Sri Lanka’s location makes it an easily accessible and eagerly sought after destination for those looking to indulge in the heady thrill of escapism. With a history spanning millennia, including a rich colonial heritage, the island provides a diverse landscape, speckled with adventure and ripe for discovery. From pristine beaches and hidden nooks, to lush tropical forest teaming with life. Whether your heart is set on journeying through the glorious hill country, walking among ancient ruins, or seeing the island’s eight impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sri Lanka offers travelers the chance to wonder off the beaten path and explore a world that at its most beautiful seems forgotten by time.
The island’s has an illustrious, if sometimes turbulent history that can be traced back well over 5000 years. Legend has it that even king Solomon shipped ivory, peacocks and other exotic goods from the ancient sea port of Tarshish, which modern historians claim to be the southern coastal city of Galle. Written accounts from the Mahawamsa tell of King Vijaya’s banishment by his father from India and his subsequent search for a land to establish his own kingdom. It is this journey that set him upon the island’s shores in the 6th century BC. The arrival of Sangamitha with the Bo tree sapling (the great Sri Maha Bodhi which now stands in Anuradhapura) saw the inception of Buddhism. The centuries that followed saw a remarkable renaissance, with various ruling kings setting up kingdoms in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Kandy, where their legacy remains carved in stone, even to this day. The remains of Sri Lanka’s resplendent past are among the islands 8 UNESCO world heritage sites and bear testament to the awe inspiring feats of architecture and sheer resourcefulness of its rulers. The island was subsequently colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Each period bringing with it interesting influences, traditions and dramatic social change, all of which are an intricate part of local culture even today. In 1948 Sri Lanka won her independence and with it began a new era of development and progress.
Sri Lanka offers an abundance of opportunity for exploration and adventure, so much so that visitors habitually return and many often stay longer than planned.The islands evokes a certain quality that cannot be described, from the warmth of its people to the diversity of both landscape and culture. Offering an experience that can be gratifying, as it is transcendental.
With expansive stretches of pristine coastline, azure blue waters, a myriad of reefs, coves and bays, the island is as good as a tropical destination gets. Whether looking for an idyllic beach side getaway, an escape from the bedlam of everyday life or a more adventurous sojourn, the island offers a variety of moods and settings, catering to all persuasions.
Tea was first introduced to the island in 1866 by Scottish planter James Tailor. Due to the altitude and climate of the hill country the crop thrived and soon Sri Lanka started producing some of the finest tea in the world. While much has changed over the centuries, some aspects of plantation life remain very much the same. Like the art of tea plucking which has been passed from generation to generation and each plantation functioning like its own little hamlet. A train ride through the countryside will reveal perfectly manicured landscapes of green, set against the backdrop of misty mountain tops and snaking streams. The landscape itself is ripe for exploration and apart from varying microclimates and altitude, the area is also dotted with rivers, lakes, waterfalls, ravines and other sites of historical and cultural interest.
Sri Lanka has taken great care to conserve its abundance of natural resource and as a result there are many parks and reserves around the island. Enthusiast of fauna and flora will find much to ogle over, should they venture into the wild. All the islands national parks are open to visitors for most of the year and a safari is the ideal way to discover Sri Lanka’s abundance of bio diversity. From leopards, to elephants, wild boars, sloth bears, flocks of both endemic and migratory birds, the island is home to a stunning array plant and animal life and for those looking for a more immersive experience, an overnight stay at one of the many camp sites will no doubt pay rich rewards.
With a written history that goes back over five thousand years, the remnants of Sri Lanka’s glorious past still cast shadows of wonder even today. Home to 7 UNESCO declared world heritage sites, the cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Dambulla which form Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle is dotted with archaeological discoveries and palatial relics that bear testament to the sprawling kingdoms that flourished pre-colonization. The most impressive of these being the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a 600ft monolith that was transformed into a towering empire in 477AD. Other areas of interest include the rock temple caves at Dambulla, the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa, the ancient monastery at Ritigale, Mihintale which is the birthplace of Buddhism and Sri Lanka’s cultural capital Kandy, where the famed Temple of the Tooth Relic and a score of other sanctuaries can be found.
