Place of Interest

Katragama

One of the most important pilgrimage sites in Sri Lanka, the small southern town of Kataragama is a revered site of worship for Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims alike. Kataragama gained popularity in the 2nd century BC when King Dutugemunu built the shrine dedicated to the Kataragama Deviyo, God Skanda. The temple complex in Kataragama consists of a series of shrines dedicated to gods of various religions. The Maha Devalaya houses three main shrines, one for the Kataragama Deviyo, and the other two for the Hindu Gods Vishnu and Ganesha. You will also find many road side stalls selling you garlands and platters of religious offering with fruits such as coconut, watermelon and mango.

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Hambantota

Hambantota is a coastal town that is located 241 km south of Colombo. Under the guidance of the Greater Hambantota Development Project (GHDP), the second international airport in the country, the Mattala Rajapaksa International airport was built in the town of Mattala, 18km away from Hambantota and was opened in the year 2013. Hambantota is better known for its role as a business and investment center. The Mirijjawila Botanical gardens, the very first Dry Zone Botanical Garden in Sri Lanka is located here.

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Koggala

Koggala, a strange little village in the southern coast of the island is not particularly famous as a tour destination. The Koggala Lagoon, a tranquil and attractive little area, is popularly known for it its supply of prawns. A must visit place is definitely the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Museum, who was a famed Sinhalese writer of the 20th century. Inspired by his ideas this museum showcases traditional Sri Lankan culture.

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Kitulgala

Kitulgala is the prime adventure sports destination in Sri Lanka. Kitulgala is surrounded by low lying hills of lush vegetation amidst the swift waters of the Kelani Ganga. Water sports on the Kelani river being the main attraction, you will find that there are many more adventurous attractions such as jungle trekking, mountain biking, outdoor camping and bird watching. The Kitulgala Rapids along the Kelani River which range from Grade 2-4, are spread out along a 7km stretch of the river. So you will spend one of the most adrenaline pumped 90 minutes of your life tumbling along these 7 rapids. The Kitulgala Forest Reserve, which is similar in many ways to the much bigger Sinharaja Tropical Rain Forest is perfect for bird watching. Kitulgala is also renowned for its Kitul palm also called fish tail palm, one of Sri Lanka’s most beloved sweeteners, especially with curd.

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Kandy

Given the designation of the cultural capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy, then called Senkadagalapura and now called Maha Nuwara, was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1988. During the years between 1489 to 1812 AD Kandy was known as the Medieval Royal City of the island. This large city lies on a plateau atop a mountain range which is well known for its tea plantations and bio diverse rainforests.

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Kalutara

Travelling south from Colombo, about 40km away Kalutara will be the first beach resort destination that you will be come across. A few tell-tale signs that will tell you, you have entered the city inlcude the rodside stalls of coir rugs and baskets as well as the pristine white Dagoba of the Gangathilake Vihara just as you cross the bridge over the Kalu Ganga. Even though it was known for its spice trade in the past, today the town of Kalutaara is better known for it’s cocnut cultivation, started by the British. When you head inland you will find the famed Richmond castle which was built in 1896 and belonged to the village leader of the time. The market place in Kalutara during the season from June to September is filled with the exotic fruit called the Mangosteen, the temptation of which you can’t deny.

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Kalpitiya

The Kalpitiya beaches, the Kalpitiya Islands and the Kalpitiya Peninsula, located on the Western coastal belt, is a frequently visited tourist destination in Sri Lanka. The Kalpitiya Peninsula, the more famous tourist destination with its fine sandy beaches that will definitely make you yearn to go on a beach holiday. Dolphin watching and Whale watching are two of the main attractions of the Peninsula. For those keen on snorkeling and deep sea diving, Kalpitiya is the ideal location to get going, because of the presence of the 307 sqkm Bar Reef about one hour away by boat, which is the largest coral reef in the country.

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Jaffna

Jaffna, located at the northern most peninsula of the country is the main city of the Jaffna district in the Northern Province. After decades of being battered down by war, this town is now looking into an era of new projects and upgrades that will make its days of isolation a thing of the past. The Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil, dedicated to the Hindu God Murugan, is the most significant landmark of the city of Jaffna and is located about 3km away from the town center. You also have the Manalkadu sand dunes, which is a sparsely populated coastal stretch, and beyond the acres of sand hills you will be able to visualize some of the most beautiful beaches in the Northern Province.

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Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa, located 100km south of Colombo is one of the liveliest coastal towns of the southern province, well known as a popular tourist destination. Hikkaduwa is the premier surf spot in the southern coast, especially in the season between November to April. Hikkaduwa is considered a haven for scuba diving and snorkeling as well. Heading inland you will other sites of interest such as the Alut Vihara, the monastery at Telwatta, the Seenigama Temple and the Sri Gangarama Maha Vihara.

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Habarana

Located at a point almost equidistant from the major tourist destinations of Anuradhapura, Polannaruwa and Dambulla, the quaint little village of Habarana serves as great spot from which you can begin your tour of the Cultural Triangle in Sri Lanka. This little village is located within walking distance to three national parks, the Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla National Park and the Hurulu Eco Park. All which is home to a large number of wildlife, namely herds of elephants and various species of endemic and migratory birds.

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