(Sinhala: මීගමුව [ˈmiːɡamuʋə]; Tamil: நீர்கொழும்பு [nir koɭumbu]) is a major city in Sri Lanka, located on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, Sri Lanka. Negombo is the fifth largest city in the country after the capital Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Galle, and it is the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo. Negombo is also the administrative capital of the Negombo Division. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka with about 128,000 inhabitants within city limits. It is located approximately 35 km north of Colombo City. Negombo is known for its huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets and sandy beaches. The international airport of Sri Lanka is also situated in Negombo Metropolis.
Negombo is a major tourist destination in Sri Lanka. This city is an ideal and liberal place with luxury, tropical life style, for those who want quick access to and from the country's main international airport and also to Colombo city. The 100 km long canal network running through the city is still used, and outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. Remnants of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, Administrative buildings, Churches and the ceiling frescoes of St. Mary's Cathedral.
Negombo is also home to the country's second-largest fish market, also locally famous as being called the "Lellama (Lel-La-Ma)", at the north end of the town's lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area's fishermen, buy fish and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela Marshland, which is part of a 6,000-hectare (14,826-acre). The Protected mangroves of the Negombo lagoon, is home to over 190 species of wildlife.
Negombo offers one of the best beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka, and draws tourists who stop over for a day on their way to or from the airport. Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fishermen and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also popular among visitors, with a few well-preserved coral reefs and a 50-year-old shipwreck that can be seen in the distance also known as 'Kudapaduwa' ( Ku-Da-Paa-Du-We) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. "Mora Wala" (Mo-Ra-Wa-La) and "Beach Park" of Negombo are also very interesting places.
There are also local handicrafts, batiks and jewellery boutiques on the beaches and the shops in the city.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.
The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
Most of the elephants at Pinnawala are healthy and once attaining adulthood, will be retained within the facility mostly since they have become dependent on supplied food. A few disabled elephants are given residential care. One tusker, Raja is blind, and one female, named Sama, lost her front right leg to a land mine.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was the subject of a 2010 report by the Born Free Foundation which calls into question the animal welfare at the orphanage.
Quality of care of elephants who are donated from Pinnawala has been a big public issue. In 2012 The Sri Lanka Environment Trust spoke out against authorities who continue to 'donate' tamed elephants to people who had 'poor' past records of taking care of animals. "There are enough cases to show that the authorities are releasing elephants from Pinnawala to the same group of people who don't take care of the animals." Despite these baseless accusations it is proven that the surveillance is done by the fact that four of such donated elephants by presidential decree being returned to the elephant by a court order.
Sigiriya, considered by some as the eighth wonder of the world, consists of an ancient castle used by King Kasyapa of the 5th century AD. The Sigiriya site has the remains of an upper Sky Palace sited on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the Mirror Wall and the world famous Sigiriya Frescoes, the lower palace that clings to the slopes below the rock, and the moats, walls and gardens that extend for some hundreds of metres out from the base of the rock.
The site is both a palace and fortress. Sufficient remains to provide the visitor with a stunning insight into the ingenuity and creativity of its builders.
The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock that still retain water. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are still exquisitely beautiful.
John Still in 1907 suggested, "The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery... the largest picture in the world perhaps". The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, an area 140 metres long and 40 metres high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, most have been lost forever. More frescoes, different from those on the rock face, can be seen elsewhere, for example on the ceiling of the location called the "Cobra Hood Cave".
Although the frescoes are classified as in the Anuradhapura period, the painting style is considered unique; the line and style of application of the paintings differing from Anuradhapura paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volume of the figures. The paint has been applied in sweeping strokes, using more pressure on one side, giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge. Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contain similar approaches to painting, but do not have the sketchy lines of the Sigiriya style, having a distinct artists' boundary line. The true identity of the ladies in these paintings still have not been confirmed. There are various ideas about their identity. Some believe that they are the ladies of the king's while others think that they are women taking part in religious observances. These pictures have a close resemblance to paintings seen in the Ajanta caves in India.
The Mirror Wall
The Mirror Wall and spiral stairs leading to the frescoes
Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it. Made of brick masonry wall and covered in highly polished white plaster, the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors to the rock. The mirror wall has verses dating from as early as the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts. Further writing on the mirror wall now has been banned for the protection of old writings of the wall.
