Places

Places You Must Visit

airport

Bandaranaike International Airport

Bandaranaike International Airport, colloquially known as the Katunayake Airport and Colombo International Airport, is the main international airport serving Sri Lanka. It is named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike and is located in a suburb of Negombo, 20 miles (32.5 km) north of the capital Colombo. It is administered by Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd and serves as the hub of SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, and Cinnamon Air, the domestic carrier. The other airport serving the city of Colombo is the Ratmalana Airport, primarily serving domestic destinations.”
The airport began as a Royal Air Force airfield in 1944 during the Second World War, RAF Station Negombo. In 1957, Prime minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike removed all the British Military airfields from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the airfield was handed over to the Royal Ceylon Air Force (RCyAF) and renamed Katunayake; part of it still remains a military airfield. In 1964 Anil Moonesinghe, the Minister of Communications, started the building of a new international airport to replace Ratmalana, with Canadian aid. The airport was completed in 1967, and Air Ceylon, the national carrier, began international operations from it using a Hawker Siddeley Trident and a leased British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) VC-10. It was named after former Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike, in 1970. It was renamed Katunayake International Airport in 1977, but was changed back to Bandaranaike International Airport in 1995.”
On 7 November 1971 the first Boeing 747 landed at the airport. The Boeing 747-200B was operated by Condor carrying German tourists from Frankfurt. In the early 1990s the position of the airport’s runway (04/22) was shifted northward and the old runway was made into a taxiway for departing and arriving aircraft. Airport expansion projects have recently been undertaken at the airport under the Stage 1, Phase II Expansion Project. A pier with eight aero-bridges opened in November 2005. A new terminal with an additional eight gates are proposed to be built under Stage II of the Phase II Expansion Project. Construction of the new Stage II, Phase II Expansion Project is expected to commence in April 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2020.”
On 7 May 2007 the Sri Lankan Government decided to shift some military aviation operations out of the space adjoining the airport to SLAF Hingurakgoda, thus paving the way for more civilian operations. As part of the airport development program, a passenger train service was launched between the Airport and Colombo Secretariat Station, in June 2010. Plans were also unveiled to extend the Colombo-Katunayake airport express train to Ratmalana International Airport. The airport is used by Emirates as an alternative emergency airport for its Airbus A380 aircraft. On 9 January 2012, an Airbus A380-800 operated by Emirates flight EK 413 from Sydney landed at Bandaranaike International Airport. This was the first time in history that an Airbus A380 had landed in a Sri Lankan airport. EK 413 had taken-off from Sydney en route to Dubai, but needed a refueling stop. Originally planned to refuel at Singapore, it was decided to land in Colombo instead. The exact cause as to why the A380 needed to refuel is not known.”
Bandaranaike International Airport is equipped with 18 double jetway gates in preparation for airlines introducing the Airbus A380.”
SriLankan Airlines is the largest airline operating at the airport, with a fleet of 25 Airbus aircraft based at Colombo and providing scheduled services to Europe, Middle East, India, South East Asia, the Far East and Australia.”
An Emirates A380 aircraft, which is one of the largest aircraft in the world, received a warm welcome at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake on 14th August 2017. This one-off flight proved confidence in the BIA’s newly resurfaced runway, enabling the A380 to land there. This is a significant milestone for the aviation industry in Sri Lanka and the BIA. Interestingly it was piloted by a Sri Lankan”
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Negombo

Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the west coast and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province. Negombo is the administrative centre of Negombo Division. Negombo has about 144,551 inhabitants within the city limits. It is approximately 35 km (22 mi) north of Colombo. Negombo is known for its centuries old fishing industry.”
The name “Negombo” was first used by the Portuguese; the Sinhala name Mīgamuva means the “Group of Bees”. It was named a few centuries before in the ancient kings’ era.[citation needed] The army of King Kavantissa found bee honey in a canoe near the seashore, for Viharamahadevi who was pregnant with the prince Dutugamunu. Because of this, the place was named “Mee-Gomuwa”.”
The wild cinnamon that grew in the region around Negombo was said to be “the very best in the universe as well as the most abundant” and for centuries attracted a succession of foreign traders and colonial powers.[citation needed] The shallow waters of the Negombo Lagoon provided safe shelter for seafaring vessels and became one of the key ports (along with Kalpitiya, Puttalam, Salavata, Kammala, Colombo, Kalutara, Beruwala and Galle) from which the Singhalese kingdoms conducted external trade.”
The first Muslim Arabs (the Moors) arrived in Ceylon in the seventh and eighth centuries and eventually dominated the east-west trade routes. Many chose to settle in the coastal areas, and their descendants the Sri Lankan Moors remain the largest minority group in Negombo.”
The Moors’ long-held monopoly over the cinnamon trade, and the circuitous and largely overland route by which it was transported to Europe and the Mediterranean, added greatly to its cost.[2] It encouraged a Portuguese takeover in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century”
Landing in the early 1500s, the Portuguese ousted the Moors, constructed a fort in Negombo and took over the trade of cinnamon to the West. During the Portuguese occupation, the Karawa (traditional fishing clan of Negombo) embraced Catholicism almost without exception. So successfully were they converted that today Negombo is sometimes known as ‘Little Rome’ and nearly two thirds of its population profess the Catholic faith.”
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Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.”
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km (127 mi) north of the current capital Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.”
It is believed that from the fourth century BC until the beginning of the 11th century AD it was the capital of the Sinhalese. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).”
Although according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. Very little evidence was available about the period before the 5th century BC (i.e. the protohistoric period), though excavations have revealed information about the earlier inhabitants of the city.”
Further excavations in Anuradhapura have uncovered information about the existence of a protohistoric habitation of humans in the citadel. The protohistoric Iron Age, which spans from 900 to 600 BC, marked the appearance of iron technology, pottery, the horse, domestic cattle and paddy cultivation. In the time period 700 to 600 BC, the settlement in Anuradhapura had grown over an area of at least 50 hectares (120 acres). The city was strategically situated of major ports northwest and northeast. It was surrounded by irrigable and fertile land. The city was also buried deep in the jungle providing natural defence from invaders.”
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Jaffna

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna district located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138, Jaffna is Sri Lanka’s 12th largest city. Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna’s suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka’s second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun”
Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city. It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619 who lost it to the Dutch, only to lose it to the British in 1796. And during the post-Independence civil war the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) occupied Jaffna in 1986. The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) briefly occupied the city in 1987. The LTTE again occupied the city from 1989 until 1995, when the Sri Lankan military regained control.”
The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils with a significant number of Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamils and other ethnic groups present in the city prior to the civil war. Most Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus followed by Christians, Muslims and a small Buddhist minority. The city is home to number of educational institutions established during the colonial and post-colonial period. It also has number of commercial institutions, minor industrial units, banks, hotels and other government institutions. It is home to many historical sites such as the popular Jaffna library that was burnt down and rebuilt and the Jaffna fort rebuilt during the Dutch colonial period.”
Jaffna is known in Tamil as Yalpanam. The origin of the name can be traced to a legend about the town’s etymology. A King was visited by the blind Panan musician, who was an expert in vocal music and one skilled in the use of instrument called Yal.The King who was delighted to the music played with the Yal by the Panan, presented him a sandy plain. The Panan returned to India and introduced some members of his tribe as impecunious as himself to accompany to this land of promise, and it is surmised that their place of settlement was that part of the city which is known at present as Passaiyoor and Gurunagar.The Columbuththurai Commercial Harbor situated at Colombuthurai and the Harbour known as ‘Aluppanthy’ situated previously at the Gurunagar area seem as its evidences”
Jaffna is a corrupted version of Yalpanam. The colloquial form of Yalpanam is Yappanam. The Ya and Ja including pp and ff are easily interchangeable. As soon as it went into foreign language, it lost the Tamil ending m and consequently stood as Jaffna.”
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Trincomalee

