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Top 5 Must See Tourist Places in Sri Lanka

Updated on March 13, 2013

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka - called Ceylon earlier, is a dream tourist destination of South Asia replete with ancient monuments, sun-kissed beaches, scenic natural spots, gorgeous waterfalls, many awe-inspiring religious sites, renowned museums and art galleries. Holidaymakers looking for a tropical paradise to spend their vacation need not think beyond Sri Lanka - one of the most enchanting island countries of the world. Sri Lanka - a neighbor of India, has such a diverse range of splendid locales that visitors are often bewildered - confronted with a multiplicity of choice.

where the rocks, beaches and the sea meets, Sri Lanka
where the rocks, beaches and the sea meets, Sri Lanka

Visit Sri Lanka, Colombo, ayurveda and more

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, the capital and economic hub of Sri Lanka is a picturesque and vibrant city. The heart of the city was a fort earlier - though there is no sign of that today. Instead you find the entire area made up of modern structures made of marble, concrete and glass. There are some landmark buildings here including the Janadhipahi Mandiraya which is the residence of the President.

There are quite a few Buddhist temples in the city and the principal one is the Gangaramaya Temple, near the Beira Lake. Yet another key temple close to Colombo is the Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya which is one of the three sites in the island where Lord Buddha is supposed to have visited. The temple is renowned for its fascinating wall and ceiling paintings.

Colombo is also home to many Hindu temples including the famous New Kathiresan and Old Kathiresan temples, which draw a host of visitors, both from within and outside Sri Lanka. The Grand Mosque in Pettah is a super structure and arguably the most important mosque in Sri Lanka. While in Colombo, one must visit the National Zoo that is supposed to be one of the largest zoos in Southern Asia.

Wild Life, Plants & Botanical Gardens

Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy, situated 465 metres above sea level, is a romantic hill station and the cultural center of the island and declared as a World Heritage City. Nestling amidst low hills and surrounded by Sri Lanka's largest river, the Mahaweli, Kandy is a fascinating place for anyone to spend their holidays.

For devotees of Buddhist faith, Kandy is a supreme sacred city. The nucleus is the Dalada Maligawa also known as the temple of the tooth, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined. There are shrines galore in and around Kandy, where you will come across rare paintings, frescoes, rare wood and stone carvings.

The adorable city boasts of stately hills and green valleys, swirling rivers, serene lakes and cascading waterfalls – not to speak of the world renowned Royal Botanical gardens at Peradeniya.

Kandy Esala Perahara & other Festivals

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Endowed with many scenic locales including quaint valleys, green meadows, magnificent mountains and historic monuments, Nuwara Eliya, also known as 'Little' England' is an enchanting city that no visitor will have the heart to leave.

Nuwara Eliya was the most favored hill station of the British who converted Nuwara Eliya into a typical English Village and that effect can still be felt. The old brick structure housing the Post office, the modest hill club, with rare collections, the 18-hole golf course, the sprawling racecourse etc all make you believe you are in England.

The Gregory lake has a boat yard and visitors are allowed to go boating and rowing. The Hakgala Botanical Gardens that lies between 5000 - 6000 feet in elevation is the highest set Botanic Gardens in the world. The garden boasts of a 100 year old Monetary Cypress trees from California, Japanese Cedars, Himalayan Pines and English Oak.

Sri Lanka - a land like no other

Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Jaffna is a wondrous city with tourist attractions galore and no visit to Sri Lanka can be deemed complete without a visit to Jaffna.

The Nallur Temple in Jaffna is a renowned Hindu temple which draws hordes of Tamils devotees residing in this place. The Selva Sannithi Temple is another notable shrine and pilgrims from various castes and sects come here to worship.  The Nagapoosani Temple (Nainatheevu is a must visit religious site while holidaying in Jaffna. This ancient temple is the abode of a sacred 5 headed cobra. The Nagapoosani Temple (Nainatheevu) in Jaffna was built to primarily worship the Serpent God revered by most Hindus.

The Jaffna library is a public library and a storehouse of several rare books on every subject under the Sun. The Jaffna Library suffered due to arson when it was set on fire by a Singhalese crowd in the year 1981. This was due to the ethnic tensions in the country of Sri Lanka. This library was refurbished in the year 2003 by the government.

Kindom of Anuradhapura,Sigiriya (Lion Rock)


Anuradhapura is an ancient city, located in northern Sri Lanka and is the capital of North-Central province. Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka and remained so until 8th century AD. Anuradhapura is home to several monuments of historical importance and the city is considered holy by the Buddhists. The city boasts of many Dagobas (a Dagoba is dome enshrining sacred relics or the bodily remains of the Buddha, and articles used by Him like the alms bowl). The earliest Dagobas had unique stone umbrellas on top of the dome instead of the usual spire.

A branch of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya in India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka during the 3rd century BC by princess Sanghamitta, the daughter of Emperor Asoka. It was planted in Anuradhapura and is venerated to this day by the Buddhists from many countries of the world.

Visit Sri Lanka

The numerous tourist attractions of Sri Lanka will surely fill the visitor with unbounded joy. The monuments in Sri Lanka reveal a hoary past and reminiscent of its colonial era that has been well-preserved by the country. The beaches of Sri Lanka are truly alluring and you will come across a number of fascinating palm-fringed beaches of sun and sand with the pristine surroundings.

The gorgeous waterfalls of Sri Lanka are among the most sought-after tourist attractions and they are found ubiquitously in the dense woods on the mountain slopes and valleys. Among other tourist attractions in Sri Lanka, are many wildlife sanctuaries like the Yala National Park, Maduru Oya National Park, Horton Plains National Park and the Bundala National Park.


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