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  • Gangaramaya Nawama Maha Perehara – on 09th & 10th February 2017 Thursday 9th February 2017

      The Navam Perahera, held annually in February, displays the rich religious and cul.. more

  • Vesak Festival Monday 30th January 2017

    Vesak is the main Buddhist religious festival in Sri Lanka. During this time, people celebrate th.. more

  • Kala Pola 2017 Monday 16th January 2017

    Drawing inspiration from similar open-air Art Fairs in Europe, notably Montmartre in the French c.. more

Sri Lanka

Information about Sri Lanka

For a small island, Sri Lanka has many nicknames: Serendib, Ceylon, Teardrop of India, Resplendent Isle, Island of Dharma, Pearl of the Orient. This colorful collection reveals its richness and beauty, and the intensity of the affection it evokes in its visitors. Head for the rolling hills to escape the heat of the plains in the cool of tea plantations. The entire island is teeming with bird life, and exotics like elephants and leopards are not uncommon. To top it all off, the people are friendly, the food is delicious and costs are low.

Marco Polo considered Sri Lanka the finest island of its size in the entire world, and you'll likely agree after exploring the country's fabled delights. What takes your fancy? Beaches? The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. Culture? Try the Kandyan dances, a procession of elephants or the masked devil dances. Ruins? You'll find enough ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa to satisfy that inner archaeologist.

Full country name: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Area: 66,000 sq km
Population: 20 million
Capital City - Sri Jayawaradenapura
Commercial Capital City: Colombo
People: 74% Singhalese, 18% Tamils, 7% Moor, 1% other
Language: Singhalese, Tamil, English
Religion: 64% Buddhist, 20% Hindu, 8% Muslim, 8% Christian
Government: republic
Head of State: President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Head of Government: Prime Minister D M U Jayarathna

GDP: US$48.1 billion
GDP per capita: US$2,500
Annual Growth:5.4%
Inflation: 17%
Major Industries: Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco
Major Trading Partners: US, UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore, India, Iran, Taiwan, Belgium, Hong Kong, China, South Korea

 

Facts for the Traveler

Visa charges USD 30 per person for NON SAARC countries & USD 15 for SAARC countries (can be obtained directly via the internet pleased vist this site  http://www.eta.gov.lk/ The process is very simple payments can be paid online & with the confirmation document  print out & code you have to submit  passport on arrival only.  The passport has to be valid for six months from the day of arrival return air tickets & sufficient funds  or reservations for the holiday should be with you. All have to obtain a visit visa except for Singapore & Maldivian passport holders

Health risks: cholera (This diarrhoeal disease can cause rapid dehydration and death. Cholera is caused by bacteria, Vibrio cholerae. It's transmitted from person to person by direct contact (often via healthy carriers of the disease) or via contaminated food and water. It can be spread by seafood, including crustaceans and shellfish, which get infected via sewage. Cholera exists where standards of environmental and personal hygiene are low. Every so often there are massive epidemics, usually due to contaminated water in conditions where there is a breakdown of the normal infrastructure. The time between becoming infected and symptoms appearing is usually short, between one and five days. The diarrhoea starts suddenly, and pours out of you. It's characteristically described as 'ricewater' diarrhoea because it is watery and flecked. Take care with your food consume only at restaurants, which are clean. Water use only mineral bottle water.

Malaria (This serious and potentially fatal disease is spread by mosquito bites. If you are travelling in endemic areas it is extremely important to avoid mosquito bites and to take tablets to prevent this disease. Symptoms range from fever, chills and sweating, headache, diarrhoea and abdominal pains to a vague feeling of ill-health. Seek medical help immediately if malaria is suspected. Without treatment malaria can rapidly become more serious and can be fatal. If medical care is not available, malaria tablets can be used for treatment. You should seek medical advice, before you travel, on the right medication and dosage for you. If you do contract malaria, be sure to be re-tested for malaria once you return home as you can harbour malaria parasites in your body even if you are symptom free. Travelers are advised to prevent mosquito bites at all times. The main messages are: wear light-colored clothing; wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts; use mosquito repellents containing the compound DEET on exposed areas (prolonged overuse of DEET may be harmful, especially to children, but its use is considered preferable to being bitten by disease-transmitting mosquitoes); avoid perfumes and aftershave. Use a mosquito net impregnated with mosquito repellent (permethrin) - it may be worth taking your own), dengue fever (The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the dengue virus, is most active during the day, and is found mainly in urban areas, in and around human dwellings. Signs and symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden onset of high fever, headache, joint and muscle pains, nausea and vomiting. A rash of small red spots sometimes appears three to four days after the onset of fever. Severe complications do sometimes occur. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if you think you may be infected. There is no vaccine against dengue fever)

Time Zone: GMT/UTC 5.30
Dialing Code: 94
Electricity: 220V ,50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
 

Attractions

Colombo

the country). During the 8th century Arab traders settled near the port and, in 1505, the Portuguese arrived & the name Colombo was first introduced by them , is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name Kolon thota, meaning "port on the river Kelani". It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means "harbor with leafy mango trees". By the mid-17th century the Dutch had taken over, growing cinnamon in the area now known as Cinnamon Gardens, but it wasn't until the British arrived that the town became a city and, in 1815, was proclaimed the capital of Ceylon.

Famous Structures

National Museum Colombo

Established in 1877, this is the oldest museum in Sri Lanka. Include a collection of antiques, items displaying the cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and more than 4,000 ancient palm leaf manuscripts. The most important items include the throne of the last royal court. Visitors could gain a good understanding of 2500 year history of Sri Lanka. Open daily from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs except on Friday. Address; Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7, Tel.694366
Also on site is the National Museum of Natural History. Open daily from 0900 hrs to 1700 hrs.

Dutch Museum

The old `Dutch House' on Prince Street, Pettah (Colombo 11) which houses this museum was built in the latter part of the 17th century and was initially the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow along with five other houses of the elite. Today, the sides of the street are choc-a-block with boutiques and stores of traders. Opened to the public since 1982 this building embodies the unique architectural features of a colonial Dutch town house. The museum while displaying the Dutch legacy with the artifacts viz. furniture, ceramics, coins, arms etc. portrays facets of contemporary life and culture. Open daily except Fridays from 0900 Hrs.

Colombo Zoo

The Dehiwala Zoo is one of the finest in Asia and its sprawling Areas are host to a variety of animals and birds. Drive 6 miles from Colombo, south along the Galle Road. It is pleasing to see many animals in their natural habitat. Whether it be lions, bears, tigers, rhinos, giraffes or gorillas, there is a greater freedom here than in many zoos around the world. The sight of painted storks fishing in the pond or screeching macaws ruffling their bright feathers immediately puts any visitor at ease.