Trincomalee also known as Gokanna, is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee District and major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbour, 113 miles south of Jaffna and 69 miles north of Batticaloa, Trincomalee has been one of the main centres of Sri Lankan Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia. With a population of 99,135, the city is built on a peninsula of the same name, which divides its inner and outer harbours. People from Trincomalee are known as Trincomalians and the local authority is Trincomalee Urban Council. Trincomalee city is home to the famous Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai and is home to other historical monuments such as the Bhadrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee, the Trincomalee Hindu Cultural Hall and, opened in 1897, the Trincomalee Hindu College. Trincomalee is also the site of the Trincomalee railway station and an ancient ferry service to Jaffna and the south side of the harbour at Muttur.”
The recorded history of Trincomalee spans more than two and a half thousand years, beginning with civilian settlement associated with the Koneswaram temple in the pre-modern era. One of the oldest cities in Asia, it has served as a major maritime seaport in the international trading history of the island with South East Asia. In the ancient world, it was successively the capital of eastern kingdoms of the Vanni country, developing under the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Pallava Dynasty, Chola Dynasty, Pandyan Dynasty, the Vannimai chieftaincies and the Jaffna kingdom through the Koneswaram shrine’s revenue. Trincomalee’s urbanization continued when made into a fortified port town following the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom, changing hands between the Danish in 1620, the Dutch, the French following a battle of the American Revolutionary War and the British in 1795, being absorbed into the British Ceylon state in 1815. The city’s architecture shows some of the best examples of interaction between native and European styles. Attacked by the Japanese as part of the Indian Ocean raid during World War II in 1942, the city and district were affected after Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, when the political relationship between Tamil and Sinhalese people deteriorated, erupting into civil war. It is home to major naval and air force bases at the Trincomalee Garrison. The city also has the largest Dutch fort on the island.”
The Trincomalee Bay Harbour, bridged by the Mahavilli Ganga River to the south, is referred to as “Gokarna” in Sanskrit, meaning “Cow’s Ear”, akin to several areas of Siva worship across the Indian subcontinent. Its sacred status to the Hindus has led to the city being declared “Dakshina-Then Kailasam” or “Mount Kailash of the South” and the “Rome of the Pagans of the Orient”. The harbour is renowned for its large size and security; unlike any other in the Indian Ocean, it is accessible in all weathers to all craft. It has been described as the “finest harbour in the world” and by the British, “the most valuable colonial possession on the globe, as giving to our Indian Empire a security which it had not enjoyed from elsewhere”. Popular tourist destinations include its beaches at Uppuveli, Salli and Nilaveli, used for temple visits, surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, and the Kanniya Hot Springs. Trincomalee is served by a campus of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka and has been the inspiration of both domestic and international poetry, films, music and literature for many centuries.”
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Pasikudah

Pasikudah or Pasikuda is a coastal resort town located 35 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa, Batticaloa District, Sri Lanka. Historically a small Tamil hamlet alongside nearby Kalkudah, it used to be a popular tourist destination, however suffered huge devastation following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the Sri Lankan Civil War.”
Foreign travel to Pasikudah has recently increased due to growth in investment and development. It is home to the Pasikudah Mariamman temple. Pasikudah is easily accessible from the cities of Trincomalee and Batticaloa.”
The nearest airport to Pasikudah is Batticaloa Airport, which has scheduled flights operating from Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport.”
Since the end of the civil war in 2009 and the completion of tsunami rehabilitation projects, Pasikudah has become a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners alike. Pasikudah is fast becoming an investors hub as foreign and local investors have shown interest in developing tourism along the beach. The Sri Lankan government’s strict environmental policies have prevented certain plans for mass development, although economic policies have promoted development to a certain extent. Pasikudah is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow reef coastline in the world. People walk kilometers into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep and the current is relatively weak compared to the rest of Sri Lanka’s coasts.”
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Habarana

