AFTER BALLOON RIDE
- The cultural triangle in the North Central,
ie: Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandalama etc.
Things to do after your Hot air Balloon Flight
The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka which is made of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla as three corners, with Sigiriya in the center. All four towns hold the ancient assets of Sri Lanka. The Cultural Triangle is the best way to know the culture and heritage of Sri Lanka. The area is famous for cultural and archeological reminders of a great civilization of the past!
Kandy, some 2 hours south of the Cultural Triangle and a major tourist destination in the country, is also called the cultural capital of Sri Lanka.
The town has eminent attractions like the Temple of Tooth and the Old Royal Palace. The city which came into existence in the 15th century was the last royal capital where 2500 years of royal rule culminated. You could tour elegant historic sites, enjoy song dances, buy keepsakes and indulge in various activities.
Dambulla was designated a World Heritage site in 1991. The caves has a mixture of religious and secular painting and sculpture.There are several reclining Buddha's, including the 15m long sculpture of the dying Buddha in Cave 1. 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.Cave 2 is the largest and most impressive, containing over 150 statues, illustrating the Mahayana influences on Buddhism at the time through introducing Hindu deities such as Vishnu and Ganesh.
The sacred Golden Temple consists of 5 separate caves housing Buddhist statues and many paintings both religious and secular. The interior is very impressive and the climb up to the Rock temple is a bit steep. Dambulla, the centre of the Cultural Triangle and is an ideal place for an overnight star, with many types of accommodation to choose from according to your budget from 5 star.
Sigiriya was no mere fortress, gloomy and forbidding. At the brief height of its glory, it was a royal citadel for more than 18 years, from 477 to 495 A.D, one of the loveliest that have graced this land.
The wonder and beauty of SIGIRIYA – The Lion Mountain is North of Dambulla. To wonder around where the remains of a 5th Century amazing fortress palace sits 600ft above the surrounding country, your climb up will be accompanied by the long tailed monkeys, as you look around at the frescoes and the mirror wall on the way. At the summit the view is spectacular and you will be standing amongst the foundations of a surprisingly sophisticated palace.
The tales surrounding King Kasyapa have been passed from generation to generation and still have the power to instill respect, admiration and the greatest monument to his memory the remnants of his palace in the sky. Perhaps this is why Sigiriya is such a major tourist attraction right throughout the year. Around the base of the rock are beautiful water gardens within a walled enclosure, ponds and fountains and boulder gardens with rock carvings, a legacy of its time as a monastery.
Heading North on the road to Polonaruwa and you reach the sleepy town of Habarana. Here adopt the mantle of the ‘Raj’ and allow a patient elephant to carry you around the lake.
The medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was once protected by 3½ miles of walls. The many sculptures, friezes ruins, temples etc are contained within a family compact area. A preferable and equally historic destination to Anuradhapura for the traveller with less time. It is also just 2–3 hours drive to the beautiful beaches of the East Coast.
Water is and has been of great significance and the Parakrama Samudra – a gigantic water tank covering 6000 acres – irrigated surrounding paddy fields by way of 11 channels. Inhabitants of that time could also enjoy the Baths with crocodile–mouth visitors, wild elephants – and the tiered 8 petal Lotus pond – the national flower of Sri Lanka.
Amongst many rock carvings the Galvihara images of Buddha are the most remarkable. The delicate features of these carvings are apparent to this day and their size–standing 7m tall, 14m reclining – truly impressive.
Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's most sacred town. From origins as a settlement in the 6th century BC, it was made capital in 377 BC by King Pandukabhaya (437–367 BC) who started the great irrigation works.
Anuradhapura was once the greatest monastic city of the ancient word. Abandoned in 1073 to the mercy of the jungle, the British explorers who discovered it in the 19th Century thought they had stumbled on a “lost” city.
The sacred Bodhi Tree “Sri Maha Bodhi” – the oldest known in the World – a cutting of the tree in India where the Buddha achieved enlightenment – is central to the buildings and religious awareness. Golden railings maintain its safety and to approach with the pilgrims. Please remember to remove hat and shoes.