Sri Lanka’s provides a wide variety of settings and landscapes for those who want the rush of adventure. From rafting to rock climbing, trekking through the islands immense rain forest or exploring vast stretches of pristine coastline, the island has many hidden treasures and several special interest groups that have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of all things exhilarating.
Sri Lanka is without doubt one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching. The warm tropical water, teeming with an abundance of marine life especially in Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Dondra are frequented by sperm whales, blue whales and a variety of dolphins, as they migrate from the seas of Africa towards Australia. The oceans surrounding the island are also a part of the international whaling commission’s protected zones and a recent boom in infrastructure gives visitors easy access to these locales as well as a wide range of accommodation to choose from.
The islands geographical location, coupled with excellent weather for most of the year and a conscious effort to conserve Sri Lanka’s wealth of natural resource ensures that there are numerous sites perfect for diving and underwater exploration. The island is surrounded by a reef and demonstrates a diversity of marine life. For centuries Sri Lanka was also a central point on the cross continental trade routes and a vast number of shipwrecks can be seen around the island. The western, southern and eastern coastal belts have numerous locations which are ideal for snorkeling & diving, with guides, instructors and equipment easily available.
Sri Lanka’s rich cultural traditions are largely influence by eastern philosophy, which is practiced much like an art form in most parts of the island. Numerous ashrams, yoga and meditation centers can be found around Sri Lanka. For those willing to wonder of the beaten path, the more remote locales offer escapism at its finest, for body, mind and soul, far from the hubris of modern life, where time itself seems to move ata much gentler pace.
Much of the islands railway infrastructure was the product of British colonial rule, which provided the ideal way to transport tea from the remote hill country to Colombo. Most of these rail lines are still traversed today and pass through some of the island’s most picturesque countryside. The public transportation system runs a regular trains service, however these trains are often crowded and offer very little in terms of service or facilities. The popular choice among discerning travelers, who favor a more comfortable experience has been the ‘Viceroy Special’. Offering a host sophisticated comforts, impeccably maintained carriages and access to a wide range of facilities, designed to make it one of the most rewarding experiences of its kind.
The colonization of Sri Lanka commenced in 1505 when the Portuguese landed on the islands shores, they were followed by the Dutch and eventually Ceylon as it was known back then fell under British rule and remained a colony until the island won its independence in 1948. The colonial periods bought about monumental change, both to the islands landscape and on a social, economic and cultural level. Traces of Sri Lanka’s colonial past can be found almost anywhere you look, from architecture and art, to language, music, dance and the islands assorted cuisine.
The journeying of pilgrims to holy sites has been something of a tradition, usually coinciding with the full moon, since the inception of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC. Pilgrims usually travel long distances to worship, pray and meditate at a temple or sanctuary of their choosing. From treks up Adams Peak, to the kovils of Katragama, the ancient cities of Kandy, Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Polonnaruwa, and Dambulla all provide devotees with the space and setting to engage in their spiritual pursuits.
Sri Lanka is home the kind of ecological, cultural and historic diversity you wouldn’t expect from an island this size and often this experience alone warrants exploration. The ideal vacation spot whether you’re looking for pristine beaches or misty mountain tops, the island offers a rich blend of down to earth hospitality, unique culinary traditions and a landscape brimming with wonder and mystery.
As unique as it is impressive the Sigiriya rock fortress is a product of King Kassapa’s resourcefulness and remains very much intact even today. Constructed in 477 AD according to the Mahawansa, the 600 Ft monolith has been transformed into a palace of extraordinary proportion, complete with water gardens, moats, escape routes, secret passages, numerous chambers and probably most impressive of them all, the intricate frescos that adorn the castle walls, paying tribute to the feminine form.