Dr Senerat Paranavitana, an eminent Sri Lankan archaeologist, deciphered 685 verses written in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries CE on the mirror wall.
One such poem, roughly translated, in Sinhala is:
"I am Budal [the writer's name]. Came with hundreds of people tо see Sigiriya. Since аll the others wrote poems, I did not!" He has left аn important record thаt Sigiriya wаs visited by people beginning а very long tіme ago."
The Water Gardens
A pool in the garden complex
The water gardens can be seen in the central section of the western precinct. Three principal gardens are found here. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. It is connected to the main precinct using four causeways, with gateways placed at the head of each causeway. This garden is built according to an ancient garden form known as char bagh, and is one of the oldest surviving models of this form.
The second contains two long, deep pools set on either side of the path. Two shallow, serpentine streams lead to these pools. Fountains made of circular limestone plates are placed here. Underground water conduits supply water to these fountains which are still functional, especially during the rainy season. Two large islands are located on either side of the second water garden. Summer palaces are built on the flattened surfaces of these islands. Two more islands are located farther to the north and the south. These islands are built in a manner similar to the island in the first water garden.
The gardens of Sigiriya, as seen from the summit of the Sigiriya rock
The third garden is situated on a higher level than the other two. It contains a large, octagonal pool with a raised podium on its northeast corner. The large brick and stone wall of the citadel is on the eastern edge of this garden.
The water gardens are built symmetrically on an east-west axis. They are connected with the outer moat on the west and the large artificial lake to the south of the Sigiriya rock. All the pools are also interlinked using an underground conduit network fed by the lake, and connected to the moats. A miniature water garden is located to the west of the first water garden, consisting of several small pools and watercourses. This recently discovered smaller garden appears to have been built after the Kashyapan period, possibly between the 10th and 13th centuries.
(Sinhalese - පොළොන්නරුව or පුලස්තිපුර Tamil - பொலநறுவை or புளத்தி நகரம் as called by Cholas) is the main town of Polonnaruwa District in the North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa, remains as the royal ancient city of polonnaru kingdom.
The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader.
The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage Site
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Near the ancient city, there is a small town with several hotels (especially for tourists) and some glossy shops, and places to fulfill day-to-day needs. There are government institutions in a newly built area called “new town,” about 6 km away from the town and the main road. The largest school in the district, Polonnaruwa Royal Central College is situated at new town.
Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, Parakrama Samudra (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract tourists.
Another draw for tourists is the city's population of toque macaques. The monkeys have been living in the ruins since human occupation and continue to thrive here long after the humans left.
(1st capital )
Anuradhapura (Sinhala: අනුරාධපුරය ; Tamil: அனுராதபுரம் is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was 3rd capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata after Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
It is believed that from the 4th century BC, it was the capital of the Sinhalese until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).
The ruins consist of three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings, and pokunas. The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of masonry, varying from a few feet to over 1100 ft (340 m) in circumference. Some of them contain enough masonry to build a town for twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Remains of the monastic buildings are to be found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC. The pokunas are bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of drinking water, which are scattered everywhere through the jungle. The city also contains a sacred Bo-Tree, which is said to date back to the year 245 BC.
Dambulla cave temple (Sinhala: දඹුලු ලෙන් විහාරය dam̆būlū len vihāraya, Tamil: தம்புள்ளை பொற்கோவில் tampuḷḷai poṟkōvil) also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. This site is situated 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include two statues of Hindu gods, the god Vishnu and the god Ganesh. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square metres. Depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first sermon.
Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these cave complexes before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as there are burial sites with human skeletons about 2700 years old in this area, at Ibbankatuwa near the Dambulla cave complexes.
The temple is composed of five caves, which have been converted into shrine rooms. The caves, built at the base of a 150m high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa times (1073 to 1250), are by far the most impressive of the many cave temples found in Sri Lanka. Access is along the gentle slope of the Dambulla Rock, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding flat lands, which includes the rock fortress Sigiriya, 19 km away. Dusk brings hundreds of swooping swallows to the cave entrance. The largest cave measures about 52m from east to west, and 23m from the entrance to the back, this spectacular cave is 7m tall at its highest point. Hindu deities are also represented here, as are the kings Valagamba and Nissankamalla, and Ananda - the Buddha's most devoted disciple.