In the Reptile House you will find a rare albino cobra and an enormous python. Watch out for the little tortoises which take piggy-back rides on the backs of ferocious crocodiles. The zoo also has an excellent collection of primates.Do not miss the 500 varieties of marine life at the Mini Medura, constructed with children in mind who dart around the exhibit like the fish in the tanks. The Nocturnal House allows visitors to see creatures like owls and lemurs in their natural habitat.

The highlight of the zoo is the elephant circus which comes on daily at 5.15 pm, withextra shows on Sunday and holidays at 3.15pm. The huge pachyderms perform all sorts of antics like standing on their heads, wiggling their backs to music, hopping on one foot and standing up on their hind legs.

When the biggest of the elephants begins to play a soundless mouth organ, the older lephants start skipping and trooping behind. There is an exciting moment when an elephant places a foot on the mahout's stomach and lifts him by the head using its mouth. The end of the performance signals a mass exodus from the zoo..

Gangarama Temple

The beautiful Gangarama Temple is famous for its imposing buildings, and is complete with a chetiya, bo tree, image house, Simamalaka, relic chamber containing the relics of the Buddha and Arahat Seevali, museum, library, pirivena, and residential, education and alms halls. It is decorated with stone carvings, brass work and many other forms of Buddhist art. It contains row upon row of Buddha statues in the meditating pose, alongside miniature stupas arranged like a staircase.
As one enters the temple, one will see a huge mural on the wall depicting the 'Atalo Dahama' (the eight vicissitudes of life) - gain and loss, good repute and ill repute, praise and censure, and pain and pleasure - to give the message that one shouldn't be disturbed by these.
The Simamalaka, located on the waters of the Beira Lake and accessible via a wooden platform, is part of the Gangarama. This small temple and island pavilions had been designed by the renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa.

 The B.M.I.C.H.
The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (The B.M.I.C.H.), with its landscaped gardens and dome-like structure, has the majesty of a modern day Parthenon and is the first-ever purpose built conference hall in Asia.The B.M.I.C.H., with its marble floors and panelled stairwells, has hosted everything from diplomatic conventions and trade shows to beauty pageants and rock concerts.A gift from China in the early 70s, this elegant indoor arena boasts 6 committee rooms, a library, a cinema, special suites complete with dining room and lounge, 1000 interpretation facilities, and a colossal assembly hall that could seat well over a thousand delegates.
A new exhibition and convention centre with a building area of 4430 sq.m. is due to be opened. Complete with IT facilities, this new wing will house a large exhibition hall of 1931 sq. m., a small exhibition hall of 1086 sq. m., a 403 sq. m. lobby, a 189 sq. m. lounge and a 205 sq. m. dining room.

 Shopping

The main shopping center for the locals is Pettah where the markets are busy and bustling. The main branch of Laksala, Sri Lanka’s largest handicrafts shop is at Fort. More up market shopping destinations are towards the south of the city center along the Galle Road. Majestic City, Liberty Plaza and Crescat are popular among the locals where you could find handicrafts, tea and garments. Odel at Lipton Circus offers good quality items such as clothes, shoes, tea, books and leather goods in a fashionable setting. Sri Lanka is one of the largest producers of garments. There are many locations dotted around the city selling good export quality garments. Shoppers should be aware of cheap imports that has flooded some of these outlets recently

Excursions

 Kelaniya Temple

Situated about six miles from Colombo, set within a sacred area of around ten acres, the Kelani Vihara stands beside the Kelani river as evidence of a Buddhist tradition in this country.The spot on which this vihara stands derived its sanctity in the Buddhist era 2531, with the third visit of the Buddha to this country. He hallowed this ground by His visit accompanied by 500 Arahants.The fact that the Buddha visited the spot on a Wesak day on the invitation of King Maniakkhika is given in the historic epics of Sri Lanka.
Historical evidence shows that the Kelaniya Vihara was at its highest glory during the Kotte Era. By the time the Portuguese conquered the country considerable land had been donated by the kings to the Kelaniya Vihara, and when in 1510 the Portuguese entered and destroyed the secret temple. They had confiscated this land preventing Buddhists from worshiping at the temple.
Restrictions placed on the development of Kelaniya were reduced with the advent of the Dutch. They in 1767 perhaps in order to gain King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha's good will permitted him to develop Kelaniya Vihara. Thus the reconstruction of the Vihara was undertaken by the then Chief incumbent Venerable Mapitigama Buddharakkhita. He was provided with funds from the treasury. The King was so overjoyed at the way the work was handled that further grants of lands had been given to the vihara.

 
Kandy

The laid back 'capital' of the hill country, and the historical bastion of Buddhist power, is built around a peaceful lake and set in a picturesque bowl of hills. It has a distinctive architectural character thanks to its gently sloping tiled roofs and the town center is a delightful compendium of old shops, noise, buses, markets and hotels. Its standout attraction is the octagonal Dalada Maligawa ( Temple of the Tooth), a temple which houses Sri Lanka's most important religious relic - the sacred tooth of Buddha. There are daily ceremonies of homage to the Tooth Relic, each attracting white-clad pilgrims carrying lotus blossoms and frangipani.

During the frenetic Kandy Esala Perahera celebrations, a replica of the shrine is carried through the city on an elephant. Other sights include the small but excellent National Museum, the Peradeniya Botanic Gardens, and the Udawattakelle Udawattakele, a peaceful haven for bird life. There are plenty of lovely scenic walks around Kandy, one of which leads to the Mahaweli, where you may see elephants being bathed. The Kandyan Art Association & Cultural Center beside the lake has good displays of local crafts and an auditorium for popular dance performances.Kandy is just on 120km (75mi) north east of Colombo.

Anuradhapura

ANURADHAPURA
Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's first capital, a potent symbol of Sinhalese power, and the most extensive and important of Sri Lanka's ancient cities. For over 1000 years, Sinhalese kings, and occasional South Indian interlopers, ruled from the Palace of Anuradhapura and its size and the length of its history, and equally the length of time since its downfall, make it more difficult to comprehend. Founded in the 4th century BC, it was the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles. The great building era was when vast monastery complexes and some of the tallest buildings in the ancient world were built.

