Story Vinod Kumar
Breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, unique wildlife, dense rainforest, tranquil temples and more; the unparalleled natural beauty of Sri Lanka makes it one of the most serene holiday destinations one can visit. And if you are a real foodie, of the many memories that you would gather of the place, the ones that you would treasure the most would be of the traditional Sri Lankan delicacies.
Nestled in the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent, the tropical island of Sri Lanka is also known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean.’
The history of Sri Lanka dates back over 2,500 years and is now a mix of both modern and traditional culture along with its regional diversity. Here is what you can expect to see in the country.
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, is the largest city and and is situated on the western coast of the island. Colombo and Greater Colombo Resort Region spread along Mount Lavinia in the south to Negombo in the north. Colombo city is the main part of the zone and is the centre for business activities, conferences and sport events. Colombo also serves both as a gateway and a stopover point for international tourists.
Tourists can visit the Buddhist Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Gangaramaya Temples, Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and Saint Paul’s Church Milagiriya. One can enjoy the beauty of Colombo by relaxing near the oceanside Galle Face Green, or by spending time in the beautiful Viharamahadevi Park. Colombo is also home to several museums like the National Museum of Colombo, the Dutch Period Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.
Kandy is the cultural capital of the country and it is the second largest city in Sri Lanka. Kandy’s picturesque locales, especially around a beautiful lake where boat rides are a must, is quite an attraction among the tourists. The temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Royal Botanical Gardens (Peradeniya, a suburb of the city of Kandy), Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sigiriya (lion’s rock) and the majestic Dambulla cave temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla (a World Heritage Site), are some of the must visit places.
Galle is a glorious fortress city in Sri Lanka, located at the southwestern part of the country. Pronounced as ‘Gawl’ in English and ‘Gaar-Le’ in Sinhala, it has developed to a great extent and stretches itself into the vicinity, but the heart of the town is the Galle Fort with its old world charm, retaining the atmosphere of times of yore. Built by the Dutch, the fort city has been standing tall since the early sixteenth century; from the Colonial periods of the Portuguese, Dutch and British to the present times. The city is declared as an archaeological reserve and has been recognised as a living World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Other important tourist sites at Galle are National Maritime Museum, St. Mary’s cathedral, the Dutch fort built in 1663, Ethamala Ella, Bundala National Park, Japanese Peace Pagoda and Maritime Archeology Museum.
Sri Lanka is a wildlife lovers’ paradise. It is known for being one of the best places in Asia for wildlife sightings. The national parks are home to many species of resident and migratory birds as well as elephants and solitary leopards.
The variety of flora and fauna in Sri Lanka in the nature reserves and sanctuaries is a major attraction for the tourists. Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, Sinharaja Forest, Yala National Park, Wilpattu National Park and Minneriya National Park are a few of such attractions where tourists can explore the unique flora and fauna.
If you are in Sri Lanka, don’t leave without trying out the different adventure activities. From exploring the historical Dambulla Rock Caves and climbing Sigiriya or the Lion Rock to hiking Ella Rock and visiting the tea plantations, Sri Lanka has it all.
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