Sri Lanka is known for its rich history and culture and there is no better place to experience these than in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka consisting of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy. These cities are brimming with culturally and historically significant sites that are sure to excite the history lover in you. The Cultural Triangle is so called because it includes three major sites that form a triangle. Anuradhapura to the north, Polonaruwa to the east and Kandy to the south-west. Inside the triangle, there are other places of interest; Mihintale, Ritigala and Dambulla.
Here are 8 things you must do on your cultural triangle Sri Lanka tour;
01. Visit Kandy and its historical sites
Credit – Ivy Lane
You can start off at our five-star property, Cinnamon Citadel Kandy, and among others visit the famed Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the Embakke Devale. The historic Embekka Devalaya situated close to the hotel. Kandy, situated in a stunning natural landscape of rolling hills and mountains never cease to leave travelers in a jaw dropping excitement with its evocative and lush green landscapes but that is not all! Kandy was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site owing to the places of cultural importance including the Temple of the Tooth in all its ancient majesty and sacrality. Experience the beauty of Kandy while you indulge with us at Cinnamon Citadel Kandy situated at the heart of all these sites in Kandy.
02. Visit the Temple of Wood Carvings in Kandy, the Embakke Devalaya
Credit – Nuwan Sameera
The unique feature of this temple is that everything consists entirely of wood, with no other materials being used. It provides a feast for the eyes with its columns, pillars and doors all adorned with breathtaking wood carvings and the roof too has its own special design done in wood. Don’t miss out on this unique experience, witness the talents of the Gampola Era.
03. Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress
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Thereafter, you can make your way to one of the most visited places in Sri Lanka; The ancient Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, renowned to be the 8th wonder of the world. We assure that the climb up is worth the beautiful view from atop the rock fortress and is sure to leave you amazed at the beauties of this island. You can book your stay at our properties, Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Habarana Village by Cinnamon, situated in close proximity to the rock.
04. Visit the Historic city of Anuradhapura
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Anuradhapura forms part of the Cultural Triangle and it is no surprise why it has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as it is a repository of ancient monuments and artefacts. The city is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the country which has been continuously inhabited, and is home to many a cultural monuments and historical artefacts making it a treasure trove for history-lovers and enthusiasts.
05. Ensure you cover all these sites to see in Anuradhapura
There are some places to visit in Anuradhapura which are a must, these include you the Sacred Bodhi Tree Temple also called the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya considered to be the second most sacred place in Sri Lanka after the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. It is widely believed that this tree came from the seed of the original tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree has been maintained for over 2000 years making it the oldest authenticated tree in world history.
Visiting the Abhayagiri Monastery which homes the twin ponds (Kuttam Pokuna) is also a must visit. The ingeniously designed twin ponds are over 1500 years old and the irrigation technology used in its creation is way beyond its era. It’s famed to be among the most advanced examples of hydraulic engineering that existed at the time.
The Abhayagiri Monastery also homes an ancient moonstone (Sandakadapahana) dating back to the 1st century BCE. A moonstone is a slab of stone cut into the shape of a semi-circle and bears intricate carvings. During the ancient times, almost all Buddhist temples had a carved moonstone at its entrance. All the layers of carvings on the moonstone depicts various symbols and other depictions.
06. Visit the Royal Cave Temple at Dambulla
Credit – Andjela Curcic
For a pleasant surprise of colour, artefacts and statues, you must visit the Cave Temple at Dambulla situated in top of a rock. What awaits you atop this rock is simply breathtaking and definitely worth the climb of 160 m. Magnificent wall paintings and over 150 statues in and around the temple make this temple a tourist hotspot that can be visited easily during your stay at Cinnamon Lodge Habarana or Cinnamon Village by Cinnamon.
07.Tour the Ancient city of Polonaruwa
Credit: Solène Villemain
Polonaruwa is another city which forms part of the cultural triangle and is full to the brim with rich culture and history. The ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa contain many Bhramanic constructions from the Chola civilization and is simply heaven for history lovers and sight-seeing enthusiasts owing to the countless ruins to witness. The places to visit in Pollonaruwa include the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Hetadage, Rankoth Vehera, Nissanka Latha Mandapaya, Gal Vihara and Vatadage.
08.Cycle around an ancient city
When you visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, comprising of Anuradhapura, Polonaruwa and Kandy, the most popular, the best and most preferred method of transport is a bicycle. Bicycles can be hired all over these cities for a cost of about USD 5-7. So let your hair down and cycle around the much loved ancient cities of Sri Lanka.