Eight Places of Veneration in Anuradhapura – Atamasthana

Sri Maha Bodhi : The scared bodhi tree (Sri Maha Bodhi) is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. The huge tree has grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgay in India by the Princess Sangamitta, sister of teachings to Sri Lanka, so it has a connection to the very basis of the Sinhalese religion. This scared tree services as a reminder of the force that inspired the creation of all the great buildings at Anuradhapura and s within walking distance of many of the most interesting monuments. The whole area around the Sri Maha Bodhi, the Brazen Palace and Ruvanvelisaya Dagaba was once probably part of the Maha Vihara ( Great Temple).

Thuparama Dagaba : In a beautiful woodland setting north of the Ruvanelisaya Dagaba, the Thuparama Dagaba is the oldest dagaba in Anuradhapura, if not Sri Lanka. It was constructed by Devanampiya tissa and is said to contain the right collarbone of the Buddha. Originally in the classical 'heap of paddy rice' shape, it was restored in 1840 in a more conventional bell shape. The dagaba stands only 19m high and at some point in its life was converted into vatadage. The circles of pillars of diminishing height around the dagaba would have supported the conical roof.
Ruvanvelisaya Dagaba : Popularly regarded as the greatest, and certainly the most popular among the Buddhists, of the stupas at Anuradhapura, Ruwanveli Seya, is the pride of the Great Emperor Dutugamunu. Raised in the 2nd century B.C.this dagaba is supposed to have the perfect water bubble shape. You will also be impressed by the magnificent Elephant Wall which carries the terrace and the dagaba. Among the many statues in the courtyard there is one that is of a larger-than-life man. This is considered to be the king himself watching his work from a respectable distance.
Lovamahapaya: situated between Ruvanveliseya and Sri Mahabodiya in the Ancient city of Anuradhapura It is also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasadaya. In ancient times the building included the refectory and the uposathagara. (Uposatha house). There was also a simamlake where the sangha assembled on poya days to recite the formula of the confessional. The famous Lohapraseade built by King Dutugamunu described as an edifice of nine storeys, was a building of this class. One side of the building was 400 ft (120 m) in length. As the roof was covered with tiles made of bronze, this was known as the Brazen Palace. There are 40 rows, each row consisting of 40 stone pillars and a total of 1600 stone pillars were used for the building. It is believed that it took 6 years for the construction of the building and the plan was brought from the heavens. The building was completely destroyed during the reign of King Saddhatissa.
Abhayagiri Dagaba: "Abhayagiri", one of seventeen such religious units in Anuradhapura and the largest of its five major viharas. Surrounding the humped dagaba, Abhayagiri Vihara was a seat of the Northern Monastery, or Uttara Vihara.
The term "Abhayagiri Vihara" means not only a complex of monastic buildings, but also a fraternity of Buddhist monks, or Sangha, which maintains its own historical records, traditions and way of life. Founded in the second century B.C., it had grown into an international institution by the first century of this era, attracting scholars from all over the world and encompassing all shades of Buddhist philosophy. Its influence can be traced to other parts of the world, through branches established elsewhere. Thus, the Abhayagiri Vihara developed as a great institution vis a vis the Mahavihara and the Jetavana Buddhist monastic sects in the ancient Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura.
Jetawanaramaya: At a height of over 400 feet (120m), it is the tallest stua in the world, largest brick building ever built, and 3rd largest structure in the ancient world, Approximately 93,300,000 baked bricks were used to build the stupa (Ratnayake 1993). This stupa belongs to the Sagalika sect. The compound covers approximately 8 acres (5.6 hectares) and once housed over 3000 Buddhist monks. One side of the stupa is 576 feet long, and the flights of stairs at each of the four sides of it are 28 feet wide. The doorpost to the shrine, which is situated in the courtyard, is 27 feet high. The stupa has a 6m deep foundation, and sits on bedrock. Stone inscriptions in the courtyard give the names of people who donated to the building effort.
“It is said by the British archaeologists who excavated the site that the amount of bricks used to build the stupa is enough to build a three-meter high wall, running all the way from Edinburgh to London.”
Mirisaveti Stupa: isituated in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. King Dutugamunu after defeating King Elara, built the Mirisaveti Stupa. After placing the Buddha relics in the sceptre, he had gone to Tisawewa for a bath leaving the sceptre. After the bath he returned to the place where the sceptre was placed, and it is said that it could not be moved. The stupa was built in the place where the sceptre stood. It is also said that he remembered that he partook a chilly curry without offering it to the sangha. In order to punish himself he built the Mirisavetiya Dagaba. The extent of this land is about 50 acres (20 ha). Although the king Kasyapa I and Kasyapa V renovated this, from time to time it was dilapidated. What stands today is the renovation done by the cultural Triangle Fund.
Lankarama: stupa built by King Valagamba, in an ancient place at Galhebakada in the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura, Sri lanka. Nothing is known about the ancient form of the stupa, and later this was renovated. The ruins show that there are rows of stone pillars and it is no doubt that there has been a house built encircling the stupa (vatadage) to cover it. The round courtyard of the stupa seems to be 10 feet (3 m) above the ground. The diameter of the stupa is 45 feet (14 m). The courtyard is circular in shape and the diameter is 1332 feet (406 m).
Other Famous Structures
Isurumuniya Vihara : This rock temple, dating fro the region of Devanampiya Tissa (3rd century BC), has some very fine carvings. One or two of these (including one of elephants playfully splashing water) remain in their original place on the rock face beside a square pool fed from the Tissa Wewa, but most of them have been moved into the small museum within the temple. Best known of the sculpture in the 'lovers' which dates from around the 5th century AD and is of the Indian Gupta School.
Aukana Buddha : The 13 meter high statue carved out of solid granite, goes back to the 5th century, to the reign of King Dathusena. (about 50 km south of Anuradhapura).On a rainy day, it is said, that one can see droplets of water falling off the tip of the statue's nose hitting the ground exactly between the toes.- a testament to the architectural accuracy of the sculptor. The brick enclosure around and above was built recently to protect it from weather.
Samadhi statue: A statue situated at Mahamevuna Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is said that this is one of the best pieces of sculpture. The statue is 8 feet in height and made of granite and the Dhyana mudra is symbolished - The posture of meditation in which Buddha sits in the cross - legged position with upturned palms, placed one over the other on the lap.

Excursions from Anuradhapura

YAPAHUWA
The rock fortress complex of Yapahuwa is situated in the Wayamba province of Sri Lanka. Yapahuwa served as the capital of Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 13th century (1273-1284). Built on a huge rock boulder in the style of the Sigiriya rock fortress, Yapahuwa was a military stronghold against foreign invaders.
Yapahuwa An ancient fortress and capital built in the year 1273. Yapahuwa is a rock rising to a height of 90m. Many traces of ancient battle defences can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway, remains its biggest showpiece.