Cave of the Divine King
The first cave is called Devaraja lena (lena in sinhalese meaning cave), or "Cave of the Divine King." An account of the founding of the monastery is recorded in a 1st-century Brahmi inscription over the entrance to the first cave. This cave is dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha, hewn out of the rock. It has been repainted countless times in the course of its history, and probably received its last coat of paint in the 20th century. At his feet is Buddha's favorite pupil, Ananda; at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves.
Sri Lanka - Golden tample off Dambula
Cave of the Great Kings In the second and largest cave, in addition to 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha, are the gods Saman and Vishnu, which pilgrims often decorate with garlands, and finally statues of King Vattagamani Abhaya, who honored the monastery in the 1st century BC., and King Nissanka Malla, responsible in the 12th century for the gilding of 50 statues, as indicated by a stone inscription near the monastery entrance. This cave is accordingly called Maharaja lena, "Cave of the Great Kings." The Buddha statue hewn out of the rock on the left side of the room is escorted by wooden figures of the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara or Natha. There is also a dagoba and a spring which drips its water, said to have healing powers, out of a crack in the ceiling. Valuable tempera paintings on the cave ceiling dating from the 18th century depict scenes from Buddha's life, from the dream of Mahamaya to temptation by the demon Mara. Further pictures relate important events from the country's history.
Great New Monastery
The third cave, the Maha Alut Vihara, the "Great New Monastery" acquired ceiling and wall paintings in the typical Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747–1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist. In addition to the 50 Buddha statues, there is also a statue of the king.
Matale (Sinhala: මාතලේ) (Tamil:மாத்தளை) often written as Mathale (pronounced Maathalé), is the largest town of the Matale District of the Central Province, of Sri Lanka. It is 142 kilometres (88 mi) from Colombo and near Kandy. Surrounding the town are the Knuckles Mountain Range, the foothills were called Wiltshire by the British. It is a mainly agricultural area, where tea, rubber, vegetable and spice cultivation dominate
The Aluvihara Temple, on the North side of the town, is the historic location where the Pali Canon was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves in 29 BCE.
Matale was a site of a major battle in 1848 when the Matale Rebellion started and the British garrison in the Fort MacDowall in Matale was placed under siege by the rebels led by Weera Puran Appu and Gongalegoda Banda who are considered as national heroes in Sri Lanka.
This Historical city was also home to Monarawila Keppetipola, another national hero who led the Wellasa rebellion against the British troops. His ancestral home, the Kappetipola walawuwa is still present at Hulangamuwa, Matale.
Christ Church, Matale was consecrated by Bishop James Chapman on 30 December 1860.
The Church site chosen was Fort McDowall, commanding a view of the entrance to Matale via Trincomalee. The Church having been erected and furnished, the Revd William Frederick Kelly, Minister and Chaplain in Matale, and 36 others sent their petition to the Rt Revd James Chapman, D.D., to dedicate and consecrate Christ Church. The Parsonage was opened on 16 August 1862. The 75th Anniversary was celebrated in 1935. The centenary was celebrated on 28 and 29 January 1961. The 125th Anniversary was celebrated on 6 September 1986. The church was gutted by fire in 1985 and was completely restored. Services were held in the Baptist Church in the interim period.
On 22 June 1911, there was a special service held in this church in connection with the Coronation of His Majesty King George V, and Queen Mary. The offertory on that was given to the King Edward VIII.
The 150th Anniversary was celebrated on 2 October 2010.
Matale is the only district of Sri Lanka, with a book of written history. The book is known as Aithihaasika matale - ඓතිහාසික මාතලේ ("ancient Matale" in English).
