Welcome to Sri Lanka, a paradise that can make anyone smile. Called “Serendib” by the ancient Persian merchants, the word “Serendipity” which denotes, “happy accident” has its roots in this island country. From the quintessential metropolitan comforts to historic cities and getaways, from aquamarine beaches to salubrious hills with waterfalls, Sri Lanka has them all. Here’s a ready-reckoner on what you shouldn’t miss on a trip down there.
The southern coast will amaze the traveller with shallow blue waters that invite you to a plunge. Repose at the Historic Dutch Fort at Galle, which has over the years become a place of art, relaxation and culinary paradise. Stop to look through the architectural masterpieces while enjoying a cuisine of choice.
A few kilometres from Galle is Mirissa. Once a dormant fishing village, it is a whale watching hotspot today. Mirissa is home to the iconic Indian Ocean pygmy blue whales and spinner dolphins. Kalpitiya, on the north-west coast, and Trincomalee, in the east, are the two other whale watching getaways. These are known for the sighting of bottlenose and pink dolphins and sperm whales.
Wildlife and Bird Watching
Yala, the most visited wildlife park is a must-visit too. It has the largest density of leopards and herds of spectacular elephants roaming freely among water holes. The eastern side of Yala, known as “Kumana,” is a sanctuary of migrant birds and a birdwatcher’s paradise.
The Cooler Option
Get into the cooler climes, at the central hills of Nuwara Eliya. This is also dubbed the ‘Little England’ for its architecture, lush tea gardens, and cool, misty weather, making it the place to relax.
Travel inland towards the mountains, to reach Kandy, the southernmost tip of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. This is where the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka reigned supreme.
Nestled among the hills, rests the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. A UNESCO heritage site, The Temple of the Tooth Relic is an epitome of devotion and tranquility. Every year in September, the renowned “Kandy Perahera” is held; a spectacle where hundreds of caparisoned tuskers parade the drizzle-washed streets. Before you leave the city, take a stroll around the picturesque Kandy Lake.
Further on is the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a mesmerising location surrounded by moats and fountains that spring into action during the rainy season. Climb atop the rock for a panoramic view of the city and the remnants of the ancient palace. On your journey upward, you may pass the Mirror Wall, where hundreds have declared their admiration in poetry. The interiors of the rock, house the famous Sigiriya frescos.
Anuradhapura and Polonnarunwa, in north central Sri Lanka, are two ancient kingdoms that have still preserved the grandeur of their ancient splendour. Just a few kilometres away lies the Golden Temple of Dambulla, known for its iconic location on a rocky hill and possibly the best of temple paintings from the Kandyan era.
At the Capital
Before you return home, enjoy the beauty of Colombo, a city that espouses modernity and history. Shop at the Dutch Hospital and Arcade precincts, which used to be colonial buildings utilised for different purposes. Or watch the sun setting over the Indian ocean while you sip your favourite cocktail.
Every month here has a cultural or environmental spectacle worth immersing in. The whole year is, therefore, the season for travel. This is an island which boasts of an eternal summer. Sri Lanka has a serenading charm that makes any traveller feel at home, and that is something not many destinations can do. With the jewel of a destination beckoning you, get on-board SriLankan Airlines, the best travel choice available. And let the award-winning national carrier of Sri Lanka make your trip a memorable one.
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