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Trincomalee, Ceylon

March 19th, 2011

Trincomalee during Portuguese era in Ceylon
Apart from the products and wealth which I have described we could have built great fleets at little expense, as there is an abundance of timber and iron and resin, all article which are largely employed in such work. There is in the island a plant [1] which produces something like our linen thread, out of which the native fishermen make their nets; from this we could manufacture ship shrouds similar to those of Europe, without the coarseness and thickness of coir [the fiber of the outer husk of the Coconut].

In what words should I speak of the harbor and bay “Dos Arcos” [2]? It is the best in the whole of India, with a bottom between sand and clay, and is protected from every wind save the East, which however does not blow except occasionally and then too gently; moreover it contains several inlets, which are protected from this as well.

The chief winds which blow during the year are the North and the South, called respectively Vara and Cachao [3], and they create in the Island two wet and two dry seasons. The longest and most beautiful river in the Island [4] two wet [5] and dry seasons [6]. The longest and most beautiful river beautiful river [7] falls into this bay; its water, which comes from Adam’s Peak, is very good, and on its banks are found an abundance of trees remarkable for their size and variety.

A deck could be made in the bay itself, and fleets of numerous ships of any tonnage that is required built there, especially as we had that large river for conveying all the material without any expense; for as we have shown in the tenth chapter of the first book, it is the duty of the woodcutters to fell timber, and of the iron smelters and smiths, carpenters, turners, pile and gun makers, and all other craftsmen in the Island [8], to serve His Majesty [9] without any payment.

The weapons for arming them such as muskets, arquebuses, carbines, bacamartes, spears, pikes, swords, and gun stocks, would cost almost nothing; all these are made in the Island [10] in great abundance and of excellent workmanship. With these our forts and armies would be supplied without the expense which the Royal Treasury [11] would have to meet everywhere else. Their carriage too cost nothing, as it is the duty of the culles to convey them, just as the other entire craftsman has their own duties to perform. So that we can see the great advantages we had for making fleets; a splendid harbor in which to keep them, with liberty to go out and come in without danger at any season of the year, and an abundance of provisions for their use. Yet we never thought of utilizing this harbor for building fleets, which were always the essential requirement in that State.


Above narration consists of precise words of  Captain Joao Rebeiro lamenting on the loss of coastal belts of Sri Lanka to the Dutch: “The Historic Tragedy of the Island of Ceilao” dedicated to his most Serene Majesty Dom Pedro the Second. Lisbon, 8th January 1685.
Translated from Portuguese to English by Dr. Paul E. Peiris, 1947, Colombo, Sri Lanka

[1] Crotolaria Juncea
[2] Baia dos Arcos:  Sri Lanka Holidays : Trincomalee Bay Harbor, North-Eastern Coast
[3] Varakan (Sinhala: The North-East Monsoon and South-West Monsoon of Sri Lanka)
[4] [8] [10] Sri Lanka
[5] Wet seasons- tropical monsoons: The northeast monsoon (December to March), and the southwest monsoon (June to October)
[6] Dry seasons: November to April main tourist season of Sri Lanka Holidays and May to September for tourism in the Eastern Coast
[7] River Mahaweli Ganga of Sri Lanka
[9] His Serene Majesty Dom Pedro The Second of Portugal
[11] Royal Treasury of Portugal

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March 19th, 2011

Fa-Hien (Fa Xian)
In the year 399 AD, a Chinese Buddhist Scholar monk named Fa-Hien embarked on a heroic odyssey, on foot, from China to Sri Lanka crossing the great Gobi desert. Fa-Hien writes: “There is not a bird to be seen in the air above, nor an animal on the ground below.” It was an overland travel of supreme scale of courage and endurance until Khotan, an oasis to the North of Kashmir was arrived at. At Khotan, Fa-Hien was to quench his thirst, physical to the content of his heart and spiritual to a certain stage: Khotan was home to monasteries inhabited by scholars of Theravada (Hinayana) Buddhism.

The oasis of Khotan was a dream following an almost endless nightmare of day after day, night after night in the Gobi desert. Fa-Hien narrated: “This country is prosperous and happy; its people are well to do; they have all received the Faith, and find their amusement in religious music.”
The next stop of Fa-Hien was in the country of Kasghar where a monastery that claimed among its holiest belonginings, a spittoon that was once used by Buddha. Though Fa-Hein found scholars of Thervada Buddhism at Khotan, on his onward journey from Kasghar, Fa-Hein was to meet the scholars of Mahayana Buddhism.

At Udayana, which lies north of India Fa-Hien discovered a foot print of Buddha which “appears to be long or short according to the faith in each particular person” From the north of India, to India over the Himalaya, it was a perilous descent of “ten thousand cubits” Fa-Hien spent no less than a decade studying Buddhist manuscript in the “central Buddhist realm”: both sides of the Himlayas: Kabul region as well as Ganges valley. Kapilavastu, Gaya, Benares, Pataliputra (Patna) were stopovers of Fa-Hien.  At Patapaliputra, the capital of the greatest emperor ever, Mayuran Asoka, Fa-Hein spent three years learning Sanskrit language and copying Vinaya Pitakaya (Discipline at the monasteries) and Pataliputra and followed up with another two years at the seaport of Tamluk, down steam of Ganges, at the delta of Hoogly, copying “sutras”. At Tamluk, Fa-Hien began his sea-journey to Sri Lanka.

