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Locations

Pinnawela elephant orphanage

Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela elephant orphanage has existed since 1975 and has grown to become one of the most popular attractions of Sri Lanka.

Before the arrival of the British in 1815 an estimated 30,000 elephants lived on the island. In the 1960s, the elephant population was close to extinction. This prompted the Sri Lankan government to found an orphanage for elephants that had lost their mothers or herds. Today, their number is around 3,000.

Pinnawela, about 80 km northeast of Colombo, is regarded as the biggest herd of captive elephants in the world. Among the elephants is one that lost a foot when it stepped on a mine. Another is blind and is totally reliant on humans. The elephant herd in Pinnawela makes the journey to the river twice a day to bathe under the eyes of the tourists. For a few Sri Lankan rupees they are allowed to touch the animals. The sound of cameras clicking increases every time one of the young elephant babies splashes about in the water. But anyone who wants to take a picture of the babies feeding in the orphanage has to pay extra for the privilege.

Sigiriya (Lion's rock)

Sigiriya (Lion's rock)

Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by King Kasyapa. Following King Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. . The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Oxford, Sigiri Graffiti. He also wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".

Dambulla

Dambulla

The city of Dambulla is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Major attractions of the city include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days. The city also boasts to have the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Namal Uyana.

Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site near Dhambulla cave temple complexes is the latest archaeological site of significant historical importance found in Dambulla, which is located within 3 kilometers of the cave temples providing evidence on presence of indigenous civilisations long before the arrival of Indian influence on the Island nation

Kandy

Kandy

Kandy is with many visitors first favorite among the beautiful places Ceylon can show. This early 20th century guidebook assessment of the country’s hill capital still holds good, although modernity and overcrowding has somewhat tarnished its charm. Fortunately it still has enough attractions of the cultural kind, such as temples, museums and the world-renowned Esala Perahera, to make it a remarkable destination.

Located in the foothills of the central highlands around the banks of a picturesque lake, steeped in history, and possessing a salubrious climate, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s renowned second city.

Kandy is known to most Sri Lankans as Maha Nuwara, “The Great City.” And great it is. The sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is housed here in its own temple, and is paraded around the city in one of Asia’s most celebrated festivals, the Kandy Perahera, held during July-August. The monasteries of Sri Lanka’s two leading Buddhist sects have long been established in the city. Traditions of Sinhalese music and dance, such as Kandyan dancing, are kept alive in Kandy, as are many arts and crafts. Little wonder, then, that Kandy was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

Nuwara Eliya & Tea Plantation

Nuwara Eliya & Tea Plantation

Nuwara Eliya is a mountain station at 1,868 m (6,128 ft) of altitude, in a splendid landscape. The city pretends to be particularly well-kept and neat, and the always green grass gives to the locality an aspect of “colonial British style".

Nuwara Eliya was built entirely during the 19th century and its architecture mimics that of an English country town, with red-brick walls, country house like hill club and mock-Tudor half-timbering.

Kurunegala

Kurunegala

Kurunegala was a royal capital for only 50 years, from the end of the 13th century to the start of the next, though even before this it was strategically placed in the middle of other majestic strongholds such as Yapahuwa to the north, Dambadeniya to the south and Panduwasnuwara in the east.

King Bhuvanekabahu II, who reigned from 1293 to 1302, and his successor Parakramabahu IV, who reigned until 1326, were but two monarchs who took Kurunegala as their capital. The famous tooth relic was housed here after it was returned by the Pandyan kings of southern India, who had captured it during a previous incursion, before it was moved for safety to Polonnaruwa. There is little left to see of where the ancient relic was housed except for a doorway and some stone steps.

Ella

Ella

Ella is a beautiful small village in Sri Lanka's hill country with little more than a handful of shops, hotels and guesthouses, but it has an almost perfect climate and occupies a very scenic vantage point, with views on a fine day stretching right across the South Coast of Sri Lanka.

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