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Sri Lanka: A land so unique in its magical aura

Update: February, 03/2021 - 17:42

Việt Nam News introduces a story by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau on the 73rd Independence Day of Sri Lanka.

So rich and varied with a heritage dating back to more than two millennia, Sri Lanka is a must-visit island in the Indian Ocean, suspended off the southeast tip of India, awaiting you all year round.

It has an authentic mix of natural beauty from sunny golden beaches to rolling misty hills of green tea terraces, bubbling waterways and rainforests, all within a day’s reach from each other.

The country is so diverse in culture with a patchwork of Buddhist and Hindu temples, churches and mosques perched one beside the other colouring the cultural mosaic of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been acknowledged as a global biodiversity hotspot. Isn’t it so incredible that an island this small boasts such large creatures like the Sri Lankan elephant and leopard which are the largest animals in Asia and the blue whale which is the largest animal on the planet?

The Avukana Buddha statue is a standing statue of the Lord Buddha in north-central Sri Lanka. The statue, which has a height of more than 12 metres, has been carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century AD. Photo courtesy of the embassy

From scrub jungles to tropical rainforests covering more than a quarter of its landmass, from thousands of man-made lakes and a hundred waterways and rivers to breath-taking waterfalls and natural ponds, this magical island is so abundant in its treasures.

Sri Lanka is not a small wonder when it comes to architectural miracles, the magnitude o fDagobas like Ruwanweliseya, spanning 103 metres in height, completed originally in 140 BC in Anuradhapura. This centre of Theravada Buddhism, now a world heritage site, conserves the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Lovamahapaya, Mirisaweti Stupa and more, within 40 sq.km.

The artists who created colossal Buddha statues of Pollonnaruwa Gal Vihara,  stand tall, holding their own against any global great. It explains why Polonnaruwa is recognised as a UNESCO Heritage site.

Sri Lanka’s innovative prowess extends to creating ‘gigantic’ irrigation systems. King Parakramabahu I implemented prodigious changes in constructing an enormous man-made tank- ParakramaSamudraya - "to not let a single drop of rain go waste".

Sigirya, an ancient volcanic formation which soars at a 200m height, was the onetime capital of King Kashyapa, dating back to the 4th century AD. It is evidence of the life story of the royal connoisseur, lover of fine art and refined architecture, who conceived a safe and secure haven so magnificent, atop a rock fortress. The view from the top is so spectacular, you wouldn't want to miss it.

The cave paintings in Dambullaare, the best-preserved rock paintings in Sri Lanka, cover a 2,000 square metre area of ceilings and walls. Some 150 statues are set within a complex of five caves dating back to the 1st century BC.

Different styles, different climes, different eras in history, yet it’s so awe-inspiring that the mastery of Sri Lankan art and architecture remains unparalleled.

The Peradeniya Botanical Gardens are a popular tourist destination in Kandy- the citadel in the hills, with more than 4,000 different species of valuable flora. Nearby Dalada Maligawa is a must-visit, one of the highest places of worship for BuddhistsAnnually, the world-famous Esala Perahera takes to the streets from Dalada Maligawa in a sacred casket on the magnificent tusker. In the glow of lights and pageantry gather thousands of devotees and tourists.

The architectural marvel Nine-Arch Bridge in Ella stands out as a picture-perfect tourist hotspot.

The Viceroy Railway Lines, originally built to transport coffee, offers “One of the world’s most scenic train rides” according to Lonely Planet, running a 10-hour regular trip from Colombo through Kandy, Hatton, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, and ending in Badulla, meandering slowly through some of Sri Lanka’s finest landscapes with breath-taking views not visible from the roads.

A safari in Sri Lanka is not to be missed with a trip through the wilderness of the Yala National Park, teeming with a range of wildlife and home to native Sri Lankan leopards and Sri Lankan elephants.

The 36-hectare Galle Fort, built in 1663 by the Dutch, offers a panoramic view from its embankment at sunset, creating a distinctly Mediterranean atmosphere.

A delightful way to experience the misty vistas of mountains and lakes, manicured tea gardens, lush flora, abundant birdlife, green and white colonial bungalows and the freshness of tea gardens, is an adventure trek in Nuwara Eliya.

A famous Temple Trail in Sri Lanka is the hike up the 2,243-metre Adam’s Peak, which requires a five-hour night climb up the 5,000 steps. Pilgrimage tourism, particularly Buddhist tourism has emerged as a unique feature in Sri Lanka’s itinerary.

Sri Lanka boasts some of the best beaches in the world. Your vacation in Sri Lanka would not be complete without unwinding on any pristine beach the island is fringed with, Hikkaduwa, Bentota, Mirissa and Uppuweliare to name a few.

The great surfing season runs from May to September. This is one of the top surfing destinations in Asia. Beautifully pristine Arugam Bay will come alive as streets swell with the cheerful global surfing community from the veterans to champions to those wanting to just get their feet wet.

Welcome to Sri Lanka! VNS

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi or sacred fig tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, is the southern branch from the historical Sri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Buddha attained Enlightenment. This tree was planted in 288 BC and is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world. A sapling of this Bodhi Tree is planted at the Tam Chúc Pagoda in Hà Nam Province, Việt Nam. Photo courtesy of the embassy