After the fall of Anuradhapura in 993 AD, during conflict with the South Indian Cholas. The Cholas tried to establish themselves in the city of Polonnaruwa, making it their strong hold. King Vijayabahu I eventually defeated the Cholas in 1070 AD and he chose to rule the country from the city of Polonnaruwa. One of the most thoroughly planned archaeological relic sites, much of the ancient city remains intact even today, even making an uncanny appearance as the setting in a Duran music video, for their hit single save a prayer.
Anuradhapura was the first capital and one of Sri Lanka’s great cities for over 1400 years. According to the Mahavamsa the city was founded by King Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. With the introduction of Buddhism, the city gained immense prominence and the great building era began. During the late Anuradhapura period, the royal family and nobility of Sri Lanka was devout Buddhist. As such, they frequently commissioned works of art and donated these items to the temples. Due to its location in the dry zone Anuradhapura has one of the most complex irrigation systems ever witnessed, a marvel which is studied even today and its massive tanks, to the uninitiated look more like something fashioned by the force of nature, than forged by the hands of men.
According to historical text the Dambulla cave temple complex is believed to date back to the 3rd century BC, when it became home to the largest Buddhist monastic settlements on the island. In 89BC King Valagamba is said to have taken refuge in the city when he was driven out of Anuradhapura by the invaders from the south of India. Having a deep affinity for the city and affection for its people, once he regained his throne, he commissioned work on the now famous caves, turning them into magnificent rock temples, where devotees could find sanctuary and spiritual emancipation.
The city of Kandy situated just 115KM from Colombo is considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka and home to a plethora of national and historic sites. Situated at an altitude of over 500m, the areas climate and surroundings are considerably cooler than most other places in the island. Kandy due to its strategic location was also the last capital of the Sinhala Kings, until its occupation by the British in 1815. The city with its illustrious history and diversity of culture has an interesting blend of post-colonial influences, mixing seamlessly with older landmarks and traditions. Large crowds of devotees flock to city all year round to pay homage at the many temples. With the month of August being the busiest, as Kandy comes alive, full of light, colour, song and dance at the annual Perehara. A truly magnificent celebration, where the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is paraded on back of a tusker.
The arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 ushered in a new era for Sri Lanka. It was under the leadership of Lorenzo de Almeida that the Portuguese made their first landing at the Galle Harbor. In 1589 the Portuguese built a permanent settlement which was called Santa Cruz. The fort which has been immaculately preserved to this very day, has become one of the most sought after destinations in the island. With a laid back atmosphere, bohemian culture, beautiful beaches and recent development in the city’s infrastructure, Galle caters to a wide variety of interest and remains a quintessential destination when exploring Sri Lanka’s southern coast.
Located on the Western foothills, between the western coast and central highlands Sinharajah remains the last undisturbed area of vast rainforest in Sri Lanka. The area showcases an amazing range of bio-diversity and offers travelers the opportunity to explore the island’s tropical landscape in all her glory. From secret coves, to winding rivers, rolling hills and giant boulders covered in moss, a trek through the rainforest makes for an inimitable and sometimes surreal experience, which can be as exhilarating, as it is edifying.
Sri Lanka’s stunning geographical diversity becomes quite evident on as you journey further into the hill country. Some might even say it’s unexpected, as climate, scenery and weather can change dramatically within a fairly short distance. Of all the island’s world heritage sites the central highlands are the latest and comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. Nuwara Eliya which was a popular destination for the British, who took a liking to the city’s cooler climate, has a distinguishably colonial air about it. With a quaint mix of the old and the new, Nuwara Eliya whispers stimulating tales of a time long since passed, but whose spirit can still be felt even to this day. Dickoya, Bandarawela, Haputale and Ella are also popular hill country destinations, offering remarkable scenery, the tranquility of the great outdoors and the simple charm of a more rural setting.
