Yala is the most visited Nationla Park inn Sri Lanka. Yala is home to a variety of Wildlife species and fauna.. Yala is the largest collection of area that is protected in the country. The dry season falls between May and August. The Kumbukkan Oya and the Menik Ganga provide a source of water to animals and fauna during the entire year, keeping the Park healthy. Yala is also considered as one of the 70 most Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka; expected since it is home to about 215 bird species which includes six endemic species of Sri Lanka. Not only is it the attraction for bird watching. Yala has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
The Uda Walawe National Park is the place to see Elephants, Sambhur, Deer, Jackal and several varieties of birds. A half day Jeep safari will take you around the Park, giving you a wonderful opportunity to view these animals in their natural habitat – an exciting as well as enlightening experience. The Elephant Transit Home is located on the border of the Park and this is where orphaned baby Elephants are cared for and then released to roam free in the Park. A safari into Uda Walawe will also provide you with an opportunity to visit this Home and watch the cute baby Elephants being fed.
The old Dutch Fort built around the southern city of Galle is one of Sri Lanka’s most famous landmarks. Construction of the Fort was begun around mid 17th century and the British added to it during their time. It encircles Galle city, and features 14 enormous bastions at intervals, the most imposing segment of the Fort being the one where the sun, moon and star glare fiercely out over the peninsula. Set off in the evening for a stroll along the walls of the Fort – undoubtedly the best way to take in the beauty and magnificence of this construction.
One of the most important Hindu temples in the Trincomalee area, Konesvaram is also known as the Temple of the Thousand Pillars, Konesar Temple and Maccakeswaram temple. It is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva who takes the form of Konesar, and stands on the famous Swami Rock which overlooks the harbor in Trincomalee. Its peak period saw this Temple enjoy a reputation as one of the most visited and therefore richest Temple complexes in Asia. It is once more accessible to visitors following peace in the country, and you can see and admire the bronze idols which bear a strong influence of Chola art forms.
An extremely popular attraction among locals and tourists, the Kanniya Hot Springs supposedly date back to the era of King Ravana. They have now been converted into bathing wells, and the temperature of the water varies from one to another, and there is a belief that these waters have therapeutic healing powers. According to archeological evidence, the springs belonged to a Buddhist Monastic complex. However they presently come under the purview of the neighbouring Mari Amman Kovil. On any given day, these wells are full of local pilgrims, and it is best to visit during the morning hours as the springs sometimes run dry by afternoon due to over-usage.
Located in the town of Tangalle Mulkirigala is a striking naturally structure rock with amazing temples within caves. The temple dates back to the 3rd century BC and received royal patronage as is established as a Raja Maha Vihara. The rocky steps lead you to a sequence of natural caves and a unique wall of paintings and Buddha statues guide you along to the peak. Some of the latest murals show men in Portugese and Dutch uniforms depicting the arrival and departure of European immigration of Sri Lanka.
Sigiriya is popularly known among tourists as the Lion’s Rock and it dates back to the reign of King Kassapa I, (477 – 495 AD). Sigiriya is located in the central district of Matale in Sri Lanka. The fortress is outlined with a web of gardens, tanks and structures that were established by the King. Kassapa having murdered his father, King Dathusena sought salvation in Sigiriya from his brother’s vengeance. Sigiriya is listed as World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
The Gemological Museum in the City of Gems, Ratnapura, is the perfect place to see, learn and admire the process of Gem mining in Sri Lanka. There is a breathtaking display of samples of precious and semi-precious stones that include Sapphires, Rubies, and Amethysts. In addition there are also exhibited pictures, tools and other items that illustrate the history and methodology of this industry. Entrance to the Museum is free, and you are welcome to visit between 8.30 – 17.30 daily.
Sri Lanka is a land famed for producing some of the most stunning jewels in the world, the Blue Bell which adorns the British crown and the ‘Star of India’ being examples. Ratnapura is the place for gem mining in the island, and a visit to this city would enable you to see the process of digging the pits and washing the gravel containing the gems. You could easily hop into one of the many three wheelers available and travel the short distance to the mines for a very interesting and memorable experience which should not be missed.
This vast forest which covers an area of approximately 11,000ha, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located quite close to Ratnapura with approaches from other directions as well, this dense rain forest has an amazing variety of flora and fauna, and this has caught the attention of scientists as well as nature lovers who make excursions into the jungle to explore and appreciate its many natural wonders. Among these are cool waterfalls, rushing streams and crystal clear freshwater streams. A lot of attention and emphasis is now being placed on the conservation of this precious treasure that is Sinharaja.