Cultural and heritage Sites in Sri Lanka

From ancient temples to colonial forts

Sri Lanka's history may be traced back as far as 28000 BCE, and the country's heritage sites reflect that long span of time. Sri Lanka has eight locations on the that hold significant cultural significance.

The main three sites are, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, and the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. When taken together, these three locations refer to as a "Culture traingle in Sri Lanka". These sites are located in various historically significant regions.

The cultural traditions of Sri Lanka are deeply embedded and interconnected, and the World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka are a testament to this.


In the fourth century B.C., a royal capital was established here. The political and spiritual heart of the Buddhist world developed around a clone of the Bodhi tree in India, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Anuradhapura served as Sri Lanka's royal capital and a major religious and political hub for over 1300 years-much longer than either ancient Athens or Rome. Invading Chola warriors destroyed and looted the city in 993 A.D.

Abhayagiriya, Anuradhapura - Sri Lanka

There are many structures in this ancient city for you to see: Giant stupas, a spa, temples with perfectly preserved guardians and moonstones, and the Bodhi tree itself make up the holy district. I suggest that you check out the nearby Isurumuniya Temple. The small museum's stone reliefs, which depict a passionate couple, are the attraction here.


My childhood close to Polonnaruwa makes this landmark remarkable to me. Learn about King Parakramabahu (I)’s ancient culture by diving headfirst into historical texts. One of Sri Lanka's most forward-thinking monarchs, he constructed reservoirs across the island to grow rice continuously. You can see the historic structures in a large park. During that time, the former royal palace had 500 rooms, one for each of the king's 500 wives. These monstrous outer walls are still visible today. Even today, you can visit ancient temples dedicated to the worship of women of various faiths, as well as a royal bath that dates back to the time of the royal family.

Royal Palace, Polonnaruwa - Sri Lanka

The Gal Vihara, or rock temple, in Polonnaruwa is the most eye-catching structure there. Ananda, one of Buddha's closest followers, is represented by a figure, and three Buddha statues are hewn from the rock. A modern sculpture masterpiece. Like everyone else, you will be blown away by this incredible location. After the southern Indian Maghas destroyed many of the city's buildings and the Rajaratas (land of kings), the people of Polonnaruwa fled to the highlands in 1215, effectively ending the era of Polonnaruwa. The city's ruins weren't discovered until the nineteenth century when excavations and repairs were initiated.


Sri Lanka's hidden capital! Up until 1815, this land was ruled by a Ceylonese king. The most famous landmark in Kandy is the Tooth Temple, which houses a relic of Buddha's tooth that is paraded through the city on an elephant during the month of Esala (July/August). Peradeniya, home to Sri Lanka's oldest university, was established in 1371. Its world-famous Botanic Garden is located just outside Kandy. Excellent boulevards, a lavish orchid house, and an ayurvedic herb garden are just a few reasons you should check out this complex.

Gadaladeniya, Kandy - Sri Lanka

The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is also conveniently located not far away. When taking a dip in the Mahaweli River, you may spot some orphaned elephants, once tiny calves but have since grown into massive adults and formed a large herd. In addition to the world-famous Temple of the Tooth, there are several other stunning temples in the area. There is the Indian-style Galmaduwa temple and the beautifully carved wooden Embekka temple.


This is where your sightseeing trip will truly shine. Sigiriya, a monolithic rock rising to a height of 200 metres, can be seen from a great distance, causing excitement to build. Simply making your way through the front garden, which overlooks the rocks, is a pleasant experience. The cloud girls are located halfway up. Beautiful frescoes that are probably around 1500 years old. The age you really do not look at these girls, with their great, richly decorated décolletés, tropical flowers, elaborate hairstyles, and graceful movements.

Sigiriya - Sri Lanka

Follow the reflective wall until you reach the lion's paws. At this point, you'll start to gain elevation. Those prone to motion sickness should probably avoid the exposed path and the minimal fuse. After forcing his brother and the rightful heir to the throne to flee, Kassipa I (477-495 AC) withdrew here.

A Sri Lankan foothill awaits you at the summit.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple is a major attraction in Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle. The earliest caves were embellished with statues and paintings as early as the first century BC, and these works of art continue to draw visitors even today. The entrance plaza was renovated in the 1990s to include a new, gigantic golden Buddha that looms over the museum and indicates the direction to the caves. The walking time is roughly 20 minutes.

