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Places to Visit in Sri Lanka

Dambulla Rock Cave Temple

Dambulla Rock Cave Temple | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

The Rock Temple of Dambulla, called Jumbukola Vihara (Dambulla Cave Temple) in the (Mahavamsa)-the principal Pali Chronicle of Sri Lanka, is situated about forty seven miles north west of Kandy, the last capital of the Sinhalese kings, on the main road to Anuradhupura.Dambulla is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings.

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Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Sigiriya was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Sigiriya is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock Sinhalese: 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.

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Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Poḷonnaruwa or Puḷattipura, is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader. The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site. Currently the new Polonnaruwa is undergoing a major development project known as the "Awakening of Polonnaruwa" under the concept of President Maithripala Sirisena. It envisions the development of all sectors in Polonnaruwa including roads, electricity, agriculture, education, health and environment will be developed comprehensively.

Jeep Safari at Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

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. large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd. Elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700.

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Nalanda Gedige Temple

Nalanda Gedige | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Nalanda Gedige is an ancient complete stone temple near Matale, Sri Lanka and its original site was considered as the center of Sri Lanka. The building was constructed in between 8th and 10th centuries with dravidian architecture in( Pallava style )and is believed to have been used by Buddhists. Also some scholars describe this building is a dravidian architecture dedicated to a Mahayanaa cult with pronounced Trantric learning and known for an ancient monument of possible Vajrayana (Tantric) Buddhist affinities. Nalanda Gedige is designed on the lines of a Hindu temple with a mandapa, an entrance hall (originally roofed), a short passage to a bare cello, and an ambulatory round the holy center. A limited number of the original Hindu deity statuettes exist within the temple, however, a statue of the God Kubera appears on the south side of the tympanum over the sanctuary, a feature that can only be seen in Sri Lanka.

Sri Dalada Maligawa

Temple of Tooth Relic | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple.

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Royal Botanical Garden

Peradeniya Botanical Garden | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya are about 5.5 km to the west of the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It attracts 2 million visitors annually.It is near the Mahaweli River (the longest in Sri Lanka). It is renowned for its collection of orchids. The garden includes more than 4000 species of plants, including orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palm trees. Attached to it is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The total area of the botanical garden is 147 acres (0.59 km2), at 460 meters above sea level, and with a 200-day annual rainfall. It is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture

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Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 96 elephants, including 43 males and 68females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1975 for feeding and providing care and sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that were found in the wild. The orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Young elephants sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought period. Other orphans have been displaced from their wild habitat by development projects or have been found abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded.

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Horton Plains

Horton Plains | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com

Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. The Horton Plains are the headwaters of three major Sri Lankan rivers, the Mahaweli, Kelani, and Walawe. In Sinhala the plains are known as Maha Eliya Plains Stone tools dating back to Balangoda culture have been found here. The plains' vegetation is grasslands interspersed with montane forest and includes many endemic woody plants. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains. Forest dieback is one of the major threats to the park and some studies suggest that it is caused by a natural phenomenon.

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Yala National Park

Yala National Park | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
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, 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.

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Galle Fort

Galle Dutch Fort | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Galle Fort in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population.The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of "an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries

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Madu River

Madu River | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
The Madu Ganga is a minor watercourse which originates near Uragasmanhandiya in the Galle District of Sri Lanka, before widening into the Madu Ganga Lake at Balapitiya. The river then flows for a further a 4.4 km (2.7 mi) before draining into the Indian Ocean. The Buddhist Amarapura Nikaya sect had its first upasampada (higher ordination ceremony) on a fleet of boats anchored upon it in 1803. The Buddhist Kothduwa temple is situated on an isolated island in the lake.
Together with the smaller Randombe Lake, to which it is connected by two narrow channels, it forms the Madu Ganga wetland. Its estuary and the many mangrove islets on it constitute a complex coastal wetland ecosystem. In has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to approximately 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals. The inhabitants of its islets produce peeled cinnamon and cinnamon oilbird
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Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery

Sea Trutle Hatchery | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
The "Sea Turtle Farm & Hatchery" is a non - profitable organization which is maintained for the survival of Sea Turtles for the next generation. The "Turtle Farm" is situated in Habaraduwa (southern part of Sri Lanka - Galle District) near to the beautiful beach. That is 5m from the Galle - Matara main road. The center was started in 1986 and up to now we have released more than 500,000 Sea Turtles to the ocean.

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Anuradhapura Ancient City

Anuradhapura Ancient City | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
The Anuradhapura Kingdom named for its capital city, was the first established kingdom in ancient Sri Lanka and Sinhalese people. Founded by King Pandukabhaya in 377 BC, the kingdom's authority extended throughout the country, although several independent areas emerged from time to time, which grew more numerous towards the end of the kingdom. Nonetheless, the king of Anuradhapura was seen as the supreme ruler of the country throughout the Anuradhapura period. Buddhism played a strong role in the Anuradhapura period, influencing its culture, laws, and methods of governance.Society and culture were revolutionized when the faith was introduced during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa; this cultural change was further strengthened by the arrival of the Tooth Relic of the Buddha in Sri Lanka and the patronage extended by her rulers

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Pigeon Island National Park

Peigeon Island National Park | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Pigeon Island National Park is one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaveli, a coastal town in Eastern Province, encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island's name derives from the rock pigeon which has colonized it. The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka.Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. In 2003 it was redesignated as a national park. This national park is the 17th in Sri Lanka. The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era. Pigeon Island is one of the several protected areas affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004

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Mirissa Sri Lanka

Mirissa Beach| chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Mirissa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres (13 ft) above sea level. Mirissa's beach and nightlife make it a popular tourist destination. It is also a fishing port and one of the island's main whale and dolphin watching locations.

