General Info


Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka
     
Sri Lanka with a documented history of over 2500 Years and being so rich in culture has resulted in leaving a heritage that every Sri Lankan could be proud of. Although monuments and evidence of the glory of the bygone ages are found in all parts of the Island, the Cultural triangle marked by the three cities Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy contains the majority of artifacts in the form of temples, palaces, stupas, works of art, incredible irrigation systems and manmade lakes to convince anyone of the amazing early civilization and culture that exited even in the B.C periods. Two other important sites within the cultural triangle are Sigiriya the rock fortress of king Kasyapa of the 5th century A.D and the rock temples of Dambulla of the 1st century B.C.
     
Pollnnaruwa    
After the taking over of the Island by the cholas of India who were growing in power and building an empire for them selves, it was decided by them to make Polonnaruwa the capital city. In the year 1055AD a brave and determined Sinhala king from the southern part of the Island over powered the invaders and took over the capital that later fell into the hands of a notorious prince from Kalinga of India who was more intent on looting than ruling. Today the ancient ruined city of Polonnaruwa, a site that is so popular and much visited contains ruins of the both Sinhala (Sri Lankan) and Indian culture.
     
Anuradhapura - (World Heritage Site)    

Anuradhapura the first Capital of Sri Lanka (World heritage site ) has a recorded history of more than 2500 years and was once one of the best planned and maintained cities in the world. It became even more important when the Arhath Mahinda from India officially introduced Buddhism to king Dewanampiyatissa in the year 247 B.C. King Dewanampiyatissa who was ruling from Anuradhapura embraced the faith of Buddhism and began to spread it throughout the nation, making Anuradhapura the cradle of Buddhism.

* The oldest historically documented tree in the world is found in Anuradhapura. This tree was a sapling of the Bo tree (fecus prlegiosa) under which the Buddha meditated and was enlightened in Buddhagaya India.

* The very first Stupa to be built in Sri Lanka, which is Thuparamaya where a collarbone of the Buddha is enshrinedined, is also found in Anuradhapura.

The ruined city of Anuradhapura, which was once, the best planned and organized city in the world is today a great tourist attraction and has been declared a world heritage site.

   
     
Sigiriya (World Heritage Site)    

It was the 5th century A.D when the craving for power and wealth led prince Kasyapa to cruelly kill his father in order to ascend the throne. When his half brother sought vengeance against him, king Kasyapa found the rock of Sigiriya an ideal place to build his stronghold. Having fortified and decorated the well-selected site for both security and pleasure the king Kasyapa ruled for a period of 19 years until his half brother return from India with an Army of mercenaries. The King marched forth leading his Army to meet his half brother in battle but was deserted by his Army who misunderstood the king for retreating when he was only making a detour to avoid a swamp. The brave king continued single and on meeting his half brother face to race said “ I will not die by your sword” Then he drew his own sword and ended his life by driving it through his throat.
The ramparts, motes, the incredible water garden with many pools and primitive fountains. The boulder garden well terraced and laid, the world famous Frescos of the Sigiriya ladies, the mirror wall and graffiti, the gigantic lion paws hewend on granite and the ruins of the place and kings bath which are still preserved in reasonably good condition have made Sigiriya one of Sri Lanka most famous and popular sites not only for tourists but also to the Sri Lankan.

   
Sigiriya
     
Aukana    
he statue of the Buddha of Aukana is one of the few colossal statues carved on rock, standing 39 feet in height and in perfect proportions, it is indeed a masterpiece of a 5th Centaury A.D sculptor.    
     
Ritigala    
Ritigala is a hill situated in the north central province of Sri Lanka with a peak of 2514 feet above Sea level. It is believed to have been a retreat of the kings of the B.C. periods and the monastic remains found on Ritigala are believed to be associated with two monasteries of the B.C. period. The paved and colonnaded meditation path is a striking feature.
     
Buduruwagala    
he rock carvings of Buduruwagala are believed to be over a Thousand years old. There are seven figurers carved in high relief on a Rock that rises beyond the stream and the tallest one is of the Buddha, which is 51 feet tall.
     
Medirigiriya    
The earliest reference of the Medirigiriya temple complex in the MAHAVANSA chronicle is recorded in 164 A.D. Building the circular shrine (Vatadage) was apparently begun by king Aggabodhi IV of the 7th century. The scattered ruins of the once temple and monastery complex clearly indicate the extent and importance of it in that.
     
Mihintale    

This forest-clad mountain named Mihintale (Plateau of Mahinda) is sacred to Buddhist as this is where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BC.

The story goes that the Arahath Mahinda sun of Emperor Ashoka of India confronted the king of Anuradhapura (Tissa) at this point and delivered his first sermon on the teachings of the Buddha. The King Tissa as a result, not only accepted the teachings and was converted, but also devoted his life to spreading the faith.

 

Today Mihintale has become a very important pilgrimage site where multitudes of devotees gather on Poson full moon day, to observe and perform religious Rates. As it is the cradle of Buddhism.

     


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