Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Guinness World Record from Sri Lanka - World's Largest Cup of Tea

A Sri Lankan tea estate set a new Guinness World Record.

A giant red mug was filled with 1,000 gallons (4,546l) of water, 141lb (64kg) of tea, 1,929lb (875kg) of malted milk powder and 353lb (160kg) of sugar. The record beat out the previous year’s record by 33%. The tea was then driven around the capital, Colombo, and served to locals in small plastic cups. The tea came from Sri Lanka’s famed estates and was brewed in 44-gallon urns for hours with sugar and malted milk powder, a popular South Asian method. The mixture was then carefully pumped into the mug, which holds a capacity of about 32,000 normal cups, until it was full. s certified the feat.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Visitors’ Guide to Sri Lanka

Danushi Kumaravithana writes that Sri Lanka is becoming more and more popular as a vacation destination— I was over there in July and it was clear why. Whether it’s beaches, temples, architecture, history or animals you are after, Sri Lanka has got it all. Here is my guide to experiencing it all based on my own travels plus advice from locals and other travelers.
Read more ...

Sri Lanka is among the best-value destinations for a package holiday

Britain's long-haul travellers will find that their pound will stretch furthest in Sri Lanka, Mexico and the Far East this winter, according to new research into holiday costs.

Sri Lanka has witnessed a sharp rise in visitors following the end to hostilities between government forces and Tamil separatists in the north and east of the island. Nearly 400,000 foreign tourists visited in the first eight months of 2010, an increase of 47 per cent on the previous year.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Character and beauty of Sri Lanka - Travel Photographs by Matt

Matt Considine is a professional travel photographer. He writes "Sri Lanka has so much to offer the traveler, from ancient ruined cities, lush forests, luminescent tea plantations, golden beaches, friendly people and a rich and varied history. Now that there is peace I hope that many more travelers will serendipitously find their way to the island once named "Serendip"."
You can see his images on Sri Lanka.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sri Lanka is equipped with 14,000 rooms in 250 hotels to cater to half a million tourists

The present capacity of the leisure sector will be sufficient to meet the current requirement but these hotels need to be refurbished. Considering the target of 2.5 million tourists by 2015, the present capacity of accommodation will not be sufficient, a senior tourism official said.
Read Full sotry

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ideas for your next trip to Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, you can discover the splendid cultural heritage sites and the ancient temples, witness the dramatic landscapes and the spectacular countryside of the tea highlands, experience wildlife at the largest national park and have a memorable experience at relaxing beach resorts. 

Ancient Glory - Cultural Sites: 
The remains of the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa feature enormous dagobas (dome-shaped structures) and statues of the Buddha. Dambulla has an awesome stairway, while Sigiriya is a rock with the remains of a palace on the summit and sensual frescoes. These four World Heritage Sites are situated within a compact area called the Cultural Triangle. Visit Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Kandy 


Eco-tourism - Wild-life Parks: 
There are 14 National Parks in Sri Lanka which offer the chance to see some of the 91 mammals (16 endemic) - elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambhur, spotted deer, hog, mouse- and barking-deer, wild boar, porcupine, ant-eater, civet cat, loris, giant squirrel, and monkeys such as the macaque, purple-faced leaf monkey and grey langur.. The largest of the parks is Yala, where jeep safaris provide close encounters with leopards and also abundant bird-life. The best park to see elephants is Uda Walawe
Yala (Ruhuna) National Park 
Uda Walawe National Park
Wasgamuwa National Park 
Horton Plains National Park 
Gal Oya National Park
Sinharaja World Heritage Forest

Sea, Sand and Sun - Beaches
Beaches totalling 1,340km fringe the island, from the long-established tourist destinations of the southern coast, to the vast beaches of the deep south, and the less-visited expanses of the north and east. No matter what time of the year, you can find a beach that is in season and just waiting to welcome you to its warm sands.
Ambalangoda | Arugam Bay | Batticaloa | Bentota | Beruwala | Hikkaduwa | Kalkudah | Mt. Lavinia | Negombo | Nilaveli | Trincomalee | Unawatuna | Weligama

Natural Wonders - World Heritage Sites
Sri Lanka.s cultural depth is recognized by UNESCO, which has declared six archaeological World Heritage Sites. 
Sacred City of Kandy
Sacred City of Anuradhapura 
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa 
Ancient City of Sigriya 
Golden Temple of Dambulla: 
Old Town of Galle and its Fortification
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Places you should not miss to visit: 
Cultural Triangle - Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya 
The hill country - Royal capital of Kandy, home to the Dalada Maligawa
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
Pinnewela Elephant Orphanage
Aquatic Sports
wind-surfing, water-skiing,  
surfing, sailing, scuba-diving (including wreck-diving), snorkelling, speed-boating and banana-boating. 
In addition, there are plentiful freshwater opportunities in rivers and .tanks. (reservoirs), such as kayaking and canoeing, and most adrenaline-pumping of all, white-water rafting. 