Fa-Hien narrates in third person:
“At the end of this time he took passage on a large merchant vessel, and setting sail proceeded towards the south-west with the first of the favorable monsoon. After fourteen days and nights, he came to the country of the Sinhala, said by the inhabitants to lie at a distance of about seven hundred yojanas from Tamaluk.”
“Through the coming and the going of the merchants in this way, when they went away, the people of the various countries heard how pleasant the land was, and flocked to it in numbers till it became a great nation. The climate is temperate and attractive, without any difference of summer or winter. The vegetation is always luxuriant, cultivation proceeds whenever men think fit: there are no fixed seasons for it.”
Fa-Hien narrated the cremation of the High priest of Maha Vihara at Anuradhapura, Arhat (Sanskrit: supremely enlightened) Mahinda of India, the great Buddhist missionary, whom he didn’t see alive, but had just arrived in time in Sri Lanka at the time of funeral.

“At the time of the cremation, the king and his subjects collected from all quarters and with offerings of flowers and incense followed the car to the burial ground, the king himself making personal offerings of flowers and incense. When these ceremonies were finished, the car was placed on the top of the pyre, oil of basil was poured all over it and light was applied. While the fire was blazing, everyone was moved with a reverence, and each took off his upper garment, and together with feather-fan and umbrella, threw it from a distance into the midst of the flames so as to help on the cremation. When it was all over, the bones were collected and a pagoda raised over them.”

Fa-Hien lived in Anuradhapura of Sri Lanka Holidays, the greatest monastic city of the world, during its glorious days. Fa-Hien narrates extensively on Abhayagiri Dagoba of Sri Lanka Holidays and the monastery and a priceless colossal Buddha statue carved in Jade, a gem material.
“Where there are now five thousand monks. There is in it a hall of Buddha, adorned with carved and inlaid work of gold and silver, and rich in the seven precious substances, in which there is an image (of the Buddha) in green jade more than twenty cubits high.”

Fa-Hien, who had refrained from narrating on Chinese companions, wrote of his first sight of a Chinese at Anuradhapura. “Suddenly, one day, when he was standing by the side of the image of jade, he saw a Chinese merchant presenting as his offering a Chinese fan of white silk; and tears of sorrow involuntary filled his eyes and fell down,’’ he writes. Twelve years had elapsed since Fa-Hien left China.

Fa-Hien ’s description of Anuradhapura of Sri Lanka Holidays, the greatest monastic city in the world then, is particularly revealing of the ancient urban planning of ancient Sri Lanka.
“The dwellings of the merchants are very grand; and the side streets and main thoroughfares are level and well-kept. At all points where four roads meet there are chapels for preaching the Faith: and on the eighth, fourteenth and fifteenth of each month, a lofty dais is arranged where ecclesiastics and laymen come together from all quarters to hear the Faith expounded.”

Fa-Hien went on to narrate what would have been the earliest precursor to the modern Kandy Esala Perehera Pageant.
“The sacred Tooth is then brought out and passes along the central street, receiving the homage of offerings as it goes by. Arriving at the Hall of the Buddha in the shrine of the Abhayagiri monastery, ecclesiastics and laymen flock together in crowds, burn incense, light lamps and perform the various ceremonies of the Faith day and night without ceasing.

Fa-Hien spent two years in Sri Lanka copying the Vinaya Pitakaya (Sinhala: Book of Discipline) of Theravada Buddhism and returned to China by sea.
A Record Of Buddhistic Kingdoms Being An Account By The Chinese Monk Fa-Hien Of His Travels in India And Ceylon (A. D. 399-414) In Seacrh Of The Buddhist Books Of Discipline.
Translated and Annotated With A Corean Recension Of The Chinese Text By James Legge, M.A., Oxford,1886

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March 13th, 2011

Ancient Sri Lanka’s Roman Connection

About the year 45 AD, a Roman vessel that was busy collecting tributes and revenues in the Red Sea was caught in the monsoon storms to land in a harbor in the Indian Ocean Island away from the regular sea route then known to the Romans. The Roman ship was seized, the crew was arrested and taken to the king. It was an accidental discovery in the Orient by the Romans. Romans found an island until then known as a land too far, a fabulous island where superior battle elephants were bred: Taprobane, modern Sri Lanka.

Speaking of Elephants of the ancient era in Sri Lanka, we too get carried away in the tides, if not the storms, of modern times. Today, with 12 per cent of the island of Sri Lanka designated for wildlife protection, sighting herds of elephants at Sri Lanka HolidaysKaudulla National Park, Minneriya National Park and Wasgamuwa National Park (all almost next to each other, Habarana in the Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle being the gateway) is a matter of couple of hours drive, once you are at Polonnaruwa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Culture), which is replete with renovated ancient rainwater reservoirs of gigantic scale, ancient restored Buddhist temples and ruins of ancient monuments.

