Sri Lanka ‘s largest and most important city, Colombo was the capital until the seat of the parliament shifted to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte. Today, this city of more than one million remains the political, commercial and the cultural hub of Sri Lanka.
Kandy was the last stronghold of the Sinhala kings before it fell to the British in 1815. The Buddhist Chapter headquarters of Malwatte and Asgiriya were venerated from a distance by lay persons and monks alike for centuries, as Kandy was considered the last bastion of independent Buddhist thought.
A cool green mountain valley set in the heart of tea country, boasts rolling hills interspersed with gushing streams and tumbling waterfalls. A popular summer resort known as “Little England” famous for its tea plantations and golf links.
Located 116 Kilometres south of Colombo, this is the capital of southern Sri Lanka. In 1587, the Portuguese annexed Galle from its Singhalese kings and built its first fortress naming it “Santacrusz”. Its old world charm appeals as a tourist destination.
The largest and oldest of all Sri Lanka’s ancient cities, Anuradhapura is a fitting climax to any tour of the Cultural Triangle. Arguably, it takes a bit more effort to imagine it as it was 2000 years ago, with palaces and huge dagobas.
Polonnaruwa, located in the North Central province was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century A.D. Along with Anuradhapura and Kandy, this ancient city forms one of the points of the “cultural triangle” of Sri Lanka.
Yapahuwa An ancient fortress and capital built in the year 1301. Yapahuwa is a rock rising to a height of 90m. Many traces of ancient battle defaces can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway, remains its biggest showpiece.
Sri Lanka is blessed with so many varied archaeological sites of historical and cultural importance that the visitor is spoilt for choice. While the expansive ruins of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa have a grandeur that is difficult to surpass, there are lesser-known sites that have an ambiance all of their own. This frequently stems from the fact that they lie off the beaten track, are on a smaller scale, and are encircled and even encroached upon by jungle.