"Yapahuva" the the 13th Century capital in Sri Lanka, was made King Buvanekabahu I (1273-1284). Here the chief object is the rock which rises about 300 ft above the surrounding land. The land at the base to the south is fortified with two moats and ramparts . In this enclosure there are the remains of a number of buildings.
The Tooth Relic too was brought from Dambadeniya and kept in the Tooth Temple built for the purpose at the top of the third staircase.
This fortress capital of the Sinhalese kings when abandoned was inhabited by Buddhist monk and religious ascetics. The relics were carried away from the temple here to South India by the Pandyas, and then recovered in 1288 by Parakkramabahu III (r1287-1293), who temporarily placed them in safety at Polonnaruwa.

MIHINTALE
Situated 12 kilometers east of the ruins of the great city of Anuradhapura, the sacred mountain of Mihintale is considered the location where Buddhism was first introduced to the island of Sri Lanka. There are two stories, one historical and one mythological, that explain the arrival of Buddhism at Mihintale. According to historical sources, in the middle of the third century BC the great Indian Emperor Ashoka had sent his son Mahinda to Sri Lanka to spread the teachings of the Buddha. Mahinda and his group of Buddhist monks were camped upon the sides of Mt Mihintale when King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura encountered them during a royal hunting expedition. Mahinda spoke to the king of Buddhism and recited the Culahastipadopama and other sutras. The date of this meeting between King Devanampiya Tissa and the Buddhist monk is believed to have been on the full moon of June in the year 247 BC. Soon thereafter the king (and 40,000 inhabitants of Anuradhapura) converted to Buddhism. An alternate story of the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka tells that the Buddha himself journeyed to the island, on the back of the great winged demigod Garuda, but there is no historical evidence that the Buddha himself ever visited the island. Today the peak of Mihintale, approached by a grand stairway of 1840 granite steps, has many temples, lodgings for monks and several splendid statues of the Buddha. Each June on the full moon there is a pilgrimage commemorating the date when Mahinda first preached the Buddhist doctrine in Sri Lanka and many thousands of pilgrims flock from all over Sri Lanka to meditate on the holy peak. The photograph was made with a Nikon F3, a 300mm lens (with two 2x teleconverters resulting in a 1200mm lens) and Fujichrome 50 film. The photograph was made during the brightest part of the day but was underexposed by several f-stops in order to turn the background to dark black and thereby simulate the view of the great Buddha as seen during the night of the full moon pilgrimage.

AUKANA
According to tradition the magnificent 12m (30ft) standing Aukana Buddha was sculpted during the reign of Dhatusena in the 5th century - though some sources date it to the 12th or 13th century. Aukana means 'sun-eating', and dawn, when the first rays light up the huge statue's finely-carved features, is the best time to see it.There's a local story that the statue is so finely carved that a drop of water would fall from its nose, without any breeze, between the Buddha's feet. The reconstruction of the brick shelter over the statue looks like it was built by rail engineers, and detracts a little from the scene. There's another statue nearby, inferior and incomplete but nevertheless worth a visit

Sigiriya

The wonder and beauty of
SIGIRIYA - The Lion Mountain
There are many interpretations of the Sigiriya period, history replete with legend, love and betrayal. But one story remains, the story of Kaspaya (477-495 A.D.) its creator, King with an artist's soul. Bards have written about him and plays and film have tired to capture his personality.
Kashyapa left Anuradhapura and built for himself at Sigiriya, a palace and city modeled on the mythical abode of "Kuvera" God of Wealth. He gave form to his dreams of grandeur. Eighteen years later, his half-brother Moggallan challenged him with an army. By one of those momentary mistakes of judgment that changes the course of history. Kashyapa thought he was alone in battle, raised his dagger and slew himself.
In a sheltered pocket on the western face of the Sigiriya rock, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. Epigraphically evidenced refers to the existence of 500 such portraits, but only 19 remain today.
On the western and northern sides of the steep rock face runs a gallery or pathway which provides access to the seemingly inaccessible summit. Shielding this pathway is a 9 1/2 ft. plaster wall, so highly polished, that even today, after fifteen centuries of exposure to sun, wind and rain, one can see one's reflection in it. Hence the name "Mirror Wall".
On the polished surface are the Sigiri Graffiti recorded by processions of visitors to the rock in the past.
The summit of the rock is nearly three acres in extent. The outer wall of the palace which is the main building was constructed on the very brink of the precipice. There were gardens, cisterns and ponds laid out attractively.
The pleasure garden of the western side of the rock is studded with ponds, islets, promenades and pavilions. Some underground and surface drainage systems have been discovered during excavations. The wall abutting the moat encircling the fortress is one of the most arresting features.
Sigiriya, in fact, should have been classed as one of the Wonders of the Ancient World, long ago, and there is now a proposal to name it as the Eighth Wonder of the world. Perhaps, it is better late than never!
Sri Lanka's ancient architectural tradition is well portrayed at Sigiriya, the best preserved city centre in Asia from the first millennium, with its combination of buildings and gardens with their trees, pathways, water gardens, the fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements, use of varying levels and of axial and radial planning. Sophisticated city planning was at the heart of Sigiriya, this royal citadel of ancient fame from the days of Sri Lanka's memorable past.
• The Complex consists of the central rock, rising 200 meters above the surrounding plain, and the two rectangular precincts on the east (90 hectares) and the west (40 hectares), surrounded by two moats and three ramparts.
• The plan of the city is based on a precise square module. The layout extends outwards from co-ordinates at the centre of the palace complex at the summit, with the eastern and western axis directly aligned to it. The water garden moats and ramparts are based on an ‘echo plan’ duplicating the layout and design on either side. This city still displays its skeletal layout and its significant features. 3 km from east to west and 1 km from north to south it displays the grandeur and complexity of urban-planning in 5th century Sri Lanka
The History of Sigiriya
Sigiriya dates back from over 7,000 years ago, through Pre-Historic to Proto-Historic to Early Historic times, then as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the sangha.
The garden city and the palace were built by king Kashyapa 477 - 495 AD. Then after king Kasyapa's death it was a Buddhist monastery complex up to about the 14th century.
The Mahavamsa, the ancient historical record of Sri Lanka, describes King Kashyapa as a parricide, who murdered his father King Dhatusena by walling him up alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Moggallan. To escape from the armies of Moggallan, Kashyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya, but Moggallan finally managed to get to Kashyapa and he committed suicide.
However, there is also another version of the Kashyapa story, related by one of the most eminent historians of Sri Lanka, Prof. Senerat Paranavitana. He claims to have deciphered the story of Sigiriya, written by a monk named Ananda in the 15th cent. AD This work had been inscribed on stone slabs, over which later inscriptions had been written. Till to date no other epigraphist has made a serious attempt to read the interlinear inscriptions.

