Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, an island in the Indian Ocean is located to the south of the Indian subcontinent. The total land area is 65,610 sq. km. and is astonishingly varied. A length of 445 km. and breadth of 225 km. encompassed beautiful tropical beaches, verdant vegetation, ancient monuments and a thousand delights to please all tastes. The relief features of the island consist of a mountainous mass somewhat south of the centre, with height exceeding 2,500 metres, surrounded by broad plains. Palm fringed beaches surround the island and the sea temperature rarely falls below 27C.


Colombo, a city in western Sri Lanka and a major port near the mouth of the Kelani Ganga river. The largest city in the country, it owes its importance largely to its great breakwaters that protect an immense artificially created harbour. Beira Lake, administratively part of the port of Colombo, is connected to the harbour by a canal with locks. Colombo handles most of the foreign trade of Sri Lanka and is an important fuelling station. Industries here include petroleum refining and the production of metal goods, textiles, motor vehicles, clothing, and chemicals. Large cargoes of tea, rubber, and cocoa are exported from the city. The city is also an important transport centre for the island. Sri Jayawardenepura, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, is on the outskirts of Colombo

The business district of Colombo, called the Fort, occupies the former fortified part of the city. Broad avenues and modern buildings contrast with the narrow, crooked streets, colourful bazaars, and ramshackle structures of the Petth quarter. The urban architecture reflects the mixture of Moorish, Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences that have shaped the city’s history throughout the centuries. Places of worship include Christian Churches, Muslim Mosques, Hindu Kovils and Buddhist Temples. The University of Colombo (1967), Sri Lanka Technical College (1893), and other institutions of learning are located in the city. The early name of the city, Kalan-totta (Kelani ferry), derived from a nearby river ferry, was corrupted into Kolambu by the Arabs and changed to Colombo in 1517 by the Portuguese in honour of Christopher Columbus. The city was taken by the Dutch in 1656 and by the British in 1796. Population 800,982 (1997 estimate).


One of the major tourist beach resorts of the island, this lively town is mainly inhabited by the fisher-folk. This is also one of the strongholds of the Catholic community of Sri Lanka, located along the picturesque Negombo lagoon, along which hundreds of fishing boats and catamarans could be seen most of the time. Town is dotted with several churches, some dating from the earliest colonial times. Sightseeing at Negombo includes the remains of the Old Dutch fortress from 1678, the Dutch canal constructed for the transportation of cinnamon, St. Mary’s Church and the Old Dutch cemetery, and naturally, the Negombo fish market.

The Marathon Combined these two cities however, Sri Lanka posses many other attractions.


The last capital of the Sri Lankan kings which is a world heritage site. The name Kandy conjures vision of splendour of magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy lake built by the last King Sri Wickramarajasinghe in 1806, visit the Kandy town bazaar, the arts and the crafts centre and a gem museum and lapidary. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a traditional cultural dance show.


The Elephant Orphanage located on the banks of the Maha Oya, is mainly to house young elephants who find themselves displaced and lost from their natural habitats for various reasons – environmental changes due to development projects, being abandoned by their parents when they fall into pits and ravines, etc. It is most interesting to visit at feeding or bathing time.


The Dambulla Cave Temple is by far the most impressive of all the many cave temples in Sri Lanka. Among the cave’s numerous statues – there are 48 of the Buddha alone – are images of Upulvan (Vishnu) and Saman dating from the 12th Century (they may be the earliest devala statues to appear in a Buddhist image house). The cave’s history dates to the 2nd or 1st Century BC, when King Valagam Bahu took refuge here after being driven out of Anuradhapura by invading armies.


Meaning lion rock is more than just a fortress; it was one of the most unique cities in the history of Sri Lanka. A massive monolith of red stone that rises 600ft, this famous rock fortress, stark and forbidding, haunted by an epic story of murder and betrayal, was built in the 5th Century AD by King Kashyapa. The climb to the summit is reached between the paws of a lion. A niche in the rock is decorated with frescoes of spellbindingly lovely maidens; it has a moat abutted by a wall and is surrounded by rock and water gardens.


The island’s medieval capital (11th – 13th Centuries AD). A unique irrigation complex (the sea of Parakrama) watered the city as well as the surrounding plains. The largest of the man made reservoirs, the huge Parakrama Samudra, is larger in size than the Colombo harbour. Of all the brilliant structures found in Polonnaruwa, the Gal Vihara is the best known, where colossal Buddha images are carved on the face of a granite boulder.


The most celebrated of Sri Lanka’s ancient ruined cities, the greatest treasures are its dagabes constructed of small sun-dried bricks and are hemispherical in shape. The most notable of these dagabes are the Ruwanweli Seya which dates back to the 2nd Century BC and is 300ft in diameter, the Jetavanarama that is 370ft and the Thuparama which enshrines the collarbone of the Buddha. The city’s most renowned relic is the Sacred Bo Tree grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. It was planted 2250 years ago and is the oldest historic tree in the world.

Nuwara Eliya

Nestled in a wooded basin at the foot of Mount Pidurutalagala Sri Lanka’s highest peak, this region at 6,183ft above sea-level Has a cool, crisp climate unknown elsewhere in Sri Lanka. A serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of Colombo, the town seems like a piece of the English Lake District. Unusual plants, birds and animals thrive here besides natural features like waterfalls and caves. Tea, the glistening green leaves of this lovely shrub, along with neat rows of green, cloak ridges and valleys providing a lasting impression of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. The golf course – one of the finest and picturesque in Asia – the serene Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, beautiful parks and well kept lawns and hedges give the place an air of nostalgia.

Uda Walawe National Park

It is situated around a reservoir of the same name in the south central area of the island. This park comprises grasslands, thorny scrubs and many valuable species of trees. Large herds of elephants, species of deer, wild boar, water buffalo and jackals are some of the wild animals found, along with a variety of avifauna that abounds the park.

Yala National Park

Having an added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage, the terrain is varied — flat plains alternating with rocky out-crops. The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle creating contrasting eco systems and habitats. This has resulted in producing a high bio-diversity among the plant and animal-life at YALA. With a bit of luck one could sight the big four: Elephant, Leopard, Bear and Buffalo. In addition, other mammals such as sambhur, spotted deer, jackal, mongoose and several species of monkeys could be sighted very frequently. The bird life at YALA is also very vivid and rich in numbers, especially during the months November to April when thousands of migratory birds arrive in Sri Lanka.


The port city, standing on one of the main sea routes in the southern part of the city, it has a unique charm among the many historic places in Sri Lanka. The Dutch built the 1st Protestant Church in Sri Lanka here, and it is also famous for its Dutch Fort.

Sri Lanka is truly a Country like no other, a world of possibilities. With its friendly and welcoming people, state-of-the-art infrastructure and something new happening everyday, your stay will be a memorable mix-and-match of all the things you have always wanted to do. Come and enjoy countless fascinating experiences, and take away memories that are uniquely Sri Lanka.

You can find out everything that you need to know about this fascinating city by clicking here to visit the Sri Lanka Tourism Board's information-packed website.To travel around Sri Lanka, click here.