Kandy (Sinhala: මහ නුවර Maha nuwara, pronounced [mahaˈnuʋərə]; Tamil: கண்டி, pronounced [ˈkaɳɖi]) is a major city in Sri Lanka, located in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. It is the second largest city in the country after Colombo. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa), one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988
Palace of the Tooth relic
On the north shore of the lake, which is enclosed by a parapet of white stone dating to the beginning of the 19th century, are the city's official religious monuments, including the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Tooth, known as the Dalada Maligawa (daḷadā māligāva). Reconstructed in the 18th century, the Dalanda Maligawa is built on a base of granite that was inspired by the temples of Sri Lanka's former capital city, Anuradhapura. An array of materials (limestone, marble, sculpted wood, ivory, etc.) contribute to the richness of this temple. Throughout this small holy city, a number of recent Buddhist monasteries can be found.
The monumental ensemble of Kandy is an example of construction that associates the Royal Palace and The Temple of the Tooth (Palace of the tooth relic) is the place that houses the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom, it is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhist around the world. It was last of a series of temples built in the places where the relic, the actual palladium of the Sinhalese monarchy, was brought following the various relocations of the capital city.
The Palace of the Tooth relic, the palace complex and the holy city of Kandy are associated with the history of the dissemination of Buddhism. The temple is the product of the last peregrination of the relic of the tooth of Buddha and the testimony of a religion which continues to be practiced today.
The Royal Palace of Kandy is the last Royal Palace built in the island. Although only part of the original palace complex remain. The Temple of the Tooth was part of this complex, due to the ancient tradition that stated that the monarch is the protector of the relic though which the ruler of the land. It today houses the National Museum Kandy which holds an extensive collection of artifacts from both the Kandy Kingdom and the British colonial rule.
The Lankatilaka Temple is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of traditional Sinhalese temple architecture. Built on a rock, the temple is reached by a long series of rock cut steps. An arched passage of the image house leads through a Mandapa (hall) into the inner sanctum which is richly decorated with beautiful floral designs. The two side walls and the ceiling are decorated with paintings. In the inner sanctum is a colossal seated image of the Buddha.
The Gadaladeniya Temple's design is of South Indian origin with a Devale attached to it, similar in character to the Natha Devale and the Gedige of Adahana Maluwa. The main shrine room has a seated Buddha statue and the remains of some paintings of the Gampola period.
Among other important temples around Kandy are Dodanwela Devale (shrine), Embakke Devale (shrine), Galmaduwa Vihara temple, Handagala Vihara temple, Lankatilaka Vihara, Medawala Vihara and Nalanda Gedige
Parks and gardens
Peradeniya Botanical garden
The Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is situated about 5 km to the west of the city centre at Peradeniya and is visited by 2 million people per year. It is the largest botanical garden on the island extending to 147 acres and containing over 4000 species of plants. Knuckles Mountain Range in Kandy is a world heritage site of UNESCO. Alagalla Mountain Range also named in English as Potato Range both famous for trekking in Sri Lanka. The Udawatta Kele (Udawatta Forest) is a protected sanctuary situated in the heart of the city, just north of Temple of the Tooth. Known as "Uda Wasala Watta" in Sinhalese meaning, "the garden situated above the royal palace" it was designated as a forest reserve in 1856, and it became a sanctuary in 1938.
The Royal Palace Park, known as Wace Park is a small park that overlooks Kandy Lake and most of the city. In the park is a Japanese field gun which was captured by the British 14th Army in Burma during World War II and presented to the city of Kandy by Lord Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia Theatre.
Nuwara-Eliya (Little London )
Nuwara Eliya (Sinhala: නුවර එළිය [nuwərə ɛlijə]; Tamil: நுவரேலியா) is a city, in the hill country of the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The city name meaning is "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light". The city is the administrative capital of Nuwara Eliya District, with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for Tea production in Sri Lanka. The city is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka.
The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya's climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwara Eliya, called Little England then, was also a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.
Although the town was founded in the 19th century by the British, the whole district is today visited by native travelers, specially during the month of April, the season of flowers, pony races, go cart races and auto rally.
Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen's Cottage, General's House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, Town Post Office and even new hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Anyone who visits the city can wallow in its nostalgia of bygone days by visiting these landmark buildings. Many private homes still maintain their old English-style lawns and gardens.
Due to its highland location, Nuwara Eliya has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), with a mean annual temperature of 16 °C (61 °F).
In the winter months it is quite cold at night, and there can even be frost. However, it rapidly warms up as the tropical sun climbs higher during the day.
