Tourists are fascinated by Sri Lankan nature, many Buddhist shrines and traces of historical architecture are impressive. When planning a trip to Ceylon, we advise you to make a list of “What to see in Sri Lanka” in advance. Such information will help to competently build an independent travel route to the sights of the country.
Memorials and monuments
- Statue of Buddha Bahiravokanda Vihara . A snow-white statue of a deity in a lotus position is located on the top of Peradeniya near Kandy. The height of the statue is 27 meters, it is the largest seated Buddha figure in the Central Province of the country. In addition to the scale and grandeur of the sculpture, a panoramic view of the city, which opens at its foot, makes a vivid impression.
- Buddha statue near the railway station in Kandy. Even in such places, Sri Lankans pay tribute to traditions. According to Country Plus, the composition is especially amazing at dawn, when the figure of Buddha, illuminated by the lights of light bulbs, beckons with the morning mantra.
- Statue of Samadhi. A small granite composition 2.5 meters high, which depicts the Buddha in the meditative pose of Dhyana Mudra. If you are looking for Sri Lanka’s top attractions, Samadhi in Nirvana is one of the most important local relics to visit.
- Rock sculptures of Gal Vihara . Carved in stone, four Buddha images of different sizes are frozen in different positions of the body. In ancient times, separate temples adjoined each statue. Today, only the foundation remains of the shrines. One of them, a seven-meter full-length statue of a deity, according to some scientists, depicts the disciple of the Buddha – Ananda.
- Independence Memorial Hall. The building on the central square of the capital of Colombo is timed to coincide with the state’s independence in 1948. Every year on February 4, a ceremonial celebration of a historical date significant for the people takes place here. The building is decorated with skillful stone carvings, which are complemented by no less impressive paintings. In front of the entrance stands the figure of Stephen Don Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
Temple complexes and shrines
The main attractions of Sri Lanka are temples, so we recommend laying any route through the following places.
- Dalada Maligawa Temple. The shrine in which you can see the only surviving part of the body that belonged to the Buddha is his tooth. That is why the second name of the sanctuary sounds like “Temple of the Tooth Relic”. Tourists can also see numerous statues of the deity, amazing frescoes and the temple library, which still holds historical manuscripts over 2 thousand years old. The Museum of World Buddhism is also located here.
- Temple of Gadaladeniya. The beautiful city temple on its painted walls tells the story of the life of the Buddha in pictures. Built in 1314, the building is decorated with a statue of God installed inside the sanctuary.
- Temple of Ranavan. An ideal place for meditation, where people come to find peace in a relaxing atmosphere. The complex is surrounded by a green forest and is considered the most beautiful in Sri Lanka. Several Buddha figures of different ages “watch” visitors on the territory.
- Dagobah Ruwanveliseya. The snow-white domed pagoda in Anuradhapura, 90 meters high, occupies 120 hectares of land. The sacred place is surrounded by gardens and a long wall with images of hundreds of elephants. In the Stupa, the bowl of the Buddha is kept for offering.
- Temple of Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. The largest sanctuary in Sri Lanka, which, according to the legends of the Sri Lankans, was consecrated by the Buddha himself. The temple has collections of ancient paintings, various Buddhist deities, and a statue of a reclining patron. The building is decorated with frescoes, carved sculptures on the walls and ceilings.
- Cathedral of Saint Lucy. Catholic monastery in Colombo, whose area occupies 1695 square meters. m, and the ceilings reach a height of 46 m, is an example of the Gothic style. The windows are decorated with colored stained-glass windows, and the interior is full of carved sculptures and a statue of the Madonna of Cotagena. The altar is crowned with the image of St. Lucy, who holds her eyeballs in her palms.
National parks and natural sites
The country is famous for its unique diverse landscapes, where plains give way to mountain plateaus, followed by tropical forests and sandy beaches. In terms of quantity and picturesqueness, the natural attractions of Sri Lanka are in no way inferior to cultural and historical ones.
- Yala National Park . A protected area on the south coast of the country and home to a rare population of leopards that can be seen in their natural environment. In addition to predatory spotted cats, the territory of the park is inhabited by elephants and crocodiles, buffaloes and flocks of strange birds. To see all the inhabitants of the local mangroves and the park, group jeep safaris are organized for tourists.
- Bundala National Park. It is considered a “transit” point for 58 species of migratory birds, which can be observed in September and March. The most popular “guest” of this reserve is a large flamingo. Among the other 150 registered feathered representatives, there are curly and marsh sandboxes, ibises, red-eyed phalarope, herons and pelicans. Mammals are also found here, like jackals, langurs and spotted deer.
- Lunugamwehera National Park . In 1995, the area was taken under protection in connection with the protection of the reservoir located on the territory of the reserve. The reservoir is the most important natural object, on which both the life of waterfowl and the fullness of the reservoirs of the Kirindi River, which feed the lands of the aforementioned Bundala park, depend. The reserve is a migratory area for elephants moving from Yala to Udawalawe. Among the endemic representatives of the fauna here you can find the Yala toad and the Fejervarya Pulla frog.
- Nuwara Eliya tea plantation . The emerald lands that cover the Sri Lankan hills are a popular destination for excursions. The bulk of the tea produced is grown in Nuwara Eliya. Here, tourists not only admire the picturesque tea plantations, but also have the opportunity to visit the factory and taste a fragrant drink. You can buy the tea you like.
- Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawala. Elephants in Ceylon have special feelings and for the inhabitants of the island the animal is sacred. They are taken care of, they are protected, which is why there are so many nurseries in Sri Lanka. The most famous is in Pinnawala. Here, adults and babies are helped to survive, which for various reasons cannot exist in the wild. Twice a day, the elephants are taken to the river for a swim, where they are watched by inquisitive tourists. You won’t be able to ride on the back of a giant, but you can take some good pictures.
- Spice gardens. The oldest spice plantations in Matale have become the center of Ayurveda, where healing herbal preparations are made. Here you can see how plants look and grow, how they are harvested and processed to make spices, and what else is produced from the resulting raw materials. Each visitor will be offered to purchase natural Ayurvedic products and other souvenirs, such as packets of fragrant vanilla or allspice.