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An island nation located south of India, Sri Lanka boasts diverse picturesque landscapes ranging from sandy beaches and highlands to arid plains and rainforests. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the country’s coast is fringed with idyllic beaches, while the interior is dotted with wildlife-rich jungles and manicured tea plantations. Top natural attractions in Sri Lanka are Horton Plains National Park, Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park, Sri Pada Adam’s Peak, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Kumbuk River Resort, and Fa Hien Cave. Formerly known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is renowned for its great religious monuments including Buddhist ruins. History enthusiasts would love to explore Sri Lanka's ancient capital, Anuradhapura and its ruins which date back to over 2,000 years. Major landmarks in Sri Lanka are fortress of Sigiriya, Galle Fort, Borella Kanatte General Cemetery, Unawatuna Peace Pagoda, Saint Anthony's Church and Cemetery, Sathmahal Prasada, Temple of the Tooth, Nissanka Malla’s Palace, Koneswaram Temple, Royal Palace Kandy, Dambulla Cave Temple, Dutch Period Museum, and Ariapita Mask Factory Museum. Sri Lanka’s culture, cuisine, and architecture has been influenced by Indian, British, Dutch, Portuguese, Arab, and Malay settlers. The country is home to several cultural institutions and hosts popular festivals such as Vesak Poya-Festival of lights, Poson Poya Festival, and Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Popular Destinations in Sri Lanka
Located in central Sri Lanka amidst mountains, Kandy is considered to be
the cultural capital of the country. Biodiverse rainforests inhabited by
animals surround the downtown area of the city. In this downtown area
visitors will find markets and eateries which reflect the culture of Sri
Lanka. A popular tourist hub, Kandy is globally renowned for being the
location of the feature film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Locally
known as Senkadagalapura, the city is a sacred site for Buddhists. Kandy is
a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the 16th century
Temple of the Tooth Relic, a famous Buddhist pilgrim site. The 17th century Kandy Palace is emblematic of the city. Other major
landmarks in Kandy include Kandy Lake, Natha Devale, Giragama Walawwa,
Kandy Clock Tower, Bahirawakanda Vihara Buddha Statue, British Garrison
Cemetery, and Degaldoruwa Raja Maha Vihara.
Capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo has a remarkable history as a port city on
ancient west-east trade routes. Colombo is the political and commercial hub
of the country. Formerly under the rule of Portuguese, Dutch, and British,
the cosmopolitan city is a terrific blend of cultures. Its multicultural
heritage is reflected in its beautiful architecture. Visitors will find
here colonial buildings alongside towering high-rises and huge shopping
malls. Colombo’s diverse religious landmarks include the historic Dutch
Reformed Wolvendaal Church, Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque, and Buddhist Gangaramaya
Temple complex. Major attractions in Colombo are Beira Lake, Dehiwala Zoo,
Colombo National Museum, Independence Memorial Hall, Excel World
Entertainment Park, Colombo Dutch Museum, Seema Malaka, Old Parliament
Building, Pettah Floating Market, and National Zoological Gardens of Sri
Lanka. Visitors can here enjoy a leisurely stroll along Galle Face Green,
an oceanside promenade. Shopaholics can navigate through the vibrant Pettah
bazaar district which is lined with thousands of vendors offering
everything from tea and spices to jewelry and textiles. Colombo is also a
major gateway for beaches in southern Sri Lanka.
Located on the southwest coast of the country, Galle is famed for Galle
Fort, the 16th century fortified city founded by the Portuguese.
Stone sea walls encircle car-free streets lined with buildings in
Portuguese, Dutch, and British architectural styles. The 18th
century Dutch Reformed Church and Galle Lighthouse are noteworthy buildings
here. Art and history enthusiasts will enjoy exploring the Galle National
Museum, which has on display southern Sri Lankan artifacts such as
woodcarvings and ritual masks, and several objects from the British
colonial era. Beach buffs can head over to the Unawatuna Beach, and Jungle
Beach. Other tourist attractions in Galle include St. Mary's Cathedral, Sea
Turtle Hatchery Mahamodara, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Historical Mansion
Museum, and Rumassala Sanctuary.
Best Time to Visit Sri Lanka
The best time to take Sri Lanka flights is from December to March when the weather is pleasant with least amount of rainfall. For those who wish to avoid crowds and get economical flights, April to September is the ideal time to take cheap flights to Sri Lanka.
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