Although Sri Lanka is a top destination for beach lovers, the country boasts of a rare trove of cultural aspects as well. Home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the country has something for everybody. If you have received your online Sri Lankan ETA, here is some interesting information about 5 most popular sites that everyone should visit when vacating in Sri Lanka:
1. Ancient city of Sigiriya- An ancient rock fortress which was constructed in the 5th century by King Kasyapa, Sigiriya became a heritage site in 1982. The palace is built on a gigantic rock. The palace has a façade in the form of enormous lion from which the site has derived its name –Lion`s Rock.
Tourist Highlights- Rock adorned with colorful frescoes, a mirror wall engraved with 8th century old verses and some of the oldest landscapes gardens in the world.
Tip- Travelers can enjoy the panoramic views of the Cultural Triangle after climbing the Sigiriya rock.
2. Sacred city of Anuradhapura- The city of Anuradhapura was once the capital of Sri Lanka. It is a place where the ancient civilization began in the country. The city enjoyed the position of capital city until it was raided by the invaders and was abandoned. Several ruins of monuments, monasteries and other ancient places are well preserved by nature.
Tourist Highlights- 2000 years old holy Bo Tree under which the Lord Buddha gained enlightenment.
Tip- The ruins are not located close by, rather they are scattered which can be pretty time consuming. So if you are on a quick tour, do your research and pick the sites you want to visit the most.
3. Ancient City of Polonnaruwa- Polonnaruwa is the second most ancient kingdom in Sri Lanka after Anuradhapura. The city is well planned archeological relic site. The site became UNESCO world heritage site in 1988. Make sure you apply for online Sri Lankan ETA beforehand to make sure not to miss these sites.
Tourist Highlights- Unique art, stunning architecture from medieval period, fantastic irrigation facilities, verdant environment, Brahmanic monuments, reminiscent of the garden city which was built in 12th century.
Tip- Rent a bike as it will cover all the sites more quickly with less walking.
4. Sacred city of Kandy- Kandy is also known as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. It is home to the infamous temple of the tooth relic which has tooth of the Lord Buddha enshrined in a golden casket. In 1988, the city was entitled as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tourist Highlights- Esala Perahera (Procession) that occurs in July/August as an annual ritual of the Temple, Kandyan cultural dance, forested hills and lush tea plantations.
5. Galle Dutch Fort- Located on the southern coast, Galle Dutch Fort is a popular city which was built by Europeans. The fort has a large complex overlooking the ocean and also has array of cafes and restaurants.
Tourist Highlights- Dutch Fort, Dutch Reformed Church, Dutch and British colonial architecture and the National Maritime Museum are popular landmarks in the fort area.
Tip: Climb on the top of the fortress walls in the evening for a stunning view of the sunset on one side and the old town on the other.
All the culture vultures, gear up for your encounter with ancient and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites. To book online Sri Lankan ETA, visit our website www.sri-lankaeta.com .