Sri Lanka's and Asia's richest archaeological heritage sites and the largest and most dramatic are

in the Cultural Triangle. The area formed by linking the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruva, and Kandy, with Sigiriya in the center. The special sites of the Cultural Triangle are Jethwana and Abhayagiri monastery complex at Anuradhapura, the Alahana Pirivena monastic university and the royal city and palace and Polonnaruwa, the city, palace and gardens at Sigiriya and the painted cave temple at Dambulla. They have been conserved and presented under the UNESCO- Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Project. A Round Trip ticket costs US$ 32.50 Tickets can be purchased from travel agents, or the Tourist Board, or Cultural Fund Office, 212/1, Bauddaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. or at any one of the 5 sites

Tours
A one or two-day trip to Kandy, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, or Anuradhapura is also possible, if your stay is a short one. Traveling time from Colombo to the ancient cities is as follows: Kandy 3 hrs Anuradhapura 4 ½ hrs Dambulla 3 ½ hrs Polonnaruva 4 ½ hrs Sigiriya 4 hrs

MUSEUMS IN THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE Make sure you see the new museums at the Abayagiri monastery at Anuradhapura, the Treasure House of the Jethawana monastery, and the new visitor center and museum at Polonnaruwa. The Archaeological Museum at Anuradhapura is one of the oldest museum in the Cultural Triangle area

Kandy (1469 to 1815 A.D)

The city of Kandy lies at an altitude of 488.6 meters (1629 feet) above sea level in the center of the island and surrounded by the ranges of mountains. It is still very much a

focal point of Sri Lankan culture. It was the capitol of last generation of Sri Lanka`s kings until it fell in to the hands of British in 1815. Kandy was originally known as Senkadagala pura after a hermit named Senkada who lived there. Many of Sinhalese people call it “Mahanuwara” meaning the "Great City”. But the name Kandy was derived from the Word Kanda, which means mountain. Due to it’s geographical location Kandy was not an easy target for the foreign invaders who could

gain the control of coastal area of the island. Thus Kandyan culture was abler to foster and maintain its own social structure, mode of living, Art & Architecture. The kings of Kandy ensured the safety and sovereignty of the hill capitol and it’s great culture until the British finally captured the city in 1815.

The royal palace in Senkadagala was built by King Vikramabahu the 3rd of Gampola on the advice of a Brahmin who selected the site as a lucky ground for a Capital city. The first king to ascended the throne of Senkadagala was Sena

Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura (3rd BC - 10th AD) Several centuries before the Jesus Christ, while the Greek empire was at its zenith, many other regions were emerging from the stone age; Anurdhapura was already and advanced civilization. The city was well laid out and well linked. Irrigated by sophisticated systems of manmade lake s and canals, this city was a world trade center. This is evidenced by the Greek merchant guide book titled "purples of the Erythraen Sea", Ptolemy's first ever map, and further by monk travelers Fa Hien and Buddagosha of, the 5th century A. D.

Ruvanweliseya Abhayagiri Monastery Sandakada Pahana

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya Isurumuniya Kuttam Pokuna

Thuparama Samadhi Buddha Statue Jethwanaramaya

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 on which it depended, and named it after the constellation Anuradha. Anuradha was the first general of the king Vijaya: the legendary ancestor of the Sinhalese race. The city measured 52 square kilometers' and was maintained by at least 500 scavengers.The city was divided into several quarters. Foreign traders lived in one quarter. Their houses were of 2 or 3 stories. Artisans occupied some avenues.

Dambulla
Dambulla Dambulla is sited on a gigantic rock which towers more than 160m above the surrounding land. The Rock is more the 1.5km around its base and summit is at 550km. The caves were the refuge of King Walagamba (Vattagamini Abhaya) When he was exile for 14 years. When he return to the throne at Anuradapura in the 1st century BC, he had magnificent rock temple built at Dabulla. The site has being repaired and repainted several times in the 11th, 12th and 18th centuries.

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 a s Vishnu and Ganesh. A new large white Buddha (similar to the ones in Kandy and Mihintale) is planned for Dambulla. There is little evidence of monks who are housed in monasteries in the valley below where there is a monks' school. Entry. Open ,0600-1100; 1400-1900. The Entrances to the caves are about 1.5km south of the clock tower, at the junction of the main Roads.

