Sri Lanka is steeped in heritage. With a history that dates back over 2,000 years, Sri Lanka is home to some of the best preserved Asian monuments and showcases no fewer than 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites, all remarkably preserved to surpass more well-known world class attractions. To this day Sri Lanka’s centuries old heritage lives on, in the culture and the way of life of the Sri Lankan people. The rich tapestry of cultural practice, beliefs and the traditional way of life renews and revives this Island nation’s historic ties, creating an oasis of cultural richness in the modern day.
  • Sacred City of Anuradhapura Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in thick jungle for a long time, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is once again accessible.
  • ANURADHAPURA ( The city of Anuradhapura is situated one hundred and twenty eight miles (205 km) north of Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka on the banks of the Malwatu Oya. Founded in the 4th century BC it was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom till the beginning of the 11th century AC. During this period it reminded one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. )
  • Anuradhapura: Its origin, fall and revival As legend has it, over 2500 years ago in 500 B.C., Sakya, brother of Princes Badda Kanchana laid the foundation for the city of Anuradhapura under the Asterim Anuradha, auspiciously aspected by the planets.
  • Ruwanveliseya - The Wondrous Stupa Built by Gods and Men  PDF file: Compiled from Thupavansa,the Singhalese Chronicle on Ruvanveli-seya,by The Most Venerable Tripitaka Teacher Nauyana Ariyadhamma Maha Thera
  • Abhayagiri Vihara - The Northem Monastery (Uttararamaya) - Anuradhapura  The term Abhayagiri Vihara means not only a complex of monastic buildings, but also a fraternity of Buddhist monks, or Sangha, which maintained its own historical records, traditions and way of life. Founded in the second century B.C., it had grown into an international institution by the first century of this era, attracting scholars from all over the world and encompassing all shades of Buddhist philosophy.
  • Ancient Marble carvings of Sri Lanka (Marble carvings found at the Jethawanaramaya Dagaba site in Anuradhapura is believed to be at least 1,600 years old. )
  • The Samadhi Buddha statue The Samadhi statue is symbolic of the tranquillity of mind, with no attraction or repulsion from the world out side to disturb. This Pilima Vahanse is said to belong to the Abeygiriya period of the 3rd or 4th century of Sri Lankas history.
  • Isurumuniya 6th Century Gupta style carving. The woman, seated on the man's lap, lifts a warning finger, probably as a manifestation of her coyness; but the man carries on regardless." The figures may represent Dutugemunu's son Saliya and the law caste (Sadol Kula) maiden Asokamala whom he loved. It's known that he gave up the throne for her.
  • Ancient Polonnaruwa and its environs The city of Polonnaruwa like any other ancient South Asian city, consisted of a citadel within which the royal precinct was located, a defense wall system and moats, monastic and devale complexes which were the ritual centres and a well laid out market complex. In the periphery of the city were centres of craft production and beyond them the agricultural hinterland.
  • Polonnaruwa -  The glory of mediaeval Sri LankaEncircled by three-foot thick fortifications, the impressive 12th century Royal Citadel housed the palace and the administrative buildings of King Prakramabahu. It was once 7 stories high and contained a thousand chambers.  
  • Galvihara - a unique display of rock art ( What is generally regarded as some of the finest collections of Buddhist sculpture can be seen at Galvihara (Rock Monastery) in Polonnaruwa)
  • Maha Nuwara - City of Kandy : The Senkadagalapura Available historical records suggest that Senkadagalapura (an early name for Kandy) was established by the King Wickramabahu III during the period of his reign from 1357-1374 AD.
  • Odyssey of the 'Tooth Relic of the Buddha'( The 'Danta Dhatu' (Tooth Relic of the Buddha) is one of the most revered objects of worship by Buddhists throughout the world. It now lies in the sanctum sanctorum of the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy enshrined in an embellished reliquary. The relic was brought to the island by chance during the 9th regnal year of king Keerthi Sri Meghavarna (371 AD), and ever since it was protected by kings and laymen who paid homage to it with unbound munifience. )
  • Dalada Maligawa : Temple of Tooth History  By the 12th century the Tooth Relic had become the palladium of Sinhala royalty, conferring on its custodian the right to he sovereignty of Sri Lanka.
  • _Dalada Maligawa : Temple of Tooth Rituals Ever since the four canine teeth of the Buddha after cremation came to be in the possession of devas, nagas and men, these were preciously guarded and received special veneration and worship.