Habarana is a small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. The location has some mid-range and up hotels aimed at package tourists, and is a departure point for other nearby locations of greater interest.”
Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants.[1] Elephant back riding is also an attraction in this small city. Habarana is situated nearby to the ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin of Sigiriya and is situated on the main road from Colombo to Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa. The population of the city is expected to be in the area of 5000-10,000.”
The area has some of the best hotels in the country and the greenery and wild life has added value, making the location attractive for tourists.”
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Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. The park earned revenue of Rs. 10.7 millions in the six months ending in August 2009. Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka. The park is situated 182 kilometres (113 mi) from Colombo.”
The area is situated in dry zone of Sri Lanka and receives an average rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimetres (59–79 in). The lowest temperature and highest of the park are 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) and 34.5 °C (94.1 °F) respectively. The main sources of water for the tank are a diversion of Amban River and Elahera canal. The wet season lasts during the north eastern monsoon from October to January and from May to September considered as the dry season. The main habitats of Minneriya are of several types, including low-canopy montane forests, intermediate high-canopy secondary forests, scrublands, abandoned chena lands, grasslands, rocky outcrops, and wetlands.”
Terminalia arjuna, Manilkara hexandra, neem (Azadirachta indica), Azadirachta indica, sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) and Piliostigma racemosum are commonly found in the area around the Minneriya tank.Chloroxylon swietenia, Vitex altissima, Berrya cordifolia, Diospyros quaesita, and Drypetes sepiaria are dominant plant species in Minneriya. Randia dumetorum, crotons, and Calotropis gigantea are common in abandoned chena cultivations and scrublands. Plantations of eucalyptus and teak, established by the Department of Forest Conservation, can be seen within the park. Monocots and grass species include Bambusa bambos, Ceylon date palm (Phoenix pusilla), Imperata cylindrica, and Panicum maximum.”
The national park’s faunal species include 24 species of mammals, 160 species of birds, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 26 species of fish, and 75 species of butterflies”
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Kaudulla National Park

Kaudulla National Park is a national park on the island of Sri Lanka located 197 kilometres (122 mi) away from the largest city, Colombo. It was designated a national park on April 1, 2002 becoming the 15th such area on the island. In the 2004–2005 season more than 10,000 people visited the National Park, generating an income of Rs.100,000 from entrance fees. Along with Minneriya and Girithale BirdLife International have identified Kaudulla as an Important Bird Area.”
Historically Kaudulla was one of the 16 irrigation tanks built by King Mahasen. Following a period of abandonment it was reconstructed in 1959. It now attracts and supports a variety of plant and animal life, including large mammals, fish and reptiles.”
The region receives an annual rainfall of 1,500–2,000 millimetres (59–79 in) including rain from the north-east monsoon. A dry period persists from April to October. Temperature ranges from 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) to 34.5 °C (94.1 °F). Many plant and grass species grow well during the rainy season whilst an abundance of food and water, even in the dry period, attracts a large number of herbivorous mammals to the park.”
The vegetation of the park represents Sri Lanka’s dry evergreen forests. Chena cultivation and grasslands surround the tank area.The community of phytoplankton in the Kaudulla tank includes blue green algae, Microcystis spp. and diatoms such as Melosira spp.. Manilkara hexandra, Chloroxylon swietenia and Vitex altissima are the dominant tree species in the forest surrounding the tank. Bushes such as Randia dumetorum, and Calotropis gigantea and grasses such as Imperata cylindrica, and Panicum maximum are abundant in some areas.”
It is reported that the spread of invasive, alien species such as Lantana camara is posing a threat to the wildlife of the park. The Kaudulla-Minneriya jungle corridor linking Kaudulla to Minneriya National Park was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary in 2004.”
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Dambulla

Dambulla is a large town, situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km (92 mi) north-east of Colombo and 72 km (45 mi) north of Kandy. Due to its location at a major junction, it is the centre of vegetable distribution in the country.”
Major attractions of the area 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 area also boasts the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest, or Na Uyana Aranya.”
Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site near Dambulla cave temple complexes is the latest archaeological site of significant historical importance found in Dambulla, which is located within 3 km (1.9 mi) of the cave temples providing evidence of the presence of indigenous civilisations long before the arrival of Indian influence on the Island nation.”
The area is thought to be inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. Statues and paintings in these caves date back to the 1st century BC. But the paintings and statues were repaired and repainted in the 11th, 12th, and 18th century AD. The caves in the city provided refuge to King Valagamba (also called Vattagamini Abhaya) in his 14-year-long exile from the Anuradapura kingdom. Buddhist monks meditating in the caves of Dambulla at that time provided the exiled king protection from his enemies. When King Valagamba returned to the throne at Anuradapura kingdom in the 1st century BC, he had a magnificent rock temple built at Dambulla in gratitude to the monks in Dambulla.”
At the Ibbankatuwa Prehistoric burial site near Dhambulla, prehistoric (2700 years old) human skeletons were found on scientific analysis to give evidence of civilisations in this area long before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Evidence of ancient people living on agriculture have been detected in this area for over 2700 years according to archaeological findings. (750 BC)”
It was earlier known as Dhamballai. This was ruled by Kings like Raja Raja Chola, Rajendra Chola, etc. during their tenure in the late 10th century and early 11th century.”
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Sigiriya

