Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2019

3 Great Things To Do In Sri Lanka This Year

In the old days, Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. These days the island country, located in the Indian Ocean, is an up-and-coming vacation destination with beautiful beaches, iconic temples, ancient fortresses and the chance to enjoy the traditional, delicious local cuisine.

The following are suggestions of some the best activities and locations to explore in Sri Lanka to put on your travel itinerary this year.

  1. Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered by local residents to be the 8th Wonder of the World. An ancient fortress and the ruins of a city date back to the 5th century and are located on a huge rock column which is 656 ft (200 m) in height. According to the official website, the rocky plateau was also used in the 3rd century as a monastery.

Also known as Sinhagiri, the fortress is located in the Matale District of Sri Lanka, close to Dambulla town. Anyone planning on visiting should bear in mind that the site is accessed by many steep stairs.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Gobbler

  1. Wewurukannala Vihara Temple, Dikwella

This fascinating, 18th-century temple is located in Dikwella and is well known for its massive statue of Buddha. The temple was constructed in three parts, with the giant Buddha statue being a more recent addition, built in the 1960s. This is interesting in itself. However, any pilgrims visiting the temple have to travel through an unexpected and scary part of the building to get to the statue.

Buddhist pilgrims (and modern tourists) are made to head down into a tunnel before accessing the statue. They have to see what would happen to them should they succumb to temptations before heading on the path to enlightenment. The tunnel is a Buddhist Hell in all its glory, with visions of horror along the way. Demons with fangs, boiling cauldrons and statues of sinners being hacked in half make for goose bumps and great photos before visitors finally access the Buddha statue. The temple itself is beautiful to view, with many spectacular statues and wall murals.

  1. Gangaramaya Vihara Temple, Colombo

The Gangaramaya Vihara Temple in Colombo is a Buddhist temple, but also a museum. Here can be seen many religious artifacts, including a huge sacred tree in the complex and what is believed to be a lock of Buddha’s hair. However, the strange side of the temple is several vintage cars on display, including a well-preserved vintage Rolls Royce.

Each year, the Nevam Perahara procession is held here on the full moon in February, with many monks in the procession, carrying sacred relics on the back of a decorated elephant. However, animal lovers will be angry to hear that the elephant is chained to a tree in the main road when not involved in processions. Visitors have noted that men carrying canes stand guard next to the poor animal.

While that aspect is sad, make a plan to visit Sri Lanka this year for the beauty and history, which will make the memories of a lifetime.

Author: Anne Sewell

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