Sri Lanka’s commercial capital and sea-port is a blend of old and new. This is a city with a colorful history, which dates back to the 5th century BC and has many reminders of its European colonial past. But the historical sites replete with colonial architectural marvels and ruins constitute the major attractions drawing thousands of domestic and foreign travelers every year. Despite the hustle and the bustle, the city has a way to work its charm and eventually grow on you. Apart from that Colombo is mostly a laidback city with lovely little tree-lined streets, colonial style mansions, and many upcoming condominiums amidst old buildings. The city offers quite a number of attractions for every traveller, the Fort district is where most of the historical sites are concentrated, known to the locals as Pettah, it is a bustling marketplace with each section of the bazaar selling its own specialty, ranging from food items to shoes to gold, with wholesale markets also found here. With the end of the civil war Colombo has been on a path to development with much of the city’s prominent areas slowly being transformed. With beautiful beaches to colorful festivals the city is sure to capture your heart and have you coming back for more of its charm.
Kandy one of the most beautiful cities of Sri Lanka, located in the misty central highlands with a rich bio-diversity. The city provided a fortification for Sri Lanka’s last king Sri Wikrama Rajasinghe. Kandy is know for its scenic beauty and rich culture and is listed as a world heritage site of UNESCO. The name “Kandy” conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Kandy is a sleepy city, which has many of its legends, traditions and folklore still lovingly kept alive. The city promises a number of tourist attractions, which include the Old Royal Palace and the famous Temple of Tooth. The latter consists of the sacred relic of Buddha’s tooth because of which Buddhists regard Kandy as one of the most sacred places. Kandy offers an exciting shopping experience with souvenirs ranging from precious stones and handmade laces to stone and wooden carvings. If you visit the city in the month of August, you can get a taste of the Kandy Esala Perehera, an annual ritual of the Sacred Tooth Temple. Thus, your vacation can be an enriching and culturally uplifting if you choose this sacred and beautiful city.
Located in the dry Zone in the south-east region of the island Arugam Bay is a typical laid back fishing village famous for its point break famously known as one of the ten best surf spots in the world. During the months of July and August the area is teeming with eager surfers who come to ride the thrilling wave breaks. Altough surfing is the main attraction of this coastal region it is also famous for many other water sports as well. The sleepy village is dotted with little guesthouses, villas and restaurants and is rich in bird life and wildlife in the widespread jungle areas, wetlands and lagoons nearby, making it a great base for activities in the surrounding hinterlands. Further attractions include exploring the wilderness of the Lahugala National park where elephants roam and and the Pottuwil lagoon where crocodiles bask. Not to be missed in this surfing village is the amazing sea food it has to offer.
Galle is the epitome of romanticism. The Portuguese annexed Galle from its Singhalese kings and built its first fortress naming it “Santacrusz”. The 300 year old Dutch atmosphere is still very much alive in this old fortified town. The fort being its main attraction is a UNESCO protected world heritage site. Lined with tiny cobble stone streets and alleys, Dutch style old bungalows and villas, tiny shops with jewels, trinkets and other souvenirs, and intimate little boutique hotels, villas and restaurants, that walking these quaint streets will take you on a journey back in time. Galle is the most popular destination on the southern coastal belt, offering a treat to every eager traveler. Its sun kissed beaches are lined with an array of hotels ranging from budget to boutique options, and a variety of restaurants thus leaving you with much to select from. At night the coast comes to life with many bars to visit and sip a nice cocktail with the wind in your hair.
From Tamraparni to Taprobane and from Ceylon to Sri Lanka, this stunning isle offers a rich and colorful history that is sure to leave you craving for more of Sri Lanka. The ancient wonders of the cultural triangle, which lies in the interiors of Sri Lanka lures millions of travellers from all around the world eager to taste the history of ancient Sri Lanka. Consisting of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla the amazing ruins of the cultural triangle date back to the 4th century BC, these ancient cities are protected by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. It has been derived from Pali and Singhala scriptures that it was here that the ancient kings developed remarkably advance civilizations while contributing much to the advancement of Buddhism more than any other cultural location in this paradise isle. The area has many hotels ready to cater to every type of traveller.