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century”
Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.”
Lal Sirinivas and Mirando Obesekara described Sigiriya as a post historical archeology turning point of Ravana. According to them, Sigiriya may be the Alakamandava (the City of the Gods) that was built up before 50 centuries ago by King Kubera who was the half-brother of Ravana (Ravan) as described in the Ramayanaya.”
According to the Palm Leaf Book (Puskola Potha) of Ravana Watha (About Ravana) the architect of the Sigiriya was a person called Maya Danava. He built up Sigiriya on the instructions given by King Visthavasa (Vesamuni) the father of Ravana. During that period the Sigiriya was called Alakamandava and during the period of King Kuwera it was called Cithranakuta. After the death of Ravana, Vibeeshana became the king and he shifted the kingdom to Kelaniya. As per this book, Chiththaraja had used Alakamandava as his residence. Chiththaraja was a relation of Vibeeshana and a Patrician of Yakka. It was also stated that Chiththaraja was one of a persons who helped Prince Pandukabhaya to get the kingship. Parents of Pandukabhaya were descended from the tribe of Chiththaraja.”
In addition, Ravana Watha was also described that Prince Kassapa who was the son of King Daathusena has selected the Chithrakuta as his residence due to the fact that her mother was a follower of Yakka belief and also she descended from them. King Kassapa was the only king who did reconstruction and maintained the Chiththakuta as done by the king Ravana. The famous wall paintings in the Chiththakuta ( Later Sigiriya ) can be treated as displaying about the Sinhala Land i.e. Sri Lanka. The Ravana Watha explains that the picture of blue coloured lady represents the Yakka Tribe and other ladies represent the Tribes of Naga (Cobra), Deva (Divine) and Gandabhbha (Odors) and the beautiful flowers show the unity of the country”
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Matale

Matale is a large town in Matale District of the Central Province, of Sri Lanka. It is 142 kilometres (88 mi) from Colombo and near Kandy. Surrounding the town are the Knuckles Mountain Range, the foothills were called Wiltshire by the British. It is a mainly agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivation dominate.”
The Aluvihare Temple, on the north side of the town, is the historic location where the Pali Canon was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves in 29 BCE.”
Matale was a site of a major battle in 1848 when the Matale Rebellion started and the British garrison in the Fort MacDowall in Matale was placed under siege by the rebels led by Weera Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda who are considered as national heroes in Sri Lanka.”
This historical city was also home to Monarawila Keppetipola, another national hero who led the Wellasa rebellion against the British troops. His ancestral home, the Kappetipola walawuwa is still present at Hulangamuwa, Matale.”
Christ Church, Matale was consecrated by Bishop James Chapman on 30 December 1860.”
The church site chosen was Fort McDowall, commanding a view of the entrance to Matale via Trincomalee. The church having been erected and furnished, the Revd William Frederick Kelly, Minister and Chaplain in Matale, and 36 others sent their petition to the Rt Revd James Chapman, D.D., to dedicate and consecrate Christ Church. The parsonage was opened on 16 August 1862. The 75th Anniversary was celebrated in 1935. The centenary was celebrated on 28 and 29 January 1961. The 125th Anniversary was celebrated on 6 September 1986. The church was gutted by fire in 1985 and was completely restored. Services were held in the Baptist Church in the interim period.”
On 22 June 1911, there was a special service held in this church in connection with the Coronation of His Majesty King George V, and Queen Mary. The offertory on that was given to the King Edward VIII.”
The 150th Anniversary was celebrated on 2 October 2010.”
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Meemure Village Camp

