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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 22, 2019
Headline for 5 Amazing Locations in Sri Lanka- Explore the best bits of the island
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Amazing Locations in Sri Lanka- Explore the best bits of the island

Sri Lanka is known as the paradise island for obvious reasons- it has some of the pristine beaches, luscious landscapes and ancient ruins. It has a little for everyone. Here are some places worth visiting

1

Anuradhapura

Known to be the first capital of Sri Lanka, it is the religious centre of the island. It is where the sacred and oldest Bodhi tree that came from the sapling of the Bodhi tree that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The sacred city of Anuradhapura is filled with ancient temples and ruins that will make you want to learn the rich history it holds. Some of the places not to be missed are the Thuparama Dagaba (Brick Stupas), Ranmusu Uyana also known as the stargate, Twin Ponds or the kuttam pokuna.

2

Galle

Merely a 2-hour drive away from the bustling city of Colombo is the charming little colonial town in the south coast of the island. A popular spot for both tourists and locals alike and is always brimming with people. In the recent past, there have been many new cafes and restaurants that have popped up to cater to the influx of crowds. Walk around the Galle Fort, that was built during the Dutch colonial times. The colonial influence is pretty evident around the town with its cobblestoned roads and high arched doorways. Don't miss the secret jungle beach that is only a few minutes away in a tuk-tuk.

3

Sigiriya

This is a rock fortress that was built by King Kashyapa during the 6th century and to-date, happens to be an engineering marvel as the architecture of it precedes many years! The fortress is built within a 660 feet tall rock and a majestic lion at the entrance. It has been considered to be the 8th wonder of the world and therefore, attracts many tourists all over the world. There are many a hotel in Sigiriya Sri Lanka to accommodate the crowd. One popular option is the Paradise Resort & Spa Dambulla, which is only a few minutes away from the majestic citadel.
Those who are interested in a mini-hike can climb the Pidurangala rock that is situated opposite Sigiriya. The best time to hike would be in the morning before sunrise, in time to see an unhindered view of Sigiriya basked in the morning rays of the sun. The hike would take an average person about 20minutes and an experienced hiker, no more than 10 minutes.
Some other places of interest around the area are the Dambulla cave temple, which is also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. There are also 5 caves that are open to the public and they contain more than 150 Buddha statues and paintings that date back to 2000 years ago.

4

Polonnaruwa

After Anuradhapura, this is the second most ancient kingdom in the country and was the capital city during the Chola invasion. During Chola dynasty, Polonnoruwa was flourishing with agriculture and many temples. The ancient ruins that stand to-date are proof of the impeccable architecture and talent that was seen during the time. The irrigation system built by King Raja Raja Cholan was far more advanced for its time and the main reason behind the thriving agricultural community. Some of the ruins worth visiting are the Nissakna Latha Mandapaya, Gal Vihara, Rankoth Vihara and the Polonnaruwa Vatadage. Almost all site, have a half moonstone engraving at each staircase and entrance. There is a unique and mild difference between the moonstones from this area and Anuradhapura.

5

Ritigala

To those who like to hike, this is an intriguing and rewarding experience. The Ritigala monastery and mountain is situated about 188 km north-east of Colombo and has been declared a Strict Natural Reserve, to ensure the conditions are maintained meticulously. The monastery dates back to the 1st century BCE and is located at the eastern mountain and consists of a man-made reservoir taking the shape of a polygon. Scattered across the mountains are double-platform structures made of stone that are unique to the area.
Ritigala mountain, according to legends and popular-belief, is believed to be a part of the Himalayan mountain range that was accidentally dropped by Lord Hanuman when he was carrying it from India to Sri Lanka as it contained some exotic and rare medicinal herbs that were necessary to cure Prince Lakshmana's life. The fact that Ritigala also has these rare herbs despite surrounded by a completely different dry-zone flora, makes the tale more believable.

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