The cultural triangle of Sri Lanka
The former island of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka is an amazing place that seduces tourists with exotic, stunning scenery, sunsets, lush jungles, the noise of the Indian ocean... However, apart from beaches, Sri Lanka is a unique place, visiting which you can see the country from the inside, get acquainted with its historical monuments, many of which are taken under protection of UNESCO.
Touch the milestones of the history of this amazing country is possible in the "Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka", also called "the Golden triangle of Sri Lanka".
If at least two or three days away from the handsome ocean and make their way to the Central province of the island, that's where you can see three of the historic capital of Sri Lanka: Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. Area in the Central part of the island, the vertices of which are those of the capital, is the "Cultural triangle". But not only these cities are the places that you visit in the Cultural triangle. There also includes the cave temple of Dambulla, ancient city of Sigiriya, the cradle of Sri Lankan Buddhism, Mihintale, Nalanda ruins and a huge number of small monuments scattered throughout the territory of Central Sri Lanka.
The most sacred city of Sri Lanka and the first place to visit in the triangle is Anuradhapura. It became the first capital of the island and it is connected to the history of Buddhism. This is evidenced by the various Buddhist places of worship called stupas, temples, palaces, built in the fourth century before Christ. And just a few kilometers away from Anuradhapura town of mihintale, Mahinda on the mountain where according to legend, in Sri Lanka, where Buddhism was born. This mountain is one of the holiest sites in the country and a place of pilgrimage.
The most unique monument, which is included in the "triangle" and not to miss is, of course, Sigiriya. Imagine a 200-meter cliff at the top, just under the clouds the ruins of the Palace of the king Kasyapa.
There is something to see and a Buddhist cave monastery of Dambulla. It is more than two thousand years, and the monks still find shelter here.
The second oldest capital city in the triangle, Polonnaruwa. It remained the capital from the XI – XIII century. Now ruins...ruins, palaces, temples, and the spirit of the past, floating in the air.
And finally, the former capital of Kandy which is the cultural center of the country. We can say that it is a modern city, but tradition is clearly present. One of the most important cultural and religious monuments in Kandy is the Temple of the sacred tooth relic. Its walls kept the famous tooth of a Great Teacher. It retained after the cremation of the body. What's going on in the summer, when the festival of Esala Perahera attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists – not to pass words!
Sri Lanka is so multi-faceted country that everyone will find here something for everyone, but don't forget about the cultural food. During a visit to the "Cultural triangle" can be enjoyed in full.
How to visit the Cultural triangle
To visit all the main attractions of the triangle will take at least a week. But if you have lack of time, you can visit at least the main locations. There are short tours lasting two or three days, during which tourists briefly show Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Sigiriya. Sometimes add Polonnaruwa and Kandy, but then the duration is increased to 5-7 days.
If you are traveling by yourself, set a goal to visit and learn about with all the monuments of the triangle, then it can be done quite easily. All cities and the main attractions here are connected by bus routes that run very often (but only in the daytime), and you can safely hit all those places, without planning in advance detailing the routes of travel and not adjusting to the bus schedule. The fare for buses is 30 to 300 rupees (refer to the currency of Sri Lanka, the exchange rate) between different cities.
A great option is to visit the triangle on a rented transport. Rent a car at the best with the driver. Drive around the triangle for 5 days rental car with drivers for 200-500 dollars depending on travel conditions. If you drive a motorbike, you can rent it for 7-10 dollars a day, for example, in Kandy, drive around the triangle and return the bike there.
For entry in the "Cultural triangle" of charge. But visiting most of the attractions are paid, and the cost is not "childish" high.
Previously there was a single ticket in the triangle that covered the entrance to most attractions, but it is not functioning now, despite the claims of most websites on the Internet. Today at the entrance to each attraction will have to pay separately.
Here is the cost of visiting the main attractions:
- Anuradhapura – 30$
- Dambulla – USD 10
- Mikindani - 4$
- Sigiriya – 30$
- Polonnaruwa – 25$
- Was ritigala - 10$
In addition, have to pay extra for the entrances to the museums and some temples even in the territory of validity of these tickets.