Meemure is an isolated village in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, located 324m above sea level and hidden amongst the mountains. The only way to reach it is from the ‘Hunnasgiriya’ mountain, which is part of the Knuckles range, approximately 50km from Kandy. It’s a difficult trail of 33km from Hunnasgiriya to Meemure with many tricky spots, though the view along it is excellent. The village itself receives abundant water in the form of waterfalls that have their sources in the evergreen forests of the Knuckles. East of the village lies the pyramid shaped Lakegala Mountain; while the west is dominated by the picturesque Knuckles range. The northern boundary of Meemure borders a forest which runs to the ‘Pitawala Pathana’ grassland; and the south is bounded by Heen River.

Pack-bulls used to be the solitary method of transport to Meemure until 2004. Herds of cattle carried sacks full of goods and equipment to the village. Due to the fertility and prosperity of the village; the pack-bulls were only used to carry salt, cloths, tobacco and calcium bicarbonate. But with the invasion of modern technology, the trails have been widened to allow three wheelers, jeeps and small trucks.
Folklore and History

Meemure received its name from the ‘Mee’ trees (as the villagers called them) that surrounded the place. According to the folklore the village dates back to almost 5000 years ago. Lakegala that that lies to the east is believed to have been the property of the legendary King Ravana from the Indian literary epic Ramayana. As the stories go, Lakegala was used by Ravana as a power source and there was a tunnel through Lakegala in the times of Ramayana. It is said the tunnel was sealed after the war of Ramayana with the corpse of Ravana placed within it.
Another story states dates to 700 B.C which was the era of King Vijaya who is believed to be the forefather of the current population of Sri Lanka. Vijaya arrived on the island from India with his followers and caught sight of the shapely primitive woman Kuweni. He was overtaken by lust and took Kuweni as his informal wife. Kuweni bore him two children, but then Vijaya banished her from his castle when he formally married a royal princess from India. Hence Kuweni was forced to take her move into the forest along with her children. It is believed that they lived in the forest where Meemure is located, and that the indigenous people of Sri Lanka originated from the two children of Kuweni. The indigenous people of modern Sri Lanka are based just 60km from Meemure in Mahiyanganaya; and seem to prove this belief to be the truth.
During the 16th century AD Sri Lanka was invaded by Portugal. The invasions continued through the centuries as the Dutch and English nations conquered the country subsequently. The annals of history state that the people of Meemure supplied saltpetre (potassium nitrate) for the gunpowder used by the Kandyan kingdom in their efforts of resistance. The cave that the saltpetre was (niter) was mined from still exists to this day.

During the same era, King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe is said to have banished his daughter with a group men, one of whom he believed his daughter was having an affair with, to the village of Meemure. This solidifies the claim that Meemure in existence at the time.

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Kandy

Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka located in the Central Province. It was the last capital of the ancient kings’ era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.”
The city and the region has been known by many different names and versions of those names. Some scholars suggest that the original name of Kandy was Katubulu Nuwara located near present Watapuluwa. However, the more popular historical name is Senkadagala or Senkadagalapura, officially Senkadagala Siriwardhana Maha Nuwara (meaning ‘great city of Senkadagala of growing resplendence’), generally shortened to ‘Maha Nuwara’. According to folklore, this name originated from one of the several possible sources. One being the city was named after a brahmin with the name Senkanda who lived in a cave near by, and another being a queen of Vikramabahu III was named Senkanda, and after a coloured stone named Senkadagala. The Kingdom of Kandy has also been known by various names. The English name Kandy, which originated during the colonial era, is derived from an anglicised version of the Sinhalese Kanda Uda Rata (meaning the land on the mountain) or Kanda Uda Pas Rata (the five counties/countries on the mountain). The Portuguese shortened this to “Candea”, using the name for both the kingdom and its capital. In Sinhalese, Kandy is called Maha nuwara, meaning “Great City” or “Capital”, although this is most often shortened to Nuwara.”
Historical records suggest that Kandy was first established by the Vikramabahu III (1357–1374 CE), who was the monarch of the Kingdom of Gampola, north of the present city, and named Senkadagalapura at the time.”
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Peradeniya