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Bentota Sri Lanka

Bentota Beach | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Bentota is a coastal town in Sri Lanka, located in the Galle District of the Southern Province, governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 65 kilometres (40 mi) south of Colombo and 56 kilometres (35 mi) north of Galle. Bentota is situated on the southern bank of the Bentota River mouth, at an elevation of 3 metres (9.8 ft) above the sea level. The name of the town is derived from a mythical story which claims a demon named 'Bem' ruled the tota or river bank. Bentota is a tourist attraction, with a local airport (Bentota River Airport) and a handful of world-class hotels. It is a destination for watersports. Bentota also delivers an ancient art of healing called Ayurveda. Bentota is famous for its toddy production, an alcoholic beverage made out of coconut nectar. It also has a turtle hatchery, located on Induruwa beach.

Ella Sri Lanka

Ella | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
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

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Bahirawa Kanda Temple

Bahirawa Kanda Temple | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
‘Bahirawa’ means gnome, ‘Kanda’ means hill. So it is like Gnome Hill. There are some folklores about a gnome lived here. According to them there were horrifying sounds coming from the hill. That folklores may lead this hill to get this name. And it is said that there was a ‘Devalaya’ (shrine) on top of the hill and it is destroyed along with the passage of time. Now there is a beautiful Buddhist temple. Everybody knows it as Bahirawa Kanda temple, but the real name of it is ‘Sri Maha Bodhi Viharaya’.

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Ramboda Water Fall

Ramboda Water Falls | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Ramboda Falls is 109 m (358 ft) high and 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and 729th highest waterfall in the world. It is situated in Pussellawa area, on the A5 highway at Ramboda Pass.It formed by Panna Oya which is a tributary of Kothmale Oya. Altitude of the falls is 945 m (3,100 ft) above sea level.

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Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Nuwara Eliya can be reached from Colombo via Kandy, which is the gateway to the Central Highlands of the island. Colombo-Kandy-Nuwara Eliya is the most scenic highland motor road of Sri Lanka. Though the city of Nuwara Eliya has no Railway station, the highland railway line that winds past the city of Nanu Oya makes the journey by train one of the most scenic and memorable experiences. The journey to Nuwara Eliya from Kandy by train as well as by car is equally spectacular. The alternative route to Nuwara Eliya from Colombo is via Hatton which is located in the southern area of the Central Highlands. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s largest exporters of tea. Since the introduction of tea to Sri Lanka in the mid 19th century, Nuwara Eliya has been the capital of the tea industry. For many miles prior to reaching Nuwara Eliya from either direction you will find acres of tea plantations; in fact nothing but tea estates. There are many factories open for visitors which also consists of tea sales outlets for you to purchase.

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Nine Arch Bridge

Nine Arch Bridge | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
The Nine Arches Bridge is a bridge in Sri Lanka. It is one of the best examples of colonial-era railway construction in the country.The construction of the bridge is generally attributed to a local Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhami, in consultation with British engineers. The chief designer and project manager of the 'upcountry railway line of Ceylon' project was D. J. Wimalasurendra, a distinguished Ceylonese engineer and inventor. The designer of the viaduct was Harold Cuthbert Marwood of Railway Construction Department of Ceylon Government Railway. The 1923 report titled "Construction of a Concrete Railway Viaduct in Ceylon" published by the Engineering Association of Ceylon has details of all the records including the plans and drawings.

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Mihintale

Mihintale | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.
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Tissamaharama

Tissamaharama | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Tissamaharama can be reached by the A2 Southern main road travelling via Galle and Hambantota. You can also take the Southern Expressway up to Galle and then travel further South to reach the town. Tissamaharama, also known by the name of Mahagama in the ancient times was founded by Prince Mahanaga, brother of King Devanampiyatissa in the third century BC. The settlement rose to prominence during the reign of King Kavantissa, father of King Dutugamunu. It was during this period that Tissamaharama’s three stupas and the two ancient irrigation reservoirs were built. According to the chronicles, around 12,000 Arahats (Buddhist monks) had lived in Tissamaharama and its surroundings during the era of King Kavantissa.

Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of "Willus" (Natural lakes) - Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 1,317 square kilometers (131, 693 hectares) and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. A remote camera survey was conducted in Wilpattu from July to October 2015 by the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust. A sample of forty nine individual leopards were photo-captured in the surveyed area and the core area density was between that of Yala National Park's Block I and Horton Plains National Park.

Kitulgala

Kithulgala | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in the country.[citation needed] Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. The Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge (and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene). Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting,[1] which starts a few kilometres upstream and also popular as a location for adventure based training programs.

Little Adam's Peak

Little Adamas Peak | chauffeurguideinsrilanka.com
The Little Adam`s Peak got it`s named after it`s big brother, the holy mountain Adam`s Peak, because of the similar shape. Adam`s Peak is further west in Sri Lanka, close to Nuwara Eliya, and is 2243 m high and a much more exhausting and more challenging climb! The mountain has however three names; Adam`s Peak (this is where Adam first set foot on earth after being cast out of heaven), Sri Pada (Buddha`s footprint left by the Buddha as he headed towards paradise) and Samanalakande (Butterfly mountain, where butterflies go to die). We had plans of climbing Big Adam`s Peak, but Espen hurt his knee so we settled for the “little brother” instead.