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The Beauteous Lanka.

Sri Lanka is famous for spectacular historical monuments and mind blowing natural landscapes.
I visited the monuments Sigiriya and the Cave Temple in Dambulla on my return from the ancient capital city Anuradhapuram to Colombia, the present capital of Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is located 75 km distance apart. The historically important big rock in Sigiriya is visible from far away. We may feel like the big rock of 400m height located in between the greenery has carved by someone.  Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. The rock is names as Lion Rock even though there are no traces of lions living here.  But the nearby lake has crocodiles. The dogs which have lost limbs due to the attack of crocodiles are seen.
The Story of Sigiriya
The King Kasyapa, who had ruled the Anuradhapury for ten years from A.D. 477, built a huge palace over the rock formed by the freezing of volcano. The remains of the palaces and other buildings are still visible over the rock. Kashyapa was the son of King Dhatusena by a non-royal consort. The Culavamsa describes King Kashyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Kashyapa murdered his father by walling him up alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his half-brother Moggallana, Dhatusena’s son by the true queen. The rightful heir, Mogallana, fearing for his life, fled to South India. Moggallana fled to India to escape being assassinated by Kashyapa, but vowed revenge. In India he raised an army with the intention of returning and retaking the throne of Sri Lanka, which he considered to be rightfully his.
Afraid of an attack by Moggallana, Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya. Even today we have to climb thousands of steps to reach there.  For the purpose of defence, Kashyapa made lot of trenches where water was much abundant and becomes the habitats for millions of crocodiles. This is the story behind how the crocodiles have reached Sigiriya.
These defence measures were all in vain when finally Moggallana was arrived and defeated Kashyapa.  During the battle Kashyapa’s armies abandoned him and he committed suicide by falling on his sword.  After conquering the rule of the country, Moggallana made Anuradhapury as the capital. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.
In 17th century, during the Kingdom of Kandy, Sigiriya was used as an outpost for the army.  After the arrival of Britishers in 19th century, the archeologists and historians began to flow to Sigiriya. Sigiriya gained the attention of the world after the arrival of archeologists Adam and Baile. Soon the Sri Lankan government took the steps for research and studies and this increased the number of visitors to thousands per day. Tickets are required to enter Sigiriya. Concessions over the ticket rates are provided for the tourists from SAARC countries including India but have to bring the passport with them.  This area is much prone to lightning and thus the people are advised not to climb the heights during intense lightning.
Above the rock there are remains of gardens, water fountains, and sculptures in the palace. This view will give endless pleasure to the archeologists and historians as well. The drawings over the wall are miraculous. About 30 big art works of centuries old remains here still without any fading. More than hundreds of the pictures were destroyed.
To The Buddhist Cave
Dambulla is located half an hour drive away from Sirigiya. The cave temple here is one of the main Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The visitors are welcomed by golden coloured huge statues of Buddha.  The European and American tourists get wonder struck by the view of Buddha sculpture. The journey to the cave temple begins from here. The cave temple has drawings from B.C 1st century and the statues reflecting the beauty of ancient sculptures.  Valagamba of Anuradhapura is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the first century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are.
There are many huge caves of 160m height and other small caves too. All these art works reflects the life of Lord Buddha. There are about 153 statues of Buddha. In addition to this, there are statues of Vishnu and Ganapathy too. The excavations here gave the evidences of human culture from B.C 7th century.
Aiming the income from tourism the Sri Lankan government has invested huge money for infrastructural development. This include well-structured roads, availability of cheap and affordable hotels, clean food, cheap taxi services, good mannered people, clean and tidy surroundings etc. After the defeat of Tamil Tigers, the atmosphere here is calm and quite with peace all around.
This island which is larger in area comparing to Kerala, is blessed with lot of tourist attractive places but the population is much less.
The Main Tourist Attractions
Colombo is one of the beautiful cities in Sri Lanka. Long beaches are the life of this city. Galle face beach is the popular among them. The World Trade Centers of America are also present along with this. This is a spectacular view. There is a hospital constructed by Dutch people in the year 1681. Colombo is a wonderful place for those who love the night journeys. Night gambling is also much popular here. The main religion is Buddhism. The most famous Buddhist temple named Gangaramaya is also situated in Colombo.
Kandy is similar to Kerala. This place is known to be as the cultural city in Sri Lanka and is also the second largest city after Colombo. The food culture, hills, roads and all depicts that of Kerala. The other spectacular views at Kandy include Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Royal Botanical Garden, New Ranvely Spice Garden, Bahiravakanda Buddha Temple, Tea Museum, the Forest Sanctuary at Udavattaka, Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic etc.
Ramayana Circuit
Sri Lanka has a profound role in Ramayana. The country is known to be as Ravana’s birth place and still there remain the evidences.  Ashokavani is the place where Seetha was put in confinement by Ravana. Ashokavanam is situated 170 km away from Colombo near Nuvara Eliya. The exact location is 1km away from Seetha Eliya. The Seetha Amman Temple is also located behind the Ashokavanam.  This temple has the idol of Seetha and Rama standing together. Hanuman idol is also nearby. The Ravana Fort, the footsteps of Hanuman, the river in which Seetha used to take bath and the Ashoka tree are also situated close to the temple. The other important attractions in Rmayana Circuit include Anjaneya Hills, Ussanghoda, Kondakattu Gala, Dinuvila, Rumasala, Sanjeevani, Munoswaram, Divurum etc.
Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya, called Little England, was a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket. The natural beauty of this place is much fascinating than that of Moonnar and Shimla. Many of the buildings retain features from the British colonial period. Located at a high altitude of 1800m above the sea level, Nuwara Eliya is one of the important retreatment centers in Sri Lanka. This was founded by the British Major John Doyen in 1819. The town’s attractions include the golf course, trout streams, Victoria Park, and boating or fishing on Lake Gregory. April is the best month to visit Nuwara Eliya.

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