BAY

The place located in south east of the country 116 km from Colombo is a fine beach near associated with fishing villages. It has been identified as the best surfing beach in Sri Lanka and 4th best in south east Asia. It also comes with the ten best surfing beaches in the world. Wide sandy beaches and lagoons associated with neighboring Kumana bird sanctuary are added values for visitors going to Arugam bay. Lahugal National Park are Yala East National Park are also located within 10–30 km radios from Arugambay centre. Magul Maha Viharaya (Buddhist temple), Kudumbigala Temple (Buddhist temple), Shastrwela Buddhist Temple, Okanda Hindu Temple are some of places with heritage values. In addition to beaches, wildlife, culture heritage and nature places of interest make Arugambay a unique tourist attraction in Sri Lanka.

KANDY

Hidden away amid precipitous green hills at the heart of the island, KANDY is Sri Lanka’s second city and undisputed cultural capital of the island, home to the Temple of the Tooth, the country’s most important religious shrine, and the Esala Perehara, its most exuberant festival. The last independent bastion of the Sinhalese, the Kingdom of Kandy clung onto its freedom long after the rest of the island had fallen to the Portuguese and Dutch, preserving its own unique customs and culture which live on today in the city’s unique music, dance and architecture. The city maintains a somewhat aristocratic air, with its graceful old Kandyan and colonial buildings, scenic highland setting and pleasantly temperate climate. And although modern Kandy has begun to sprawl considerably, the twisted topography of the surrounding hills and the lake at its center ensure that the city hasn’t yet overwhelmed its scenic setting, and preserves at its heart a modest grid of narrow, low-rise streets which, despite the crowds of people and traffic, retains a surprisingly small-town atmosphere.

HISTORY

Kandy owes its existence to its remote and easily defensible location amid the steep, jungle-swathed hills at the centre of the island. The origins of the city date back to the early thirteenth century, during the period following the collapse of Polonnaruwa, when the Sinhalese people drifted gradually southwards (see The Sinhalese move south). During this migration, a short-lived capital was established at Gampola, just south of Kandy, before the ruling dynasty moved on to Kotte, near present-day Colombo.

A few nobles left behind in Gampola soon asserted their independence, and subsequently moved their base to the still more remote and easily defensible town of Senkadagala during the reign of Wickramabahu III of Gampola (1357–74). Senkadagala subsequently became known by the sweet-sounding name of Kandy, after Kanda Uda Pasrata, the Sinhalese name for the mountainous district in which it lay (although from the eighteenth century, the Sinhalese often referred to the city as Maha Nuwara, the “Great City”, a name by which it’s still sometimes known today).

MADURU OYA NATIONAL PARK

Maduru Oya National Park is a national park of Sri Lanka, established under the Mahaweli development project and also acts as a catchment of the Maduru Oya Reservoir. The park was designated on 9 November 1983. Providing a sanctuary to wildlife, especially for elephants and protecting the immediate catchments of five reservoirs are the importance of the park. A community of Vedda people, the indigenous ethnic group of Sri Lanka lives within the park boundary in Henanigala. The park is situated 288 kilometers (179 mi) north-east of Colombo.

KANDY SACRED CITY

Kandy is the old capital of Ceylon and the seat of the last Singhalese kingdom. It is a charming city with the most important Buddhist temple in the country and is set around an ancient artificial lake amongst rolling hills that are covered by forests and tea plantations. Set in the mountainous area of the island, there are fantastic views over the city from some of the hotels.

Wandering about in Kandy is a fun experience, with crossroads and interconnecting byroads – all forming an intertwined complex. Most pavements are dominated by vendors selling garments, lotteries, toys and various fancy items – making passing through look almost impossible, especially during festive seasons. The main market area in the heart of the town is frequented often for its array of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat stalls, sweets, clothes, fancy goods and what not..!

PERAHERA FESTIVAL

Perehera Festival the biggest festival of Sri Lanka takes place every year in July or August in Kandy. The festival revolves around the most important Buddhist relic of the country: the tooth of Buddha. This is kept in the temple of Kandy. During the festival creates a daily procession, consisting of beautifully dressed Kandy dancers, fire dancers, musicians, acrobats and decorated elephants. On one of the elephants is a replica of the tooth is paraded through the city.

