SAARC Tourism
Sri Lanka

Heritage Sites

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World Heritage Sites in Nepal Cultural
Sacred City of Anuradhapura (1982)
Anuradhapura, first capital of Sri Lanka, was established around a fig from the tree under which Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. The fig was brought in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, daughter of Indian emperor Ashoka and the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Considered the most sacred town in Sri Lanka, it is the birthplace of Sinhala civilisation. It served as the Sri Lankan capital from 5th century BC to AD 1017. Anuradhapura has been marked by Ptolemy in his first ever map.

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Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (1982)
After Anuradhapura was devastated due to continuous invasions of the South Indians, Sri Lankan royal family moved its capital to Polonnaruwa in 993. Sea of Parakrama, a massive 12th century man-made reservoir, is the dominating structure in the town. Other important sites of Polonnaruwa are King's Council Chamber, Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, Gal Viharaya (Rock Temple) and Lotus Bath. The town also hosts Brahmanic structures built by the Cholas. Monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-town made by King Parakrambahu I bathe the visitors in the glory of the ancient times.

Ancient City of Sigiriya (1982)
Sigiriya was also once the capital of Sri Lanka. The remnants of the city, built by King Kassapa (477-95), lie on the steep slopes. The Lion's Rock, 370m tall overlooks the forest. Staircases and galleries emerge from the mouth of the huge lion. Anyone who sees the Sigiriya Rock is left startled. Sigiriya gardens are the fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements. Detailed planning has been done for laying these gardens.

Cave Comples of Dambulla (1991)
Dambulla is the largest and best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. Harking back to 2nd century, it is an amalgamation of five caves holding magnificent idols and elegant scriptures. Famous Iron Wood Forest and Rose Quartz Mountains add to the glory of Dambulla. Buddhist mural painting have attained worldwide acclaim. Second cave called Maharaja Lena is the largest and most famous among Dambulla caves.

Old Town of Galle (1988)
The Portuguest founded the port town of Galle in the 16th century. They also built a fortress which was later destroyed by the Dutch. However, in 1663, the Dutch themselves built a fort, which has been declared by UNESCO a world heritage site. European and South Asian architecture styles have been together employed to develop this fortified town.

Sacred City of Kandy (1988)
Senkadagalapura, popularly known as Kandy, is a sancrosanct city, particularly known for the Temple of Tooth and the Old Royal Palace. The city which came into existence in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule came to an end. Temple of Tooth, built in the 16th century, is the most important Buddhist place of worship in Sri Lanka

Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988)
Sinharaja which literally tanslates as 'Lion King' in the Sinhala language is a tropical lowland rainforest. Several variety of trees which grow here are considered rare. The forest hosts plenty of endemic wildlife, particularly birds as well as mammals, insects, reptiles, rare amphibians and butterflies. The forest is a living heritage.

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