  • <Kandy Esala Perahera - The History & the Process of the pageant ( The Kandy Esala Perahera is held annually in July August on days fixed by the Diyawadana Nilame (Chief Lay Head or Trustee) of the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). Its origin, as one writer on Ceylon describes it, is "lost in the mists of centuries".
  • Kandy Esala Perahera - Origins of a historic pageant steeped in ritual  Before 1775, the Esala perahera in Kandy was exclusively held to entreat and implore the four guardian deities of the island, viz: Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini. This is confirmed by Robert Knox, who was a captive in the Kandyan provinces for twenty years (1659-1679)
  • elephant ( "Sathdantha" means that when the elephant stands erect, seven points: the four legs, its trunk, penis and tail must touch the ground,)
  • MIHINTALE: The cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka  Eight miles east of Anuradhapura, close to the Anuradhapura - Trincomalee Road is situated the "Missaka Pabbata" which is 1000 feet in height and is one of the peaks of a mountainous range. Though this was called Cetiyagiri or Sagiri, it was popularly known as Mihintale - the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
  • Mihintale: guardian of the memory of Mahinda  It was at Mihintale that the apostle Mahinda met King Devanampiyatissa on a full moon day in the month of Poson and officially introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka. Mahinda resided at Mihintale, finding the hustle and bustle of the royal city of Anuradhapura unsuitable for monastic life. King Tissa created 68 rock cells at Mihintale for Mahinda and his retinue.
  • Kaludiya pokuna: Ancient feats in granite in Mihintale (Mihintale Rock - immortalised by the formal arrival of Buddhist ambassadors to the country is more than a place of religious worship. The attractive rock outcrop, standing tall in the flat, dry expanse of agricultural dry zone, is a treasure trove of archaeological wealth. Kaludiya Pokuna is one such.)
  • Lesser known sacred sites of Mihintale (Rising prominently above the surrounding plains is the jungle clad Rajagiri Kanda or the mountain of the kings, accessible from the road almost directly in front of the entrance to the Kaludiya pokuna complex.)
  • Sigiriya: The Lion Rock of Sri Lanka Dark deeds led to the establishment of Sigiriya as the center of the ancient Sinhalese Kingdom for a period of 18 years in the late 5th Century.   
  • Sigiriya: Eighth wonder of the world ?  Sigiriya- the lion moun tain. Kasyapa, the controversial King and master builder, wanted to own it and built himself a lofty palace atop the huge rock, rising 200 metres out of the flat, irrigated dry zone landscape. Thousand five hundred years later, Sir Arthur C. Clark mooted the idea that Sigiriya qualifies to be the eighth wonder of the world, ranked closely with the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal
  • Sigiriya Story - A Different Version The following story of Kasyapa as obtained from the documents of Ananda-Sthavira, translated by Senarath Paranavitana, differs from the story that many learned as school children; that King Datusena had been plastered alive to a wall by his son Kasyapa who later died in battle facing his brother Moggallana.
  • Sigiriya: The Citadel City of the Playboy King? (King Kasyapa had 500 wives.He was a 5th Century Hugh Hefner. Sigiriya was his Playboy Mansion.The revised version was finally revealed in 1946 inside a great big book of photographs called "Island Ceylon" from Viking Press. There author John Lindsay Opie describes how the German theorist Gauribala, after studying the monument for many years, unraveled the official version for what it really was: a temple of Tantric sex initiation.
  • Sigiriya Art Gallery -High Quality images of Sigiriya Frescoes
  • Sigiri Graffiti: poetry on the mirror-wall  Just as the symbolism in the frescoes at Sigiriya has baffled the spectators, the graffiti on its mirror-wall have enthraled them down the centuries. The visitors who have inscribed their feelings on the wall have come from all parts of the country and they belong to various strata of society. Such visitors include kings, noblemen, ladies, monks, a novice, a guard and a smith.
Sri Pada
  • Sri Pada (Adam's peak) - The sacred mount  Sri Pada or Adam's peak as it was known to the early West was in the limelight from times before the recorded history of the Island. By the time Macedon's illustrious son, Alexander the Great, Greek warrior king and empire builder is believed to have visited Sri pada (circa. 324 B.C.), the peak was already held in veneration.
  • Sri Pada - Glorious shadow and its parallels the holiest of the holy hills (According to another legend the Buddha is believed to have left the print of his left foot on Adam's Peak.
  • The lure of Sri Pada  This mountain is also known as Samantakuta, Sumanakuta, Samanalakanda, Samanhela, Samangira, Medumhelaya etc. The Christians call the mountain Adam's Peak, derived from the Portuguese Pico de Adam (Peak of Adam).
