Popular Attractions

Adam’s Peak December to April

Adam’s Peak or Sri Pada as locally referred, is sacred to all four religious groups in Sri Lanka – the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and the Christians. During the season, thousands of devotees from many faiths make the pilgrimage to the peak of this 2,234 meter mountain. Young and old give courage to each other and recite traditional stanzas while climbing to the peak. The climb is best attempted at night where you reach the mountain top to see the sunrise and the awe-inspiring view from the top. It can be one of the most moving experiences in Sri Lanka. The pilgrimage season starts on the full moon day in December and ends on the full moon day of April. During the season, the stepped mountainside is lit by strip lights and rudimentary stalls offering refreshments to fire your resolve to reach the summit.

Colombo Marathon October

Sri Lanka well known as the ” Pearl of the Indian Ocean” is fast developing in to an ideal destination for recreational activities. Its tropical weather, white sandy beaches, warm waters of the Indian Ocean, numerous inland waterways, picturesque landscapes, challenging natural terrain – all contribute in making it one of the finest recreational destinations in Asia.

Latest to be added on to the long list of activities could be done in the island is Marathon Running. In the horizon is the LSR International Marathon – now known as the COLOMBO MARATHON

Galle Fort Around the year

Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the south east coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 400 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.

The Dutch Governor and his staff were housed in the Galle Fort from 1684. It was then converted into a hotel and named as the New Oriental Hotel in 1865, which catered to the European passengers traveling between Europe and Galle Port in the 19th century. The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle” ,withstood the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored. The Galle Fort also houses the elite Amangalla resort hotel, located near the Dutch Reformed Church.

The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.”

Gangarama Perahera February

The colourful Gangarama annual perahera, second only to the world famous Kandy’s Dalada perahera, paraded the streets of Colombo with all its colour and gaiety, which of late has become the centre piece of the metropolis. More than a cultural event the Navam perahera has more value to it as a religious ritual, a pooja to the deities in general and the Triple Gem in particular. Unlike in the traditional peraheras in the Navam perahera we don’t see statues or the presence of Nilames here. But to beat all peraheras, the Navam perahera parades more elephants than we see in the rest.

Though known as Navam perahera as it usually occurs during the month that bears that name this year it has fallen on the Medin poya quite unusually. The Navam poya has as its significancie the coming of Lord Buddha to Kimbulwathpura and correcting the mind set of the Sakyas who lived uppish lives during his time in India. Also his preaching of the Chandakiththara Jathakaya to his wife Yasodhara and others and the ordination of his son prince Rahula are remembered during this full moon. This revamped perahera is associated with the Gangaramaya temple of Hunupitiya from time immemorial. The two main figures that are honoured in this ritual, besides the Triple Gem, are the great disciples of the Enlightened One, namely Sariuth and Mugalan theros. It has become the cultural showpiece of the metropolis since recent times.

Hikka Festival July

The biggest beach festival in South Asia is back! the beaches of Hikkaduwa will come to life on end of July, with a number of international artists including YVES LAROCK, (RISE UP) Edele Andaya,Ben Davitt, Daniel Suwenda, The Hikkaduwa Drummers, Naadro, Thriloka and more. The party that everyone has been looking forward to all year long is finally here!

Festival will focus on what everyone truly loves about Hikka. The freedom, the drummers, the fire dancers, the roti and so much more. Sri Lanka’s first ever Roti festival held here with showcasing the famous, mouthwatering chocolate banana roti and so much more.

Party it up on night with some insane beats, chillout on the beach and throw a ball around the night and feast on some amazing roti, recharge and RISE UP again on the night, and wind down on next day with some smooth funk and all day brunch, Hikka style. Here’s your chance to fly over the rainbow!

Hot Air Ballooning November to April

If you are lucky enough to visit the beautiful island of Sri Lanka then you should take the opportunity to see the wondrous sights from the air.

Flying over the jungle you may see elephants roaming freely, water buffaloes standing in the paddy fields and monkeys swinging from the trees.

After an exhilarating flight over the jungle you will be welcomed on landing by friendly villagers who are happy to help pack away the balloon.

Kandy Perahera July or August

Esala Perahera (the festival of the tooth) is the grand festival of Esala held in Sri Lanka. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dancers and elegantly decorated elephants. There are fire-dancers, whip-dancers, Kandyan dancers and various other cultural dancers. The elephants are usually adorned in lavish garments. The festival ends with the traditional ‘diya-kepeema’.

he Esala Perahera in Kandy is believed to be a fusion of two separate but interconnected “Peraheras” (Processions) – The Esala and Dalada. The Esala Perahera which is thought to date back to the 3rd century BC, was a ritual enacted to request the gods for rainfall. The Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India during the 4th Century AD.

According to tradition, the Tooth Relic was takes in procession to Sri Lanka by Princess Hemamala & Prince Dantha.

The Modern Perahera dates back to the reign of the Kandyan King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 – 1781 AD). During these times, the Tooth Relic was considered private property of the King and the public never got a chance to worship it. However, King Rajasinghe decreed that the Relic be taken in procession for the masses to see and venerate.

After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Relic was handed over to the Maha Sanga (the Buddhist Clergy). In the absence of the king, a lay custodian called the “Diyawadana Nilame” was appointed to handle routine administrative matters.

Migrant Birds November to March

Sri Lanka is a bird watcher’s delight. Its tropical climate and relative isolation is responsible for the amazingly diverse bird life that attracts more than 400 species. Almost 200 migrant species descend on the country having flown south for the winter. Some, like the sandpipers and plovers, come from as far north as the arctic tundra. The migrant season starts in November and continues on till March. Whether bird watching is your passion, or you merely fancy a dabble, pick up a pair of binoculars, a guidebook and a notepad and join us in this birdwatcher’s paradise.

