Exploring the Cultural Triangle

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The cultural triangle of Sri Lanka are also some of the country’s primary UNESCO World Heritage Sites and main capital cities of ancient kingdoms dating back to 2,000 years. The three main cities are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. In addition to which includes Mihintale, Ritigala, Sigiriya and Dambulla within the districts.

The triangle represents a great part of Sri Lanka culture. If you are local we believe a visit to these sites are essential to know more on our country’s history. The tour around the cultural triangle will take approximately 06-07 days. There are both buses and trains that travel to these areas but you can also opt to hire a private vehicle or even cycle around the main attractions.

Anuradhapura

One of the oldest inhabited cities in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura was once the capital Kingdom of Rajarata, a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site and the centre of Theravada Buddhism. The ancient city has many dagabas, stupa, statues, cave temples and tanks etc to see. The renowned places to see in the city are the Atamastana or the eight sacred places of veneration:

  1. Jaya Sri Maha Bodiya
  2. Ruwanwelisaya
  3. Thuparamaya
  4. Lovamahapaya
  5. Jetwanarama
  6. Abayagiriya Dagaba
  7. Mirisaveti Stupa
  8. Lankarama

Apart from the above the Queen’s Palace, Isurumuniya, Kuttam Pokuna, Magul Uyana, Vessagiriya, Rathna Prasadaya, Samadhi Pilimaya and many other structures are also among the must-sees in the city. The sacred city is a place of pilgrimage for the Buddhists in the country. The best time to visit is from April to September and here are some guest houses in Anuradhapura to get you started.

Polonnaruwa

The medieval capital also known as the “Monkey Kingdom” has many ancient ruins to see. The palace complex includes the palace, Potgul Viharaya, Shiva Devalaya, Thuparama, Vatadageya. Nissanka Lata Mandapaya, Sathmahal Prasadaya, Hatadage and Atadage, Gal Potha, Pabalu viharaya, Rankoth Vehera, Lankathilaka, Kiri Vehera, Gal Viharaya, Nelum Pokuna and Tivanka Image House. Outside the Palace Complex lies the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama constructed by King Parakramabahu I and Statue of King Parakramabahu.

If you have not visited the ancient palace complex visiting the archaeological museum first is a better ideato get an overall understanding of the ruins.

Kandy

The second largest city after Colombo, Kandy is home to sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic. Also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa the city is a UNESCO declared World Heritage Site. The Kingdom of Kandy ruled from late 15th to early 19th centuries. The former place complex is now home to the National Museum of Kandy. Other attractions in city include the Lankatilaka Temple, Gadaladeniya, Royal Botanical Gardens, Royal Palace Park among others.

Nastashia Ekanayake - Yoho Creator

Nastashia Ekanayake is a travel enthusiastic who enjoys travelling solo when budget and time permit. Having currently moved back to Sri Lanka, she functions as an administration professional by day and wanderer and foodie by night. She enjoys journaling her adventures, exploring the joys of Instagram and looking up her next travel destination.