Sri Lanka - the small country located in southern India, formerly known as Ceylon, is increasingly becoming a top tourist attraction. Marco Polo himself once said that Sri Lanka is "the most beautiful island in the world." There is a lot to see and do on a trip to Sri Lanka. Jungle safaris, elephant sanctuaries, rafting on troubled waters, more or less beautiful temples, sun-drenched beaches and extremely interesting gastronomy - that is, in short, what this country, once inaccessible, had to offer. If you have already visited India, getting to Sri Lanka is a must. And if you haven’t been in this area at all, hurry up, book your flight and pack your bags. There are plenty of circuits in Sri Lanka with a wizard program.
You arrive first in the capital Colombo, one of the busiest capital cities of the world, once home of Arab, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonialists, from whom there remained many influences. You will tour the city and you will admire the Pettah Bazaar, the floating market, Colombo Port City, "the Dutch Hospital" (the oldest building in Colombo), street jewelry, the Independence Square, Kelaniya Temple (one of the earliest Buddhist temples built in the third century). You will immediately notice the influences of various colonialist cultures, for instance Cinnamon Gardens - today an important residential area and home of the Prime Minister, but in the 17th century they used to be cinnamon plantations belonging to the Dutch colonialists.
The second city that you'll see is Galle, the administrative capital of the south (city founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century), marked by three colonial architectural styles: Dutch, English and Portuguese. Here you will visit the Dutch fort, an example of military equipment that includes a church built in 1754, the Zwart bastion and the Lighthouse.
The next travel spot is Tissamaharama, a city where you will stay for a while and then turn to Kataragama, the holy land of Sri Lanka, the Hindu place of pilgrimage for Buddhist and Vedda communities. Here you must visit Kiri Vihara and Maha Dewa, two gorgeous temples and then you go on to Buduruwagala to see the biggest rock carving representing the Buddha and has 16 meters in height. The name of Buduruwagala means "stone images of Buddha" and in the rock shaped as a kneeling elephant, there are seven carved figures, the central one being obviously the Buddha.
The next stop is at Bandarawela, but on the way you'll make a stop to see the spectacular Rawan waterfall, with a height of 54 meters. From Bandarawela you will leave for Nuwara Eliya, and on the way you will have the chance to visit the Dowa Temple, Botanical Gardens Hakgala, Seetha Amman Temple and a tea factory (did you know that Sri Lanka's largest tea exporter in the world?). Nuwara Eliya is one of the main tourist attractions in Sri Lanka; the city is nicknamed "Little England" because of obvious British colonial influences records. Afterwards, you will visit Cabana Queen Hill Club, Grand Hotel, Governor's House and others. Nuwara Eliya was "founded" by the explorer Samuel Baker in 1846, and quickly became a place to spend the holidays for British settlers who wanted to escape the heat of the coasts and enjoy the clean breeze of the mountains of Sri Lanka. Seeing how this place becomes popular, then Governor, Sir William Gregory, decided that the city needs electricity and the nearby lake (itself a tourist attraction) would generate electricity.
Next city on the way is Peradeniya, where you wake up in the middle of over 5000 species of plants, exotic flowers and tropical fruits, visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens. In the Tooth Temple located in Kandy, you'll encounter again with the world of Buddha - built in the 17th century, it is said that this temple is hosting one of the canines belonging to Buddha. The tooth had been taken out of his mouth while he lay on his deathbed.
Kandy is a beautiful Oas, which you will get to visit entirely; here you're going to see three important temples in the area: Gadaldeniya, Embekka and Lankatilaka, each with amazing wonders and secrets. Another place where you will be awed is the Aluvihara Monastary, one that marks the history of Buddhism because it is said that here there were discovered the most important writings of the Buddhist scripture - Tripitaka. You will change the register in Matale and visit a Spice Garden - plants that are more or less flavored and spicy used in the Sri Lanka cuisine and exported worldwide. You will get to visit another Buddhist temple - Nalanda and the off you go on the road to Sigiriya, the former royal capital.
From here, you will have many things to visit. Yes, even more! First, there will be Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of the country (being the official headquarters during the fourth and the sixth centuries), where you can tour the town seeing the oldest tree in the world: Sri Maha Bodi. It is said that this tree was brought to the country by Their Sangamitta, the daughter Emperor Asoka, and was planted in the Mahameghavana Park of Anuradhapura in 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa. After a series of temples and flamboyant gardens, you will go back to Sigiriya, and the nexy day you will take off to Medirigiriya, with a stop in Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital of the Kingdom of Ceylon during its imperial period.
But the icing on the cake will be the Stone Fortress built by King Kashyapa in the fifth century. It is one of the most valuable monuments in Sri Lanka, which locals consider the eighth wonder of the world - a palace and fortress built on a huge rocky plateau, 370 meters above sea level. Do not miss the luxuriant gardens nearby and continue your way to Aukana, where you will admire another impressive 12 meters high statue depicting the Buddha, carved by an anonymous artist.
Latest goals that you will visit are the caves of Dambulla - five caves that are a part of UNESCO world heritage, harboring a lot of statues and paintings, in an area of 2100 square meters. You will then see Negombo town right before returning to the capital, Colombo.
Pic7: lasociedadgeografica.comSRI LANKA - AN INCREDIBLE LAND WHICH BLENDS THE EXOTIC WITH THE SPIRITUAL SRI LANKA - AN INCREDIBLE LAND WHICH BLENDS THE EXOTIC WITH THE SPIRITUAL