The most famous sanctuary of large herd of elephants is on the banks of modern Uda Walawe Irrigation Reservoir at Uda Walawe National Park located south of Sri Lanka Holidays Ratnapura (Sinhala: The City of Gems). The other famous sites where elephants can be sighted are Ruhuna Yala national Park of Sri Lanka Holidays located close to Kataragama, the domain of the God Skanda in the Deep South and Willpattu National Park within a couple of hours drive from Kalpitiya Beach Resort of the north-western coast. Maduru Oya National Park close to Kuda Sigiriya (Sinhala: Small Lion Rock), an eco location and Gal Oya National Park close to Ampara, though, less visited by the foreign tourists of Sri Lanka Holidays, are the other wildlife sanctuaries famous, specially among the Sri Lankan tourists, for the herds of elephants.

Then Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD – August 25, 79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder,  a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Empire, one of the great Roman historians, had already narrated about Sri Lanka in the sixth book of his 37-volume Natural History. It begins:

“It had been of long time thought by men in ancient days that Taprobane was a second world, in such sort that many have taken it to be the place of the Antipodes, calling it the Antichthones world. But after the time of Alexander the Great, and the voyage of his army into those parts, it was discovered and known for a truth, both that it was an island, and what compass it bear. Onesicritus, the admiral of his fleet, has written that the elephants bred in the island be bigger, more fierce and furious for war service than those of India.”

Pliny’s tragic death during a naval rescue operation of his friends, citizens and Romans trapped during the explosion of the volcano of Mount Vesuvius was revealed to us in a sensational narration by his nephew, Cornelius Tacitus also known as Pliny the Younger. Pliny’s life ended, once again setting a universal example that a hero never leaves his friends in troubled waters.

If the Greek records relating to Taprobane during the era of Alexander the Great fell shot of proper depth and description, the era of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (10 BC – 54 AD) was to reveal credible testimony to the Roman connection with Sri Lanka. That was following the vessel was caught in the Indian Ocean Monsoon in 45 AD.

Gaius Plinius Secundus, having recalled the narrations also of the Greek writers Megasthenes and Eratosthenes had said about Sri Lanka, continues to reveal: “But, we came to far better intelligence, and more notable information by certain ambassadors that came out of that Island, in the time of Claudius Caesar the Emperor: which happened upon this occasion, and after this manner.

“It fortuned that a freed slave of Annius Plocamus (who had farmed of the Exchequer the Customs for impost of the Red Sea) as he made sail about the coasts of Arabia, was in such wise driven by the north winds besides the realms of Carmania, and that for the space of fifteen days, that in the end he fell with a harbor thereof called Hippuros, and there arrived. When he was set on that land he found the King of that country so courteous that he gave him entertainment for six months, and entreated him with all kindness that could be devised. And as he used to discourse and question him about the Romans and their Emperor, he recounted to him at large of all things.

“But, among many other reports that he heard, he wondered most of all at their justice in all their dealings, and was much in love therewith, and namely that their deniers of the money which was taken, were always of like weight, notwithstanding that the sundry stamps and images upon the prices showed plainly that they were made by diverse persons, and hereupon especially was he moved and solicited to seek for the alliance and amity of the people of Rome: and so dispatched four ambassadors of purpose, of whom one Rachias was the chief and principal personage.”

Annius Plocamus learned Sinhala language and engaged in numerous conversations with the king who, according to Sir James Emerson Tennent, was probably King Sadamuhunu (Chanda-Mukha-Siva) (44 AD- 52 AD), who donated a rainwater reservoir by the name of Minigiri to Isurumuniya Rock Temple (Buddhist) at Anuradhapura, the greatest monastic city of the world during its glorious era.

The harbor called Hippuros in Pliny’s records is non-other than Kudramalie which lies between Puttalama and Mannar of Sri Lanka Holidays. Dispatching an embassy to Rome wasn’t an isolated incident. Sending embassies to foreign lands wasn’t an unusual practice for the kings of Ceylon. Chinese historical records reveal receiving embassies from Sri Lanka. Most of all the tangible evidence of Sri Lanka’s Roman connection in the ancient era is substantiated by the Roman coins discovered at the site of Jetavana monastery, now displayed at Jetavana Museum, Anuradhapura amidst Fine jewelry, including ivory carvings, bangles and ornamental ear clasps and fragments of Chinese and Islamic pottery. Sri Lanka Holidays escort you all to the Jetavana Museum at Sri Lanka Holidays Anuradhapura to reveal the Ancient Sri Lanka’s Roman connection.

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March 6th, 2011

Trincomalee tourist Attractions
Trincomalee district with its natural deep water harbor at the sea port city of great Trincomalee bay, Nilaveli Beach, Uppuveli Beach, Pigeon Island, off-shore whale watching and Dolphin watching, Kanniyai Hot Springs, Colonial Fort Fredrick, Somawathiya Cheitiya Sanctuary, Serwawila historical Buddhist shrine, Velgam Wehera historical Buddhist shrine affords joys and experiences to Sri Lanka Holidays tourists of a diverse range of interests and activities.