Ella - (From Nuwara-eliya to Ella by Train )
Ella (Sinhala: ඇල්ල; Lit. "water fall") is a small town in the Badulla District of Uva Province, Sri Lanka governed by an Urban Council. It is approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 1,041 metres (3,415 ft) above the sea level. The area has a rich bio-diversity dense with numerous varieties of flora and fauna. Ella is surrounded by hills covered with cloud forests and tea plantations. The town has a cooler climate than its surroundings, due to its elevation. The Ella Gap allows views across the Southern plains of Sri Lanka.
It used to be the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom of Ruhuna as early as the 3rd century B.C. Only few buildings from that period can still be seen today.
The large artificial Tissa Wewa lake, which was a part of a sophisticated irrigation system, also dates from that time.
Today, the town mainly serves as a starting point for visits to Yala National Park and Kataragama.
The Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist temple in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. It was built in the 2nd century BC by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna (Southern Sri Lanka). The site was consecrated by Lord Buddha himself, who spent some time in meditation there with 500 arhats (individuals who have reached enlightenment). The Tissamaharama Dagoba which is situated in the premises of Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is one of the largest stupas in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a Buddhist dome-shaped religious monument found largely on the Indian subcontinent and also called a dagoba in Sri Lanka.
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park (block 1) and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.
There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.
The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009 after the security situation in the park improved.
The Yala National Park is the most visited park in Sri Lanka. In 2002 around 156,867 tourists visited the park. Foreigners, especially Europeans, account for 30% of total visitors. Block I is the main area for visits. Block III (main gate in Galge area, on Buttala-Kataragama Road) and the adjoining Kumana Park or 'Yala East' (main gate at Okanda, on the east coast not far from Pottuvil) however are becoming popular in their own right too. See  Note that the Situlpahuwa pilgrimage site, geographically in Block III, has kind of an 'enclave' status and is accessible FOC through separate roads from Tissa and Kataragama. Most of the visitors stated that reasons for their visit is to see wild animals, and elephant is the most preferred animal. The visitors like to see bears, leopards, birds as well. In 2000 the income from visitors including lodge fees was approximately US$468,629. Due to security conditions revenue was lost. The Yala National Park has been susceptible to terrorist attacks. On 17 October 2007 a group of LTTE cadres attacked an army detachment in Thalgasmankada in the park. The attack killed six army soldiers and another was caught up in a landmine explosion. On 11 July 2008 four people died in an attack launched by the LTTE. The cadres opened fire at a bus carrying pilgrims to Kataragama. Since the end of the civil war, May 2009, no violence has occurred in Yala area also and it is fully safe for visitors; this was also the main factor in opening blocks III and V for tourists. From January to June in 2008, 9,078 local tourists and 7,532 foreigners have visited Yala. For the same period of time in 2009 the arrivals have risen to 18,031 locals and foreigners to 10,439. Accordingly the revenue increased to Rs. 27 millions (US$235,000) in 2009 from Rs. 16.6 millions (US$154,000) in 2008. The visitors are allowed to see the wild animals from 5.30 am to 6.30 pm. Due to droughts the park used to be closed to tourists from 1 September, to 15 October annually; however in 2009 and 2010 the closure was skipped and lakes filled with water bowsers for drinking water for the animals, a future strategy on drought handling is not yet clear.
Mirissa (Sinhala: මිරිස්ස) is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres (13 ft) above the sea level. Mirissa's beach and night life make it a popular tourist destination. It is also a fishing port and one of the island's main whale and dolphin watching locations
The ever smiling, mischievous dolphins will put on a show while some of the oldest and the largest sea creatures, the humpback and the blue whales, will nonchalantly glide past you, when you embark on a whale/ dolphin watching excursion off the Southern, Eastern or the West coast of Sri Lanka. The ideal locations for whale watching would be Dondra Point (accessible from Galle, Hikkaduwa and Mirissa) and Trincomalee while the sea off Kalpitiya teems with an abundance of dolphins.
With the whale watching season in Mirissa being in full swing and many local and foreign tourists gathering to the Mirissa harbor, The Sri Lanka Coast Guards had increased their vigilance in monitoring the implementation of Sea Mammals Observation, Regulation and Control Regulations.