Dambulla Cave Temple - Sri Lanka

Every inch of these caves was painted with elaborate murals throughout two millennia. The vibrant statues of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, gods, and ancient kings make you want to linger and take a closer look. Vegetable farmers thrive in the region around Dambulla due to the fertile, loamy soil and mild climate, which yield bountiful harvests multiple times per year. The new market building is evidence that vegetables are unloaded, sorted, and reloaded during the wee hours of the night.


The old town of Galle is inside the fort and invites visitors to walk around or look in the many boutiques. Flying merchants trail you as you walk the freshly painted fort wall, offering antiquities like bobbin lace and old coins for sale. There may be few visitors to the harbor, but the fishing village is frequently visited. There are plenty of photo opportunities, from the vibrantly colored boats to the tiny shops to the interesting people who frequent them.

Historical Mansion Galle - Sri Lanka

Because of its strategic location, colonial goods were often shipped from Galle back to Europe. Fortification work began in the 16th century by the Portuguese and was continued by the Dutch and English. Museums in Galle and throughout Sri Lanka are fascinating glimpses into the city's and country's dynamic pasts. The "Historical Mansion Art Gallery," a private collection, has an eclectic assortment of oddities that are hilarious in their own right.

Jaffna Peninsula

When comparing distances to India, the Jaffna peninsula is far more convenient than the main city of Colombo. And so the peninsula of Jaffna and its Tamil population take the form of an Indian, Hindu India. The plants here are hardy enough to survive the arid climate, and the soil is nevertheless rich in nutrients. Our guests can easily access the North through the elephant pass or the new bridge at Kerathivu. The natives are constrained in their friendliness yet extremely helpful, and there is not much to see of the war chaos.

Jaffna Cultural Dance - Sri Lanka

The city of Jaffna itself boasts a fort, library, and bazaar, while the countryside is dotted with vibrant Hindu temples and Agraland. The nearby islands are home to other temples and a herd of wild horses. Because of its striking contrast to the rest of Sri Lanka, visiting Jaffna is best done as part of a more extensive vacation. Our guests and we enjoy exploring the area together, so we are familiar with all the best spots in Jaffna.

Mannar Peninsula

It's well worth your time to visit the Mannar Peninsula - Sri Lanka. The well-known Madhu Church can be seen along the way. A suspension bridge in picturesque surroundings can be found just after that. Then we head to the coast, where the ruined "Doric House" of the first British Governor Frederick North can be found. Old, run-down Arippu Fort can be found nearby.

Doric House, Mannar - Sri Lanka

It's a bridge to the Mannar peninsula, about 3 kilometers long. The Mannar Fort stands directly opposite the 19.5-meter-diameter Baobab tree at the town's main entrance. Even further afield from Mannar is the Hindu Shiva temple of Thiruketheeswaram. The birding scene is still quite active, by the way. Despite the lack of boat rides to the Adamsbrücke, it's clear that residents of Mannar are keeping themselves busy. The Mannar Peninsula is worthy of two nights of your time.


In between Rathnapura and Kalutara, there is a small town called Pahiyangala that is unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. Legend has it that the 5th-century Chinese monk Fa-Hsien stayed in this cave for two years during his travels, hence the cave's name. At about 85 metres deep, 45 metres high, and 55 metres wide, it is Sri Lanka's largest cave, but it is really just a ledge. But this is an old tale: in 1968 and 1986, a Ceylonese scientist named dr. U. Siran Deraniyagala explored the cave.

Pahiyangala - Sri Lanka

Among the artefacts he uncovered in the smaller cave next door was a human skull bone, estimated to be around 38,000 years old using radiocarbon dating. An incredible discovery: the oldest Homo sapien in all of Asia! Quartz implements and cooking hearths were also discovered. Evidence suggests that these prehistoric people regularly consumed a wide variety of wild game, herbs, and ground seeds and nuts.

The 13-meter-long, lying Buddha at the shrine is the most impressive sight. This bronze one is sleek and modern, perfect for a few minutes of quiet reflection. Pahiyangala is a fantastic illustration of the fact that you don't have to shell out a lot of money to see something truly remarkable. During your tour, I'm happy to take you to this important landmark.


I'd happily take you around Colombo - Sri Lanka, the country's main city. One of the first things that come to mind is the Galle Face Green, where the colonial rulers once held a horse race. Couples and sightseers stroll here at sunset today. Many different temples can be visited in Colombo. The Gangaramaya, a classic Bawa structure with a massive prayer hall overlooking Baira Lake, is the largest. A wonderful haven of peace in the heart of the bustling capital.

