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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 5 Must Visit Places in Sri Lanka - A Melting Pot of Adventure
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Top 5 Must Visit Places in Sri Lanka - A Melting Pot of Adventure

Culturally rich, home to gorgeous environs and a marvellous mix of heritage, traditions and history, Sri Lanka is a land like no other. Listed below are some of the island's most spectacular places.

1

Yala National Park for All Things Wild

The most popular wildlife reserve in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is every nature lover and animal enthusiasts dream destination. An early morning or early evening jeep safari into the folds of the sanctuary will reward you with sights of many amphibians, mammals, birds and reptiles. The environs are rustic and breath-taking; made up of scrub jungle, boulder-strewn plains, glistening lagoons, wild coastlines and lush jungles. Yala is home to one of Asia's largest collection of leopards, in addition, one can spot elephants, wild boar, peacocks, sloth bears and many other exotic creatures calling Yala home. If you are exploring Sri Lanka with a tour operator such as Nkar Travel House, you can be sure of a comprehensive wildlife expedition.

2

Explore the Dambulla Rock Caves

One of the most magical experiences one can savour in Sri Lanka is a visit to the pre-historic rock temple of Dambulla. Located at the summit of a huge stone mountain, the network of caves is over 20; however, the temple is housed in just 5 of them. Each one a treasure to discover, containing statues of the Lord Buddha and stunning paintings spanning across the walls and ceiling of the caves. Despite their age, the paintings remain magnificent and together with the statues depict the life of the Buddha. There are also antique statues of Hindu Gods and those of Sri Lankan kings; in total there are 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Lord Buddha. The caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are always a popular choice to visit on Sri Lanka tour packages.

3

Savour the Splendours of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya or the Lion Rock Fortress was built around the 5th century by King Kashyapa and is located in the middle of a lush jungle. Created on and around a huge boulder, which is a solidified mass of volcanic rock, that's over 600 feet high; the fortress remains a wonder and testament to the marvels of ancient infrastructure and irrigation. The entrance is marked by a giant lions paw while the inner sanctums house iconic attractions famous the world over. These include the Sigiriya Frescoes, wall paintings of beautiful damsels, thought to be angels or women from the king's harem. There is also the mirror wall, which is a part of a passage, of which the wall was plastered and polished to reflect the king's image as he walked past. At the summit of the rock are beautiful gardens a throne and pond, but the most rewarding is the stunning bird's view of the forest cover and surrounding region.

4

Relish the Ancient Splendour of Polonnaruwa

One of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa, is a sacred city and home to a vast number of Buddhist relics and remnants of palaces. Declared the island's capital in 1070 AD, the ancient city saw many a splendour in its heyday, and although much has fallen to ruin, the city remains spectacular and is deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ideal for the culture buff!

5

Visit a Turtle Hatchery

Along the south-west coast, especially, are a number of turtle hatcheries, set up to protect the endangered species. Turtles in various stages of life can be observed there, while eggs kept incubated, once hatched, are released to the ocean under safe conditions. Fishermen and villagers in the region are encouraged to donate the found eggs, in return for a reward, to these sanctuaries, as a means to stop poaching. Visitors get a chance to hold grown turtles and even join in release efforts of newly hatched baby turtles under the silvery light of the moon.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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