While the lowlands of the island bask in the heat of the sun the hill country dwells in a cool and soothing climate. Very few islands in the world are blessed with such geographical diversity, Sri Lanka being one of them. The entire region is carpeted in lush greenery and bright green tea plantations with cascading waterfalls plunging over cliffs into valleys hemmed in between high mountainsides wrapped in montane forests. In the 1800s Nuwara-Eliya served as a summer retreat to the British, with much of its colonial imprints still remaining. Resisting European invasion for over 300 years, Kandy served as the strong hold to Sri Lanka’s last king. Ella, Dikoya, Haputale and Bandarawella are sleepy hill country towns and villages where life is peaceful and slow-paced. The best way to experience Sri Lanka’s hill country is by train, which is rated as one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. Tea being one of the islands main produces is enjoyed worldwide; enjoying a warm cup of fine Ceylon tea is must do on your list while in these hills.
Dotted with Palmyra trees and picturesque lagoons Jaffna is on a slow paced revival to development since the end of the civil war, which plagued the region for nearly three decades. Most of the art and culture of this ancient Tamil town was lost due to the damage incurred by the war between the LTTE and the armed forces of Sri Lanka, a conflict that was finally put to rest after 26 year. Jaffna is scattered with colorful ancient kovils, the ruins of colonial period churches and temples, most of which have been abandoned. In the period that followed after the war ended, the city was liberated inviting those who left the region to return once more, to salvage and rebuild what belonged to them. Although the journey seems long Jafffna is now on a path to reviving its Hindu cultures and values and shine as the glorious city it once was. The area is scattered with many nearby little islands, which can be visited by a ferry. It is an experience by itself for the adventurous traveller seeking to explore more.
Scattered with rolling hills, tropical rain forests and winding rivers and bordering the central highlands, the two regions contains a number of attractions to peruse. The town of Kitulgala is famous for white water rafting due to the Kelani River, which is one of the principal rivers of the island. Located in Kithulgala and visited by thousand of pilgrims is dams peak a sacred site located at an elevation of a mountaintop, which can only be reached on foot. Ratnapura is famed for non other than its gem industry. The island most prominent tropical forest; the Singharaja which is famed for its indigenous types of flora and fauna can be visited from Ratnapura. This tropical forest, which is a UNESCO protected site, offers an array of beautiful sites and sounds to be experienced by the avid trekker.
The north east coast of this tropical paradise is laid out with soft white sandy shores, spectacular blue seas and corrals. Sri Lanka is blessed with many breath-taking beaches but the best of them lie here in Trincomalee, Pasikuda and Batticaloa. Batticaloa boasts an interesting colonial past: a fort stands next to the lagoon, its solid coral walls protected by a moat on two sides and plunging directly into the water on the other; inside, a fine old two-storey Dutch-era building flanks one side of the interior courtyard, with a small and incongruous Hindu temple in the middle. It is the perfect place to sunbathe, go snorkeling to explore the marine life located around the corral reef in the area, or set out for some whale watching. Why not add some history into all that fun? The area is studed with ancient Hindu temple to explore and also the Trincomalle harbor which is known to be the world’s deepest and largest natural harbor.
Famed in ancient times as a centre for spices especially cinnamon and also for pearls the area was frequented by Roman, Chinese and Arab traders dating back to the 5th century BC. The stretch, which includes Negombo, Kalpitiya and Mannar, has varied landscapes with many attractions. The architecture of the area still portrays the shadows of the Dutch and Portuguese who settled on this coastal region in the 1800. Negombo being the most popular tourist destination of them is a famous fishing village with amazing stretches of beach has become a favorite resort to locals and tourists alike. Kalpitiya is a peninsular that separates the Puttalam lagoon from the Indian Ocean, and is a sanctuary to a diversity of marine life habitats, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches. Dolphin and whale watching is a popular attraction of the area. Located just 30km from India and jutting into the Pulk-Strait Mannar is an island with rows of fishing boats, wild donkeys, and palm trees. It serves as a hotspot for migrant birds from October to March. Yet another tantalizing attraction of this region is the Wilpattu wildlife reserve, which is a famous safari destination.
