Sri Lanka is rich in cultural and natural treasures. In fact, five out of the eight UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites are located in an area of the Sri Lankan highlands which has been nicknamed the “cultural corner” of Sri Lanka. Here, you will find the ancient ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, the palace of Sigiriya, the cave temples of Dambulla and the holy city of Kandy.
The cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, which were formerly seats of the Sinhala royal dynasties, are particularly well known for their many typical Sri Lankan hemispherical temples known as Dagobas. In addition to ancient monastery sites, bronze palaces and temples with an abundance of Buddhist figures, the cityscape is characterised by many magnificent gardens, parks and palace complexes. In Anuradhapura, you will also find the famous Bodhi tree, the focal point of numerous Buddhist pilgrimages. The tree was grown from a branch of the tree under which Buddha became enlightened.
The striking palace of Sigiriya was built in around 500 A.D. on a steep cliff known as the “throat of the lion”, which is riddled with numerous caves. The climb up the cliff is definitely worth it - about halfway up you‘ll find the daintily coloured frescoes of the famous “cloud girl”.
In the caves of Dambulla, you can admire beautiful paintings and Buddhist statues, which have been created over a period of 2,000 years.
The holy city of Kandy is Sri Lanka‘s religious centre. The last royal capital of the Sinhalese is unbelievably beautiful, situated in a wild mountain landscape and home to a variety of fascinating religious sites. The best tea in the world comes from Kandy.
Adam‘s Peak is the holiest mountain in Sri Lanka and it is climbed by hundreds of pilgrims every day. At its peak you will find an indent in the rock that looks like a footprint. It has been interpreted differently by followers of different religions - for Christians and Muslims, it is the footprint of Adam; for Buddhists it is the footprint of Buddha, and for the Hindus it is a sign of Shiva.
Protection of nature and the environment is a top priority in Sri Lanka and the country has 15 national parks in total. One of the largest and most impressive is the Yala National Park in the South of Sri Lanka. By taking advantage of the organised safaris on offer here, you can get to know the fascinating wild life of Sri Lanka: crocodiles, goannas, leopards and the mesmerising world of birds with peacocks, pelicans and storks - crossing paths with elephants on the way, of course!
There is also the capital city Colombo - as the entrance and exit for all visitors to Sri Lanka it is well worth a visit. Spacious parks and wide streets as well as colonial stately buildings dominate the cityscape of this bustling metropolis.
Also counted amongst the World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites is the port city of Galle in south west Sri Lanka with its fort, which dates back to the Dutch colonial rule in the 17th century. The old town is surrounded by an impressive walk-on fortress wall, with breathtaking views of the harbour, sea and old town. The colonial flair which permeates the old town invites guests to explore the many small boutiques and other tourist attractions in the region.
Home of Ayurveda
There is no place in the world, not even in India, its place of origin, where Ayurveda is as alive and present as in Sri Lanka. There are many hotels and resorts which employ experienced ayurvedic doctors and offer authentic Ayurveda cures in dreamlike locations.
The millennia old natural healing method Ayurveda is a holistic cure which focuses on establishing unity between body, mind and soul. Ayurveda treatments, which are always adapted to suit the unique constitution of the individual, are based on an array of herbal medicines and include numerous cleansing techniques (e.g. Panchakarma), oil massages and many other wellness treatments. The aim of these treatments is to create inner-balance, establish a sense of well-being and to fight against illness. An original Ayurveda cure can also help heal or alleviate many diseases such as rheumatism or hypertension.