Minneriya National Park July to October

During the dry season from July to October, wild elephants from the surrounding wilderness in search of food and water, makes their way to the shores of the Minneriya Lake inside the Minneriya National Park. Huge heard of elephants, sometimes numbering up to 300, converge together within a few square kilometers of the Lake – an amazing sight to see.

Large numbers of Sri Lankan elephants are attracted to grass fields on the edges of the reservoir during the dry season. The Minneriya tank contributes to sustain a large herd of elephants. Individuals of elephants gathered here is numbering around 150-200. Some reports account number of elephants to as high as 700. They migrate here from Wasgamuwa National Park and benefited from food and shelter of the park’s forest. Tourists visit Minneriya largely because of elephants, especially in dry season.

National Festival of Kites in Colombo September

This annual event is organised by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and held on the Mount Lavinia beach in Colombo. This is a fun filled event for children and adults alike. Large crowds gather on the beach to see the skies full of colourful kites made of saris, paper and other material.

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club Around the year

Walking distance from the town center spread over 90 acres, over a hundred years old (built in 1891), the 18 holes golf course is one of Nuwara Eliya’s biggest attractions. It is reputed to be the only Golf Course where all the holes are visible from the Club House or accessible by car.

In the old British cemetery at the rear of the Club House is the memorial to Major Rogers, the elephant hunter credited with killing around 1500 elephants.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Around the year

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.

The aim of the orphanage is to simulate the natural world. However, there are some exceptions: the elephants are taken to the river twice daily for a bath, and all the babies under three years of age are still bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers. Each animal is also given around 76 kilograms (170 lb) of green manure a day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. They get access to water twice a day, from the river.

This elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants. More than twenty-three elephants have been born since 1984, and the orphanage has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

The orphanage is very popular among local and foreign tourists. The main attraction is the opportunity to observe the bathing elephants from the broad river bank as the herd interacts socially, bathing and playing.

Royal Colombo Golf Club Around the year

The Colombo Golf Club was founded over 130 years ago at the Galle Face Green and moved to its present location in 1896 which was a model farm originally owned by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa, a Ceylonese philanthropist.

It is the 3rd oldest golf course in the world after St. Andrew’s in Scotland and the Royal Calcutta Gold club in India.

Surrounded by residential areas and business establishments, the Royal Colombo Golf Club is a sanctuary situated in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka. In contrast to its surroundings, it is an exquisite and tranquil environment to relax, unwind and tee off. The scenic landscape and a glimpse of the rare species of flora and fauna on the course all contribute to this pastoral environment set within its 96 acre former model farm.

In 1928 the privilege of using the prefix “Royal” was bestowed upon the Club by His Majesty King George V.

Tourists may obtain membership for a day. For further details please visit their website:

www.rcgcsl.com

Sigiriya Around the year

Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. UNESCO has declared Sigiriya as the 8th wonder of the world. It is also one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king’s death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.

The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Cambridge, Sigiri Graffiti and also Story of Sigiriya.

Udawalawe National Park Around the year

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation (chena farming). The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.

Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas. The Kalthota Range and Diyawini Falls are in the north of the park and the outcrops of Bambaragala and Reminikotha lie within it. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in), most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 °C (81–82 °F), while relative humidity varies from 70% to 82%. Well-drained reddish-brown soil is the predominant soil type, with poorly drained low humic grey soils found in the valley bottoms. Mainly alluvial soils form the beds of the watercourses.

Whales & Dolphin watching in Kalpitiya November to April

Hundreds of Dolphins can be seen off the shores of Kalpitiya on the North West coast during the season. Observed in pods, these Dolphins often swim along side the boats and frolic in the seas – a thrilling site for children and adults alike. Those who are lucky might also experience the sighting of a gigantic Blue Whale swimming in the deep seas.

Whales & Dolphin watching in Mirissa April and December

During the migration season in the months of April and December, large pods of Dolphins and Blue Whales can be seen just a few miles offshore from Mirissa. Mirissa Water Sports, a charitable organization, helping to generate employment for the youth from the tsunami affected coastal areas, is well trained and equipped for boat excursions as well as other watersports including sailing, fishing, coastal cruises, river trips, sea kayaking, and snorkeling.

White Water Rafting in Kithulgala November to April

Experience the thrills and spills of an exciting rafting adventure in a jungle paradise. The rafting trip mixes the excitement of the rapids with calm sections that meander through the jungle-clad mountains, tea and rubber plantations of the Kandyan hill-country. In one section all you can hear is the pounding water rushing through the rapids and in the next, only the chirping birds break the silence. The scenery is breathtaking. November to April is the best season for this activity.

Wilpattu National Park Around the year

Wilpattu National Park (Willu-pattu; Land of Lakes) is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) – Natural, sand-rimmed water basins or depressions that fill with rainwater. Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located 30 km west Anuradhapura and located 26 km north of Puttalam (approximately 180 km north of Colombo). The park is 131, 693 hectares and ranges from 0 to 152 meters above sea level. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known.

World Spice Festival in Colombo November

Sponsored by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the sixth annual World Food & Spice Festival will be held in Colombo in November. Colombo’s leading hotels and restaurants come together for a week long celebration of cuisine from different parts of the world. Participating hotels and restaurants include the Cinnamon Grand, Taj Samudra, Galle Face Hotel, Hilton Colombo, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Regina Magharita, Nihon Bashi, Mango Tree and Raja Bojun to name a few. World class chefs are flown in for this event.

Yala National Park Around the year

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the (best known) block 1 and Kumana National Park or ‘Yala East’ for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.

There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.

The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009 after the security situation in the park improved.