The climax takes place on the last day, full moon, where the procession is the longest and most impressive. The annual festival attracts thousands of visitors from around the world who want to witness a spectacular array of traditional music, dance and light. Are you in this period in Sri Lanka? Then you should not miss! Note that the hotels fill up quickly during this period can be, so be on time.

Colombo International Stadiums

CR & FC GROUNDS

Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club Grounds (also known as Longdon Place) commonly known as CR & FC is a multi-purpose stadium complex located in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is the home ground of Division 'A' rugby union team, Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club, and on occasion hosts concerts and musical performances.

SUGATHADASA STADIUM

Sugathadasa Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is currently used mostly for football matches rugby union, and also for athletics. The stadium holds 25,000 people and has an on-site hotel.

COLOMBO CRICKET CLUB

The Colombo Cricket Club is a first-class cricket club in Sri Lanka. It is the oldest in the country, having been formed in 1832.

R.PREMADASA STADIUM

R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium (RPS) also known as Khettarama Stadium, Ranasinghe Premadasa Stadium or simply as the Premadasa Stadium) is a cricket stadium[3] on Khettarama Road, Maligawatta, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The stadium was, before June 1994, known as the Khettarama Cricket Stadium and is today one of the main venues where the Sri Lankan cricket team play, having hosted more than 100 one day international matches. It is the largest stadium in Sri Lanka with capacity of 35,000 spectators. It has capacity exceeding Lord's Cricket Ground. It is nicknamed "Home of Sri Lankan cricket". It was also the stadium where the highest Test score was scored.

SARAVANAMUTTU (OVAL)

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Stadium Colombo Oval or P. Sara or simply PSS is a multi-purpose stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is currently used mostly for cricket matches. The stadium holds 15,000 and hosted its first Test match in 1982. It is named after Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, a former civil servant and first President of the Board of Control for Cricket. The venue is the home ground of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club. The P.Sara Oval hosts one test match per year in Sri Lanka's summer test calendar, but lost out to Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in 2011 to host Sri Lanka v Australia Tests. The stadium is equipped with a swimming complex and badminton arena for multiple sports activities.

BOGAMBARA STADIUM

Bogambara Stadium Is a multi-purpose stadium in Kandy, Sri Lanka It is one of the oldest grounds in the country. Stadium is currently used mostly for Rugby matches and hosted the games of the Singer Sri Lankan Airlines Rugby 7's. It has a capacity of 30,000. Bogambara Stadium serves as a venue for various sports ranging from Rugby, Football, Hockey, Athletics, Netball, Basketball, softball, and cricket.

Shangril-la Golf club Hambantota

PUTTLAM

ARUGAM BAY

There’s not much to ARUGAM BAY village itself: just a single main road running parallel to the beach dotted with guesthouses, cafés and shops, including some of Arugam Bay’s trademark quirky homespun architectural creations – rustic palm-thatch cabanas, teetering tree houses and other quaint structures (not to mention the distinctive wooden pavilion restaurant and red British telephone box of the landmark Siam View Hotel). The beach is now looking better than ever following recent clearances during which the authorities ordered the removal of all buildings within 20m of the waterline (albeit at considerable cost to local hoteliers and other residents, who were forced to watch as the government bulldozers rolled in and summarily razed significant slices of prized real estate).

A-Bay also marks the rough border between the Sinhalese-majority areas to the south and the mainly Tamil and Muslim areas further up the coast, and boasts an unusually eclectic but harmonious mix of all three ethnic groups – as well as a growing number of Western expats. Fears that the village’s uniquely (for Sri Lanka) alternative and slightly off-the-wall character will be erased by larger and more mainstream tourism developments remain, however, especially given the forthcoming opening of the new Hambantota airport, which will make the village significantly easier to reach for international visitors. For the time being, however, Arugam Bay preserves its own enjoyably eccentric charm.

Eagles heritage golf club Anuradhapura

NEGOMBO

A fishing town located 35 km from Colombo and 6 km from island's main International Airport. The beauty of the beach and surrounding star class hotels gave more attraction of tourists.

NUWARA ELIYA

Sri Lanka’s highest town, NUWARA ELIYA lies at the heart of the southern hill country, set amid a bowl of green mountains beneath the protective gaze of Pidurutalagala, Sri Lanka’s tallest peak. Nuwara Eliya (pronounced, as one word, something like “Nyur-rel-iya”) was established by the British in the nineteenth century, and the town is often touted as Sri Lanka’s “Little England”, a quaint Victorian relic complete with municipal park, golf course, boating lake, a trio of fine old colonial hotels and frequent, very British, showers of rain.

