Sri Lanka - Travel Destinations
Place to Visit in Sri Lanka
Yoda Ella Water Flow Technique
Yoda Ella or Giant Canal is an engineering marvel of the ancient hydraulic civilization of Sri Lanka which continues to amaze modern irrigation engineers. The canal is about 87km long and has an astonishing gradient of 10-20 cm per km. Located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka it was built by King Dathusena in the 5th century AD and carries water from the Kalawewa reservoir in the Pollonnaruwa district to the Tissawewa reservoir in the Anuradhapura district.
Parakrama Samudraya ( Sea of Parakrama) is a gigantic rainwater reservoir built by king Prakramabahu the Great (1153 – 1186) who reigned in Pollonnaruwa, the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Considered another magnificent feat of ancient hydraulic engineering, the reservoir covers an area of over 23 square km.( 2300 hectares) and the bund is 14 km long and 12 meters high. The giant reservoir supports more than 7000 hectares of rice fields. Parakrama Samudraya originally consisted of 5 smaller reservoirs connected by channels to make up the gigantic reservoir. New reconstruction work has however reduced the size of the original. Apparently modern engineers lacked the technical knowledge of their ancient counterparts.
Trincomalee Harbor, situated in a picturesque setting on the Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka, is considered the second best natural deep water harbor in the world. Because of its strategic location in the Indian Ocean it has over the years attracted the attention of many foreign maritime Powers including the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British who each held it in turn. The Trincomalee harbor served as the chief naval base for the Far East Command of the Allied Powers during world war 11. The harbor is located in the well known East Coast resort town of Trincomalee, world famous for its pristine beaches.
The Horton PlainsNature Reserve is aWorld Heritage Site situated in the central hills of Sri Lanka andconsidered one of the best eco tour destinations in the world. The Plains are located on a plateau situated about 2300m above sea level and are rich in bio diversity. They are covered by grassland and forest and provide sanctuary to a variety of rare fauna and flora including some bird species found only in this location. The plunging escarpment of 900m atWorld’s Endand the Baker’s Falls are two other attractions within the Reserve.
Ruwanweliseya Stupa located in the ancient royal capital of Anuradhapura is the most famous and the most venerated of all the great stupas found in Sri Lanka. It was built by King Dutugemunu ( 161 – 137 BC) the revered hero of the Buddhist nation.The ancient chronicles refer to many wonders taking place at the time of its construction including the emergence of priceless precious stones and metals in different locations of the island which enabled the King to finance the monumental undertaking. Another mysterious feature associated with this Great Stupa is that together with two other ancient stupas ( Mirisavetiya and Jetavana) located in the vicinity it replicates the celestial layout of three (Rigel, Mintaka and Bellatrix) of the seven major stars comprising the constellation of Orion
Sri Dalada Maligawa
Sri Dalada Maligawa orthe Templeof theSacred Tooth Relic ( World Heritage Site) is the most important Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka and is situated in Kandy which is the hill capital of Sri Lanka. The Temple is located in the ancient Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kings and enshrines a relic of a Sacred Tooth of Lord Buddha. It is believed that whoever holds the Relic has the governing authority of the island and therefore it has been zealously guarded by rulers since antiquity. The Esala Perahera (pageant) associated with the Temple is an annual religious pageant parading the streets of Kandy for 14 consecutive nights followed by a day pageant and is a spectacular event featuring numerous elephants, dancers, drummers and various other cultural troupes etc. which attract tourists from all over the world. The Perahera is conducted in the month of Esala (July/August).
The Galle Fort, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, is situated on the South- west coast of Sri Lanka and possesses a very colorful history. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588.When the Dutch conquered the Maritime Provinces of Sri Lanka, the Fort was taken over by them and further fortified. It is the Dutch who gave the Galle Fort its unique identity which survives to this day. As indicated by UNESCO it is a splendid example of “ an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.” The Fort is now a highly cosmopolitan area having many residents of various foreign origins.
Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil also known as the Nallur Murugan Kovil is located in the town of Nallur in the Jaffna district in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.This ancient Hindu Temple was founded in 948.The site of the temple slightly changed a number of times with the earlier temples being destroyed over the years and relocated. The current Temple which is the 4th in succession was built in 1749 AD after the Portuguese destroyed the one before it, and it has been renovated periodically since then. The architectural style is Dravidian. In the months of July – August the Temple holds its annual spectacular Chariot Festival ( Ther Thiruvila ) which continues for 25 days with a chariot carrying the image of Lord Murugan parading the streets of Nallur pulled by a rope by ardent crowds of devotees. Astonishing feats of self mutilation by entranced worshippers can be witnessed at this festival.
Hummanaya or Blow Hole situated in a small fishing village near Dikwella in the Deep South of Sri Lanka is a famous tourist attraction. It is reputed to be the second largest blowhole in the world. Sea waves rush through a long narrow crack in a huge cliff by the sea and water shoots up into the air through a vertical shaft in the rock creating a marvelous water fountain. When the sea is rough the fountain rises nearly 25-30 meters. The surrounding area is filled with the sound of the blowhole which could be heard up to quite a distance from the site. A viewing platform has also been constructed. The blowhole is actually located on a small island connected to the mainland by a strip of land which is not perceptible because of the numerous residences spread over the area.
Sri Padaya or the mountain of the Sacred Footprint, also known as Adam’s Peak, is Sri Lanka’s holy mountain held in veneration since ancient times by the Buddhists. Situated in the central highlands this conical mountain rises up to a height of 2250 meters from the surrounding dense forest. On the summit of the mountain is found a large stone with a mysterious human footprint on it. The Buddhists believe this to be the footprint of Lord Buddha left behind when he visited the island for the third time in the ancient past. The sacred mountain has attracted pilgrims and other travelers from far and wide since remote times. The pilgrim season begins on the Unduwap Poya (full moon day in December) and continues till the Vesak Poya (full moon day in May) The ascent of the mountain is usually made in the night. The route is illuminated all the way to the top. The spectacular sunrise witnessed from the peak summit at dawn is a breathtaking unique experience not to be missed at any cost.
Hot Water Wells
Sri Lanka has 12 or more natural hot water wells containing precious healing mineral waters well known for their curative properties with almost all of them lying more or less in a straight line extending from deep down South in Hambantota district to the Eastern coast in the Trincomalee district. In addition there are hot springs at Keerimalai in the Jaffna district in the North as well. The more famous hot springs are the Madunagala Mahapelessa hot springs in the Deep South, the Kanniya Hot Springs in Trincomalee in the East, the Mahaoya Hot Springs in the Amparai district also in the East and the Keerimalai hot springs in Jaffna in the North. Keerimalai is known as the “Land of Sacred Springs and Spirituality.” The Keerimalai Hot Springs are located on the beach near the Keerimalai Naguleswaram Kovil. These springs are reputed for their miraculous curative properties. A cave complex is also found nearby believed to have been used for meditation purposes by sages in ancient times. The water is not very hot.
The other hot springs are:
Kivulegama/ Jayanthi Wewa Hot Springs: Located near Jayanthi wewa on the Pallan Oya Road in the Amparai district in the Eastern Province.
Rankihiriya/ Gomarankadawala Hot Springs in Trincomalee district
Nelum Wewa Hot Springs Pollonnaruwa District North Central Province
Mutugalwela/Gurukumbura Hot Springs Located within the Maduru Oya National Park in the Pollonnaruwa district
Wahawa Hot Springs - Amparai District
The Wahawa natural Hot Springs are 18 in number with varying temperatures( 42 – 45 C) and are scattered among the paddy fields, cottage gardens, forest glades and dry land in a remote rural setting in the village of Wahawa close to Padiyatalawa town in the Amparai district in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. In addition to the natural hot water wells, an artesian tube well has been constructed which shoots the hot water up 12 ft into the air and provides bathers with the opportunity to have a unique hot water shower.
Kapurella Hot Springs – Amparai District
The highest temperature ( 73.5 C) has been recorded here. The springs are located in the jungle close to the Tempitiya village in the Amparai district.