To ensure that the Regulations are adhered to by boat operators and tourists engaged in whale watching, the members of the Rohana Coast Guard base had been observing whale and dolphin watching activities in Mirissa since last year. The coast guards also make sure that the boat operators; crew and the tourists abide the safety precautions and regulations before and during their tour of observation.
Galle (Sinhala: ගාල්ල;Tamil: காலி) is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km from Colombo. Galle is the administrative capital of Southern Province, Sri Lanka and is the district capital of Galle District. Galle is the fourth largest city in Sri Lanka after the capital Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna.
Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.
Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the city's natural harbor, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla the historic luxury hotel. On 26 December 2004 the city was devastated by the massive Tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that occurred a thousand miles away, off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is home to a cricket ground, the Galle International Stadium which is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. The ground which was severely damaged by the tsunami, was rebuilt and test matches resumed there on December 18, 2007.
Important natural geographical features in Galle include Rumassala in Unawatuna, a large mound-like hill, which forms the eastern protective barrier to the Galle harbour. Local tradition associates this hill with some events of Ramayana, one of the great Hindu epics. The major river in the area is the Gin River (Gin Ganga), which begins from Gongala Kanda and passes villages such as Neluwa, Nagoda, Baddegama, Thelikada and Wakwella, reaches the sea at Ginthota. The river is bridged at Wakwella by the Wakwella Bridge.
Bentota is a tourist attraction, with a local airport (Bentota River Airport) and a handful and world-class hotels. It is a destination for watersports. Bentota also delivers an ancient art of healing called Ayurveda. Bentota is famous for its toddy production, an alcoholic beverage made out of coconut nectar. It also has a turtle hatchery, located on Induruwa beach.
Benthota is a historical place described in ancient messenger poems (sandeśa kāvya). The Galapatha Viharaya is one of a cluster of five ancient temples in the region. In the 17th Century the Portuguese built a small fort at the mouth of the Bentota River (Bentara Ganga), which in Sinhala was called Parangi Kotuwa, meaning the fort of the Portuguese. The river marked the southern extremity of Portuguese held territory in Sri Lanka. The Dutch subsequently allowed the fort to fall into disrepair, converting one of the large buildings within the fort into a colonial rest house for Dutch Officers travelling between Colombo and Galle. The British subsequently converted the rest house into a coastal sanatorium. Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804-1869), the colonial secretary of Ceylon (1845-1850) in his book, Ceylon, An Account of the Island (1859), stated that the rest house at Bentota, situated within a little park, deeply shaded by lofty Tamarind trees on the point of the beach where the river forms its junction with the sea, is one of the coolest and most agreeable in Ceylon. The British introduced the railway in the early 19th century, mainly to transport the coconut produce from the deep south to the capital, building a permanent bridge (Bentota Palama) to cross the rive
The Maduganga river is a shallow water body in south-west Sri Lanka, which enters the sea at Balapitiya.
The Buddhist Amarapura Nikaya sect had its first upasampada (higher ordination ceremony) on a fleet of boats anchored upon it in 1803. The Buddhist Kothduwa temple is situated on an isolated island in the lake.
Together with the smaller Randombe Lake, to which it is connected by two narrow channels, it forms the Madu Ganga wetland. Its estuary and the many mangrove islets on it constitute a complex coastal wetland ecosystem. In has high ecological, biological and aesthetic significance, being home to 303 species of plants belonging to 95 families and to 248 species of vertebrate animals. It might be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka.
The inhabitants of its islets produce peeled cinnamon and cinnamon oil.
Colombo (Sinhala: කොළඹ, pronounced [ˈkəlɐmbɞ]; Tamil: கொழும்பு) is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo has a population of 5.6 million metropolitan area, with 555,031 in the city limits, and a popular tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is within the urban area of, and a satellite city of, Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.
Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. It was made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.
Like many cities, Colombo's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other municipal and urban councils such as Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council, Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Kolonnawa Urban Council and Kotikawatte Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha. The main city is home to a majority of Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Beira Lake, Colombo Race Course, Planetarium, Mount Lavinia beach as well as the National Museum.
Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest places in the country. Nevertheless, it comes alive in the first three months of the year, especially in February, the driest month. The Academy Award-winning The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge (and, supposedly, the submerged train cars that plunged into the river in the climactic scene). Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream.
The ancient name for the Jaffna peninsula was Nāka-Tivu and Nāka-Nadu, meaning Nāka island (Tivu) or country (Nadu), mentioned in the Vallipuram gold plate inscriptions and the Manimekalai. It is also called Nagadipa or Naka-diva, mentioned in the Mahavamsa. Cīttalai Cāttanār, the author of the Manimekalai reflected Tamilakam's perception at the time that Nāka-Nadu was an autonomous administrative entity, kingdom or nadu, distinguished and separate from Ilankatipam, (also referred to as Irattinatipam) - Lanka
The peninsula is mostly surrounded by water, connected to the rest of the island by a small strip of land. Its underground water is used for drinking, agriculture and industry. Paddy cultivation is rain fed but only for three months during the North East monsoon period. It is a part of the peninsula consisting of fourteen D.S Administrative Divisions. The total land area including inland water is 1,030 km². The terrain of the region is almost flat and of low elevation except in the central part of the western sector in the area around Tellippalai, where the elevation rises to 10.5 m above sea level. From there it slopes gently towards the south and south east, while to the north the elevation tends to drop abruptly.
The climate of Jaffna region is considered to be Tropical monsoonal with a seasonal rhythm of rainfall. The temperature ranges from 26 C to 33 C. Annual precipitation ranges from 696 mm to 1125 mm. It is evenly spread over the area. The north east monsoon rain (October to January) accounts for more than 90% of the annual rainfall. The Jaffna peninsula is divided into two agro-ecological regions.
The soil found in Jaffna belongs to the following three major soil groups:
Calcic Red-yellow latosols.
Solodized solonetz and solon chaks.
Trincomalee (Tamil: திருகோணமலை Tirukōṇamalai, Sinhala: ත්රිකුණාමළය Trikuṇāmalaya) is the administrative headquarters of the Trincomalee District and major resort port city of Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Located on the east coast of the island overlooking the Trincomalee Harbour, 113 miles south of Jaffna and 69 miles north of Batticaloa, Trincomalee has been one of the main centres of Tamil language speaking culture on the island for over two millennia. With a population of 99,135, the city is built on a peninsula of the same name, which divides its inner and outer harbours. People from Trincomalee are known as Trincomalians and the local authority is Trincomalee Urban Council. Trincomalee city is home to the famous Koneswaram temple alluded to in its historic Tamil name Thirukonamalai and is home to other historical monuments such as the Bhadrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee, the Trincomalee Hindu Cultural Hall and, opened in 1897, the Trincomalee Hindu College. Trincomalee is also the site of the Trincomalee railway station and an ancient ferry service to Jaffna and the south side of the harbour at Muttur.
The recorded history of Trincomalee spans more than two and a half thousand years beginning with civilian settlement associated with the Koneswaram temple in the pre-modern era. One of the oldest cities in Asia, it has served as a major maritime seaport in the international trading history of the island with South East Asia. In the ancient world, it was successively the capital of eastern kingdoms of the Vanni country, developing under the Pallava Dynasty, Chola Dynasty, Pandyan Dynasty, the Vannimai chieftaincies and the Jaffna kingdom through the Koneswaram shrine's revenue. Trincomalee's urbanization continued when made into a fortified port town following the Portuguese conquest of the Jaffna kingdom, changing hands between the Danish in 1620, the Dutch, the French following a battle of the American Revolutionary War and the British in 1795, being absorbed into the British Ceylon state in 1815. The city's architecture shows some of the best examples of interaction between native and European styles. Attacked by the Japanese as part of the Indian Ocean raid during World War II in 1942, the city and district were affected after Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, when the political relationship between Tamil and Sinhalese people deteriorated, erupting into civil war. It is home to major naval and air force bases at the Trincomalee Garrison. The city also has the largest Dutch fort on the island.
