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Cultural Tours

About Cultural Tours in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with a proud ancient history and highly rich cultural heritage. It is full of the most amazing places to visit and in recognition of the wondrous beauty and historical value of these sites, eight of the best have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites.

They are namely, the sacred city of Anuradhapura (1982), the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (1982), the ancient city of Sigiriya (1982), the sacred city of Kandy (1988), the old town of Galle and its fortifications (1988), , , Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988), the Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991) and the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010) including Adam’s Peak, Horton Plains & Knuckles conservation forest. Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Sigiriya and Dambulla which were once home to ancient kingdoms, still retain many relics and artefacts of ancient Sri Lankan civilization.

Best Cultural Tour Destinations in Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura Cultural Tour - Visit to Anuradhapura Sacred city

Anuradhapura was the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka founded in the 4th Century BC until the beginning of the 11th century AD. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. Amongst the masterpieces of this golden era are Jethawanaramaya – the worlds’ tallest brick structure, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi – the oldest human planted tree in the world with a written history, huge stone pillars and ruins of royal palaces, monasteries and bathing tanks along with some of the most complex irrigation systems in the world.

Things to do in Anuradhapura - Sri Lanka

  • Sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bhodi
  • Ruwanwali Maha Seya
  • Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagiriya & Mirisawetiya
  • Kuttam Pokuna & Samadhi Buddha Statue
  • Isurumuniya & Ranmasu Uyana Royal Garden

Polonnaruwa Cultural Tour

Polonnaruwa, the second most ancient kingdom and the capital of Sri Lanka from 1017 A.D. to 1235 A.D. is another UNESCO world heritage site. Some of the must-see places in Polonnaruwa include, remains of ancient stupas, shrines, palaces, buildings, monasteries, tanks and parks, each one narrating its own story of a glorious past.

Places to Visit in Polonnaruwa - Sri Lanka

  • Gal Viharaya
  • Vatadage & Tivanka Image House
  • Nelum Pokuna
  • Rankoth Vehera
  • Statue of the King Parakrama Bhahu the Great & Parakrama Samudraya

Sigiriya Lion Rock & Dambulla Cultural Tour - Sri Lanka

Sigiriya has been nominated as a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage site and once Sigiriya was nominated as the 8th Wonder of the World. It reaches 660 feet tall and features frescoes, graffiti, and landscaped gardens. The rock is known as Sigiriya. It was established as the stronghold of King Kashyapa over 1,500 years ago, and today the Sigiriya complex stands as one of the earliest preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Dambulla Cave Temple was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. The caves have a mixture of religious and secular painting and sculpture. There are several reclining Buddha’s, the frescoes on the walls and ceiling from the 15th-18th centuries; the ceiling frescoes show scenes from the Buddha’s life and Sinhalese history.

Things to do in Sigiriya & Dambulla - Sri Lanka

  • Sigiriya Lion Rock
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Minneriya National Park
  • Pidurangala Rock
  • Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs
  • Kalu Diya Pokuna

Yapahuwa & Dambadeniya Cultural Tour - Sri Lanka

Yapahuwa is renowned as one of the best archaeological sites in the country & the palace complex comprised of a Rock Fortress, Royal Palace and Buddhist Temple. In the early 13th century Yapahuwa was the capital of the country and it housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. King Bhuvanekabhu I, the son of the King Parakramabahu who at that time ruled Dambadeniya, was stationed at Yapahuwa in order to protect the Country from Invaders; built the palace and the temple.

Things to do in Yapahuwa

  • Rock Fortress of Yapahuwa
  • Royal Palace Complex of Dambadeniya
  • Old City of Panduwasnuwara

Kandy Cultural Tour - Sri Lanka

Kandy, the capital of central highlands of Sri Lanka is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was the last royal capital of the country and the last royal stronghold of the Kandyan Kings. It is the place where the Sri Dalada Maligawa – the most venerated Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka and the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha is sited.

Places to visit in Kandy - Sri Lanka

  • Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha
  • Udawattekele Sanctuary
  • Bahiravokanda Vihara Buddha Statue
  • Kandy Garrison Cemetery
  • Ceylon Tea Museum
  • Lankatilaka Temple
  • Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens

Galle Cultural Tour - Sri Lanka

In the 16th century, Galle was known as Gimhathiththa, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle Fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Things to do in Galle - Sri Lanka

  • Galle Fort
  • Maritime Archaeology Museum
  • Dutch Reformed Church
  • Clock Tower
  • Old Dutch Hospital

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