The Sigiri Rock
The most significant feature of the Rock would have been the Lion staircase leading to the palace garden on the summit. Based on the ideas described in some of the graffiti, this Lion staircase could be visualized as a gigantic figure towering majestically against the granite cliff, facing north, bright coloured, and awe-inspiring. Through the open mouth of the Lion had led the covered staircase built of bricks and timber and a tiled roof. All that remains now are the two colossal paws and a mass of brick masonry that surround the ancient limestone steps and the cuts and groves on the rock face give an idea of the size and shape of the lion figure.
Though traces of plaster and pigments occur all over this area, there are only two pockets of paintings surviving in the depressions of the rock face, about 100 meters above the ground level. These paintings represent the earliest surviving examples of a Sri Lanka school of classical realism, already fully evolved by the 5th century, when these paintings had been made. Earlier the Sigiri style had been considered as belonging to the Central Indian school of Ajanta, but later considered as specifically different from the Ajanta paintings. The ladies depicted in the paintings have been variously identified as Apsaras (heavenly maidens), as ladies of Kasyapa’s court and as Lightening Princess and Cloud Damsels.
There are also remains of paintings in some of the caves at the foot of the rock. Of special significance is the painting on the roof of the Cobra Hood Cave. The cave with its unique shape dates from the pre-Christian era. The painting combines geometrical shapes and motifs with a free and complex rendering of characteristic volute or whorl motifs. It is nothing less than a masterpiece of expressionist painting

The Sigiri Gardens (The Sigiri Gardens blend together to make the perfect setting for the Lion Mountain)
The gateway to the western precinct lies across the inner moat. It had an elaborate gate-house made of timber and brick with a tiled roof. The moat is perfectly aligned with a mountain peak in the distance
Only the southern side of the garden has been excavated, leaving the identical northern half for the archaeologist of the future. In the entire Sigiri-Bim, over 200 village tanks and rural sites have been investigated.
The water gardens of the western precinct are symmetrically planned, while the boulder garden at a higher level is asymmetrically planned. The water garden displays one of the world’s most sophisticated hydraulic technologies, dating from the Early Historic Period.
This shows an interconnection of macro- and micro-hydraulics to provide for domestic horticultural and agricultural needs, surface drainage and erosion control, ornamental and recreational water courses and retaining structures and also cooling systems.
The Macro system consisted of the Sigiri Maha weva, the manmade lake with a 12 km dam, running south from the base of the rock, a series of moats, two on the west and one on the east fed from the lake. At micro level are, the water control and the water retaining systems at the summit of the rock and at various levels with horizontal and vertical drains cut in to the rock and underground conduits made of cylindrical terracotta pipes.

WATER GARDENS
The miniature water garden just inside the inner wall of the western precinct consists of water pavilions, pools, cisterns, courtyards, conduits and water courses. The pebbled or marbled water-surrounds covered by shallow slowly moving water would have served as cooling devices with an aesthetic appeal with visual and sound effects, which could be visualized by a visitor who could spend a little time.
The largest water garden has a central island surrounded by water and linked to the main precinct by cardinally-oriented causeways. This was created 5 centuries before those at Angkor in Cambodia or Mughal gardens in India. The central island would have been occupied by a large pavilion.
The water is in four L-shaped pools, connected by underground water conduits at varying depths, to provide different water levels. The pool on the south-west is divided into a large bathing pool, with a corbelled tunnel and steps leading down into it. The other pool is smaller with a central boulder on which was a brick-built pavilion.
The fountain garden is a narrow precinct on two levels. Western half has two long and deep pools, with shallow serpentine streams draining into the pools. These had been paved with marble slabs. These streams display the fountains, which have been made from circular limestone plates with symmetrical perforations, which are fed by underground water conduits and operate by gravity and pressure. There are two shallow limestone cisterns which would have served as storage and pressure chambers for the fountains. These fountains are still active during the rainy season from November to January.
BOULDER GARDEN
The boulder garden at a higher level from the symmetrical water garden is a totally different organic or asymmetrical concept, with winding pathways, natural boulders. Almost every rock and boulder in this garden must have had a building of brick and timber. It also has the Cistern Rock which has a large cistern made of huge slabs of granite. There is also the Audience Hall rock, with a 5 meter long throne carved out of the rock
The entrance to the inner citadel (15 hectares) is made of a massive brick and stone wall, which forms a dramatic backdrop to the water garden and to the rock and the palace on the summit towards the east of it. The wall runs from the Octagonal pond to the bastion on the south-east, which is formed of wide brick walls linking a series of boulders surrounding a cave pavilion with a rock-cut throne.

TERRACE GARDEN
The Terrace Garden at the base of the rock is fashioned out of the natural hill, made with rubbled retaining walls, each terrace running in a concentric circle around the rock, each rising above the other.
The Palace garden on the summit was the domestic garden with its terraces and rock cut pools

The Sigiri Frescoes
John Still in 1907 had observed that; "The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery... the largest picture in the world perhaps".
The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There are references in the Graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings.

POLONNARUWA

Polonnaruwa is second of importance as royal city to Anuradhapura. In the 11th Century the capital was moved from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, as it was hoped that this new residence in such a difficult accessible area would be better protected from the notorious raids from the Indian Sub-Continent As a result Polonnaruwa became a splendid residence and capital. During the reigns of the kings Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153 - 1186) and his successor Nissanka Malla 1187 - 1196 the Singhalese kingdom reached its last golden age, of which the splendour of its buildings and palaces the impressive irrigation system with artificial lakes, tanks and channels give clear evidence.
As in Anuradhapura the monuments and ruins are situated in a lovely tropical area, surrounded by paddy fields and jungle. The buildings are less grandiose and imposing dagobas are missing, with the exception of the Gal Vihara, a group of monumental Buddha satues, belonging to the most famous periods of Singhalese sculptural achievements. But many of the buildings and constructions are in a much better sate of preservation than in Anuradhapura.The ruins of the ancient city stand on the east shore of a large artificial lake, the Topa Wewa Lake, or Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama), created by King Parakramabahu I (1153-86), whose reign was Polonnaruwa's golden age. Within a rectangle of city walls stand palace buildings and clusters of dozens of dagobas, temples and various other religious buildings.

