The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was started in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife on a twenty five acre coconut property on the Ma Oya river at Rambukkana. The orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers.
In most of these cases the mother had either died or been killed. In some instances the baby had fallen into a pit and in others the mother had fallen in and died. Initially this orphanage was at the Wilpattu National Park, then shifted to the tourist complex at Bentota and then to the Dehiwala Zoo.
King Kassapa (477-495 A.D) who shifted the Capital from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya made a fortress to surround his palace, which was constructed on the summit of a 500ft high rock, with necessary facilities. The Palace was surrounded by an outer-moat and wall and Inner – moat and wall pleasure garden, Mirror-wall, light colored and dark colored damsel’s frescoes, to cover the western wall and a beautiful staircase through the body of a Crouching Lion are some of the attractions here.The boulder garden consists of caves where Buddhist Bhikkus lived and meditated. After KassapaSigiriya was given back once again to the Bhikkus.
129 Km away from Colombo and 465 metres above sea level, is Kandy, the charming hill capital, cultural centre of the island and a World Heritage City. Nestling amidst low hills, and looped by the Mahaweli river, Sri Lanka’s largest, Kandy is still the home of the arts and crafts, music and dance and song which flourished under the patronage of the Kandyan Kings.
The city was born in the 14th century and became the capital of the Kandyan kingdom in the 16th century. It was the seat of much of Sri Lanka’s culture. The Royal City fell to the British in 1815, when the last Kandyan King, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe was captured. For Buddhists, Kandy is the sacred city. The focal point is the Dalada Maligawa also known as the temple of the tooth, where the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is enshrined.
There are many shrines and temples in and around Kandy, where you will see rare paintings, frescoes, wood and stone carvings. The highlight of the year is the Kandy Esala Perahera, when a replica of the relic casket is taken in procession accompanied by exotically costumed drummers, dancers and about 80 – 100 caparisoned elephants during ten glittering nights in July/ August.
The beautiful city, surrounded by hills and valleys, rivers, lakes and cascading waterfalls, boasts of the Royal Botanical gardens at Peradeniya. Kandy is an exciting place for shopping with souvenirs of wood, copper, silver, brass and bronze. Ceramics, lacquer work, handlooms, batiks, jewellery, rush and reed-ware too could be purchased. While in Kandy, an outing to a tea factory as well as a tea plantation should also be made to witness first hand, the process that leads to the creation of the famous ‘Ceylon Tea’. Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground for wild elephants which is situated northwest of the town of Kegalle, Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on a 25-acre (10 ha) coconut plantation on the Maha Oya river. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle. As of 2008, there were 84 elephants.
According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles (such as the Dipavamsa), Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda, the son of the Emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Sri Lanka’s King DevanampiyaTissa. During this time, a sapling of the Bodhi Tree was brought to Mihinthalaya Sri Lanka and the first monasteries were established under the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan king. The Pali Canon, having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE.
Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom’s first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video Save a Prayer in 1982. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Near the ancient city, there is a small town with several hotels (especially for tourists) and some glossy shops, and places to fulfill day-to-day needs. There are government institutions in a newly built area called “new town,” about 6 km away from the town and the main road. The largest school in the district, Polonnaruwa Royal Central College is situated at new town. Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, ParakramaSamudraya (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract tourists.
Dambulla is famous for the five cave Temples on a rock. The first 03 caves are better, older and larger than the other two. Some caves dates to 1st C.B.C. All the 5 cave walls and ceilings are covered with Buddhist murals and there are more than 130 Buddha statues, statues of Gods and Kings are also found here
The Fort of Galle – The South Coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Portuguese and Dutch fort in which the central city is contained. But the city may be much older.Some scholars believe it to be the ‘Tarshish’ of the Old testament, to which King Solomon sent his merchant Fvessels, and to which Jonah fled from the Lord. Today, the 90 acre Galle Fort who’s no evidence of the Portuguese founders. The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was build inside of it. Between the two walls, a covered passage connected the central bastion with the fort’s two half bastion’s overlooking the sea. The Dutch also installed a sophisticated drainage system, complete with brick-lined underground sewers that were flushed twice a day by the rides. The original gate to the fort was by the harbor. It is still there, marked by the old Dutch V.O.C ( for ‘VerenigdeOostIndischeCompagnie) arms with a rooster crest.