Trip to Sinharaja Rain Forest

Trail Map of Sinharaja    
Travel Information

Singharaja Forest Reserve is the most famous rainforest of the country. This tropical rain forest is a living heritage. Bio diversity of the forest is very high and a large proportion of the flora in this forest is endemic to the country and some endemic to the Singharaja Forest itself. This is a very good place to see many endemic birds such as Ceylon Lorikeet, Layard's parakeet, Jungle and Spur Fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Grey Hombill, Spotted wing Thrush, Rufous and Brown- capped Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White Headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Mynha, Legge's Flowerpecker. The clear cut roads in to the jungle provide easy access to the forest. This important forest is a Man and Biosphere Forest reserve and it is considered as a World Heritage Site.

Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa for culture tourism

The 400ft Dagabas as tall as the pyramids and the remains of ruined cities, large man made lakes of a great highly advanced civilization older than the recorded history at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Anuradhapura sacred ancient city was founded in the 04th century B.C and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization which flourished in this region.

Places to visit:
Isurumuniya, Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweli Saya, Thuparama, Abayagiriya, Moonstone, Jethawanaramaya, Samadhi Buddha Statue, Twin Ponds, The Jethawana Musume.

Pothgul vehera, Palace and audience hall of King Nissankamalla, Palace and audience hall of King Parakramabahu, Siva Devala, Watadage, Thuparama, Alarakaramaya, Lankathilaka, Pabulu Vehera, Kiri Vehera, Gal Viharaya, Lotus Pond and the Thiwanka Pilimage.

Trip to Arugam Bay - surfing destination Sri Lanka

Located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s South-East coast, shrouded by the wide spread wetlands, lagoons and jungles encompassing a variety of flora and fauna lies Arugam Bay, a fishing village two and a half kilometers south of Pottuvil. The area belongs to the Ampara district.
Arugam Point at the Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka be...Image via WikipediaOverall humid climate prevails at Arugam Bay. A slight breeze sweeps by from the North-East. Usually, showers are expected in September and October.
 The surfing season is at its peak between June and October. This is when many holidaymakers and surfers hit the beach. Diving is also a favourite pastime with visitors because the area comprises many ship-wrecks that are a challenge to explore. You can also catch sight of wild elephants in the long, deserted beach leading down to Crocodile Rock.
Fishing and farming are the main occupations at Arugam Bay. Farmers cultivate paddy while raring cattle to produce dairy products. Ullae situated towards the corner of the bay is an ideal fishing harbour. Therefore families of fishing communities tend to settle down in temporary palm huts on the beach to earn their living. Most of them are Tamil Christians and Hindus. However there are a few Sinhalese fisher families as well.
The area is rooted with our ancestry and evidence of its remains lies hidden in the jungles of the area. Excavations of a 2000 year old temple, Modu Maha Vihare, which lies within the boarders of Pottuvil, is one such example. Despite being shadowed by the three decades of terrorism and struck by tsunami, Arugam Bay has emerged today as one of the country’s leading tourist destinations offering its visitors a variety of entertainment and activities at an economically friendly price. The area even received the Best Destination Award at the World Travel Market World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2007 for its contribution to biodiversity conservation.
Things to do at Arugam Bay:
* Wind- surfing
* Rafting
* Diving
* Fishing
* Swimming
* Underwater photography
* Canoeing
* Bird watching
* Sun bathing
* Strolling
* Bicycling
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Beaches of Sri Lanka - Sea, Sand and Sun

In Sri Lanka, a beach is always less than 70 miles away. No crowds, even on weekends.
Plenty of free parking.