A scattering of other historic buildings can be found to the north of the main complex, outside the city walls and close to the main road to Habarana and Dambulla. To see many of the relics excavated from the site such as the stone lion which once guarded the palace of King Nissanka Malla, or the fine Hindu bronzes unearthed from the ruins of the Siva Devale Temple - you may have to visit the National Museum in Colombo, where they are kept. However, with the opening of the new Polonnaruwa Visitor Information Centre and its museum in 1998/9 some of the key exhibits were scheduled to return to the place where they were discovered.

Famous Structures

 Parakrama Samudra

Parakrama Samudra is an irrigation tank built by King Parakramabahu I. It covers an area of 5,940 acres, hence its name, 'Samudra' meaning the sea. It has 11 channels directing water to feed a network of irrigation canals and smaller tanks.

Potgul Vehera ( Library Museum)-
Here you will find four small dagabas surrounding a circular brick building on the central platform. The acoustics of this building are excellent and this has led to the suggestion that it was a lecture theatre where the tenets of Buddhism were read aloud.

Statue of King Parakramabahu I-
Statue of King Parakramabahu I or Agastaya is a huge 12th Century AD rock sculpture. A barefoot figure clad only in sarong, stands out of the rock from which he was carved. His broad face has a look of seriousness and he is holding a sacred manuscript from which he appears to be reading aloud. However, the subject of the statue is a matter of debate. Was it Agastaya or King Parakramabahu I ?

The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu I-
The Royal Palace of King Parakramabahu I was built in the 11th Century. The massive brick walls of the main hall stand amidst the ruins of about 40 inter-connecting rooms. The palace originally rose to seven storeys, however since the upper floors were wooden, no trace of them remains now. The Kumara Pokuna, the handsome royal bath, is a bit further on from here. The Royal pavilion still has its lion portals, graceful pillars and a moonstone (a delicately carved stepping stone).

Thuparamaya-
Thuparamaya is an image house built in the 3rd Century BC for the worship of Lord Buddha. It is built in a style of the original form of architecture that flowered at Polonnaruwa. The barrel-vaulted and domed buildings had very thick brick walls, stuccoed and painted with figures and architectural subjects. The roof is still intact and several images in the interior are preserved.

Menikvehera-
Menikvehera appears to be constructed in at least two stages, and the first stage dates around the 8th Century AD. The stupa is built on a high walled terrace with a small lotus-shaped stupa in the centre. It is unique in its design.

Alahana Pirivena-
Alahana Pirivena was a Buddhist monastic university. It consisted of many separate apartments laid out to a regular plan. Each apartment was two-storied with tiled roofs and had its own living unit. However, the bath-house, refectory and other facilities were shared

Lankathilaka-
The walls of this image house soar to a height of 16 m (55 ft). Inside the shrine stands the headless statue of a Lord Buddha and the interior walls are adorned with murals. The outside walls are horizontally divided into five floors. Inside is a single tall space, which is now open to the sky but must have had a type of domed roof.

Kirivehera (Milk White House)-
One of the two big stupas of the Alahana Pirivena monastic complex. It is the best-preserved dagaba with its original lime plaster stucco intact and the remains of small structures cluster around it.

Galvehera-
Galvehera is one of the most famous sites in Sri Lanka. It consists of three figures of Lord Buddha carved out of a cliff of granite. The first figure is a sitting Buddha with an artificial cavern cut out of the rock. The other two are an upright Buddha and a reclining Buddha. The reclining Buddha is 14 m (46 ft) in length.

Tivanka-
Tivanka is the most important building in the Jetavana Monastery. It is an image-house. The name is derived from the image of the Lord Buddha in the narrow antechamber, which is seen in the 'Tivanka' or thrice bent posture. The most important paintings of the Polonnaruwa period were found on the walls of the Tivanka.

Siva Devale

Immediately north of the Royal Palace complex is the Siva Devale, a 13th-century Hindu temple dating from the period of south Indian conquest that followed the final decline of Sinhalese power in the north of the island. The technical skills of its masons are evident from the fine, precisely cut stonework of its walls. The brick domed roof, however, has not survived. There are several Siva Devales (Shiva Temples) at Polonnaruwa, reflecting the popularity of this powerful member of Hinduism's ruling trinity.

Excursions

 Medirigiriya

An ancient name Mandala Mountain Monastery (Mandalagiri Vihara) 14 miles from Minneria. It is not known who first established it but earilest reference is in the Mahavamsa where it says Kanittha Tissa (166-184) built an uposatha house there. In the 9th century a hospital was built there. The place was restored by Vijayabahu I. In the dispute between Parakramabahu and Gajabahu II it is said that Gajabahu came to Medirigiriya and carved the agreement on a rock.. The stupa is built on a huge exposed rock. And was built some 800 years before the thing that later enclosed it. Facing the four cardinal directions are four beautiflul Buddhas on pedestals. Only the one on the east is intact.

The stupa is surrounded by three concentric circles of pillars. Between the second and third row of pillars was the outer wall of which little remains. The pillars supported a domed roof above the stupa. The circular terrace on which the stupa sits is 91feet in diameter and is held up by a huge retaining wall. Entrance to the stupa is from the northern side where a terrace and flight of stairs leads from a gate house. When one of these pillars was removed so it could be straightened a sheet of beaten gold was found under it which had the famous 'iti pi so' eulogy on it and dating from about the 8th century.

It seems that during the 12th century the monks of Medirigiriya together with some others played an important role in solving a major political crisis then afflicting Sri Lanka. Gajabahu II and the headstrong rebel Parakramabahu were locked in a bitter struggle for the throne. Both sides were equally matched and the conflict dragged on causing great loss of life on both sides and weakening the whole country. Finally the monks decided that something had to be done. They used their moral authority to get both sides to cease hostilities and then worked out a delicate and fruitful compromise between them. Gajabahu who was old and had no heir agreed to designate Pabakramabahu who was still young as his successor if he ceased his rebellion. This meant that the former could live out the rest of his days as king while the latter would not have to wait too long before becoming king himself. The agreement held and peace was restored. To make sure both sides would not go back on their promise the agreement was inscribed on two stone pillars, one copy being kept at Medirigiriya and the other at Samgamuva. It is the finest amphitheatre in Sri Lanka. The dwarfs and lions on the capitals are particularly finely carved. There are four sitting images with their backs to the stupa. Little of the stupa itself remains it having been destroyed by treasure hunters.