Swimming at Nilaveli and Uppaveli tropical beaches, snorkeling at Pigeon island, enjoying marine life at off-shore Whale watching and Dolphin watching, getting close to the nature with wild elephants at Somawathie Chaitiya Sanctuary, getting immersed in the Sinhalese Buddhist Culture at Seruwawila historical Buddhist Shrine and Velgam Wehera historical Buddhist shrine, are definitely bound to deepen the experiences of light and enlightenment that would be gained in visiting 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (6 culture; 2 nature) and numerous other tourist attractions of the ancient tropical island of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Holidays Trincomalee (Longitude: 810 13′E; Latitude: 080 33’N), one of the largest (Water: 1630 hectares; Entrance channel: 500 meters; Land Area: 5261 hectares–source Sri Lanka Port Authority), one of the finest deep water natural harbors in the world, is wrapped in a marvel of seascape, steeped in millenniums of history and shrouded in mystery in the antiquity of pre-recorded history.

Trincomalee Harbour: geographic, strategic and economic importance
When a bay is large and deep enough, it becomes a natural harbor, which is often of significant commercial and strategic importance.

A good natural harbor, while being deep enough (vertically) and large enough (horizontally), provide sheltered anchorage without the need to build a breakwater.

A good natural harbor is a bay or long-stretched strait, surrounded at as many sides as possible by land so ships anchored there would be protected high waves created by storms.

A good natural harbor, in most instances consist of inner bays since Captain Haddock’s Blue Blistering Barnacles storm waves that are bloody murder on docked boats, don’t go around corners well and waves are murder on docked boats.
In all accounts, Trincomalee is one of the finest deep water natural harbours in the world.


Quote Sir James Emerson Tennent (1804–1869), Colonial secretary of Ceylon (1845-1850)
As a harbor, Trincomalee is renowned for its extent and security; but its peculiar superiority over every other in the Indian seas consists in its perfect accessibility to every description of craft in every variation of weather. It can be entered with equal facility and safety in the north-east monsoon as in the south-west monsoon, and the water within is so deep that vessels can lie close to the beach, and discharge or receive cargo without intervention of boats.
The bay of Trincomalee presents to the eye a scene of singular beauty. Landlocked, and still as an inland lake, its broad expanse of waters, its numerous beautiful islands, and its rocky headlands, together with the woody acclivities in its vicinity, and the towering mountains in the distance, combine to form an oriental Windermere.
On comparing this magnificent bay with the open and unsheltered roadstead of Colombo, and the dangerous and incommodious harbor of Galle, it excites an emotion of surprise and regret that any other than Trincomalee should ever have been selected as the seat of government and the commercial capital of Ceylon. But the adoption of Colombo by the Portuguese, and its retention by the Dutch, were not matters of deliberation or choice. Its selection was determined solely by the accident of its proximity to the only district of the island which produced the precious Ceylon Cinnamon, which, as Phillip Baldaus quaintly observes, has always been “the Helen of bride of contest,” whose exclusive possession was disputed in turn by every European invader.
Unquote Quote James Emerson Tennent: Ceylon, an account of the island, Physical, Historical, Topgraphical

Being a central location between the east and the west, Trincomalee’s strategic importance has been proven during the colonial era and the then again during the First and Second World Wars.
The River Mahweli Ganga (Sinhala- Maha: great; weli: sand; ganga: river), the longest and largest river (length: 335 km; drainage basin: almost one-fifth of the total area of the island) of Sri Lanka, begins at Adam’s Peak Sri Pada also called Samanala Kanda (Sinhala: Butterfly mountain) and encircling the medieval royal city of Kandy drains into the Indian Ocean at Matur, 7km south of Trincomalee town in the Koddiar Bay of Trincomalee. In the year 1775, a midshipman on board MNS Seahorse, having sailed into the Trincomalee bay gushed: ‘the finest harbor in the world’. The midshipman went onto become a distinguished admiral of the British Colonial Navy: Lord Nelson (1758-1805 AD).


Trincomalee’s modern economic importance is bound to be proven in the near future.
On 24th February 2011, Mitchell Consortium of Australia with partners from Brazil and Sri Lanka made an unsolicited proposal to establish heavy industry plants at Trincomalee. These include a coking coal or metallurgical coal and an iron ore palletizing plant for steel making, and a sugar refinery. Investment for the first phase of the project that would occupy 97 square kilometers is expected to cost US$ 700 million.

Trincomalee Harbour: formation
Quote Henry Charles Sirr (1807-1872), Deputy Queen’s Advocate for the Southern Circuit of Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka) in the mid-19th century.
The entrance to the harbor is nearly five miles wide, and lies between Foul Point on the South-east, and Fort Frederick on the north-west, the width gradually decreasing to three miles between Norway Point to the south-west, and Chapel Island, on the north-west, when it expands suddenly and from Great Bay to the southward, and Trincomalee harbor to the northward.
Unquote Henry Charles Sirr; Ceylon and the Cingalese; “their History, Government and Religion; the Antiquities, Institutions, Revenue and Capabilities of the Island; with Anecdotes illustrating the Manners and Customs of the People”, London,1850

Trincomalee Harbour: the tropical beauty
The beauty of Trincomalee takes no back seats to its unchallenged strategic importance.