Bentota- The beach, coral reefs, river and ecology makes a water sports paradise.
Beruwala- Ancient Sea farers of Arabia used this natural bay.
Negombo- Closest Beach to the Airport
Mount Lavinia- Closest beach to Colombo and has a colonial touch in the
Kalutara- A great Beach and River with water sports and adventure facilities.
Ahungalla- A fine beach in down south with lots of facilities.
Ambalangoda- An important ecolological mangove environment and mask dancing
makes Ambalangoda a special beach city.
Hikkaduwa- A beach with entertaining night life and Scuba Diving
Galle- A world heritage city with a fine Dutch Fort.
Unawatuna- One of best best places in Sri Lanka with Scuba Diving Locations.
Mirissa- A fishing town and a great place to relax
Koggala- A great beach in down south where you can see stilt fishing
Weligama- A fine location for a relaxing beach holiday
Matara- A great beach city with a star shaped Dutch fort
Tangalle- A fishery harbor town with scuba diving and a long beach
Hambantota- A great fishery harbor and a beach with wild life around.

Trincomalee - The eastern beach city has one of best natural harbors in the world
Nilaweli- A great long wide beach with great Scuba diving location
Arugam Bay- This eastern bay is great for surfing and Scuba Diving
Passekudah- A fine beach in the east coast
Kalkudah- A finest beach in east coast on the way to Batticaloa
Batticaloa- One of Sri Lanka's largest lagoons and beaches in the east coast.

Kalpitiya- Less famous but a great scuba diving location with a lagoon.
PuttlaM The lagoon and Beach in this town with a Dutch Fort.
Marawila- This is a calm and quite beach for a relaxing beach holiday.

Download Free Travel Guides on Sri Lanka

National Parks and Wild Life Reserves 
Serendib Magazine - "Best for blue" 
Gathering of elephants 
Primates of Sri Lanka 
Pink Dolphins 
Sri Lanka National Parks and Reserves de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2008). Sri Lanka National Parks and Reserves. 2nd Edition. Sri Lanka Tourism: Colombo. 56 pages. 
Sri Lanka National Parks and Reserves Part 2 de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2008). Sri Lanka National Parks and Reserves. 2nd Edition. Sri Lanka Tourism: Colombo. 56 pages. 
Sri Lanka Wildlife Itineraries Part 1: de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2008). Sri Lanka Wildlife Itineraries: A Guide for Eco Travellers. 1st Edition. Sri Lanka Tourism: Colombo. 34 pages. 
Sri Lanka Wildlife Itineraries Part 2 : de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2008). Sri Lanka Wildlife Itineraries: A Guide for Eco Travellers. 1st Edition. Sri Lanka Tourism: Colombo. 34 pages. 
The Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2010). The Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Colombo. e Edition. 44 pages. A5. A photographic guide to the endemic birds of Sri Lanka with descriptions and illustrations of each species. 
A Pictorial Guide and Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2010). A Pictorial Guide and Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Colombo. e Edition. 66 pages. A4. A lavishly produced checklist with photographic plates facing the checklist pages. Photographs of 281 species. The checklists contain a map of key birding sites in Sri Lanka, a booklist, a discussion on the uses of a checklist and the nomenclature, taxonomy and the status of birds as used in the checklist. Twenty one columns of tick boxes. 

Trip to Ella Sri Lanka - Ravana Ella

The Ravana Ella cave lies 4,500 feet above sea level on the foundation of a cliff in Uva. This beautiful tourist location is at a 7 miles distance from Bandarawela. The spectacular Ravana Ella falls is a little more distant from here and is known to be one of the widest falls of Sri Lanka. The grandeur of the Ravana fall is its wild look amidst wilderness. Ravana Ella pours itself down to the Ella gorge. The water finds it course down in three stages for 9 metres and then curves itself in a stream.
The Ravana Ella has its roots connected to the times of the famous eastern epic, Ramayana and it has been named after the brawny daemon ruler of Lanka, Ravana. It is said that after kidnapping Sita, Ravana had hidden her at the caves behind this waterfall when Shri Rama was drawing close to Lanka with his army to rescue her.
Ravana FallsImage by mahesh_f via FlickrThe cave came to be known as Ravana Ella cave. The place was then a thick afforested region in the midst of wilderness. Rama's queen is believed to have wandered around here while she was confined. She also bathed in a pool that accumulated its eddying water from these Ravana Falls.
It originates from the dense Wewatenna highland and amasses its water from a tributary of River Kirindi. Posited on the Ella-Wellawaya Road, the Ravana Ella falls is about 30 foot high and is perceptible from the main road.
Its beauty lies in the fact that it is located in a strikingly beautiful backdrop of mountains and valleys and its water gushes down over many stairs. The place is a favoured stop to rest for pilgrims.