Minneriya

Minneriya reservoir and its surrounding wetland habitat is inhabited by a large number of a aquatic bird species in addition to elephants. Early morning and late evening are the optimum observation times of the day for resident and migratory birds. Flock of about 2000 little cormorant diving in the waters of Minneriya reservoir is not a rare scene. In addition painted strokes ,Great white pelicans , Ruddy turnstones and Grey herons too can be seen.

The best season to view the large Elephant herds gathering at the banks of the water reservoir is the dry season from June to Sept. When the ancient tank, the lake that dominates the area, dries out and the grasses and shoots push through. During this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing, as well as toque macaques, sambar deer and leopards. The hungry bird flocks include cormorants and painted storks.
Sri Lanka , home to over 400 species of birds, has long been a birdwatcher's paradise. In Minneriya National Park alone, 160 species crowd the trees or strut the banks. Like the Painted Storks, Great White Pelican, Gray Herons, and even the Ruddy Turnstones & the special Jungle Fowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler and Sri Lanka Gray Hornbill, as you can guess from their names, nowhere else are you going to find them but here, in Sri Lanka.

Beaches

Frequent buses run the 87km (54mi) down the coast from Colombo, or there are four daily express trains that are worth considering. There are a few slow trains as well but these can take up to three or fours hours. On the east coast you can have the beautiful beaches of Arugambay & Trincomalee. Where tourists are coming in numbers back again.

Negombo

 Negombo is a town approximately 45 km north of Colombo in Sri Lanka. Negombo is located at the mouth of the Negombo canal and is a small port. Sri Lanka's major international airport is approximately 9km out-side of Negombo. It is an ideal tourist destination and most of the hotels here are crowded with tourists through out the year. Be it a honeymoon, a family vacation or a business trip. Negombo provides an ideal setting for all. It has a good number of tourist attractions to offer its visitors. It’s situated by the shores of a lagoon by the same name once has been a trading port for Portugese and Dutch and is an ideal place for those who want quick access to and from the airport. Attractions in the city are the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now a part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villagers. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective.

The stretch of road towards Kotchchikade comes to life at dusk (most shops are open at daytime too) with many handicrafts and curio shops, gem shops, restaurants and internet cafes catering for tourists. Negombo is a fishing village which is the center of the island’s fishing community. It is largely Roman Catholic by faith, with huge imposing churches down almost every street. Their feasts dedicated to various saints if you happen to be around at the correct time and the fisheries port.

The Buddhist temple in the town is a unique structure where beautiful statures depicting various Buddhist events built beneath a giant Buddhist statue.

Festivals and Events

Festivals and Events in Negombo enliven the people of Negombo and give them a break from the daily chores of life. Since it is situated in the shores, the prime occupation of the people of Negombo is fishing. The fishermen of this island celebrate Fisherman's festival. The festival is celebrated in the late July. Some festivals or the other go on through out the year. This festival serve specific social needs as well as it is a celebration of life. The Festivals and Events in Negombo are celebrated with great pomp and show. The beaches are adorned beautifully. Sea foods are found in abundance. During the time of festivals sea foods are great attraction. Lobsters, crabs and prawns are the greatest attraction.

 BEACH

Fine sandy beaches of Negombo has been mostly unexplored but less crowded as most tourists use the town for the first or the last night of their stay in Sri Lanka. That is where the advantage where you have the beach mostly to your self. Nevertheless those who have identified its secrets have been visiting the town year after year. The sea is the backdrop to the Negombo. Fine beach stretches are superbly maintained by the hotels while some are always busy with fisherman and their equipment.

Negombo's fishing market is also a great attraction. The fish market remains crowded all day long. Large varieties of fishes are found in great abundance. Sea fishes like crab, lobsters, prawns and sharks are found in great abundance and tastes great too.Inspite of being stinky the place remains a great tourist attraction. If you go to Negombo one day doesn’t forget to visit fishing villages and to eat some seafood’s. You have to go there around early morning and before noon to see arriving of boats with fish.

Sports and Recreation in Negombo

Owing to its location by the ocean and also to its beaches, Negombo offers many exciting sports and thrilling activities. Sports and Recreation in Negombo provides you information regarding the interesting sports available in Negombo. On account of the presence of the ocean, Negombo features exclusive and wide varieties of water sports. Sports and Recreation in Negombo states some of the most popular among them are sailing, swimming, scuba diving, diving, wind surfing, surfing, water skiing, and many more. Deep-sea fishing is another interesting water sport found in Negombo. Snorkeling too can be done. This will open for you a whole new world of the bright and colorful marine life. You will get to explore a stunning underwater world comprising of stunning species of seaweed, plants, and rare fish. The magnificent coral reefs also provide splendid views. Sports and Recreation in Negombo lets you know that there are few training centers in Negombo where the trained professionals will teach you expert diving and other water sports. However, during the monsoons, diving is not allowed and rather not recommended. It is safe only after the monsoons, from mid-November to mid-May.

The expansive soft sand beaches are excellent for sunbathing. Sports and Recreation in Negombo states that you can spend hours after hours lying on the beach rejuvenating your senses and relaxing. The palm groves at the backdrop and the deep blue ocean in front provide spectacular views. You can also unwind yourself and take a refreshing break relaxing on the deck chairs under the colorful sunshades, with a cool drink in hand. This facility is particularly offered by most of the five star hotels and resorts in Negombo. These hotels also offer other recreational activities like swimming, tennis, squash, billiards and many more.

Sports and Recreation in Negombo tells you that Negombo also has provision for short boat trips. Those trips offer you breathtaking views of the ocean, beaches and other colorful sailboats. On such a voyage, you will feel deported to a completely different world. The fresh sea breeze and the enamoring views will surely elate your body and mind.

Excursions

The Dutch Canal

Among the tourist attractions, The Dutch Canal, Negombo is a must visit for the tourists. If a tourist wishes to view the country from a different angle he or she must pay a visit to The Dutch Canal, Negombo. The Dutch Canal, Negombo was used for the purpose of a supply route in the times of the Dutch administration. The canal is still being used. It runs across the town and is hundred kilometers long. The Dutch Canal, Negombo, used to serve as a supply to the Dutch administration along with the Old Churches and fishing villages during the Dutch rule. A tourist can take a tour of the canal through a boat or a bicycle ride. It was constructed by the Dutch people from Colombo in the south to Puttalam in the north. The Dutch Canal, Negombo flows across Negombo.

