The tiny tear drop shaped island in the Indian ocean is now the latest hotspot for tourists. After the conclusion of the 30 years civil war, and all the travel advisories lifted, tourists just can not wait to head out into the exotic island of Sri Lanka.
Tourism in Sri Lanka can, broadly, be divided into three classes. The beaches, the cities of cultural, historical and religious importance and last but definitely not the least, the nature reserves. Don’t be deceived by the size of the nation. The small island is rich with places to see from each of these 3 categories.
It’s about an hour’s drive in the Bandarnaike international airport. The same as other metropolitan towns, Colombo is a hub of activity. There are many places worth seeing. This is a coastal city, you can enjoy magnificent views of the sea in addition to the throngs that visit Galle Face greens at the day. If deserted beaches are what you are after, then you can head to other places, which shall figure later in my listing.
Aside from that, you may see the National Museum, the National zoological gardens, and the Independence square which was built to mark Sri Lanka’s freedom from the British. You may shop your heart out at Majestic City, Liberty Plaza or even Odel. It is easy to sail around the city, with buses, radio taxis and auto rickshaws called tuk-tuks locally, easily offered.
Sri Lanka isn’t just about beaches. Should you journey inland there are lots of treasures to be discovered. If you’re a lover of the cooler climate, then there aren’t many places in Sri Lanka but Nuwara Eliya would definitely be among them. Nuwara Eliya is a hill station located in the middle of Sri Lanka, only a little to the south.
When Sri Lanka was under the principle of the British, this is where almost all of the British arrived for a perfect summer getaway. The impact of the colonial era can nevertheless be seen in town, whether it may be in the nickname’Little England’ or at the architecture or at the various activities which you are able to immerse yourself in while still there, like boating, golf or horse riding.
Another essential element of Nuwara Eliya is the fact that it’s among the most important towns as far as tea creation is concerned. So be ready to see infinite stretches of tea plantation on either side while you are approaching Nuwara Eliya. Don’t forget to drop in on one of the numerous tea plantations sprinkled along the way there, like the Labukele Tea estate.
The people there will happily talk you through the process of earning tea from choosing the leaf to processing it, while they show you about their estate. Prepare to be baffled by the variety and tastes of tea you can buy there.
So far as tourist destinations are concerned, Nuwara Eliya has lots of. According to legend, King Ravana of Sri Lanka abducted queen Sita from her kingdom from North India and brought her into Sri Lanka. It’s believed that it was here, where this temple is situated, he kept her.
There is a giant foot marker there too, believed to be of Lord Hanuman. The direst non-believers will encounter a strange and outlandish sensation overcome them since they stand there seeing the lush green mist-covered mountains, wondering what all this place must have been a witness for centuries.
Just a little ahead of this Seetha Kovil is the Hakgala Botanical Garden, which is another fascinating place to visit. Spread over a large area, it’s sufficient to maintain the character lovers out there occupied for hours.
There is no shortage of things to do and places to see here. Historically, Kandy is significant as it was among the last kingdoms to remain independent from colonization. On the way from Colombo, it is going to be the first significant city that you experience while traveling towards the Central Highlands.
The very first thing you’ll notice about Kandy will probably be the huge lake in the middle of the town. It is believed that combined the duration of many centuries, the holy relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth after traveling several miles away from India, and then within the island itself for the sake of shielding it in the people who wanted to destroy it, found its final resting place in this temple.
It had been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. It is possible to observe the many rituals which are performed in the temple three times a day, roughly around 5.30 and 09.00 in the afternoon and 06.30 in the day.
The annual festival of the Esala Perahera, that falls on the full moon approximately July or August, is in honor of the relic. This whole pageant is a sight to watch the traditional Kandyan dancers, beautifully decorated elephants, fire behaves and what not. It’s also intriguing to note that if the tooth relic was removed for people exposition, it has almost always rained.
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There are lots of very good hotels dotted around the lake on either side. In close proximity to the temple of the tooth is your modern Kandy city center, and also the shopping complex, which will be a fantastic illustration of the beautiful blend of contemporary and ancient this superb town is.