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Beaches of Paradise
Ancient Cities
Hill Country and the Wather Falls
Sports with Adventure
 
Beaches of Paradise:
Mount Lavinia (12 km from Colombo, Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)

Sri Lanka is a paradise of unlimited sun, sea, sand and surf all year round. Sri Lanka is never out of season for a beach holiday. There is always some part of the beach that has friendly and warm waters. Known as the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean", Sri Lanka is a land with fascinating golden, sandy beaches that attract many tourists to the country.

The sea is fine for bathing and surfing. The hotels often have barbecues and dancing on the beach. Seafood is the forte, and sumptuous luncheon buffets are a weekly feature. Firelight and throbbing drumbeats herald performances of traditional dancing, pupating and fire walking.

Bentota (Dist. from Colombo: 64 km , Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)

The sea at Bentota is safest for swimming, and the rocky island off the Bentota resort is an interesting diving spot for a view of the multi-hued fish and other reef dwellers. The Bentota Resort Complex is facing the romantic rendezvous of river and sea. This famous National Holiday Resort Complex containing several major tourist Hotels, Railway station, Post office, Bank, shopping Arcade, a Tourist Information Centre, and water based recreational activities, and an open air theatre showing folk and mask dancing.

Arugam Bay (314 km from Colombo, Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)

A most beautiful bay with good surfing. The East coast offers infinite possibilities for all kinds of water sports and underwater photography. The many shipwrecks of the coast are a tempting challenge to the diver. The best surfing is between April and September

Ambalangoda

Ambalangoda in the southern Sri Lanka is famous for mask carving, a traditional cottage craft practiced in the southern coastal area, masks are carved out of softwood and painted in attractive colours and are worn during the performance of Sanni and Kolan dances depicting various forms of demons and characters in the contemporary society.

Nilaveli (271 km from Colombo, Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)

Nilaveli is a prime beach resort in the East Coast. Nilaveli was the venue for the 1985 International Fun board Championships. All water sports are available here including fishing and sea angling. Whale watching in the sanctuary is a specialty.

Hikkaduwa (98 km from Colombo, Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)

A heaven for surfers, water sports enthusiasts and underwater explorers. Hikkaduwa is the place for underwater delights where there is a marine sanctuary abundant with rare corals and tropical fish. The colourful corals and beautiful tropical fish can be explored either by snorkeling or taking a ride in a glass bottom boat. Glass bottomed boats are available for hire to those not inclined to make a dive. There is a generally a community of international surfers in and around Hikkaduwa.

