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Sri Lanka

Bentota, Sri Lanka

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 06, 2008 at 05:57:48 :: Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan coastal city famous for golden beaches, Bentota is situated on the southern coastal tip of the Galle District of the Southern Province. The town is a popular tourist attraction. It is especially famous among the foreign tourists. The name comes from a mythical story which dates back to kings time saying a demon called Bem ruled this river (tota = river bank).

View of river in Bentota, situated on the southern coastal tip of the Galle District of the Southern Province, Sri Lanka


Bentota used to be a place to rest on the way to Galapatha Temple which legend claims is linked by a maze of subterranean tunnels with all other temples in the area. Today Bentota is big on sea sports and activities; so you may well need a holiday after you get back!

Bentota is a paradise of unlimited sun, sea and sand. Nestled in peaceful surroundings with lush tropical foliage bordering the coast, Bentota has become an area not only for a relaxed holiday, but for many activities such as windsurfing, water skiing and diving to explore the treasures of the underwater sea world.

View of the little island with a white lighthouse, near Bentota, Sri Lanka


Bentota is also famous for its production in Toddy. An alcoholic beverage made out of cocunut nectar. The city's population is estimated to be between 25,000-50,000. Bentota was heavily damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami which devastated the Sri Lankan coastal belt on the morning of the December 26th.

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In The News

Ancient City of Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 11, 2008 at 12:22:40

Sigiriya Rock, the beauty of Sigiriya, from the main public entrance, Sigiriya, Sri LankaRegarding to the Mahavansa (மகாவம்சம்), the ancient historical record of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya (tamil : சிகிரியா) was built by King Kasyapa, a son of King Dhatusena, by a palace consort. As legend goes, King Dhatusena was overthrown and walled in, alive by Kasyapa in 473 AD and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Mogallana. Mogallana, Dhatusena's son by the true queen fled to India, to escape being assassinated by Kasyapa, vowing revenge. Kasyapa fearing an invasion built this impregnable fortress and pleasure palace on the summit of Sigiriya.

When the invasion finally came in 491, Kasyapa ran into the battle with his war elephant. In an attempt to out-flank his half-brother, Kasyapa took a wrong turn, where his elephant got stuck in the mud. His soldiers, thinking Kasyapa was retreating fled abandoning him, and he took his own life. Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradapura and turned Sigiriya into a monastery complex.

Place of prison, from the summit, ancient palace complex in Sigiriya, Sri LankaThe ruins of the capital lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m high (Sigiriya means "Lion Rock" because it looks like a crouching lion from a distance). A serie of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provides access to the site.

Sigiriya includes:

The Gardens
The beautiful and one of the oldest elaborately landscaped water gardens in the world, contain a complex network of underground hydraulic water distribution system which provide water into the fountains.

The Mirror Wall
Large sections of the so-called Mirror Wall, made of a kind of porcelain, are still intact. People of all types wrote on the mirror wall. Most of the ancient graffiti refer to the Sigiriya Maidens, who are to be found up a spiral staircase about 14 meters above the Mirror Wall gallery in a natural pocket in the rock which has been protected for centuries from the rain by an overhang.

Mirror Wall and Spiral Stairs leading to the Frescoes in the middle of hill, Sigiriya, Sri LankaFrescos
The paintings would have covered most of the western face of the rock, covering an area 140 meters long and 40 meters high. There are references in the graffiti to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out when the Palace once more became a Monastery so that they would not disturb meditation.

The Lion Gate
The Northern end of the rock the pathway emerges to a kind of courtyard, from which the rock derives its name Sigiriya (the Lion Rock). At one time a huge lion was carved out of the rock, and the final ascent to the summit was between the lions paws, whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace. Only the lion's massive paws remain today, but they indicate how gigantic the rest of the carving must have been.

The Summit
The stairway ends at the highest point of the rock, covering an area of around 1.6 hectares, the upper palace falls away in gentle tiers towards the opposite end of the rock from this point. The ruins of the palace buildings rise only perhaps half a metre above the surface of the rock, but the extensive works cut into the surface of the rock have endured better.

UNESCO World Heritage

Sri Lanka, Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 04, 2014 at 15:01:36

Location Sri Lanka
Coordinates N7 27 8.82 E80 48 7.56
Property 56,844 ha
Date of Inscription 2010

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1203 )

Sri Lanka's highlands are situated in the south-central part of the island. The property comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These montane forests, where the land rises to 2,500 metres above sea-level, are home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris and the Sri Lankan leopard. The region is considered a super biodiversity hotspot.

Photos from Landolia

Adam's Peak, Central Highlands of Sri Lanka World's End, Central Highlands of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka, Golden Temple of Dambulla

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 04, 2014 at 14:44:46

Location Dambulla, Central Province, Matale District, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N7 51 24 E80 38 57
Date of Inscription 1991

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/561 )

A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2 ) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues.

Photos from Landolia

Cave temple, Golden Temple of Dambulla Golden Buddha statue, Golden Temple of Dambulla

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Sri Lanka, Sinharaja Forest Reserve

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 01, 2014 at 15:38:37

Location Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N6 25 0 E80 30 0
Property 8,864 ha
Date of Inscription 1988

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/405 )

Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians.

Photos from Landolia

River, Sinharaja Forest Reserve

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Sri Lanka, Sacred City of Anuradhapura

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 01, 2014 at 15:27:26

Location North Central Province, Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N8 19 60 E80 22 60
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/200 )

This sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again.

Photos from Landolia

Ruwanwelisaya, Anuradhapura Jetavanaramaya, Anuradhapura

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Sri Lanka, Ancient City of Sigiriya

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 01, 2014 at 15:11:30

Location Central Province, Matale District, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N7 57 0 E80 45 0
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/202 )

The ruins of the capital built by the parricidal King Kassapa I (477–95) lie on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 180m high (the 'Lion's Rock', which dominates the jungle from all sides). A series of galleries and staircases emerging from the mouth of a gigantic lion constructed of bricks and plaster provide access to the site.

Photos from Landolia

Lion Hill, Sigiriya Prison, Sigiriya Pools, Sigiriya

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Sri Lanka, Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, March 01, 2014 at 14:48:10

Location North Central Province, Polonnaruva District, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N7 54 57 E81 0 2
Date of Inscription 1982

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/201 )

Polonnaruwa was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. It comprises, besides the Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas, the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.

Photos from Landolia

Kiri Vihara dagaba, Polonnaruwa Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Polonnaruwa

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Sri Lanka, Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 21, 2011 at 05:26:46

Location City of Galle, Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N6 1 17 E80 13 7
Date of Inscription 1988

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/451 )

Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

Photos from Landolia

Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map


Sri Lanka, Sacred City of Kandy

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 23, 2011 at 17:27:42

Location Kandy, Central Province, Sri Lanka
Coordinates N7 17 37 E80 38 25
Date of Inscription 1988

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/450 )

This sacred Buddhist site, popularly known as the city of Senkadagalapura, was the last capital of the Sinhala kings whose patronage enabled the Dinahala culture to flourish for more than 2,500 years until the occupation of Sri Lanka by the British in 1815. It is also the site of the Temple of the Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of the Buddha), which is a famous pilgrimage site.

Photos from Landolia

Temple of the Tooth Relic Temple of the Tooth Relic View of Kandy

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map



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