#61 best destination in the world

Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque

  • Construction of the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque, completed in 1909, was commissioned by the local Indian Muslim community, to fulfill their required five-times-daily prayer and Jummah on Fridays
  • The mosque’s design was based on details and images of Indo-Saracenic structures provided by South Indian traders, who commissioned the work
  • It is a hybrid style of architecture, that draws elements from native Indo-Islamic and Indian architecture, and combines it with the Gothic revival and Neo-classical styles
  • It is a distinctive red and white candy striped two story building, with a clock tower

Gangaramaya Temple

  • Temple whose architecture demonstrates a mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture
  • Originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land
  • In addition to the temple, it contains a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three story Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall

Main Fish Market

  • Bustling fish market with a huge amount of fish spread out to dry on black plastic sheets, along with scores of little stalls where a variety of market goods are bought and sold

Ruwanwelisaya

  • Stupa and hemispherical structure containing relics considered sacred to many Buddhists all over the world
  • Two quarts of the Gothama Buddha’s relics are enshrined, which is the largest collection of his relics anywhere
  • Built by King Dutugemunu in 140 BC, who became King of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elāra (Ellalan) was defeated
  • This is one of the “Solosmasthana” (the 16 places of veneration) and the “Atamasthana” (the 8 places of veneration in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura)

Mihintale

  • Built by King Dutugemunu in 140 BC, who became King of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elāra (Ellalan) was defeated
  • This is one of the “Solosmasthana” (the 16 places of veneration) and the “Atamasthana” (the 8 places of veneration in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura)

Golden Temple of Dambulla

  • Largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka
  • Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain paintings and statues that are related to Gautama Buddha and his life
  • 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 2,700 years old in this area
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sigiriya

  • Ancient rock fortress, the name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 660 ft high
  • According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kashyapa (477–495 AD) for his new capital
  • He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes
  • On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion
  • The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death
  • It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century
  • UNESCO listed World Heritage Site

Pigeon Island National Park

  • Marine park whose island’s name derives from the rock pigeon which has colonized it
  • The national park contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka.
  • Designated as a national park in 2003
  • The island was used as a shooting range during the colonial era

Polonnaruwa

  • Area divided into the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa remains as the royal ancient city of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa
  • The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first established by the Chola dynasty after their successful invasion of the country’s then capital, Anuradhapura, in the 10th century
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Little Adam’s Peak

  • Scenic peak reachable by steps, and a moderate hiking trail, offering picturesque sunrise views

Yala National Park

  • National park best known for its variety of wild animals
  • Important park for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds
  • The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon
  • Hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands
  • 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

Udawalawe National Park

  • National park created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir
  • Established in 1972
  • Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for slash and burn farming
  • The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared
  • Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants

Adam’s Peak

  • 7,359 ft tall conical mountain well known for its 5 ft 11 in rock formation near the summit, which in Buddhist tradition is held to be the footprint of the Buddha, in Hindu tradition that of Hanuman or Shiva, and in some Islamic and Christian traditions that of Adam, or that of St. Thomas

Temple of the Tooth

  • Buddhist temple located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha
  • Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country
  • Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple
  • On Wednesdays, there is a symbolic bathing of the relic with a herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers called Nanumura Mangallaya
  • This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present

Galle Fort

  • Fort built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards
  • It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 432 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka
  • The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

  • Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century
  • It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions

Costs

Number of Days: 38 days

Best Time To Fly: Dec-March

Airline tickets: $1,148

Seattle -> Colombo (round trip) $1,148

Food: $4/day x 38 days = $152

Entertainment/tours: $361

Airbnb: $45/day x 35 days = $1,575

TOTAL: $3,236

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