Parts of Nuwara Eliya still live up to the hype, with a medley of doughty British-era landmarks whose misplaced architecture – from jaunty seaside kitsch to solemn faux-Tudor – lend some corners of the town an oddly English (or perhaps Scottish) air, like a crazily transplanted fragment of Brighton or Balmoral. Much of modern Nuwara Eliya, however, is far less of a period piece than the publicity would have you believe, while the unpredictable weather can add a further dampener. That said, if you take it with a pinch of salt, Nuwara Eliya still has a certain charm, especially if you can afford to stay in one of the town’s nicer hotels, and it also makes an excellent base for excursions into the spectacular surrounding countryside and tea estates.

GAL OYA NATIONAL PARK

Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka was established in 1954 and serves as the main catchment area for Senanayake Samudhraya, the largest reservoir in Sri Lanka. Senanayake Samudhraya was built under the Gal Oya development project by damming the Gal Oya at Inginiyagala in 1950. An important feature of the Gal Oya National Park is its elephant herd that can be seen throughout the year. Three important herbs of the Ayurveda medicine, triphala: Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinal is are amongst the notable flora of the forest. From 1954 to 1965 the park was administrated by the Gal Oya Development Board until the Department of Wildlife Conservation took over administration. The national park is situated 314 km from Colombo

SINHARAJA FOREST RESERVE

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests Eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve's name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.

The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Languor.

MT.LAVINIA

The place located 12 km from Colombo is a historical city from British colonial period. The Governors House of Sir Thomas Maitland, built in 1805, has become a star class hotel today. The fantastic beach is crowded on holidays with local people who enjoy the beach sports activities such as swimming and surfing.

COLOMBO

Sri Lanka dynamic capital, Colombo, seems totally out of proportion with the rest of the country, stretching for 50 km along the island’s western seaboard in a long and formless urban straggle which is now home to around three million people. The city’s sprawling layout and congested streets make it difficult to get to grips with, while a lack of obvious charms means that it’s unlikely to win many immediate friends, especially if your first taste of the capital is via the hour – long drive from the airport though the northern breeze – block suburbs and hooting files of weaving traffic.

There’s plenty to enjoy beneath the unpromising exterior, especially if you’re interested in getting behind the tourist clichés and finding out what makes contemporary Sri Lanka tick – it’s definitely a place that grows on you the longer you stay, and is worth a day out of even the shortest itinerary. The city musters few specific sights, but offers plenty of atmosphere and quirky character: a heady admixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern chic. Shiny office blocks rub shoulders with tumbledown local cafés and shops, while serene Buddhist shrines and colonial churches stand next to the garishly multicolored towers of Hindu temples – all evidence of the rich stew of races and religions that have gone into the making of this surprisingly cosmopolitan city. And for sheer adrenaline, a walk through the crowded bazaars of the Petta or a high-speed rickshaw ride amid the kamikaze traffic of the Galle Road have no rival anywhere else in the country.

HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK

Perched on the very edge of the hill country midway between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, Horton Plains National Park covers a wild stretch of bleak, high-altitude grassland bounded at its southern edge by the dramatically plunging cliffs that mark the edge of the hill country, including the famous World’s End, where the escarpment falls sheer for the best part of a kilometer to the lowlands below. Set at an elevation of over two thousand meters, Horton Plains are a world apart from the rest of Sri Lanka, a misty and rain swept landscape whose cool, wet climate has fostered the growth of a unique but fragile ecosystem. Large parts of the Plains are still covered in beautiful and pristine stands of cloudforest, with their distinctive umbrella-shaped keena trees, covered in a fine cobweb of old man’s beard, whose leaves turn from green to red to orange as the seasons progress. The Plains are also one of the island’s most important watersheds and the source of the Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe rivers, three of the island’s largest.

GALLE FORT

The coastal town of Galle, the capital of the Southern Province, is best known for its impressive fort: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved colonial sea fortress in Asia. The fort was built and modified over 4 centuries; started by the Portuguese in the late 16th century it was later taken over by the Dutch and eventually by the British. Protected within its walls, bastions and ramparts is a complete town with narrow streets, churches and cloistered inner courtyards of shuttered mansions, which clearly bear testament to their colonial past.