Quote British Explorer Samuel Baker
Few things surpass the tropical beauty of this harbor, lying completely land-locked, it forms a glassy lake surrounded by hills covered with waving foliage of coca-nut trees and palms of great variety. The white bungalows with their red-tiled roofs, are dotted about along the shore, and two or three men of war are usually resting at their ease in this calm retreat.
Unquote British Explorer Samuel Baker

Quote Sir James Emerson Tennent
The position and beauty of the Bay of Trincomalee, the overhanging rocks at its entrance, the stillness of the expanse within, and the luxuriance of the wooded acclivities surrounding all, forcibly recall Virgil’s imaginary description of the harbor of Carthage.
Unquote Quote James Emerson Tennent: Ceylon, an account of the island, Physical, Historical, Topographical. London,1859

Trincomalee beaches: Uppuveli to Nilaveli
Mile after mile of perfect beaches at Trincomalee invites the beach lovers to Uppuveli to Nilaveli and beyond. Uppuveli beach and Nilaveli beach north of Trincomalee are located 6km and 16km off the town 4 km further north of Nilaveli is the lagoon. Here is the chance of Sri Lanka Holidays tourists to ford the lovely and shallow beaches. Here is the opportunity to revel in safest swimming and surfing not to forget scuba diving along a stretch of lovely sands that extends to up the coast as well as down the coast. Yet swimming during the off season months of December and January could be dangerous. The season for eastern coast of Sri Lanka is May to September while the season for western (Kalpitiya), south western (Wadduwa to Galle) and southern coast (Galle to Tangalle) of Sri Lanka Holidays is during the main tourist season of October to April.

The estuary of the Sinnakarachchi lagoon is a paradise for fishermen. Close to Nilaveli Beach is the Red Rocks beach adorned with pink boulders and blue pools of water: an ideal location for swimming, bathing, fishing and picnicking.
16km north of Nilaveli Beach is the lovely beaches of Kuchchaveli: the Englishman John Still (1980-1941) author of “The Jungle Tide”; author of “Index to the Mahavansa”; discoverer of Lotus bath at Polonnaruwa; an assistant to illustrious H. C. P. Bell, the first commissioner of Archeology in Sri Lanka; an associate of illustrious Senarath Paranavithana, Sri Lanka’s pre-eminent archeologist and Historian) delightfully described as ‘warm as tea’.
The tourists are advised not to swim too close to waters at headland in view of currents.


Trincomalee harbor: swimming
Trincomalee harbor, in some places, has depths too deep for anchorage; and in some places, it is said to have unftahomabale depth. But then the opportunities abound for swimming and boat trips. Sober island, Dead Man’s Cove, Coral Cove, Back Bay, Marble Bay are some of the tourist attractions.

Trincomalee harbour’s picturesque Dutch Bay tends to suffer from a dangerous undertow. Caution ought to be practiced while swimming in Dutch Bay.

Pigeon Island: swimming, diving and snorkeling
Just off Nilaveli of Sri Lanka Holidays, lies the little rocky islet called Pigeon Island, one of the few places in the tropical island of Sri Lanka where the rare Blue Rock Pigeon, so common in South India, breeds. During the British colonial era (1815-1948), a significant population of Blue Rock Pigeons was shot dead by the British Royal Navy based at Trincomalee natural harbor. The hotels at the beaches of Trincomalee make arrangements on boat trips to the Pigeon Island for the tourists to enjoy in swimming and snorkeling in the shallow waters. The shallow waters around the island delight those who would like spear fishing.

Dive Operators at Trincomalee
All of the dive centers are located on the Nilaveli road. The Nilaveli beach is one of the most beautiful beaches available in Sri Lanka. Among the leading dive operators are Scuba Sri Lanka at the Nilaveli Beach Hotel, LSR Trincomalee at the Club Oceanic Hotel and Dive The Snake at Uppaveli on the Trinco Nilaveli Road.


Diving at Trincomalee is done in the period of April to October.

Reaching Trincomalee
Distances to Trincomalee: from Colombo-257 km; from Kandy 182 km; from Anuradhapura 106 km; from Polonnaruwa 129 km; from Dambulla 106 km

To Trincomalee from Arugambay via Batticaloa and beaches of Kalkudah and Passekuda
Trincomalee of the north-eastern coast can be reached by A4 eastern coastal road from the south-eastern surf beach of Arugam Bay via lovely Passikudah beach and A15 main coastal road over the Koddiar bay at Kanniyai bridge, the longest bridge of Sri Lanka.

To Trincomalee from Habarana, a transportation hub of the Cultural triangle
Trincomalee can be reached from Habarana, a transportation hub of the Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka Holidays, passing the turn off for Kaudulla National Park and Agbopura from where the great Kantale rainwater reservoir. A turn off road to caost from Kantale town is the quickest land route to Seruwawila via Somapura which is the gateway to Somawathiya Chethiya National Park.

