Introduction to the Cultural "Triangle" region
The Cultural Triangle is probably Sri Lanka’s most-visited area for millions of international and local visitors; where history comes alive in the fascinating and extensive ruins of cities, temples and palaces in stunning settings. As the climate in this central area is generally pleasantly moderate with low rainfall tourism here is possible year-round.
The ‘Triangle’ covers the northern central towns of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. A personalised tour will give a glimpse into the past and show how the ancient civilisations were ruled and how the nation developed in its cultural and religious context. These major sites are now protected as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Sigiriya Rock rises spectacularly 200m above the neighbouring plains and was the site for a 5th century palace and fortress, with private water and terraced gardens below, still beautiful 1500 years later. Today the ruins of the palace atop the rock are a UNESCO World Heritage site with the crouched lion statues acting as a gateway half way up and some impressively well-preserved frescoes.
Anaradhapura was a 4th century BC royal capital where royalty had palaces for over 1000 years – now a World Heritage site and a sacred Buddhist holy city.
Dambulla is famed for its significant cave temples complex beside a ‘tank’ (water reservoir) dating back to 1st century BC. Here one can see over 150 Buddha images in paintings and statues in various sizes up to 52m and is again an important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
Guests normally visit the Cultural Triangle as part of a tailor-made itinerary. The Cultural Triangle is covered in some of our tour itineraries. Alternatively this area can be explored from one of many regions that we feature such as the east coast, west coast or the tea country/central highlands.
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