Anuradhapura currently serves as the capital city of the North Central Province and is considered the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura was established around a cutting from the ‘tree of enlightenment’, the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is a haven for Buddhist worshipers in Sri Lanka.
Rising dramatically from the central plains, the enigmatic rocky outcrop of Sigiriya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization, thought to be once the epicentre of the short-lived kingdom of Kassapa, and there are spellbinding vistas across mist-laden forests in the early morning.
Situated in the Southern Sri Lankan Coast in the Bay of Galle just 132 KM from Colombo, the Galle Fort is one of the most extraordinary historical and archeological sites of the world. The fort was first constructed by Portuguese in the late sixteenth century and fortified expansively by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century. It is a stunning blend of archeology, architecture, and history in the backdrop of the tropical atmosphere. Its appeal lies in that it is not just a historical monument.
Legend states that after Lord Buddha was cremated following his death, his remains were distributed among the different realms for worship. Apparently of all these remains, his four canines were the holiest of all.
Of the four canines; the right canine was supposedly taken for worship by the King of Gods, another canine was taken by the king of the land Gandhara (an area which now is Pakistan), while the third was taken by the Nagas (snake people) who worshipped it in a golden shrine room, and the final left canine was given to the King of Kalinga in East India. The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. During Puja, the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. However, one can’t actually see the tooth. It’s kept in a gold casket shaped like a Dagoba (stupa), which contains a series of six Dagoba caskets of diminishing size.
Yala National Park is located in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka and extends over two provinces of Hambantota district of southern province and Monaragala district in Uva province. The entrance to the park is at Palatupana, 12km from Kirinda. The distance from Colombo to the entry point of Palatupana is 305 km. The rocky outcrops scattered over the park provide vantage points to enjoy the sprawling areas with Sri Lanka’s dry zone landscape: low scrub and woods. Still more, the southern border of the park being the south-eastern coast, the brackish lagoons and dunes enhance the distinctive charm of the Yala National Park.
-Rtr. Amiteshwar Pratap Singh (Rotaract Club of Mohali)