Sri Lanka's first capital is situated in the dry zone. It is one of Sri Lanka's premier ancient cities.
Attractions: The sacred Bo Tree, temples, Brazen Place, Samadhi Buddha, Kuttam Pokuna, an Mihintale (12 kilometers from Anuradhapura) - a rock dotted with shrines and dwellings - a grand stairway of 1,840 steps made of granite slabs that leads to a summit with a splendid view of the countryside.


Sri Lanka’s hill capital is, perhaps, its most beautiful town. It is 488 metres above sea level, and next to Colombo,Kandy is Sri Lanka’s most visited place. The focal point of the town is the golden-roofed Dalada Maligawa, where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined. The highlight of the year is the Esala Perahera, when a replica of the relic casket is taken in procession, accompanied by exotically costumed dancers, drummers and some 100 elephants ,on ten glittering nights in July/August. There are numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings.
Don’t miss the Paradeniya Gardens, with an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. Kandy is an exiting place for shopping, with souvenirs in wood, copper, silver, brass, ebony, and bronze.
Ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewellery and rush and reed-ware can also be purchased.

Nuwara Eliya

Set in the heart of tea-country, this beautiful town is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside, with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church,a famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Situated 1,890 meters above sea level, the air is cool and fresh – a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo.


The peninsula is practically an island, connected the rest of Sri Lanka by a narrow spit of land which houses the Chundikkulam bird sanctuary and a causeway known as Elephant Pass because elephants would once cross the shallow lagoon at this point. Topographically quaint unlike the rest of lush Sri Lanka, only hard work and aggressive irrigation will coax a living out of this inhospitable northern soil. Jaffna is justly famous for the deliciousness of its mangoes and toddy from the palmyrah palm. There are plenty of beaches but no resorts. The Dutch ‘star’ fort in Jaffna is said to be Asia’s best example of Dutch fortification. Inside it are the King’s House and the Dutch Church. Since Jaffna’s population is predominantly Tamil, there are also many Hindu Kovils.


The best known town on the east coast of Sri Lanka is Trincomalee. Sunny weather throughout the year; mile after mile of broad, white, sandy beaches, sheltered bays and a warm and calm sea are the features that draw sun and sea-lovers to Sri Lanka’s eastern seaboard’s main city. From time immemorial, Trincomalee’s main attraction, however, is a large, safe and one of the best natural harbours of the world.


Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass, which houses a rock temple (formerly caves). Some of its frescoes are over 2,000 years old – and there is a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha caved out of the rock, some 14 metres long.


The island’s medieval capital rose to fame after Anuradhapura’s decline. The largest of its many reservoirs, the Parakrama Samudra, is larger than the Colombo harbour. Attractions: Remains of the King’s council chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House (which is lavished with moonstones, guard stones, and a sculptured railing), Kiri Vehera, and Gal Vihare.


Colombo is a fascinating city, not only for its comfortable blend of East and West, but also for its cosy mixture of past and present. It is the commercial capital of the country. Attractions: Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, churches the old parliament building, the zoo, museums, and art galleries.


Sri Lanka’s City of Gems’ and the centre of its gemming industry. Gems include sapphire, ruby, cat’s eye, alexandrite, topaz, amethyst, aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet and zircon. Visits to gem mines can be arranged through travel agents. Gem collections can be seen at the National Museum, Ratnapura, and a number of private museums.


More or less synonymous with rush and reed ware, (try to visit the permanent exhibition in the town’s Basket Hall), Kalutara was also a famous spice-centre in the 16th to 18th centuries. There are fine beaches safe for swimming . Immediately south of the Kalu Ganga Bridge on the main road is the Gangatil Vihara, which has a hollow dagoba (Buddhist shrine) with an interesting painted terior. By the roadside there’s a small shrine and the bodhi tree where drivers often stop to make offerings to ensure a safe journey to Wadduwa ,8km north of Kalutara.


Batticoloa is surrounded by a large lagoon, home of the famous ‘singing fish’. Certainly in the months of April and September on moonlit nights, you can hear a musical vibration emanating from the waters. Batti is a quiet little place, with a small but well-preserved Dutch fort.


Hambantota, in Sri Lanka' dry zone, is best-known for its beautiful Crescent-shaped bay and its slat pans,a very ancient industry, that is still thriving. The slat pans line the main road for over 16km.


In this costal town, the Dutch presence is still visible. Galle was an ancient port (said to be the legendary Tarshish of the Bible), and our first international commerce and trade centre. Today, Galle is the bustling provincial capital and administrative centre of the south. It is famous for its lovely Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected and therefore safe for swimming. The old Dutch ‘Star’ fort (a World Heritages Site) covering 36 hectaers, the well-preserved Groote Kerk (Dutch Church), Dutch Government House, the New Oriental Hotel (built in 1684) old bell tower and a tide-based Sewage-System, also introduced by the Dutch. In Gale they still make the Dutch ‘pillo-lace’ and do fine ebony-carving and gem-polishing.
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