HISTORY

Although Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are much older than Galle, they are effectively abandoned cities – the modern towns are divorced from the ancient ruins. In contrast, both old and new Galle has remained vibrant. Historians believe Galle may have been the city of Tarshish – where King Solomon obtained gems and spices – but it became prominent only with the arrival of the Europeans. In 1505 a Portuguese fleet bound for the Maldives was blown off course and took shelter in the harbour. Apparently, on hearing a cock (galo in Portuguese) crowing, they gave the town its name. Another slightly less dubious story is that the name is derived from the Sinhala word gala (rock).

KALUTARA

The place located 12 km from Colombo is a historical city from British colonial period. The Governors House of Sir Thomas Maitland, built in 1805, has become a star class hotel today. The fantastic beach is crowded on holidays with local people who enjoy the beach sports activities such as swimming and surfing.

GALLE

Perched on the coast close to the island’s southernmost point, the venerable port of GALLE (pronounced “Gaul”) has grown from ancient origins into Sri Lanka’s fourth largest city. At the heart of the modern city – but strangely detached from it – lies the old Dutch quarter, known as the Fort, Sri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial townscape, enclosed within a chain of huge bastions which now guard the area from modernization as effectively as they once protected Dutch trading interests from marauding adventurers. The Fort is Sri Lanka at its most magically time-warped, its low-rise streets lined with Dutch-period villas, many of which retain their original street-facing verandas and red-tiled roofs, and dotted with a string of imposing churches and other colonial landmarks. There’s not actually much to see (a few unusual museums excepted): the main pleasure here is just ambling round the atmospheric old streets and walls, savoring the easy pace of life and refreshing absence of traffic – you won’t find a quieter town anywhere else in the island.

HISTORY

Galle is thought to have been the Biblical Tar shish, from whence King Solomon obtained gold, spices, ivory, apes and peacocks, and the combination of its fine natural harbor and strategic position on the sea routes between Arabia, India and Southeast Asia made the town an important trading emporium long before the arrival of the Europeans. In 1589, the Portuguese established a presence here, constructing a small fort named Santa Cruz, which they later extended with a series of bastions and walls. The Dutch captured Galle in 1640 after a four-day siege, and in 1663 expanded the original Portuguese fortifications to enclose the whole of Galle’s sea-facing promontory, establishing the street plan and system of bastions which survive to this day, as well as introducing marvels of European engineering such as an intricate subterranean sewer system which was flushed out daily by the tide and is still in use today.

UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

Sprawling across the lowlands due south of the towering cliff faces of Horton Plains, Uda Walawe has developed into one of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks mainly thanks to its large and easily spotted population of elephants – it’s the best place in the island to see pachyderms in the wild, although in other respects it doesn’t have the range of fauna and habitats of Yala or Bundala. The park is beautifully situated just south of the hill country, whose grand escarpment provides a memorable backdrop, while at its centre lies the Uda Walawe Reservoir, whose catchment area it was originally established to protect. Most of Uda Walawe lies within the dry zone, and its terrain is flat and denuded, with extensive areas of grassland and low scrub (the result of earlier slash-and-burn farming) dotted with the skeletal outlines of expired trees, scratched to death by the resident elephants. The actual landscape of the park is rather monotonous during dry periods, although the lack of forest cover makes it easier to spot wildlife than in any other Sri Lankan park and the whole place transforms magically after rain, when temporary lagoons form around the reservoir, drowning trees and turning the floodplains an intense, fecund green.

BENTOTA

The place located in south of the country, 62 km from Colombo has romantic scenery hotels and popular for wind surfing and water skiing.

SINHARAJA RAIN FOREST

The largest surviving tract of undisturbed lowland rainforest in Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is one of the island’s outstanding natural wonders and a bio diverse treasure box of global significance (recognized by its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989). This is the archetypal rainforest as you’ve always imagined it: the air thick with humidity (approaching ninety percent in places) and alive with the incessant noise of birds, cicadas and other invisible creatures; the ground choked with a dense understory of exotic ferns and snaking lianas wrapped around the base of towering tropical hardwoods, rising towards the forest canopy high overhead.

According to tradition, Sinharaja was formerly a royal reserve (as suggested by its name, meaning “Lion King”). The first attempts to conserve it were made as far back as 1840, when it became property of the British Crown. Logging began in 1971, until being banned in the face of national protests in 1977, when the area was declared a national reserve. Sinharaja is now safely protected under UNESCO auspices, using a system whereby inhabitants of the twenty-odd villages which surround the reserve have the right to limited use of the forest’s resources, including tapping kitul palms for jaggery and collecting rattan for building.