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Ancient Cities:
Dalada Maligawa
Kandy ’s main attraction is the Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th c. A.D., the sacred relic has ever since been the symbol of sovereignty for its rulers, it has been enshrined in great splendour from time immemorial. Kandy’s Dalada Maligawa is a magnificent shrine, with decorative walls, moat, turrets,a golden roof and fine wood-work and its 16th – 19th century ambience remains vivid.
Kelaniya Temple
This temple, consecrated during the third and final visit of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, eight years after gaining enlightenment, is situated 7 miles from Colombo in the Gampaha District on the banks of the Kelaniya River. It has a history of nearly 2563 years.The Mahawansa records that the original Dagoba at Kelaniya enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached. The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Buddha and paintings which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tale (Folk Tales).
Adam’s Peak
It is believed that Lord Buddha placed his footprint on the summit of this sacred mountain during his thrid visit to the isle, hence the name Sri Pada which literally means 'the sacred footprint'. This mountain is also known as Samantakuta, Sumanakuta, Samanalakanda, Samanhela, Samangira, Medumhelaya etc. The Christians call the mountain Adam's Peak, derived from the Portuguese Pico de Adam (Peak of Adam). It is 7,360 feet in height and is the forth highest mountain in the country and has several approaches, the main ones being through the Hatton town and Ratnapura District.
Dambulla Vihara
Located north of Kandy and considered by most to be the center point of SriLanka, Dambulla is a town built around a vast isolated rock mass measuring 500 ft and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.It was here that King Valagambahu took refuge in the 1st century B.C. The view from the top of this rock is breathtaking 350 ft. above are a series of five caves which was later turned into a magnificent rock temple by King Valagambahu. In the first cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47 ft, long , cut out from the rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism. The frescoes on the walls and ceiling could be dated to the 15th - 18th centuries.
Sigiriya Rock
The history of Sigiriya dates back to over 5000 thousand years, to the Mesolithic period. One of SriLanka’s major attractions and a World Heritage Site, Sigiriya(Lion Rock) came into prominence in the 5th centaury AD, when the patricidal King Kasyapa, afraid of reprisals led by his half - brother, Mogolan, chose to move the seat of power from Anuradhapura to this 500m rock. It was Kasyapa and his master-builders who were responsible for the complex plan which made Sigiriya the glorious capital it was, for 17 years (477 – 495 AD).
Ruwanveliseya
Situated in Mahamega Gardens. Built in the second century B.C by King Dutugamunu. It is 100 metres tall, 77 metres wide, 300 ft in diameter. Originally the shtupa was designed in a " Bubble " shape . Sadly different restorations of the sthupa have altered its original shape. The Great Sthupa cost the King 6.4 million coins in wages. The construction was commenced on a full moon day in May 144 B.C. The foundation was made of butter-clay, imported from India, which was used as cement. Further four small Sthupas are to be seen in the four corners in order to give more respect. Entering the sthupa , you come across a sand court yard from which rises the Elephant wall.
Kataragama Devalaya
One of Sri Lanka’s holy places where Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims visit on religious pilgrimage. It is a large Complex with the `Mahadewala’ – Main Hindu shrine being the most important place. This shrine of God Skanda, the Hindu war God who is worshipped as the Kataragama 'Deviyo' (Deity) is venerated by pilgrims of all three religions. It is believed that King Dutugemunu the warrior king and Sinhala folk hero built a shrine here for the worship of the Kataragama God in the 2nd century BC.
Tirukoneswaram Kovil
At the northeastern most tip of the Fort Frederick's promontory is a cliff known as Swami Rock, dropping about 360 feet directly into the sea. On its topmost pinnacle is the Tirukonesvaram Kovil , destroyed by the Portuguese though the Kovil was restored and completed in 1963.Three ancient bronze images and a Shiva lingam, later found by divers at the bottom of the cliff beneath the temple , were installed for worship.
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Hill Country and the Water falls:
Nuwara Eliya (Distance from Colombo: 180 km, Typical Weather: Cool)
Set in the heart of the tea-country, this beautiful town is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church and the famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Situated at 1890 meters above sea level, the air here is cool and fresh - a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo. Nuwara Eliya is close to the Horton Plains, the Sri Lanka's highest and most isolated plateau. Nature lovers will revel in this wide, patna grass covered plain, the haunt of many wild yet harmless animals and the home of many species of birds. Bridle paths will take you to the precipice known as World's End - a sheer drop of 1050 meters.
Ratnapura (Dist. from Colombo: 101 km Typical Weather: Warm & Sunny)
Ratnapura is the most famous gem – mining locality in Sri Lanka. At the National Museum, Gemological Museum, the Ratnapura Gem Bureau and Museum or in many other gem workshops in Ratnapura, one can get the rare opportunity to see a variety of gems such as rubies, sapphires, cat's eyes, alexandrites, aquamarines, tourmalines, spinals, topaz, garnets, amethyst, zircons etc. and also the traditional ways of cutting and polishing gem stones. Ratnapura is situated at the foot of the 2243 meter high Siri Pada. Sinharaja, Sri Lanka's most beautiful and the biggest rain forest is situated close to Ratnapura.
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Sports with Adventure:
Sri Lanka is a nation of sportsmen. Many clubs offer temporary membership to visitors and some of the games include Cricket, Tennis, Swimming, Golf, Canoeing, Rowing, Rafting, Diving and Windsurfing. Other water based recreational facilities for Water Skiing, Sailing, Boating, Fishing, Yachting and Coastal Cruising are available in most beach resorts.
 

CRICKET

A grand national passion, Cricket is played on every available pitch across the length and breadth of the country. The small island nation boasts eight international-class cricket grounds, two of which lie in the shadows of stunning world heritage sites:
The Galle International Stadium set between the 200-year-old Dutch Fort and the gleaming Indian Ocean ; and the Dambulla Cricket Stadium a stone's throw from the ancient cave temples, housing innumerable paintings and sculptures dating back to the First Century BC.
The Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo, established in 1899, is Sri Lanka 's equivalent of the famous Lord's Cricket Ground in London.

GOLF

With a history dating back to 1897, Sri Lanka 's three superb golf courses offer three completely different experiences for the avid golfer.
The Royal Colombo Golf Course, the second oldest royal golf course outside the British Isles , clings to ancient adition on and off the course. And as an added touch of colonial quirkiness, it has a railway line running through the middle of the course.
The opical ambience of Royal Colombo Golf Course is complemented by the fir-lined, misty fairways of the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course set in the heart of the tea couny. The counies newest course, the Victoria International Golf and Couny Resort , in Kandy , is a modern, challenging course along eight kilometers of the Victoria Reservoir with the undulating hills of Kandy in the background.

CYCLING

Cycling is a great way to discover the island. There are four national cycle ails: the Coastal Route which follows the stunning coastline for 240 kilometers; the Ancient Route that averses the Cultural Triangle and covers 150 kilometers : the Sabaragamuwa Route , a serendipitous journey through Sri Lanka's historic gem couny and tea plantations over 240 kilometers . and the Hill Couny Route which offers an unparalleled view of a totally unique corner of the world.

FISHING

Abandon ocean and inland fish reservoir offer exciting sports to fisherman. The Island Sea fishing extent Lovers 500,000 sq km. East -coast -May to September and South coast November to April.

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To find more information about Sri Lanka Tourism visit official website of Ministry of Tourism Sri Lanka.

http://www.srilankatourism.org/

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