The Trincomalee Bay Harbour, bridged by the Mahavilli Ganga River to the south is referred to as "Gokarna" in Sanskrit, meaning "Cow's Ear", akin to several areas of Siva worship across the Indian subcontinent. Its sacred status to the Hindus has led to the city being declared "Dakshina-Then Kailasam" or "Mount Kailash of the South" and the "Rome of the Pagans of the Orient." The harbour is renowned for its large size and security; unlike any other in the Indian Ocean, it is accessible in all weathers to all craft. It has been described as the "finest harbour in the world" and by the British, "the most valuable colonial possession on the globe, as giving to our Indian Empire a security which it had not enjoyed from elsewhere." Popular tourist destinations include its beaches at Uppuveli, Salli and Nilaveli, used for temple visits, surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, and the Kanniya Hot Springs. Trincomalee is served by a campus of the Eastern University, Sri Lanka and has been the inspiration of both domestic and international poetry, films, music and literature for many centuries.
Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka's southeast coast. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. "Ullai" as Arugam Bay is locally known is a popular surfing and tourist destination.Beyond surfing there are many things can be enjoyable, Lagoon tour, bird watching, elephant watching, Kumana National Park, Kudumpigala monarchy and many ancient ruins & archaeological sites. After the war ended, there are lot of tourist not only surfers but many nature lovers visiting Arugam Bay.
Many of the buildings were destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. The Government's Min. of Defense CCD (Coastal Conservation Dept.) created what is now described as Arugam's second "Tsunami" end September 2011, when all beach side structures where demolished by bulldozers. Due to its popularity among tourists, the area has managed a slow recovery by private initiatives only. As late as 2011 no help has been received from any official source or international organizations. An exception is uncoordinated support for fishing folk as well as many school rebuilding programs, resulting in a continuation to provide only separatist schools for each community. Although there is a huge demand for an international school, one huge new building donated by the people of Japan remains largely unoccupied since the grand 'opening' ceremony in 2007.
The bay hosts a large fleet of fishing boats which operates off the beach. Many organizations donated boats after the tsunami and as a result there are far more fishing boats than ever before. The main beach is a bit dirty, compared to nearby beaches which are rather more aesthetically pleasing and also have excellent waves.
Arugam Bay is a popular surfing hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Arugam Surf Point has a very long, consistent, section-like right hand break. In mid-2010 ASP  hosted its first international surf contest in the Bay. The winner of such was Australian Julian Wilson . ASP repeated their contest tour in 2011 added a women's competition to the men's long board championship at Arugam Bay.
Batticaloa (Tamil: மட்டக்களப்பு, Maṭṭakkaḷappu; Sinhala: මඩකලපුව, Madakalapuwa) is a major city in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, and its former capital. It is the administrative capital of the Batticaloa District. The city is the seat of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka and is a major commercial city. It is on the east coast, 69 miles (111 km) south by south east of Trincomalee, and is situated on an island. Pasikudah is popular tourist destinations, with beaches and flat year-round warm-water shallow-lagoons
Batticaloa is in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on a flat coastal plain boarded by the Indian Ocean in the east occupies a central part of the eastern Sri Lanka. Its average elevation is around 5 meters. Scenic beauty of the Batticaloa is the Lagoons. Batticaloa district has three lagoons such as Batticaloa Lagoon, Valaichchenai Lagoon, and Vakari (Panichchankerni) Lagoon. Among these lagoon, Batticaloa Lagoon is the largest lagoon and has 56 km long 162 square km area, extending from Pankudaweli in North and Kalmunai in South.
There are several islands within the Batticaloa Lagoon such as Puliayantheevu, Buffaloa Island, Bone Island Many bridges are built across the lagoon connecting the landmasses and the islands. The Puliayantheevu is the metropolitan place of the city. The biggest bridge of all is Lady Manning bridge located at Kallady, which is the main access path to the city from the southern places of the district. This bridge is also famous for Singing fishes which was considered musical sounds heard in the Kallady lagoon in the full moon day. A priest named Father Lang recorded this musical charm and broadcast it in the 1960s over the (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation)
Batticaloa beaches are sandy and located along 4 km shoreline in the city and further extend through the neighboring places. They include Kallady beach, Pasikudah and Kalkudah. Pasikudah is a bay protected from the ocean, with a flat and sandy bed extending 150 to 200 meters from the shore.
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