Of the eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka, five are in our famed Cultural Triangle, traditionally known as ‘The King’s Land’. Among them are the three most historic ancient Sinhalese capital cities: Anuradhapura in the north, Kandy in the south and Polonnaruwa in the east. All three played vital roles in the development of Sri Lanka as a vibrant and ordered society; not only as centers of culture and learning, but also the cradles of Buddhism on the island.
The history of Anuradhapura, that great city on the plain steeped in antiquity, is home to some of the most amazing Buddhist art and architecture on the planet. At its centre is the sacred tree of Buddhism in Anuradhapura, the Bo tree, grown from a cutting taken 1,000 years ago from the tree in India under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Says the UNESCO World Heritage citation: “The sacred city exerted a considerable influence on the development of architecture during several centuries. “It includes remarkable monuments, particularly the Dagabas [stupas] of colossal size, placed on circular foundations and surrounded by a ring of monolithic columns, characteristic of the Sinhalese stupas.”
The history of Polonnaruwa, the fabulous garden city founded after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993, likewise reveals a treasure trove of historical antiquity: the Lankatilaka, with its huge image of Buddha; the Gal Vihara, the pinnacles of Sinhalese art; the Tivanka Pilimage, where gorgeous wall paintings illustrate the lives of Buddha. And then there is Kandy, “the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815” (UNESCO).
Anuradhapura, sacred City of the Kings, is redolent with history and mystery. Founded in the 6th Century BC and venerated by Buddhists the world over, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies at the heart of Sri Lanka’s famed ‘cultural triangle’.
As the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura was not only the early cradle of Buddhism on the island, but also the driving force behind cultural and scientific innovations designed to improve the health and welfare of everyone who lived there.
It also contains the sacred 2,000-year-old Bo Tree. According to legend, this much-venerated symbol was grown from a cutting from the tree in Bodh Gaya, India, under which Buddha himself attained enlightenment.
Anuradhapura’s ancient metropolis, surrounded by monasteries occupying an area of over sixteen square miles, is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. For many centuries, it was also one of the most stable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.Today, the city ruins that lie at the centre of this iconic location are preserved with great care and attention to ancient and historic detail. They consist mainly of three classes of buildings: stupas, monastic buildings and pokunas.
Stupas are stone-built domes containing Buddhist relics, including the ashes of Buddhist monks, as well as valuables and treasures. They conform to seven classic shapes, vary in size from a few feet to over 1,100 ft. (340m) in circumference, and are found throughout Anuradhapura.
Of the monastic buildings, one of the most famous is the Lovamahapaya, or Brazen Palace. Originally 150ft high and supported by 1,600 stone pillars, its roof was covered with copper-bronze plates. The building included 1,000 rooms and was covered corals and precious stones.
Pokunas, or stone-built pools used for bathing and drinking water, are found everywhere. They include the Kalu Diya Pokuna, or Natural Black Water Pond, and are believed to have been part an impressive network of irrigation channels and waterways. It is thought that they also formed magnificent formal private gardens where the kings would relax and entertain.
According to historical records, Sri Lanka possesses the largest amount of Buddha's relics so far unearthed from any country. Anuradhapura is seen as the most significant religious place because of the largest quantity of relics to be found there.
The second most ancient kingdom of Sri Lanka – a wide choice of places which once was the home to Kings and Queens, gave shelter to armies who fought to protect their motherland lies with the same glory. Gigantic tanks, palaces built on stories and hideouts of ancestors of Sri Lanka would allow you captures worth the walk.
The 8th world wonder to be the glorious rock kingdom which was solely built basing a stand rock situated in the middle of a forest. The path is paved for you to explore the paintings of Sri Lanka’s ancient artists and architects, and 6th century engineers of water flow systems. Believe it or not and rate what Sigiriya would make you feel.
Located at an elevation of 1118 feet from the sea level rises a massive rock from the surrounding plains of Dambulla of 600 feet high and over 2000 feet in length. It is home to the Worlds most acclaimed Cave complex of magnificent Buddha Images and Rock Paintings of vivid colours and shapes constructed and painted from around 2nd Century BC (Anuradhapura era ) and continued up to the Kandyan era of the 18th Century. Sinhalese people call it as ' Dambulu Gala' ( Dambulla Rock) and the Temple is called as the ' Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya' (Golden Rock Dambulla Temple).
The most worshipped place of Sri Lankan Buddhists, Kandy is the home for the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Also, the city has its own charm with being the central kingdom (Rajadhaniya) for more than a century. This city will give you endless hours of pleasure in roaming the museums, the ancient temples, old royal castle and of course the great Kandy Lake.
At Attraction Leisure we will make sure that you will have the best experience with getting you to take to all the beautiful places in Kandy and finally settling you down with a cup of tea from the Famous Kandy Bake house, overlooking the bustling “Dalada Weediya”.