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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Places to Visit in Cultural Triangle, Sri Lanka – Splendid Historical Attractions

In the renowned Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, you will find a number of fascinating historical sites that will captivate the sightseer. Some of them such as the ones below are sure to interest you.



The ancient city of Anuradhapura was the capital of the first major kingdom of the Sinhalese people of the island nation of Sri Lanka. As you might expect you will find a host of engrossing historical attractions that will capture the imagination of the visitor here. A highlight at this city which is greatly revered by the Buddhist faithful is the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree which is believed to be a descendant of the very tree under which the Buddha achieved Enlightenment. Other sightseeing attractions at Anuradhapura include a number of fascinating temples and stupas, in addition to many other religious and cultural attractions.



The well-known town of Mihintale is venerated as having been the birthplace of the Buddhist faith in Sri Lanka. Culture lovers will be enthralled by the picturesque stupas, shrines and caves which are situated amidst the tranquil hills of the area. A highlight at Mihintale is the Kantaka Cetiya, a well-known Buddhist monument where you will see four elaborately adorned shrines. Another not to be missed feature at Mihintale is the Ambasthala Dagoba where you must ascend flights of stairs in order to reach the famous stupa. Sightseers should also make it a point to visit the Mihindu Guha which is a rock sanctuary where the monk Mahinda is believed to have reposed.



The magnificent city of Polonnaruwa was a great capital of the Sinhalese people. This famous city boasts an array of fascinating historical and cultural attractions. An excellent place at which to commence your tour of the city would be the Polonnaruwa Museum, which boasts a number of engrossing exhibits. The foremost sightseeing highlight at Polonnaruwa is the intriguing Terrace of the Tooth Relic, often referred to as the Quadrangle, which was the most sacred compound of the city in ancient times. Other noteworthy sites at this city include the Lankatilaka, the remnants of which hint at its splendour in times gone by, and the remarkable Gal Vihara rock temple.



This area which is situated in the centre of the Cultural Triangle is renowned for its captivating cave temples. The striking rock at Dambulla houses these intriguing cave temples which are adorned with a splendid selection of murals and sculptures. These rock temples were initially constructed by the monarch Valagambahu I and were embellished by later rulers. In order to reach these cave temples at Dambulla, you must ascend a number of steps, but you will be amply rewarded by the attractions of the temples as well as panoramic views across the picturesque countryside stretching into the distance. As you experience these cave temples a choice of accommodation that you could consider from where they are within easy reach would be Jetwing Lake, which may be regarded as an attractively located Dambulla hotel.



The amazing rock fortress at Sigiriya is undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka's most remarkable historical attractions. The colossal rock at Sigiriya may be regarded as a scenic attraction in its own right, being situated prominently amidst the surrounding countryside. The remnants of the royal palace situated at the summit of this rock are considered to be one of Sri Lanka's most remarkable cultural attractions, as even the remaining elements of this royal abode will capture the imagination of the observer. If you visit this cultural highlight you will be able to envisage its grandeur when the king and his family resided here.