To Trincomalee from Anuradhapura
The A12 main road from the ancient Buddhist monastic city of Anuradhapura via the Mihintale mountain monastery (8 km northeast of which along the A9 main road, in the direction of Rambewa village is an ancient stone bridge on he Mhakandarawa rainwater reservoir), Horowupatana, Ratmale (gateway to at Tiriyaye, home to ancient Buddhist circular shrine vatadage). Just 8km before Trincomalee, this main road opens up a turn off to Kanniyai Hot Wells.

Trincomalee town: main peninsula
West of the ear-shaped strip of land that makes the Fort Fredrick, in the main peninsula is the commercial center of Trincomalee: colonial villas line a grid of streets; Buddhist temple, Islam Mosques, Hindu temps intersperse the backstreet; Banks, bus station and railway station close in the main streets. The old General Cemetery therein is final resting Place of Jane Austen’s brother, Charles, and the British railway administrator (Ceylon Government Railway –CGR) and amateur astronomer P.B. Molesworth, who discovered the Red Spot of Jupiter.

Trincomalee Harbor Vs. Town
The colonial seaport of Trincomalee was established solely in view of its strategic importance: while the location dominated the all important sea lanes between the Occident and the orient, the natural deep water harbor also made it possible to build a fort on the highest rocky out crop on a peninsula simply by building fortification on the land side.

The modern town of Madras (Chenni), Calcutta (Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai) of India each are anchored on their colonial roots. The development of these sea ports India in the British colonial era resulting in re-orientation and economy and geography of the respective regions. Trincomalee in Sri Lanka is a remarkable exception to the pattern that took flight during colonial era, perhaps that could be attributed to a combination of thin population, barren land and intemperate climate. The colonial harbor failed to bring about a development on the hinterland of Trincomalee, one of the numerous backwaters of the eastern coastal belt.
Today, the River Mahaweli Ganga diversification Project, following the completion of Victoria Dam irrigating the region inland of Trincomalee harbor, Trincomalee district has become an agricultural district.

Tincomalee Town
Trincomalee town is built on the neck of a bold yet narrow peninsula between the Indian Ocean, which stretches between the inner and outer harbor. The town consists of edifices of ancient, colonial and modern times; a spit of a land pokes of the middle of the peninsula to the east somewhat in a shape of human ear occupied by the Portuguese fortress of Fort Frederick, which climb up to the cliff top called Swami Rock.
Fort Fredrick, today, is set up with barracks for the heroic defence forces of Sri Lanka, specialized in jungle guerrilla warfare spearheaded by smallest units battle-hardened in rapid and surprise assault: taking the guerilla warfare to guerillas themselves; turning the hunters into the hunted with advanced field recon.

Trincomalee town: Swami Rock
Fort Fredrick road that makes way from the main peninsula, through the fort leads up to the cliff top of Swami Rock also called “lover’s leap” which drops sharply about 130 meters to the Indian Ocean where the Koneswarm Kovil is located. The cliff top vantage point affords panoramic views of town and along the coast. Then again the view straight down the sheer cliff face to the deep-blue waters of the Indian Ocean is a sight to behold.

Trincomalee town: Swami Rock: Fort Fredrick: Wellington House
Wellington house located within the Fort Fredrick was the temporary residence of non other than the conquering hero of the British Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 –1852). In 1799, the Iron Duke stayed at Trincomalee in 1800 whilst recovering from an Illness. The Duke of Wellington on his way home to England was compelled to stay in Bombay (Mumbai) being struck down with a disease called “Malabar Itch” and the remedy of a course of lard and sulphur failing to kill the infection. The ship sailed off without him only to sink in the Gulf of Aden. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington went onto become the Prime Minister of England under the Tory party in 1828 and again in 1834.

Trincomalee: the Deer connection
Trincomalee, in the ancient times, was also known by the name of Gokanna (Sanskrit: ear of the deer) possibly in view of the shape of the Trincomalee bay. Fort Fredrick is also the sanctuary to a herd of spotted deer at Trincomalee. Though the species of spotted deer is shy by nature, herein at Ford Fredrick, the herd mingles freely with the residents and visitors. The uncommon phenomenon has been in existence for centuries since the generations of villagers and soldiers refrained from hunting the deer in view of a taboo label attached to the herd. Today the herd of deer is under the protective eyes of heroic Sri Lanka Navy based at the Fort Fredrick.

Trincomalee town: Swami Rock: Fort Fredrick: Lover’s Leap
Just outside the temple at the highest point, the very edge of the rock is called Lover’s Leap in commemoration of a Dutch Lady by the name of Francina van Rhede, who leaped off the projecting crag of dizzy heights into the Indian Ocean to dash against the rocks to death, having rendered desperate by the scene of her lover leaving by a swift vessel with its sails spread, over an unfortunate dispute over the bride’s dowry with her father, a Dutch gentleman in the British government of Ceylon. What a priceless treasure of divine love, did he manage to disown over a marginal measure of earthly property?