Peradeniya

Peradeniya is a suburb of the city of Kandy, about 50,000 inhabitants in Sri Lanka. It is situated on the A1 main road, just a few kilometres west of Kandy city centre.”
Peradeniya is famous for the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. It is situated in a slope of the Mahaweli river and attracts many visitors from Sri Lanka as well as from abroad.”
Another key attribute of this city is the University of Peradeniya which is the second oldest University in Sri Lanka . Its buildings are of mixed colonial and traditional Sri Lankan/South Asian styles, and located amongst the lush vegetation of the hill country. The Department of Agriculture is also located here.”
West of the town lies the small historical town of Kadugannawa.”
Nuwara-Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. Its name means “city on the plain (table land)” or “city of light”. The city is the administrative capital of Nuwara Eliya District, with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya is known for its temperate, cool climate – the coolest area in Sri Lanka.”
The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya’s climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England, was a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.”
Although the town was founded in the 19th century by the British, the district is today visited by native travelers, especially during April, the season of flowers, pony races, go cart races and auto rally.”
Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew’s Hotel and Town Post Office. New hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Visitors the city can wallow in its nostalgia of bygone days by visiting the landmark buildings. Many private homes maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.”
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Ella-3

Ella Sri Lanka

Ella is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity, dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than surrounding lowlands, due to its elevation. The Ella Gap allows views across the southern plains of Sri Lanka.[“
Located on the Colombo-Badulla railway line, and the A16 highway (Beragala-Hali Ela) a part of the Colombo-Badulla road.”
Ella railway station is the 75th station on the Main Line and is located 271.03 km (168.41 mi) from Colombo. The station has one platform and all trains running on the Main Line stop at the station. The station opened in July 1918.
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Kataragama

Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka. People from South India also go there to worship. The town has the Kataragama temple, a shrine dedicated to Skanda Kumara also known as Kataragama deviyo. Kataragama is located in the Monaragala District of Uva province, Sri Lanka. It is 228 km ESE of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Although Kataragama was a small village in medieval times, today it is a fast-developing township surrounded by jungle in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka.”
The ancient Kiri Vehera Buddhist stupa, which is believed to be built by the regional king Mahasena in the 6th century BC is also a major attraction in Kataragama area. The town has a venerable history dating back to the last centuries BCE. It was the seat of government of many Sinhalese kings during the days of Rohana kingdom. Since the 1950s the city has undergone many improvements with successive governments investing in public transportation, medical facilities, and business development and hotel services. It adjoins the popular Yala National Park.”
The first reference to this village by this name is in the 6th century AD Pali chroncile Mahavamsa, referring to the place as Kājaragāma. It is mentioned in Mahavamsa that the nobles of Kajaragama were among those took part in the festival of the Bodhi Tree when it was brought over by Sangamitta Theri. Some scholars derive Kataragama from Karthikeya Grama, literally meaning Village of Kartikeya, which was shortened in Pali as Kājaragāma and later evolved to Kataragama. However according to some scholars, the derivation of Kataragama from Karthikeya Grama shows neither phonetic similarity nor linguistic authority.”
The literal Sinhalese meaning of Kataragama is the “village in the desert”, due to its location in a dry area, stemmed from the words Katara meaning Desert and gama meaning village. According to a folk etymology, the Tamil name Kathirkāmam is said to be evolved from the combination of two words Kathir (meaning glory of light) and kāmam (Love), which according to the legend is “where the light of Murugan mingled with the love of Valli”. “
The aboriginal Vedda community used to refer to this deity as O’ Vedda or Oya Vedda, meaning “river hunter”.The Sri Lankan Moors visiting this place pay homage to a Muslim saint known as al-Khidir, who according to them gave his name to the Islamic shrine at this place, and therefore attributing to the place etymology.”
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Yala