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Trip to Hikkaduwa - Beach and the Coral Reef

The Hikkaduwa beach is situated 98 km from Colombo towards the south of Sri Lanka.

Galle Beach, Sri LankaImage via WikipediaThis fun coastal town 14kms from Galle was the first in the 1960’s of Sri Lanka’s beautiful beaches to be discovered by tourists. Snorkelling and diving in the clear waters are the major past-time along this stretch and is the most environmentally friendly way to see the colourful fish that dart around. The coral sanctuary found on
the coast of Hikkaduwa is a large shallow expanse of water enclosed by a reef, decorated with layers of multi coloured corals, which is home to countless number of colourful fish.
Off the beach there is a collection of tiny islets surrounded by beautiful coral formations.
Plenty of beach front accommodation and a reputation as the second best surf spot in Sri Lanka by the international board-riding set are the reasons for many tourists to visit Hikkaduwa.
The beaches are fine, wide and swimming is safe here. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is still populated by exotic fish and sea turtles.
There are many shops selling Masks, Gems, Jewellery, Batik, Antiques and curios etc. along with several Buddhist replicas and items, all which add spice to life at Hikkaduwa.
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Trip to Kandy

Kandy, is still very much a focal point of Sri Lankan culture and home of the Dalada Maligawa, one of Buddhism's most sacred temple grounds containing the palace of Sri Lanka's former king and the holy of holies, the repository of an actual tooth relic of the Lord Buddha.
Temple Dalada Maligawa in the city Kandy in Sr...Image via Wikipedia
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New York Times rank Sri Lanka as the best place to visit in 2010

New York Times on its article on "The 31 Places to go in 2010" ranked Sri Lanka as the No 1 Place to visit this year.
It says "The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. And then there’s the pristine coastline. The miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits to most visitors until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war."
Read the full article

Volunteer vacation projects in Sri Lanka

For such a small island Sri Lanka has many riches that continue to lure travellers; here you find waterfalls, beaches, excellent bird watching, fascinating culture, jungle and national parks. Volunteers can experience the amazing way of life in this beautiful island country of Sri Lanka by joining one of these volunteer vacation holiday projects. 

Teach English 

Volunteer to teach English and experience living in a local community in rural Sri Lanka

Volunteers live with a local family in the village to be immersed in the local Sri Lankan culture. For such a small island, Sri Lanka has many riches that continue to lure travelers, such as the waterfalls, beaches, excellent bird watching, fascinating culture, jungle and national parks that you can find here in abundance.
The project is based in the village of Mahavilachchiya, which borders the Vilpaththu National Park. It is about one hour by car north of Anuradhapura, the largest and oldest of Sri Lanka's ancient cities.

Working with Elephants 

Volunteer to monitor elephants and experience the rich culture of one of Asia's finest islands 

Working alongside field scientists cataloging and conducting surveys in the forests, on the grass plains and in the water holes; you will help wildlife conservation whilst discovering the spectacular waterfalls, beaches, bird watching, fascinating culture, forests and a variety of national parks that Sri Lanka contains. You will help the endangered Sri Lankan elephants by aiding human-elephant conflict resolution and the effort to develop sustainable conservation strategies to protect the elephants. You can also be a part of the ground work in establishing the first Trans-Climatic Zone National Park in Sri Lanka.
The project is located in the central province of the island of Sri Lanka in the Matale District, yet a number of field bases will be established in the future. Presently the main base is situated on the southern boundary of the Wasgamuwa National Park in the Matale district. Our locations are extremely remote, which means you will be at least two hours from the closest internet café. There is no electricity and only patchy mobile / telephone signals.
More Projects from ifre >>

Why visit Sri Lanka

It may well be that each of Sri Lanka's attractions is surpassed
somewhere on Earth; Cambodia may have more impressive ruins, Tahiti
lovelier beaches, Bali more beautiful landscapes (though I doubt it),
Thailand more charming people (ditto).  But it hard to believe
that there is any country which scores so highly in all departments -
which has so many advantages and so few disadvantages, especially for
the western visitor." 
For a country of that size (about the size of West Virginia or
Ireland) things one can do are amazing: surfing, wind surfing, scuba 
diving, rock/mountain climbing, searching for ancient ruins, wildlife, 
corral reefs, gemstones, spices, rituals, ...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Top ten travel lists on things to do in Sri Lanka

Several travel web sites list different places as top ten of their favorite travel attractions in Sri Lanka. Here are some of those lists:

