The Cultural Triangle is home to mystical ancient cities, hill stations and rich jungle. It is a great place to visit to bring Sri Lanka’s history alive in the most enthralling way. The cultural triangle area covers the north central towns of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla where vast impressive archaeological ruins provide a glimpse into the island’s past. The extensive historical ruins of the Cultural Triangle are now protected by UNESCO as World Heritage areas, and provide truly memorable sights.
Our sample tours which include a visit to the Cultural Triangle
The sacred city of Anuradhapura, nowadays picturesque ruins, was once a major centre of Sri Lankan civilization, and is a fascinating place to explore on foot or bike. The impressive ancient ruins include huge bell-shaped stupas, temples, sculptures, palaces, and ancient drinking-water reservoirs. Today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Anuradhapura is home to renovated monuments, restored edifices, preserved ruins and historical sites where the archaeological excavations are ongoing.
Ancient City Of Polonnaruwa
The capital city of Sri Lanka between the 11th and 13th Centuries, Polonnaruwa is one of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country. Home to breathtaking statues and astonishing works of construction, Polonnaruwa is testament to the great history that Sri Lanka has to offer.
One of the most striking features of Polonnaruwa is Pakakarma Samudra, a man made irrigation tank spread over an area of 5940 acres, built by the King Parakramabahu, who’s Royal Citadel is also an impressive site. Ensure you experience seeing Gal Vihara, a rock cut Buddhist shrine dating back to the 12th century AD. It contains magnificent images of Buddha carved out of stone. Parts of the city are merely ruins but it remains a fascinating place, surrounded by stunning gardens, paddy fields and rich jungle.
Sigiriya (Lion Rock)
Built in the 5th century, rising up 200 metres from the plains of central Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is a flat topped monolith. It is both a natural wonder and one of Sri Lanka’s most fascinating and impressive archaeological sites. This magnificent complex of geometrically laid gardens, pools, fountains and the oldest surviving murals of maidens is a highlight of northern Sri Lanka.
It originally served as a mountain monastery before becoming a rock fortress during the reign of King Kasyapa. Today Sigriya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sri Lanka’s most famous landmark. Enjoy a climb to the top, which is a true highlight of a Sri Lanka holiday, rewarding you with breathtaking panoramic views of the countryside.
The impressive Dambulla Rock Temple is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest, and most imposing sights. The complex of caves, boasting beautiful murals, inscriptions and statues hold one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world. It was here that King Valagamba took refuge in the 1st century BC, later turning the caves into a rock temple. Over time improvements have been made, including King Nissanka Malla instructing the temple interior to be gilded in gold, earning it the name of Ran Giri – Golden Rock.
Habarana is in the heart of the cultural triangle. Situated in the dry zone of the country, it is the centre point from which you can explore the fascinating past and historical mystique of Sri Lanka. Wildlife enthusiasts will love Habarana due to its location near the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks which are the transit point for hundreds of Asian elephants and other wildlife during the dry season.
After exploring the sacred city of Anuradhapura, cave temples in Dambulla and Sigiriya, escape to the silence and stillness that Habarana offers. It is a place where tranquillity is personified.