The canals of Negombo were named by the Arabian geographers as the “Gobbs of Serendib”. The canals dotted the Western Coastline. Its strength and importance was first evaluated by the Dutch people. They were the one who created these canals. These canals offered both easy and economical means of transportation of goods from the outlying areas of the ports.

From the mountain ranges various rivers of Sri Lanka flows down. These rivers flow across the flat lands. Sandbars are accumulated at the mouth of the rivers with the help of the sand and soils that come down along with the rivers. Now the water overflows due to the obstruction and gives birth to lagoons and lakes. Links between these lakes and lagoons were made by the canals.

If a tourist wants to soothe his spirits, he should visit Negombo. One can sit under the shades of palm and enjoy the sun kissed.

 

Muthurajawela

Sri Lanka is blessed with many different types of wetland, such as estuaries, lagoons, sea grass beds, mangroves and marshes. These areas are of immense environmental, economic and social importance, yet they are increasingly under threat. Part of the marsh known as Muthurajawela near Negombo is a protected area open to the public. A boat trip allows you to make a leisurely exploration of the marsh.

South of Negombo is situated the Muthurajawela marsh, which has the distinction of being the island’s largest saline peat bog. Peat is partly carbonized vegetable matter that is saturated with water. This carbonization process takes place over a long period of time: indeed the Muthurajawela marsh is believed to have originated around 5,000 BC. There is also evidence of extensive paddy farming in the area some 500 years ago. Today the marsh together with the Negombo Lagoon forms an integrated coastal ecosystem of 6,232 hectares. Muthurajawela itself spreads all the way south from the lagoon to the Kelani Ganga (River), situated at the northern tip of Colombo.

GALLE

The capital of the southern province is a city with a colourful history. UNESCO declared World Heritage Site the magnificent Dutch fort is the most popular attraction of the town. 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive around the fort and amidst its many historical buildings.


The southern coastal belt is the most popular among the tourists and comes to life mainly from October through April when the monsoon moves northeast and the sea becomes calm with blue skies. The earliest European administrative centre of Sri Lanka was the major port and the largest city until the British shifted the port to Colombo. The City of Galle had been the European administrative centre over 4 centuries.


Galle, the main city and port on the south coast, retains a romantic, old-world atmosphere within its Dutch fort. In fact, Galle is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most historically interesting city still functioning. It began to assume importance after a Portuguese fleet arrived accidentally in 1505. The story goes that on hearing a cock (gallus in Portuguese) crowing on their arrival, the Portuguese gave the town its name. Indeed, the harbor is strewn with rocks, some above but many below the water, a factor that made it quite dangerous for shipping in earlier times. Nevertheless, until the construction of breakwaters at the Colombo port was completed in 1875, Galle remained the island’s major port.

Two entry points to the fort: main gate & old gate

The Main Gate was built by the British in 1873 to handle the heavier traffic into the old city. This part of the wall, most heavily fortified with massive ramparts facing the landside was riginally built by the Portuguese with moat & drawbridge & was substantially enlarged by the Dutch, who in 1667 split it into separate Star, Moon & Sun Bastions. The clock tower is quite modern & usually has a huge national flag flying from it.


The Old gate is on the Queen Street. The arch on the Fort side of the gate is inscribed with the coat of arms of VOC (Vereenigde Oost Indische Campagnie), showing two lions holding a crest topped by the inevitable cockerel), while the arch on the exterior, port-facing side is decorated with the British crest, "Dieu et mon droit", & the date 1669.

Famous Structures

 Dutch Fort

Portuguese built the first fort to withstand attack from the Sri Lankan kingdoms to the north. Dutch who captured the coastal cities from the Portuguese improved the defence system of the fort, widening the moat on the landside, improving the ramparts and the bastions. British who captured the city did not make many changes as they shifted the part to the northern town of Colombo and therefore the atmosphere of Dutch days are preserved to date. The Dutch entrance to the fort with it VOC with 1669 carved in the inner archway is still in use. Still there are many old Dutch buildings intact and, but unfortunately except for those in the private hands. The ramparts and the bastions still bring to life the old world.

  Dutch Museum

For a peep in to the life of the Dutch East India Company, look into this small museum at 31 Leynbaan Street. Housed in a restored Dutch mansion of the time, it contains paintings, prints, documents, furniture and ceramics from the Dutch Colonial Era.

Historical Manson Museum
A couple of minutes' walk down Leyn Bann Street (Old Rope-Walk Street, named "Oude Lijnbaanstraat" during the Dutch period), in a well-restored Dutch house is a collection of colonial artifacts, antique typewriters, VOC china, spectacles & jewellery. In spite of the rare items stored herein, the main aim of the museum comes to light when we are led to the gems for sale in the adjoining shop.

 Light House
The old lighthouse with the lantern at the height of 92 feet above low-water, built in 1848 was burnt down in 1936. The new light was built in 1940 at Utreeth Bastion in the same street, lighthouse street called 'Zeeburgstraat' 'Middelpuntstraat' during the Dutch period. The lantern is 92 feet above low-water level.

Kottawa Conservation Forest
The road heading north out of Galle passes the Kottawa Conservation Forest, a 14-hectare wet evergreen forest. Trees are identified with their botanical names, making this a good opportunity to get to know Sri Lankan flora. On the other side of the road, near the forest entrance, is a swimming spot fed by a waterfall. There is a couple of tea factories tucked away in this area. Tallangaha & Kottawa are open to visitors

Saints Church (Anglican Church)
Further down the Church Street is the All Saints Church. This was built in 1868 & consecrated in 1871 after much pressure from the English population who had previously worshipped at the Dutch Reform Church. The bell was gifted to the church by chief officer of the 'Ocean Liberty' of Clan Shipping Company. There is a particularly good view of the church with its red tin roof surmounted by a cockerel & four strange little turrets, from Cross Church Street.

Excursions

 Ahangama- Midigama

Home to a Unique type of technique. Silt fishing is a popular fishing method in the area and a very beautiful scenery to watch especially during sunset. Ahangama is also a popular surfing location and relatively less crowded than the surfing location to the north.

Hikkaduwa-Glass Bottom Boat Ride

Hikkaduwa beach in Sri Lanka is one such bay which you cannot miss out. Hikkaduwa located about 16 km from Galle, is one of the most popular beach resorts of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka's only marine sanctuary is located here. Hikkaduwa is the place for underwater delights where there is a marine sanctuary abundant with rare corals and tropical fish. The underwater world of colourful corals and beautiful shoals of fish can be explored either by snorkeling or taking a ride in a glass bottom boat.. It is an ideal

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