Trincomalee town: Swami Rock: History
At the time of the Portuguese attack at Trincomalee in 1624, perched upon the rock was Sri Gokarna Vihara ancient Buddhist temple built in the reign of King Mahasen (276-303 AD) Sri Gokanna Vihara it was also called Vehera Gala (Sinhala: temple on the rock). Fernão de Queiros, the famous Portuguese historian had revealed of the demolition of a temple at the Fort Fredrick in his historical narrative titled Temporal and Spiritual conquest of Ceylon. According to Professor Nalin de Silva, Koneswaram Kovil was built only recently after dismantling the ancient Buddhist Temple at the same place. Good professor also declares that there were people who have seen the Buddhist temple in the forties.

Sinhalese historical chronicles reveal that Badda Kachchayana who later became the queen of King Panduwasdeva (505-474 B.C.) with her party of royal maidens landed in Siri Gonamala harbor. She was a sister of Prince Digha, the founder of Dighavapi. Queen Badda Kachchanaya gave birth to 9 sons and one daughter. It was prophesied that the daughter named Unmada Chitra (Sinhala: the maddening beauty) would give birth to a son who would usurp the throne by killing his uncle in a great battle. The destiny wouldn’t be denied: Prince Pandukahaya, the pioneering rainwater reservoir builder of Sri Lanka made the prophesy realized.

The colony at Trincomalee was established by Sinhalese King Gajabahu (113 – 125 AD), who sent the prisoners taken from the coramandal coast of India to district. King Aggabodhi V (718-724 AD) built a monastery and a sitting hall (asana sala) for monks in Trincomalee. In the wars of Parakramabahu 1 (1153-1186 AD it is said, fleets with powerful naval forces were directed to Ramanna and South India from Trincomalee. In these expeditions, he successfully invaded and conquered Ramanna, Pandya and Chola kingdoms.

Commonwealth War Cemetery north of Trincomalee
Directions to the cemetery
From the main A6 road, just south of the town of Trincomalee, turn left onto the North East Coast Road, also known as the Nilaveli Road. The cemetery is approximately 6 kilometers along this road on the right (eastern) side.

Commonwealth War Cemetery located north of Trincomalee on Nilaveli lives onto bring us the memories of those splendid young men who gave their lives at the Trincomalee to retain the modern civilization Germany’s Nazism, Italy’s Fascism and Japanese Bushido. The custodian of the cemetery keep precise records of graves of each and every one buried in. The caretaker treasures a photograph of Princess Ann of England planting a tree in the year 1995 to mark the replacement of several headstones damaged. Commonwealth War Cemetery at Trincomalee holds the graves of Allied servicemen killed by Japanese bombing of Trincomalee harbor in 1942.

Quote Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The cemetery was originally the Combined Services Cemetery, but was taken over by the Admiralty from the military authorities in April 1948 for use as a permanent naval cemetery. On the withdrawal of United Kingdom Forces from Ceylon it became the property of the Ceylon Government who has granted the Commonwealth War Graves Commission security of tenure in perpetuity. Save for a few post-war and non-war graves it is purely a war cemetery, and service war graves were transferred to it from Trincomalee (St. Mary) Churchyard; Trincomalee (St. Stephen’s) Cemetery, Kottadi Cemetery, Jaffna; and Vavuiyna Combined Cemetery. A special memorial commemorates a naval man buried in Trincomalee (St. Stephen’s) Cemetery whose grave could not be found. The non-war graves are those of men of the Merchant Navy whose death was not due to war service, and of civilians, of whom some were employees of the Admiralty; while the post-war graves were dependents of servicemen, civilian employees of the Admiralty and dependents of such employees.
Unquote Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The hot springs at Kanniyai
7 km away from of Trincomalee a branch road to the left off the Anuradhapura-Trincomalee road leads to the seven Kanniyai Hot Springs renowned for the therapeutic properties of hot water. Water is warm in all the seven springs with each having water at a temperature that varies from the others.

Velgam Vehera
Velgam Vehere: Location
Velgam Vihara, 7km from Nilaveli can be reached by the access road off A12 to Anuradhapura past Kanniyai. On the road leading from Nilaveli to Velgam Vihara is a picturesque ancient rainwater reservoir now called Periyakulam, which is an ideal picnic spot although bathing isn’t recommended.

Velgam Vihara, today in ruins, was built in the 1st century AD. By the time King Nissankamalla (A.D. 1187 to 1196) ascended to the throne Velgam Vehera had become a great centre of pilgrimage so much so that the king had visited the holy shrine. The ruins are those of a stupa and an image house.
To quote Dr. Paranavithana “The fame of the religious establishment at this site was not confined to the immediate neighborhood. Nissanka Malla as recorded in the Pritidanaka – mandapa rock inscription at Polonnaruwa included Velgam Vehara among the sacred shrines to which he went on pilgrimage.

