Main attractions in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka
The famous cultural triangle of Sri Lanka will blow your mind with its age old heritage sites!
Cultural Triangle Sri LankaThe massive rock in Sigiriya called the “Lion Rock” is 200 meters high. Walk in the royal gardens before climbing the rock. When climbing, you will discover caves as well as beautiful frescoes on your way. Once you reach the top, admire the ruins of the ancient palace. This site owes its reputation to a megalomaniac king who is said to have built his residence in the 5th century. It is ranked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most visited attraction in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982. You will see royal ruins covering an area of 50 sq km. There are many functioning Buddhist temples and the much visited sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, one of the oldest “Bo” trees in the world. Visit the dagobas and learn about the prosperity of this city that lasted for over 10 centuries. The visit can take up to two days, depending on your level of interest.
Polonnaruwa was the island’s capital during the 11th and 12th centuries. You can discover the area by bicycle and see anything from Hindu temples to palace ruins. The ride is really nice and the gardens are well-kept. The main attraction is the Gal Vihara, a group of 4 Buddhas carved in granite stone. The archeological museum is also very interesting.
The Dambulla caves are another famous UNESCO world heritage site of the cultural triangle. You can visit the golden temple which holds a majestic Buddha, and continue towards the Buddhist caves on top of the hill. You will discover stunning wall paintings and Buddha statues in five different caves. This monastery dates from the 2nd century BC, however, the paintings were restored in the 18th century.
The Minneriya Park is known for its elephant population (approximately 400 elephants). You can see other wild animals such as crocodiles, buffalos, hinds, varans, cormorants, pelicans and plenty of birds. This place is also remarkable for its fens, lakes and mountains. The best season to visit the park is from May to November.
Ritigala Nature Reserve is home to an ancient Buddhist monastery. These ruins, dating from the second century BC, are in the middle of the jungle, which makes the visit a very pleasant walk. They are scattered over an area of about 24 hectares. Around this archaeological site, you will find the rest of the natural reserve of Ritigala and its mountains. The summit, called mount Kidigala, rises to 766 meters.
In Aukana, you can admire the highest ancient Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, the Aukana Buddha. This statue stands at a height of 11.36 meters and is carved from a block of rock. The statue is located near Kala Wewa reservoir, where you can Take a nice walk along the water.
Located just next to Anuradhapura, Minhintale is considered to be the place where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. The temple complex consists of temples and caves that you can explore by climbing 1843 stairs.