Colombo Independence Square - Sri Lanka

Between the waterfront and the train station is the historic commercial district known as the Pettha. In this respect, things have stayed the same for a century. Going for a stroll through the crowded alleys of old Colombo is an unforgettable adventure that will teach you all about the city's fascinating commercial past. The American-style City Hall, Independence Hall, National Museum, and even the World Trade Center Twin Towers in the city's first district make for excellent photo ops in Colombo.

Indigenous Sri Lanka

Native Sri Lankans are classified as Veddha people. Currently, Sri Lanka is home to exactly one indigenous community. Their population is tiny and is confined to one specific region in Sri Lanka's Uva province. A distinct form of their native tongue, influenced by Sinhalese, has developed among them.

Indigenous - Sri Lanka

In addition, they follow a unique form of rustic lifestyle that is primarily based on hunting and farming. There are many variations on their costumes. In addition to being very basic, it is also something that is distinctly their own in terms of their lifestyle and culture.

Pottery Village

The pottery industry in Sri Lanka dates back to ancient times. In this country, it has been blended with our own cultural ideas. Almost the entire country has been affected, though not to a significant degree. History and cultural significance go hand in hand with it.

Pottery Village - Sri Lanka

Nattandiya, Dediyawala, Boralesgamuwa, and Meetiyagoda are all great places to visit if you're interested in seeing a pottery village in Sri Lanka. There, you can watch as locals make everything from cooking utensils to moulds to handmade crafts simply by combining clay and water. While they do use machines of a certain variety, the pottery industry is still generally thought of as one that relies on human hands.

Laksha Village

Laksha industry has been around for a long time in Sri Lanka. It is one of Sri Lanka's oldest industries, handicraft production dates back centuries. Folklore has it that the 18 castes responsible for bringing this traditional industry to Sri Lanka did so at the time Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi was founded ( it is situated in Anuradhapura and it's also an important historical incident was happened in past Sri Lanka ) However, the Kandyan Kingdom was a time when this industry flourished. The artisans who create these items are collectively referred to as "Lac-workers," and they work in this field exclusively.

Laksha Village - Sri Lanka

However, compared to ancient Sri Lanka, there are now only a tiny fraction of such individuals working in this field. Even though these works of art are not widely distributed across Sri Lanka, visitors to Matale-Hapuvida, Tangalle-Angulmaduwa, Kandy-Hurikaduwa, Balangoda-Pallekanda will still be able to witness their popularity.

And they do this in different ways, but mainly in two ways;

  1. Nail work - Craft the patterns with fingernails
  2. Lathe work - Instrumental Spool Work (Pattal Weda)

However, the tools at workers' disposal are limited in such a traditional industry.

Here I've only scratched the surface of the Laksha industry; when we go there, you'll learn all sorts of fascinating facts about these remarkable traditional handicrafts.

Herbs and Spices

We Sri Lankans have special spices and herbs that have been used for hundreds of years. They significantly enrich the quality of Sri Lankan cuisine and the ayurvedic market. While it's true that many of the country's oldest and most valuable herbs are now extinct or critically endangered in large parts of the country, we can take heart in the fact that some people within the country have taken the necessary steps to protect and conserve these species. A healthy body and mind can be fashioned out of thin air with the help of Sri Lankan herbs and spices. Long-term use of these herbs and spices can help someone stay healthy without needing conventional medicine.

Herbs and Spices - Sri Lanka

It's common knowledge that western medicine can quickly reverse the effects of a disease but that the same drug can have countless unintended consequences. Consuming local spices will increase human energy and life span as a healthy person. Once upon a time, Sri Lanka was famous for the best herbs and spices in the world.

And we still have delicate spices and herbs. Some people need to remember the value of local herbs and spices due to commercialization, industrialization, and westernization. they routinely make use of a product we bring in as a model. And yet, we can count our blessings because rural dwellers have kept these historical treasures alive and well. The aroma and flavouring of their food are out of this world. There is a miraculous healing power in their herbs.

Do you know? that,

Spices and herbs are used in cooking and ayurvedic medicine alike in Sri Lanka. This is a nice and worthwhile thing because it can be used both as a flavour enhancer as well as a medicine. They're not terribly expensive, so if you're going to Sri Lanka, pick up a few to take home as souvenirs. It's cheaper to buy them from the local market than from the spice farms.

We don't ever tell customers about spice gardens or suggest they invest in the costly products. Because, as I explained before, you can get the same thing at a cheaper price in the local markets. However, their insights are valuable, and you'll walk away from their explanations with new information. You will learn things about herbs and spices that no one has ever told you before, so don't miss out on this opportunity.