CULTURE AND HERITAGE SITES
Polonnaruwa is a World Heritage Site where you can witness the amazing artistry in carving the buddha statues on Rock. Gal Vihara, Sandakada pahana, Thuparama, Nissanka Latha Mandapaya and Kiri Vihara are the top 5 places to visit in Polonnaruwa.
Rankoth Vehera – It’s the the largest stupa in polonnaruwa and 4th largest in Sri Lanka. Old days, It used to have a gold pinnacle on top(Rankoth – Golden pinnacle of a stupa)
Gal Viharaya – Buddhist shrine devoted to various stages of Buddha’s life carved into the face of a rock. You will be amazed of the details and size of these statues, the biggest statue is the reclining Buddha at 14 m long. The standing Buddha image is so peaceful image and it depicts an unusual mudra.
Anuradhapura (p228) represents early civilisation on a giant scale. The three colossal stupas that de- fine this stupendous site are some of the largest monuments ever constructed in the ancient world, exceeded only by the pyramids at Giza, Egypt.
Thuparamaya – Thuparamaya is known to be the oldest dagoba in the world. It possesses the holiest relic, collarbone of Lord Buddha. Thuparama is surrounded by pillars in the lush green backgrounds which enhance the visual appeal for you photograph. The pillars were used to support the roof and protect dagoba.
Kuttam Pokuna – This shows sophisticated civilization and very advanced Sinhalese architecture and aqua engineering. Kuttam Pokuna is simply a twin pools sit side by side with a filter system that was used to pour clean water into the pool. Pokuna was built and dedicated to monks for stone baths.
Samadhi Buddha Statue – This statue of Lord Buddha depicts the meditative pose/Dhyana Mudra which also made in a way that it depicts different emotions, when looked from different angles. Dhyana Mudra is the posture of meditation associated with Nirvana. Just looking at this attractive statue brings you the calmness and serenity.
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree is the historically dated oldest human-planted tree in the world. Bodhi tree is a sacred tree deriving from india where the Buddha gained Enlightenment. It will be Fascinating to share religious experiences and witness the tranquility and devotion of pilgrims.
SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS
The astonishing site of Sigiriya (p209) briefly flourished in the 5th century AD under King Kassapa, who constructed a near-inaccessible rocky mountaintop as a location for his royal palace. Clambering up the rock face to the summit, you’ll pass the sculpted paws of a giant carved lion, Mirror Wall (which contains a tangle of ancient graffiti) and some superb frescoes. Beneath the rock there’s much more to explore: Boulder Gardens, Water Gardens and an impressive site museum.
Fort walls - Note that you can tell which parts of the walls were built by the Portuguese and which by the Dutch: the latter designed much wider walls to allow for cannons to be mounted. If you examine the walls closely you can make out chunks of coral mixed in with the stone and mortar.
Flag rock - It is located at the southernmost end of the Fort. During the Dutch period, approaching ships were signaled from the bastion atop Flag Rock, warning them of dangerous rocks – hence its name.
Old Gate - A beautifully carved British coat of arms tops the entrance to the Old Gate on the outer side. Inside, the letters VOC, standing for Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), are inscribed in the stone
with the date 1669.
The Main Gate in the northern stretch of the wall is a comparatively recent addition – it was built by the British in 1873 to handle the heavier flow of traffic into the old town.
Inside the Fort - Most of the older buildings within the Fort date from the Dutch era. Many of the streets still bear their Dutch names, or are direct translations.
DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE
The beauteful Royal Rock Temple complex sits is a Five separate caves contain absolutely stunning Buddha statues and spaintings. Buddha images were first created here over 2000 years ago, and over the centuries subsequent kings invadded to and embellished the cave art. From the caves there are superb views over the surrounding countryside. Dambulla is thought to have been a place of worship since the 1st century BC, when King Valagamba (also known as Vattagamani Abhaya), driven out of Anuradhapura, took refuge here. When he regained his throne, he had the interior of the caves carved into magnificent rock temples. Further paintings were made by later kings, including King Nissanka Malla.
TEMPLE OF TOOTH
Temple of Tooth is sits in the heart of the city posed artistically against the steep hills of the Udawattakele Sanctuary and on the banks of the Kandy Lake. Temple of Tooth is one of the most important Buddhist shrine in the World. It is the house for the legendary Buddha’s Tooth, which arrived in the sixteenth century. Temple was originally built by Vimala Dharma II during the 1687–1707 and re-constructed and modified at various times later. King Sri Wickrama Rajasinha added the moat, gateway and Pittirippuva. Golden roof over the relic chamber was donated by President Premadasa in 1987.
KIRINDA RAJAMAHA VIHARAYA
An ancient temple built on top of a rocky mountain right on the beach of Kirinda, approximately 11km from the Tissa town. This Temple is the most important monument in Kirinda, rises high above the road and the sea level. It’s on top of a rock outcrop, therefore you might need to climb long flight of steps though some venture a trickier route. Temple is located on the place where Princess Vihara Maha Devi arrived, after being sacrifice to the sea from the west coast to make amends for her father King Kelanithissa’s great sin of killing a Buddhist monk. Large pale white Statue represent Princess Vihara Maha Devi.
Once you reach the top through the archway, you might set eyes on the stupa, the crashing waves on rocky cliffs and further vast blue sky and the ocean. Immediately at the lower level stood a bell tower facing ‘ancient Kirinda Maha Devale’ dedicated to Kataragama God, Vishnu and Sumana Saman God. On the opposing side of the rock overlooked small fishing huts.
This Buddhist temple is situated not far from the Beira Lake and near Union Place Colombo, and , established during nineteenth-century. Gangaramaya Temple could be the most eclectic temple in the country and it is a home for some of the antique objects, hundreds of Sri Lankan, Thai and Chinese Buddha statues.
Gangarama Temple also has the main features of any Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, such as the Cetiya (Pagoda), Bodhi Tree, the image house, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber.