Polonnaruwa is the country’s medieval capital with superb well-preserved temple ruins and palaces. The Gal Vihare complex here is probably the most famous with impressive rock sculptures.
If you’re a golf fan head to the 18 hole course at Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort, with the country’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala (8,282 ft) nearby. Kandy, the last stronghold of the Kandyan has fascinating ancient customs, arts, crafts. Visit the Temple of The Sacred Tooth Relic, Royal Botanical Gardens and myriad temples and museums.
Anuradhapura was Sri Lanka’s first capital – visit the oldest tree in the world, the 2000 year old Sacred Bodhi Tree, the Brazen Palace, the Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba, the Samadhi Buddha Statue and the rock carvings at Isurumuniya Vihara. Climb the stairway at Mihintale for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Don’t miss the ancient site of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka’s world famous 5th century rock fortress. Finally, don’t miss The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.
Climb up Sigiriya built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century. The rock rises 200 meters and has a flat summit where the Royal Palace was once located. The Golden Temple at Dambulla must also be seen as it has been a centre for pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus for over 22 centuries. The Cave Monastery depicts the life and times of Lord Buddah with vivid frescos, the largest antique painted surface int he world.
Formally known as Ceylon, this tear drop island a stone’s throw from India’s southern tip combines stunning coastal scenery and fertile hills covered in fragrant tea plantations with a deliciously balmy tropical climate. Offering a thousand miles of palm-lined beaches with crystal clear water and colourful reefs the island is most certainly one of the Indian Ocean’s gems.
Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left a delightful blend of colonial architecture, which, along with ancient ruins and wonderful wildlife, makes Sri Lanka a wonderfully exciting destination.