Art & Architecture – Excursions
Dambulla – the cave temple
The largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, this UNESCO world heritage site has caves under a vast overhanging rock with intricately painted ceilings and Buddha statues in different postures.
Sigiriya – painting rock art, fortress architecture and landscape
Sigiriya is a UNESCO world heritage site dominated by a massive rock on top of which King Kasyapa built his fortress and palace. He decorated the walls with frescos, including the famous heavenly maidens.
Polonnaruwa – ancient city
Also an UNESCO world heritage site, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological sites in Sri Lanka It includes the great lake Parakrama Samudraya, a testimony to Sri Lanka’s ancient irrigation systems.
Wilderness and National forests
Rose Quartz Mountain
Situated deep in the jungle, the Iron Wood Forest and Rose Quartz mountain range (Namal Uyana) is considered one of the oldest & largest rock outcrops in South Asia. The seven mountains are situated 180 to 300 meters above sea level and, according to archaeological research findings, the pink quartz dates back more than 550 million years.
Minneriya National Park
During the dry season (from July to October), the Minneriya Wildlife sanctuary is a feeding ground for elephants, and herds of up to 200 elephants start to gather there.Lonely Planet has ranked this “gathering” of elephants as the 6th greatest wildlife spectacle in the world.
Ritigala Forest Reserve
An ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain range, Ritigala is a forest reserve with medicinal herbs, ruins and rock inscriptions dating back to the 1st century BC. At the summit of the mountain range is a patch of vegetation with healing herbs, distinct from the dry-zone flora of the lower slopes. This gives rise to the legend that it was a chunk of earth from the Himalayas dropped by Lord Hanuman as he carried the earth with medicinal herbs for Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana, as written in the ‘Ramayana’.