Sri Lanka, also known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean is a land that is enriched with a lot of history. Ruled by various kings in different eras, and encroached by various countries and nations, this island has been through many victories socially, economically and politically. At present, it has developed in to a beautiful land because of these very reasons.
Many of the kingdoms that existed back in the day are preserved well for the current generation; to learn the history of the country, about the architecture, art and craft, skills and labour, Engineering skills, and the general blood line. It has also put Sri Lanka on the map and attracted many tourists.
Kandy is the home of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, the palace is called “Sri Dalada Maligawa”. This sacred city is filled with history, story and power. It was ruled by the British in 1815 and is the Royal Capital of Sri Lankan Kings. In the current day, many Buddhists hold this place dear to their hearts as they visit it often in order to worship the sacred shrine. The Kandy city lights up during the month of August in all its glamour as the “Kandy Perahera” is celebrated with dressed up elephants, lights, jugglers and tricks done with fire. This is a symbolic procession and many tourists visit this city at this particular time to be a part of the event.
A famous World Heritage site is “Sigiriya”, also known as the 8th Wonder of the World, is also King Kasyapa’s rock citadel built in the 5th century. Decorated with the finest art and monuments, the “Lion Paws” at the entrance of royal gardens below are quite the site. The mirror wall coated with frescos of the Gupta and Ajanta styled art depicts a part of this kingdom’s story. For centuries this fortress was cherished and preserved as this was King Kasyapa’s hideaway. He ensured he had the most talented engineers who made sure that his palace had everything it ever needed; protection from rain and other natural disasters, and protection from their enemies. He also had his own concubines, as said by the drawings on the frescoes.
Anuradhapura was the first kingdom that was established in ancient Sri Lanka and was founded by Kind Pandukabhaya in 377 BC. The laws, culture and methods of governance were completely controlled by Buddhism, due to this influence there were many statues of Lord Buddha, Stupas, paintings and structures that were built; Ruwanweli Maha Seya, Jetavana Stupa, and Lovamahapaya are the most significant in this kingdom.
The city of Galle, is by the ocean, peaceful and is the 5th largest city in Sri Lanka. It is built and developed in a Dutch Colonial structure as it was driven by them in the 18th century. The Galle fort, also built by the Dutch, is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by these European occupiers. Other prominent places in Galle include, the city’s natural harbour, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary’s Cathedral, a Shiva temple, and Amangalla – a historic luxury hotel.
Polonnaruwa is an ancient World Heritage site as declared by UNESCO. To date it is the best planned archaeological relic sites in Sri Lanka. Within the ruins Gal Viharaya rock temple, watadage and the lotus bath are prominent structures. A tank that was structured back then was the “Parakrama Samudraya”, which is so large that it is often mistaken to be a part of the ocean; this is one of the remarkable achievements of history and is an exquisite creation. Built during the reign of King Parakramabahu, he ensured that his kingdom was self-sufficient.
The Sinharaja Forest is the last remaining areas of tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka and is also known as the “Kingdom of the Lion”. Although you wouldn’t find leopards or elephants here it’s a large area and there are many endemic species of birds, rare insects, reptiles and amphibians. It also has a rich and diverse variety of vegetation.