A must on every travellers list is the South Coast; stretches of golden beaches, boutique hotels, bars, restaurant, which are teaming with tourists has gradually been transformed into a hot holiday resort. Galle famed for its Dutch fortress is the epitome of colonial life in this paradise isle, with streets lined with old, unrestored buildings imprinted with the shadows of the Dutch, Portuguese and British influence creates a time portal to every traveller who wanders inside the fortification. Famed for surfing and other water sport activities Mirissa is a hotspot for the adventurous. The perfect destination for the wintertime blues Tangalle is blessed with soft white sand, glimmering blues waters and cconut trees. To color your holiday palate with some history visit the natural caves of Mulkirigala, which contains ancient paintings and Buddha statues, located just 20km north of Tangalle.
Famed for its holy sites the historical towns of Tissa and Kataragama attract thousand of pilgrims. Kataragama, which is famed for its Kovils, attracts devotees from every cast and creed, Hidus, Bhuddist, Muslim and Christian alike. Ancient dagobas dating from the 2nd century BC scatter the land of Tissa. Buttala foothills famed for the best National parks in the island, Yala, Udawalawe and Bundala, can be accessed on your journey to Tissa and Kataragama. The Yala National park is famed for Leopards. Udawalawe national park is famed for wild elephants and Bundala for Bird watching. Despite of its dry climate the vast lands spans with much greenery of forest, paddy and sugar cane cultivation and circulating soothing winds. The ancient rock sculptures of Buduruwagla is yet another historical treat.
The west coast covers the stretch from Colombo to Hikkaduwa. The beaches of this are being its main attraction, include Kalutara, Beruwela, Bentota, Ambalangoda, Ahungalla, Galle and Hikkaduwa. In relativity to the rest of the coastal regions of the island the west coast is the most sought after due to its close proximity to Colombo and the airport. Galle stands out due to its historical influences on the area with its magnificent Dutch fortification. Hikkaduwa is the ideal place to kick back and enjoy a chilled cocktail. Its long beaches inspire relaxation; while those looking for more activity can enjoy snorkelling and diving, and try riding some of the often-excellent waves, and also excellent night life. Other activities to enjoy are surfing, water skiing and deep sea fishing. Not to be missed on the list is the Kosgoda turtle hatchery.
Seeking for an adventure amidst wildlife? Yala is the most sought after national park of the island. The vegetation comprises mainly of thorny scrub plains, fresh water lakes, patches of fairly dese forest, rivers and beaches and mangrove vegetation that grow along the costal lagoons. It provides a protected space to many species of wild life, the most prominent being leopards, elephants, peacocks, sambar deer and sloth bears. Furthermore it is home to a vast number of endangered species of flora and fauna. Experience the wild side of Sri Lanka by embarking on a safari to the Yala national park.
Located just six miles from Colombo and overlooking the Kelani River, the 2,600 year old Kelani Raja MahaViharaya is central to the Buddhist philosophy. Written accounts from the Mahavamsa say the Lord Buddha visited the temple in 523 BC, where he was invited to preach at the invitation of the king. Every year devotees assemble during the full moon of January for a procession of song, dance and light known as the `Duruthu Perahera'. The eclectic atmosphere is a mix of ancient tradition and modern interpretation, with drums featuring prominently, alongside elephants, fire dancers and revelry of all sorts.
Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival celebrated between the 13th and 16th of January. In Tamil the word ‘pongal’ means overflowing and much of the celebration is centered on themes of abundance and prosperity. Homes and places of worship are often intricately decorated, seasonal meals prepared and a host of special activities take place in Tamil communities around the island.