Sinharaja stretches for almost 30km across the wet zone at the southern edges of the hill country, enveloping a series of switchback hills and valleys ranging in altitude from just 300m up to 1170m. To the north and south, the reserve is bounded by two sizeable rivers, the K?lu Ganga and the Gin Ganga, which cut picturesque, waterfall-studded courses through the trees.

HIKKADUWA

The place located in south of the country, 100 km from Colombo is the first area to be developed for tourism. The famous coral reef and scuba diving gets tourist's more pleasure there.

YALA NATIONAL PARK

Around 20km southeast of Tissamaharama lies the entrance to Yala National Park (properly known as Yala West or Ruhuna National Park), Sri Lanka’s most visited and most rewarding wildlife reserve. Yala covers an area of 1260 square kilometers, although four-fifths of this is designated a Strict Natural Reserve and closed to visitors. On the far side of the Strict Natural Reserve is Yala East National Park, which is only accessible via Arugam Bay. There’s no public transport to Yala, and you’re only allowed into the park in a vehicle, so you’ll have to hire a jeep.

The park’s dry-zone landscape is impressively wild and unspoilt, especially when viewed from the vantage points offered by the curious rock outcrops which dot the park. From these you can look out over a seemingly endless expanse of low scrub and trees dotted with brackish lakes next to the dune-covered coastline – particularly magical from Situlpahuwa. In addition, the park’s wildlife has its own distinctive charm, with huddles of colorful painted storks perched on the edge of lagoons between the supine shapes of dozing crocodiles; fan-tailed peacocks kicking up clouds of dust while monkeys chatter in the treetops; or the incongruously conjoined sight of elephants marching sedately through the bush while rabbits scamper through the undergrowth.

GALLE

The coastal town of Galle, the capital of the Southern Province, is best known for its impressive fort: a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved colonial sea fortress in Asia. The fort was built and modified over 4 centuries; started by the Portuguese in the late 16th century it was later taken over by the Dutch and eventually by the British. Protected within its walls, bastions and ramparts is a complete town with narrow streets, churches and cloistered inner courtyards of shuttered mansions, which clearly bear testament to their colonial past.

BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK

Accessed around 15km east of Hambantota (and a similar distance west of Tissa), Bundala National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost destinations for birdwatchers, protecting an important area of coastal wetland famous for its abundant aquatic (and other) birdlife, as well as being home to significant populations of elephants, crocodiles, turtles and other fauna. Although it doesn’t have quite the range of wildlife or scenery of nearby Yala National Park, Bundala is much quieter, and makes a good alternative if you want to avoid Yala’s crowds.

The park stretches along the coast for around 20km, enclosing five shallow and brackish lagoons, or lewayas (they sometimes dry up completely during long periods of drought) separated by thick low scrubby forest running down to coastal dunes. Almost two hundred bird species have been recorded here, their numbers swelled by seasonal visitors, who arrive between September and March. The lagoons attract an amazing variety of aquatic birds, including ibis, pelicans, painted storks, egrets and spoonbills, though the most famous visitors are the huge flocks of greater flamingoes. The Bundala area is the flamingoes’ last refuge in southern Sri Lanka, and you can see them here in variable numbers throughout the year; their exact breeding habits remain a mystery, though it’s thought they migrate from the Rann of Kutch in northern India. Flamingoes apart, the park’s most visible avian residents are its many peacocks (or Indian peafowl, as they’re correctly known): a memorable sight in the wild at any time, especially when seen perched sententiously among the upper branches of the park’s innumerable skeletal palu (rosewood) trees.

The best time to visit is between September and March, when the migratory birds arrive; early morning is the best time of day, though the park is also rewarding in late afternoon. Take binoculars, if you have them.

WELIGAMA

Weligama is a unique Bay and Beach with a wide and long sandy beach located in Matara district of Southern province close to Matara town. The tiny island once owned by Frenchman Count de Maunay has built a beautiful house on it. The Bay is famous for its remarkable fishermen doing stilt fishing and handmade lase, Devil Dance Shows and its seafood. Weligama is also a wonderful Scuba Diving and Surfing Location.