Blessed a with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it’s hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. Nuwara Eliya (City of Lights), also known as ‘Little’ England’, was the favourite hill station of the British who tried to create Nuwara Eliya into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club, with it’s hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, and it’s strict formal dinner attire; the 18 hole golf course, race course etc., all remind you of ‘England’.
Uda Walawe lies South of the central hills of the island, and it surrounds the man made reservoir of Uda Walawe, which is part of the park. It is a mixture of abandoned teak plantation, scrub jungle & grassland. The dry season is best to watch the many herds of elephant that roam the park; which is usually between May & September. Almost the entire park is covered with tall, reedy Pohon grass, which grows all year round, except during the months of June and October. A Uda Walawe is a superb place to watch elephants. An estimated 500 elephants in herds to up to 100 live here. One of the reasons is the elephant-proof fence that surrounds the perimeter of the park, which keeps the elephants in and the cattle (and humans) out
The earliest inscriptions discovered in the Southern region date back to the 2nd century B.C. Prior to this the Indo-Aryan settlers from Northern India was in full control of the area. Earliest monastery’ wherever there was human habitation and in suitable rock caves. These caves are spread into many in the areas and it is a tourist attraction now
The northernmost resort on the west coast, and a large fishing town, Negombo has an old world atmosphere of 17th century churches and forts, and is also often called ‘little Rome’. A fine example is St.Mary’s church in the town centre. The little island of ‘Duwa’ – attached to Negombo by the lagoon bridge – is famed for the country’s only Passion Play. This involves the entire village and is staged throughout the Christian Holy Week. The ruins of the old Dutch fort, and a Dutch cemetery and green are near the mouth of the lagoon. A Fishers’ festival is also held here in late July. The catch, which includes shark as well, is not always from the sea and very often includes lobster, crab and prawns from the lagoon.
Sri Lanka’s economic centre is a colourful and bustling city. It’s an interesting mix of Moor, Portuguese, Dutch and British influences with a history of over 600 years. The centre is known as ‘Fort’, but there is little sign of that today. The Fort area today is a collection of marble and glass structures along such venerable buildings such as the Miller’s, building and the General Post Office. Most of the important government buildings are housed here, including the Janadhipahi Mandiraya (President’s residence, known as the Queen’s House in old times), but the President no longer stays here. The clock tower in Fort is a familiar landmark, which was a lighthouse 140 years ago. The Pettah is Colombo’s bustling bazaar area. It’s many crisscrossing roads mark out sections which specializes in various trades from the latest models of Japanese electrical & electronic items, Swiss watches & Levi’s jeans to used computers, sarees, spices and condiments, goldsmiths and jewellers, wholesale traders in rice, sugar, onions and lentils and chilies.
Bentota is 65 km from Colombo and is a popular and fully geared tourist resort. Before the era of mass tourism and the consequent construction of the National Tourist Resort of Bentota, the first foreigners to stumble upon this charming spot, must have been Arab merchant sailors, who also discovered Beruwela in the 11th Century a little further north.
Nilaveli (Pronounced Nilaa-Veli, Tamil translation Open-land of the moon-shine) is a coastal resort town located about 20 km North-West of Trincomalee, Trincomalee District, Sri Lanka. It used to be a popular tourist destination, however due to 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Sri Lankan Civil War tourist numbers have declined.
Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. It is a popular surfing and tourist destination. Many of the buildings were destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. Due to its popularity among tourists, the area has managed a slow recovery by private initiatives only. The main road through town has still not been repaved.
Tangalle (Sinhala [Tangalla]) is a town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka located in the Hambantota District. It has a mild climate, in comparison to the rest of the district, and sandy beaches Tangalle is a regionally important fishing port and a centre of tourism. In the city centre there is an old Dutch fort which is used as a prison today. The town also serves as a starting point for visits to the rock temple of Mulkirigala.
Kosgoda – Turtle Hatchery
Where you can see several species of turtles, specially the hawksbill, are endangered. Most vulnerable of all are their eggs, which are left uncovered on beaches all around the coast. The good will of Kosgoda area fishermen, who brings these eggs gratis to the hatchery, has led to the hatching and release of 100,000 young turtles in only two years since the hatchery opened. An endowment by the Hasselblad Estate was responsible for the establishment of this hatchery.