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa map (11th AD - 13th AD) Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka‘s medieval capital was established as the city of the land in 11th century A.D. Polonnaruwa replaced Anuradhapura as the capital city of Sri Lanka, Because of the invasion of south India. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from 11 AD to 13 AD. The important kings of, Polannaruwa period are, King Wijayabahu the first, King Maha Parakramabahu the first and King Nissankamalla. When the South Indian Kings ruling the country, the Prince called Keerthi of the Sri lanka formed an army and came to attack. The South Indian King who occupied Anuradhapura. He defeated the South Indian King and become the King of Sri Lanka as Wijebahu the First.

Galviharaya Lankathilaka Thivanka Image House

Parakrama Samudraya Vatadage Baddha Seema Prasadaya

Galpotha Hindu Temples Lotus pond

He did not have time to develop the country but he united the country. Later the King had chance to the develop the country Wijebahu built his palace In Anuradhapura and he shifted the capital to Polonnaruwa.During Polonnaruwa period lot of developments took place. in irrigation paddy cultivation and agricultural Products. Because of this foreign trade was done between South Asia, Arab and China. The most important King during this period was King Maha Parakramabahu the first he ruled tire country from 1153 AD to 1186 AD. During his period he built 165 dams 3000 canals, 163 major and 2376 minor tanks. Of all these the biggest tank was Parakrama Samadra.He was very interested in irrigation work and architecture. He united Sri Lanka in 1153 AD. He died in 1186 AD. After his death the Sinhalese kingdom began to break n due to civil war and foreign attacks.At the end of 13 century the glory of Sri Lanka faded. For 70 years Sri Lanka was ruled by Cholas from South India.

Seegiriya

Seegiriya (The marvel of 5th Century AD) The Vast flat-topped 200m high Lion Rock stands starkly above the surrounding countryside of the central forest with magnificent views over the Dry Zone and south to the the Central Highlands It was an exceptional natural site for a fortress, which were gets its name from the lions which were believed to occupy the caves. For many visitors, this impressive site is their favorite in the whole of Sri Lanka. There are stunning views from the top. In addition to the rock fortress with its palace and famous frescoes, there are extensive grounds at the base and the whole is enclosed by an outer moat which contains water. Seegiriya declared a World Heritage site in 1982. Entry The main bus stop is close to the bridge by the south entrance but those without a Cultural Triangle Permit have to walk round to the main West Entrance to bye their tickets. Those visiting by car may avoid the long walk from the South Entrance. There is an unofficial car park inside the inner moat. Tickets The gate to the site opens at 0600 but the ticket office only opens around 0700. If you wish to make an early start (avoiding groups which start arriving by 0800) buy your ticket on the previous day if you arrive in time. Allow at least 2 hrs for a visit. Very early morning is beautiful-the site still very quiet until 0730, but the late afternoon light is better for the frescoes. There can be long queues on public holidays and the rock can be very crowded from mid morning. Guides There are over 60 licensed guides here so competition is fierce; it is worth getting one. Charge, about Rs 300 for hrs. Background Hieroglyphs suggest that it was occupied by humans from very early times, long before the fortress was built. The Royal citadel (477-495 AD) was surrounded by an impressive wall and double moat; the city had the Palace and quarters for the ordinary people who built with the royal pavilions, pools and fortifications. The top of the rock has a surface area of 1.5 ha built on the precipitous edge.When the citadel ceased to be a palace, it was inhabited by monks until 1155, and then abandoned. It was rediscovered by archeologists in 1828. The Mahavanasa records that King Kasyapa, having killed his farther to gain the throne, lived in terror that his half-brother, who had taken refuge in India, would return to kill him. He did come back, after 18 years, to find that Kashyapa had built a combination of pleasure palace and massive fortress. Kasyapa come down from the hill to face his half-brother's army on elephant back. Mistakenly thinking he had been abounded, he killed himself with his dagger. At seegiriya, Kasyapa intended to reproduce on earth the legendary palace of Kubera, the God of Wealth, and so had it decorated lavishly with impressive gardens, cisterns and ponds. Excavations have revealed surface and underground drainage systems. For the famous frescoes he gathered together the best artists of his day.Water, a scarce commodity in the Dry Zone, was conserved and diverted

cleverly through pipes and rock-cut channels to provide bathing pools for the palace above, and enhance the gardens bellow with pools and fountains. The water pumps are through to have been powered by windmills. It is through that on the islands in the water garden near the entrance, stood pavilions, while the shallow marble pools reflected the changing patterns of the clouds. Apart from the exceptional frescos, it is worth nothing that the entire site was built over a period of 7 years and effectively abandoned after 18 years. The engineering skills required for the water and fountain gardens as well as lifting water by a series of bamboo lift to the top of the rock. were remarkable for the time.