Lonely Planet Top 10 Picks for Sri Lanka
1 Ancient Cities - Visit Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya
2 Arugam Bay -
4 Yala National Park
5 Horton's Plains & World's End
6 Kandy
7 Adam's Peak
8 Sinharaja Forest Reserve
9 Galle
10 Jaffna
11 Southern Beaches

Top Things to do by The Planet D: Around the World Adventure Couple

1. Try Surfing. 
2. Sip Tea and explore the hill country.
3. Go on a Pilgrimage
4. Ride the Train.
5. Yala National Park
6. Go to Udawalawe National Park.
7. Visit a Turtle Hatchery
8. Laze on the Beach. - Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna and Kosgoda are some popular beaches, but you can still find secluded beaches all along Sri Lanka’s coast.
9. Visit Sigiriya. 
10. Have dinner with a local family.

Top attractions by Tourism Sri Lanka
1. Stroll Along Colombo.
2. Delve into the Remnants of the Past.
3. Indulge in Resplendent Island of Hikkaduwa.
4. Journey to the Holy Adam's Peak.
5. Marvel at the Splendour of Anuradhapura.
6. Enjoy a Sunset in a Coconut Grove.
7. Admire the Grandeur and Opulence of Kandy.
8. Explore the Wonder and Beauty of Sigiriya.
9. Discover the Tea Plantations.
10. Engage with Nature at Bundala National Park.

Popular attractions listed by several travel web sites include following:
Wild-life parks, Kandy, Colombo, Beaches, Ella, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, Cultural sites (Sigiriya, Dambulla Cave Temples, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa), Sri Lankan tea country (Nuwara Eliya) Turtle Hatchery

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sri Lankan Travel Documentary

Welcome to 'a birds eye view' over the paradise island of Sri Lanka aided by the surround sound of the indian ocean. Divine Never seen before view of Sri Lanka captured from Seaplanes, Helicopters and Hot Air Balloons. From the East Coast to the West Coast with the divine percussion of tidal waves lapping on sand and rocks creating a paradisical orchestra throughout the big trip on the small island. This is the first ever documented aerial photography trip over Sri Lanka. Featured on National Geographic, Discovery Travel & Living and many other Travel Channels.

Created for the Sri Lanka Tourism Board Cluster & funded for Tsunami Relief on the island by US AID.
Writer & Creative Director: senthil kumar
Art Director: debu purkayashta
Chief Executive: thayalan bartlett @ jwt srilanka
Director Of Photography & Producer: suren de silva @ videoimage

Video Sri Lanka Tourism 2011

Nice video tour around Sri Lanka - culture, wildlfe, scenic places. beaches, upcountry landscape etc.

Toursim video - Sri Lanka Small Miracle

Sri Lanka Small Miracle -

Sri Lanka Tourism officially launched its new logo and tagline Sri Lanka Small Miracle with the ushering of peace in a new era.

Addressing the guests and media via a live feed from Temple Trees at the launch of Small Miracle at the BMICH, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared 2011 as Visit Sri Lanka Year.

In keeping with this theme, a series of activities and events have been planned in 2011 to lure in more tourists to the island.

The President said: Having regained peace, my vision for development of tourism has become a reality. The rebranding is an integral part of the repositioning strategy of Sri Lanka Tourism, and comes at an opportune time with the dawning of a new era of peace in Sri Lanka, where there are much expectations and opportunities in the tourism industry.

Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Dileep Mudadeniya, said The objective of the Sri Lanka Tourism re-branding exercise was to create a single core idea that can change peoples perception of the country.

The challenge faced by Sri Lanka Tourism during the brand strategy planning session in 2006 was to find an idea that embraces the truth of the country, which is relevant to the potential visitor; then communicate that idea through every material item produced, thus establishing an integrated marketing communication approach, he said.

Sri Lankan tourism industry has a great potential in the future. In 2008 Sri Lanka Tourism was able to earn economic events worth around US$ nine trillion and we hope that in the future Tourism will be one of the major foreign exchange earning industry, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Bernard Goonetilleke said.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka

Ayurveda is nature's way of caring and curing. The preparation of ayurvedic medications is usually a long process with ingredients being ground in a pestle for a prescribed period of time. Juices and extracts of plants are simmered until they reduce to a fraction of their original volume. Besides decoctions, wines, pills and powders for internal use, ayurveda also uses poultices, pastes, ointments and oils for external application. The methods of ayurvedic treatment vary from steam baths to massages, and recommended codes for healthy living which include dietary and sodo-cultural practices. Ayurveda is a cure for a lifetime and a way of life. Generations of Sri Lankans continue to use these age-old remedies, living to a ripe old age in excellent physical and mental condition. Together with its meditative aspects, ayurveda is a gentle and relaxed treatment for both mind and body resulting in tranquility, zest and energy.


