Anuradhapura is a treasure trove of a large number of ancient monuments and relics in Sri Lanka. There are remains of palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. King Pandukabhaya, the third King in the Vijaya dynasty founded the Kingdom of Anuradhapura in 377 BC Various invaders came across the Palk Strait and one of them became supreme holding most of the North and reigned from Anuradhapura. He was Elara . However, Gemunu, the son of King Kavantissa killed Elara in battle and made Sri Lanka a single kingdom under his reign. King Dutugemunu was responsible for the culmination of Buddhism and the Anuradhapura Kingdom lasted 1500 years.
Anuradhapura was the royal capital for 119 successive Sinhalese kings till 1000 AD and it was abandoned in 1073 and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. From then, the ruin began and the jungle grew over the palaces, stupas, monasteries which began to crumble. It was thought to be a “lost city” by British explorers who visited the ruins in the 19th century.Read More
Polonnaruwa was established as the Capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th Century. King Vijayabahu the 1st was the first king and he ruled that Polonnaruwa be made the Capital in the year 1073, after he defeated the Chola invaders from South India in1070 and he united the country. However, records show that it was King Parakramabahu I that developed trade and agriculture. He declared that not a single drop of water from the heavens should be wasted without being used for the land. This is why the irrigation systems in Polonnaruwa are extremely superior to those of other cities and are still being used for paddy cultivation during the dry seasons of the East. The principal project in this system was the huge lake called “Parakrama Samudraya” meaning, Parakrama Ocean. King Parakramabahu ruled from 1153 to 1186 and this period was called the golden age of Polonnaruwa and was completely self-sufficient at this time.Polonnaruwa was Sri Lanka’s capital until the late 13th century.
Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site.Read More
Kandy is located in the central and eastern portion of Sri Lanka. The Kingdom of Kandy is said to have been founded around the 14th century during the reign of King Vickramabahu III of Gampola (1357 – 1374). It was then known as ‘Senkadagalapura’. Although ruled by kings of Kotte Kandy gradually developed into an independent kingdom during the 16th and 7th centuries
After the coastal regions of Sri Lanka had been conquered by the invading Portuguese, Kandy became the last remaining independent kingdom in Sri Lanka. There were invasions by the Portuguese and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries and later by the British probably in 1803, but these were repelled. The last of the rulers were of the ‘Nayaks’ dynasty. Though they were able to preserve the independence of Kandy, it finally was conquered by the British in 1815. The King at the time, King Sri Wikrama Rajasingha and all claimants to the throne were deposed by the British in 1815. Thus ended the traditional monarchy of Kandy.Read More
Dambulla is situated at a major junction in the Matale District (Central Province of Sri Lanka), 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. It is a major centre for distribution of vegetables in the country.
Dambulla is famous for the largest number of preserved cave temples of Sri Lanka. Also the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia is situated in Dambulla.
It has been found that ancient indigenous civilizations had existed in this area as evidence has been unearthed at the latest archaeological site at a place called Ibbankatuwa a prehistoric burial site which is within 3 km of the cave temples. It appears that this area had been inhabited from about the 7th to the 3rd century BC. There are paintings and statues said to be dating back to the 1st century BC.
It is known that king Valagamba who fled from his enemies in Anuradhapura found refuge in the caves at Dambulla. Buddhist monks who were engaged in meditation in these caves at the time had protected the exiled king from his enemies.Read More
When you visit the resplendent Isle of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is a must-see destination because it would be an experience which is unique and awe-inspiring due to the piece of history surrounding it. Sigiriya is known as the “Fortress in the Sky” It is a sheer-sided outcrop of reddish granite standing 200 meters above the surrounding plains. In 1982 UNESCO declared Sigiriya as one of the seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and is Asia’s best preserved city of the first millennium.
THE LEGEND OF SIGIRIYA According to history, this rock was converted to a fortress by Kasyapa who became the king of the country in 473 A.D. Kasyapa was one of the two sons of King Dhatusena, the older son being Moggalan who was in fact the rightful heir to the throne as he was the son of the royal consort of the King. Kasyapa was born to a non-royal concubine.
Galle is a ‘must-see’ destination when you visit the south of Sri Lanka specifically to experience a tour of the Galle Fort which is the largest remaining fortress built by European occupiers in Asia. Galle was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.
Long before Western invasions, Galle had been a busy seaport with Arabs, Chinese, Greeks, Indians, Greeks, and Malays trading through this port until a small Portuguese fleet led by Lorenzo de Almeida happened to come upon Arab merchants loading cinnamon & elephants at this Port in 1505. They built a rather slip-shod stockade in 1594. However, with the Dutch invasion, there was a siege and bloody battle and the Dutch captured Galle in 1640. The present Fort was built by the Dutch in 1663 with a fortified wall of solid granite. They also built three bastions which were called “Sun”, “Moon” and “Star”. From 1649 onwards (17th century), the Dutch greatly reinforced the city. 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings. There are some important churches within the fort.Read More