Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle - Kandy, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Dambulla & Polonnaruwa

The 'Cultural Triangle' of Sri Lanka is considered as the the area spanning the ancient royal city of Kandy to the south, Anuradhapura to the north west and Polonnaruwa in the west as well as the ancient and magnificent citadel rock fortress of Sigiriya (Lion Rock).

This area is generally considered as the epicentre of the ancient civilisation in Sri Lanka that rose to prominence over 2500 years ago with its amazingly sophisticated irrigation based culture. It is a 'must see' itinerary when in Sri Lanka - both with its incredible diversity of wonderful ancient monuments and temples - many extremely well preserved.

It also has 3 of the major National Parks in Sri Lanka nearby.

Is  the second-largest city of the island and the capital of the central province area in Sri Lanka. Its central geographic location has made it a major transportation hub for the island as well as being the gateway to the Central Highlands. It is the seat of local government for the surrounding districts of Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya.

Kandy is in our opinion the most scenic and the most revered city in Sri Lanka and one of the most religiously significant cities in the world. Kandy is famous and revered both in Sri Lanka and around the world by Buddhists as the the home of The "Temple of the Tooth" (Relic) (Sri Dalada Maligawa) and the temple is purported to house one of Buddha's actual teeth. It was declared a world heritage by the UNESCO in 1988.

During the 'Festival of the Tooth' (a MUST SEE in our experience - having actually been in Kandy during this period!) the city is transformed into a wonderland of millions of lights, tens of thousands of happy people and worshippers stalls, markets, music and a wonderful caring carnival type atmosphere.

 It was the last capital of the ancient kings that ruled Sri Lanka and fiercely fought over by the Dutch and the Portuguese during the period from the 16th to the 18th century with the British then taking over with the treaty of 1815,  that was in effect an engineered  coup de'tat by the ruling Kandyan aristocrats over the then current Sri Lankan ruling King. Sadly - as happened with many British colonial conquests the ruling Kandyan aristocracy was then all but wiped out in the following years by introduced western diseases such as smallpox and cholera. Kandy was also the centre for South East Asia in WW2.

The ancient city of Anuradhapura is considered by many as the absolute "jewel in the crown" in this region – rated as one of - if not the- greatest cities in the world at the height of its development over 2200 years ago.

Is a stunning summmer palace built upon a huge rock, (Lion Rock) is a stupendous and awe inspiring reminder of the ancient engineering prowess of these people. If you are up to it - climb to the top of the rock and take in the awesome views.


The bustling city of Dambulla is in the central province of Sri Lanka, about 150 km north-east of Colombo and 70 km north of Kandy. It has an amazing cave temple complex  that is regarded as the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, as well as its famous Golden Buddha statue. The area was inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. Statues and paintings in these caves date back to the 1st century BC. Dambulla was previously known as Dhamballai, and ruled by Kings such as Raja Raja Chola, Rajendra Chola in the late 10th century and early 11th century.

Is easily accessed and quite breathaking in its rich diversity and the preservation of its myriad of well preserved ruins. The incredible precision and artistry of the artisans who built this city over 2000 years would match - if not surpass - many present day engineering projects. The superb Gal Vihara Buddhas are just one of the examples, as is the breathtaking workmanship and beauty of the 'Resting Buddha'.


Famous Golden Buddha at Dambulla
Kandy - Temple of the Tooth Festival
12th century temple at the famous ancient city of Polonnaruwa
A stunning smile from some young novice monks at Festival of the Tooth, Kandy

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