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park (Block 1), and Kumana National Park or ‘Yala East’ for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.”
There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.”
The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilizations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009, after the security situation in the park improved.”
In 1560 Spanish cartographer Cipriano Sanchez noted Yala in his map “is abandoned for 300 years due to insalubrious conditions.” Chief Justice Sir Alexander Johnston wrote a detailed account on Yala in 1806 after travelling from Trincomalee to Hambantota. On March 23, 1900 the government proclaimed Yala and Wilpattu reserves under the Forest Ordinance. Initially the extent of the reserve was 389 square kilometres (150 sq mi) between the Menik and Kumbukkan Rivers. At that time the reserve did not bear the name Yala. The Game Protection Society (now the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society) was instrumental in establishing the reserve. The forest area between Palatupana and Yala was declared a hunting site reserved only for the resident sportsmen. Henry Engelbrecht was appointed as the first park warden.”
On 1 March 1938, Yala became a national park when the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance was passed into law by D. S. Senanayake, the minister of agriculture. The park consists of five blocks. Subsequently, four other blocks were incorporated to the park. There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Kumana National Park, Yala Strict Nature Reserve and Kataragama, Katagamuwa, and Nimalawa sanctuaries are continuous with the park.”
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Mirissa

Whale Watching Mirissa

Whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa is one of the most exciting water activities you can do in Sri Lanka during your holiday. Mirissa is the best place to start your whale and dolphin watching tour in Sri Lanka. “
In warm Indian ocean you can see Blue whales, Bryde´s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales, sometimes Killer whales, and Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Striped dolphins. Sometimes you can see turtles and various fish species, for example Bluefin tuna and flying fish.”
Whale watching season starts in November and ends in April. Ocean is warm and calm during these months.”
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Sinharaja Forest

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.”
The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests ecoregion, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve’s name translates as Lion Kingdom.”
The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.”
Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants, and 15 or so leopards. The most common larger mammal is the endemic purple-faced langur.”
Birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless SriLanka Crested Drongo and the noisy orange-billed babbler. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive red-faced malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri Lanka blue magpie.”
Reptiles include the endemic green pit viper and hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic common birdwing, butterfly and leeches.”
The reserve is well-integrated with the local population that are living in some dozens of villages dotted along the border. The villages are more in number along the southern border whilst the presence of some large estates along the northern border has resulted in only a few villages there. The locals collect herbal medicine, edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms, other non-timber forest products including bees honey and a sugary sap collected from a local palm species of the genus Caryota. The sap is converted into jaggery, a local brew and vinegar. Local people walk in the forest to collect above items when they are not busy with their other agricultural pursuits. In addition, the crystal-clear water coming from dozens of streams is the main water source for all people living around the reserve. For generations, local people trekked through the forest from south to north to make their annual pilgrimage to the Adams Peak.”
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Kithulgala White Water Rafting

An average level of physical fitness and a strong spirit would do. White Water Rafting, generally enjoyed in the white-waters as well as in other turbulent waters, brings about an enthralling experience to the water sport enthusiasts.”
Though the ability to swim is a definite advantage, a compulsory Personal Flotation Device will be provided, a necessary outfit for a White Water Rafting as it is guaranteed to save you from drowning if you fall overboard.”
However those suffering from heart ailments, epilepsy as well as those who are uncomfortable in turbulent waters aren’t advised to go White Water Rafting. Some of the rivers of Sri Lanka afford the opportunity for recreational activists and water sport enthusiast to enjoy White Water Rafting. The small town of Kitulgala in the hill country is the most famous place in Sri Lanka to do so.”
Colombo

Colombo

Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the city proper. It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a suburb of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.”
Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. It was made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.”
Like many cities, Colombo’s urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other municipal and urban councils such as Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council, Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Kolonnawa Urban Council, Kaduwela Municipal Council and Kotikawatte Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha. The main city is home to a majority of Sri Lanka’s corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Beira Lake, Colombo Racecourse, Planetarium, University of Colombo, Mount Lavinia beach, Nelum Pokuna Theatre, Colombo Lotus Tower (under construction) as well as the National Museum.”

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