The enchanting island of Sri Lanka sits in the middle of the beautiful Indian Ocean, and is home to more than 3,500 years of written history. Numerous historical sites abound when you take advantage of one of our Sri Lanka tours, which take in the cities of what is commonly referred to as the nation’s cultural triangle.
The former religious and political capital of Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura is thought to date back to the 10th century BC and was continuously occupied for centuries. Nestled within the jungle, the site’s palaces and ancient Buddhist monasteries now provide a fascinating glimpse of the past. Of special note is the sacred Bodhi tree. Guarded for more than 2,000 years, it is thought to be the very tree under which the Buddha found enlightenment.
Polonnaruwa became the nation’s capital after Anuradhapura was destroyed, and it’s still clear just now meticulously the city was planned out. Even with several temples, stupas, tombs and statues to explore, Polonnaruwa’s most celebrated attraction is the set of incredible ruins left over from the renowned garden-city commissioned by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.
Kandy was the last and largest capital city of the Sri Lankan kings, and is still the cultural heart of the nation. A fascinating destination in its own right, no visit would be complete without seeing the majestic Temple of the Tooth. Containing a casket that reportedly holds a tooth of the Buddha, this is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world, and it’s hard not to feel its importance when you step inside.
Comparable to Machu Picchu when viewed from above, the spectacular ruins of this ancient city lie on the summit of the soaring ‘Lions Rock’, a peak that dominates the surrounding jungle. Around the peak itself are the remains of gardens, reservoirs and several buildings, with galleries and staircases providing access to the site through the mouth of an immense lion
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Each of these cities has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – three of seven such sites within Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle. You’ll have the opportunity to visit each stunning location during one of our breathtaking Sri Lanka tours.