Annually on the 4th of February, Sri Lanka celebrates independence from British rule, which was gained in 1948. Numerous ceremonies can be observed around the island, the most illustrious in recent times being the parade and commemorative ceremony at Independence Square. Most of the city’s mercantile sector shuts down for the day and a generally festive atmosphere prevails, making it an ideal time to explore some of Colombo’s busier districts, minus the usual hustle and bustle.
Taking place right in the heart of the city the `NavamPerehara' organized by the Gangaramaya Temple is a festive celebration with deeply spiritual undertones. Drummers, dancers, mascots representing the many provinces of the island, elephants, stilt walkers, fire dancers and many more, take to the streets for a cultural tour de force that is vibrant, mesmerizing and throbbing with energy.
Maha Shivarathri is a Hindu festival which celebrates the birth of the lord Shiva. It is customary for devotees to fast and limit their dietary consumption to just milk and fruit as a means of preparation for the various religious ceremonies. Procession for the fervent are also common in many cities and these colorful, lively affairs are surprisingly accessible, even if you’ve never witness one before.
A Christian day of obligation that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Christians fast avoid the consumption of meat and dress plainly, services are held in churches around the island, along with other religious formalities throughout the day all the way through to Easter Sunday.
According to the Buddhist calendar it is customary to celebrate the New Year during the month of Bak, which both the Singhalese and Tamil observe on the 13th and 14th of April. Traditionally this marks the end of the harvest season and often involves intricate preparation, followed by a lengthy celebration. The lighting of the traditional oil lamp, the preparation of customary sweet meats and the observation of various rituals during auspicious times are all a part of the festivities. Communities come alive with song, dance and games of skill as the whole of Sri Lanka comes alive and celebration can even last up to a week, in certain parts of the island.
The Esala perahera marks the fusion of two separate but related festivals the Esala and Dalada. The Esala perehera which dates back to the 3rd century BC and was held primarily as a way of honoring the Gods, while praying for rainfall. This combined with the Dalada Perahera which began when the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to the island from India, in the 4th century BC. The occasion is an important event for devotees of Buddhism, with the creativity and ingenuity of those involved on full display, marked by animated processions and vibrant celebrations.
One of the most important days on the Muslim calendar, the annual observation of Ramazan is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. The special days is often spent with family and close friends, in the sharing of festive food and celebration.
Deepawali celebrates the triumph of light over dark and is undoubtedly one of the most colorful celebrations of its kind. Preparation for the festival of light involves rituals that last up to five days, culminating at the darkest new moon night. It is tradition for Hindus to dress in their most lively attire, accompanied by the sharing of gifts and the preparation of traditional food.
The Hajj festival is based on a pilgrimage to mecca and is the most important of all muslim festivals. Muslims celebrate this day by giving to the poor and believe in doing so they will be blessed for their deeds.
Colombo comes alive for the festive season, with much to see and do during the month of December. From special promotions, to seasonal shopping and culinary experiences with a festive twist, preparations for Christmas can begin as early as late November, with celebrations lasting all the way up to the New Year.
Sri Lanka displays a wide variety of climatic conditions depending on the time of year and region. The low lands and coastal areas have a mean temperature of 27°C, offering the perfect weather for beach worthy endeavors. As you proceed to the hill climate a much cooler setting awaits you, with a mean temperature of 2o°C in lower areas and around 15°C at higher elevations. The island also has two monsoon seasons and in the south west a dry season which last from December to March and a wet season which lasts from May to August.While the island’s North and East regions which are comparatively dry,enjoying a monsoon from October to January and a dry season that lasts from May to September.
Before getting to the best bits of your holiday you will also have to go through the more mundane task of organizing your visa and travel documents which are mandatory for all visitors to the island. Feel free to call on us for any clarifications or help you may need. For visiting Sri Lanka visas are currently granted online. Please log in to http://www.eta.gov.lk and register for your visa.