The ruined cities of Sri Lanka take the visitor back through many centuries during which a unique civilization flourished. Anuradhapura, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, extending from the 3rd Century BC to the 12th Century AD record a grandeur unsurpassed.

The gentle sway of Buddhism which, transformed the Indo-Aryan Sinhalese has produced magnificent feats of architecture and construction. In the massive dagobas, the ornate pleasure gardens and palaces and the exquisite sculpture which abounds, particularly at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

The Ruvanveliseya. Abhayagiriya, Jetawanaramaya, Thuparama all at Anuradhapura are dagobas which are still venerated by the Buddhists. Well preserved and restored these grand Buddhist shrines of the past reveal the past glory of a city which in its heyday, exceeded in size some of the largest cities of the modern world.

The Samadhi statue of the seated, meditating Buddha, the intricately sculpted guardstones and moonstones speak of a standard of sculpture and artistry which is unmatched up to this day.

Polonnaruwa, shows the interesting blend of the influence of South Indian Hindu culture on the Sinhala Buddhist art and architecture. The Shiva Devales are interesting transposition of the Hindu style of decor. The Gal Vihare complex, of the seated. standing and reclining Buddha sculpted in granite is one of the most evocative pieces of the sculptors art anywhere. The Lankatilleke Viharaya shows a unique style of brickwork architecture while the Tivanka image house has some of the best examples of Buddhist frescoes of the 11 th Century.

The Vatadage complex of temples, with the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Nissanka Lata Mandapaya all show the heights of stone craft and artistry which prevailed in this period of Lanka's history.

Sigiriya was an interregnum of great excitement. Built by Kasyapa who killed his father to gain his wealth, this literal fortress in the sky, is a masterpiece of construction, artistry and irrigation. It was a resort of pleasure, a citadel of beauty and fortress of strength. Sigiriya has been made famous throughout the world for the frescoes on its rock wall. The Heavenly Maidens, preserved as part of the world's artistic heritage. While the frescoes are certainly captivating, there is much more to see and discover at Sigiriya, which was later a monastery and also has some links to very early Christianity in Sri Lanka.

Dambulla or the Golden Rock is a cave temple which dates back to the 1 st Century BC. Its rock ceiling is one large sweep of colourful frescoes which depict Buddhist mythology and the tales of the Buddha's previous births. Within the cave temple is the collection of the largest number of Buddha statues in one place.

One of the most important places of worship at Anuradhapura is The Sri Maha Bodhi, the oldest historically documented tree in the world, dating back to over 2000 years with clear documentation.

This Bodhi Tree (Ficus Religiosa) has been grown from the same tree under which the Siddhartha Gautama. meditated until he attained enlightenment and Buddhahood more than 2500 years ago, at Buddhagaya in India.

The sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi was brought to Sri Lanka as a gift from the Emperor Asoka of Ili1dia, shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to the country by the Arahat Mahinda, the son of Asoka. The person chosen to bring the bodhi sapling was Sangamittha, the daughter of Asoka.

Through the centuries the Sri Maha Bodhi has been venerated by Buddhists in Sri Lanka and the world over. Successive kings have taken steps to protect it, as seen by the several retaining walls around it. Today it is looked after as a national treasure by botanists, specially appointed by the government. The gilded fence around it, known as the Ran Veta, is a recent offering made through public contribution.

Devotees make many offerings to the Sri Maha Bodhi. The most common are the prayer flags which are hung on its branches.

Sri Lanka's ancient cities are also the centres of the irrigation works of the past. Massive reservoirs built to collect rain water, river diversions, giant aqueducts and miles long irrigation channels are proof of a civilization highly developed in the science of irrigation, hydraulics and water management.

Most of these ancient irrigation works such as the Tissa Wewa, Basawakkulama and Nuwara Wewa at Anuradhapura; the massive Parakrama Samudhra or Sea of Parakrama, Giritale and Minneriya in the Polonnaruwa region, the Kalawewa and Balaluwewa still provide water to irrigate the rice fields of the rice farmers of the dry zone in Sri Lanka.