  • Galle Tarshish of the Old Testament (According to Sir James Emerson Tennant Galle was the "Tarshish" referred to in the Bible as the port where ships trading with King Soloman obtained their Elephants, Peacocks and Gemstones. Most certainly the place where the Galle Fort now stands as well as other areas in Galle like Unawatuna, Magalle, Kaluwella and even the China Gardens (which held a colony of Chinese traders several years ago) were all areas with historic connections which go back long before the Portuguese Era.
  • GALLE:  Centuries ago when Lanka was ruled by the Sinhalese Kings, 'Gaalla' or Galle was the old world's romantic city which owed its glory to its natural harbour. This picturesque seaside resort was the centre of trade in olden days, because of its strategic position, where sailing vessels laden with merchandize from the Western countries of Egypt, Persia, Arabia and the Eastern China, Malaysia and Singapore converged.)
  • A Historic tour through the city of Galle  In 1620 the Portuguese completed a stone defense work at the landside, securing Punto Gale (Point of Galle) from the north. This bastion was called Sao Iago (Saint James). By 1625 three bastions were completed. On 4 August 1667 Sao Iago was renamed by the Dutch into Zon (Sun)
  • Dutch Reformed ChurchDutch Reformed Church was introduced to Sri Lanka by the VOC with its first church ministrations held in Galle on 6th October, 1642, almost 360 years ago. Its consistory in Colombo was established in 1658 marking the beginning of protestant church or what they called 'True Christian Reformed Church'.
  • Galle Church  Burial Chambers and Vaults "the body of General Hulft was received in Galle three days after his untimely death .... and placed within a masonry catalogue in De Groot Kerk for one year. Thereafter, it was lowered into a grave on the right of the pulpit within the Church  the Generals arms and spurs being hung on the wall, over the grave. The following year, 1658, the Dutch conquest of coastal Ceylon being complete, the body of Hulft was removed to the State Dutch Church, within the Colombo Fort, where it was placed in a tomb".
  • >National Maritime Museum - Galle  National Maritime Museum established in 1992, housed in the Great Dutch-built Warehouse of 1671 near the Old Gate of Galle Fort, the museum displays a variety of exhibits connected with sea-faring, maritime trade, fishing and sea-life.
More Heritage
  • Adisham Bungalow - country seat of Sir Thomas Villiers The spirit of Thomas Lister Villiers strongly pervades this stately house. Villiers came to Ceylon in 1887 with 10 sterling pounds in his pocket.
  • Bogoda Roofed Bridge (Bogoda, with its ancient temple and wooden bridge lies some 30 kilometres from Bandarawela and 10 km from Badulla, off the Hali-ela junction. Believed to be the oldest surviving wooden bridge in the world, the Bogoda bridge dates back to the 1600s, but the temple just by it, has a much longer history, going back to the 1st century BC.)
  • The Bogoda bridge: Ancient bridge leads to caves of mystery This bridge is 50 ft. in length and 5 ft. wide. Two wooden poles bear the entire weight of the bridge. The roof of the bridge is covered in indigenous tiles (Sinhala ulu) and two wooden fences decorated in various designs, have been erected on either side. Interestingly, not a single nail has been used in the construction of the bridge. All parts fit neatly into each other.)
  • The house by Bulankulame Wewa This ancient house by the Bulankulame Wewa is believed to be the oldest house in Sri Lanka dating back almost 400 years. )
  • Pahala Walauwa: Savour cool Kotmale climes  Pahala Walauwa, the "Maha Gedera" or ancestral home of Gamini Dissanayake's mother, has seen a major slice of the history of Ceylon, having been built more than 200 years ago. )
  • The Limestone Grottos of VavulpaneThe grotos consist of at least 12 caves of varying sizes. The caves are appropriately named; it means Cave of Bats after the 250,000 bats that inhabit it.
  • The Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya During the second world war, the headquarters of the South East Asia Command under the Late Lord Louis Mountbatten as Supreme Allied Commander was sited at the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya.
  • Aliwatte: a spacious cave in a massive rock with royal secrets('Aliwatte' in Yatiyantota with a spacious cave in a massive rock, covering several perches of land, where King Walagamba had found secret accommodation once, during his exile)
  • Seetha Eliya / Sita Eliya  The Ramayana introduces King Ravana as a mighty flamboyant King of Lanka. King Ravana was a devotee of god Siva the holder of Pushparaga the chariot. It was Ravana who seized Seetha from Parnasalai in India, the holy hut of Rama and was brought to Asok Vana, a beautiful park at Seetha-Eliya on the Pushparaga, an air chariot - without touching her )