The other places mentioned in the same record being Mandalagiri, Mahagama, Devinuwara and Kelaniya. Thus it appears that in the 12th century, the shrine at Periyakulam viz. Velgam Vehera was considered as holy as those at Kaleniya and Devundera which today attract thousands of devotees. Velgam Vehera was built during the reign of Batiya Maharaja or King Bhatika Tissa II (circa 149 A.D.). An inscription on rock halfway up the hill that leads to the Velgam Vehera reveals that of gift of some fields of rice cultivation by a General named Abaya to Abagara Vihare (Abhagiri or Amaragiri Vihare) at Velgama. According to illustrious Dr. Senarath Parnavithana, Sri Lanka’s pre-eminent archeologist and historian the inscription refer to name of the Velgam Vehera Buddhist shrine by which it was known in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Today, Velgam Vehera is left in a pile of ruins. The time is ripe for the restoration.

Mutur, South of Trincomalee Harbour and Robert Knox
At Mutur, under a tree is a stone memorial is atone memorial to Captain Robert Knox (1641–1720) of British East India Company. Captain Knox of the ship St. Ann and his son, also named Robert Knox were captured here by the officers of King Rajasingha the second in 1660. Trincomalee was a dominion of Kingdom of Kandy at the time of arrival of Portuguese in Sri Lanka in 1505 and as such Robert Knox was taken to the Sinhala King of Kandy. The treaty between the Sinhala government and the Dutch East India Company signed in 1766 A.C. supports the statement that Batticaloa and Trincomalee with the places appertaining thereto was included in the Kandyan provinces. Batticaloa was mentioned as Puliyanduwa and Trincomalee as Thirikunamala in the treaty.

Captain Robert Knox died in the early years of captivity. Captain Knox’s son, also named Robert Knox was held in relative captivity within the Kandyan dominions for a couple of decade. Being held far from the conventional sense of captivity for nineteen years, Knox, making use of the freedom to roam the provinces of Kandy, Robert Knox eventually trekked his way out the natural fortress of Kandy, over the rings of guarded hills across the rivers with Stephen Rutland. The two men were able to reach Arippu, a Dutch fort on the north-west coast of the island. The Dutch at Mannar, Ceylon treated Knox generously and transported him to the Dutch maritime stronghold Batavia (now Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies, from where he was able to return home on an English vessel, the Caesar to London in September 1680, to give the modern world such an absorbing and interesting account of the medieval Kandyan kingdom of Sri Lanka by virtue of everything he has seen, observed, lived through and gone through during the 20 years of captivity in Sri Lanka, titled “An historical Relation of Ceylon.”

Today Sri Lanka Holidays rejoice his great escape from the natural fortress of Kandy.
Knox, together with Alexander Selkirk (1676 –1721), a Scottish sailor, who had spent four years as a castaway on an uninhabited island at the archipelago of Juan Fernández off the coast of Chile, was said to have provided the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe.

Kokkilai Lagoon north of Trincomalee
At the Kokkilai village located 50 km north of Trincomalee is the vast and shallow Kokkilai Lagoon is a paradise of the bird watchers. The shallows herein at the lagoon attract a wide variety of waders; wild duck and wild pelican are quite common; but the pride of the lagoon goes to the flamingoes. Flamingoes in such large numbers aren’t seen another wildlife sanctuaries of Sri Lanka with the exception of Bundala Bird Sanctuary. Peddling a rubber dingy is the ideal way to engage in exploring the Kokkilai sanctuary.

Trincomalee Bay Harbor: modern history
Trincomalee bay, with 53 km of shoreline, one of the largest, best sheltered and finest natural harbors in the world, was of great importance owing to its all-season security. Between 1617 and 1795 Trincomalee Bay changed hands between the Dutch, the Sinhalese king reigning at the medieval royal city of Kandy, the Dutch, French, Dutch, British, French, Dutch and British.
Fort Fredrick at Trincomalee built by Portuguese in 1624 was captured by a Dutch fleet lead by Admiral Westerwold in 1639. In 1665 a new fort was built at Trincomalee by the Dutch to defend against the onslaught of the British and the French. In 1672, when Holland was attacked by France, Britain, and two German states, the French captured Trincomalee and later they occupied Batticaloa. However soon the French fleet was evicted out of Trincomalee by the Dutch.

In late 18th century Trincomalee traded hands once more with the French capturing it again and later handing back to the VOC following the Peace of Paris in 1784. In 1795, Trincomalee taken over by the British, remained a British garrison fort and sea-port till the independence of Ceylon in 1948. Fort Ostenburg, a small fort built at the entrance to the inner harbor of Trincomalee by the Dutch and surrendered to the British 1795. It has been known as “the most powerfully gunned fort in Ceylon” with strong batteries at sea level and many guns on the ridge above them. However little of it remains today, mainly due to the contraction of Coastal artillery placements by the British since the 1920 in the Ostenburg ridge. Much of these are well preserved by the heroic Navy of Sri Lanka, which maintains the Hoods Tower Museum therein.

Trincomalee harbor during the First World War and Second World War
Coastal artillery guns were mounted during periods of the First World War and then again during the Second World War. Today it remains garrisoned by a detachment of the Sri Lanka Army but is accessible to visitors.
With steam engine powered ocean going vessels replacing the sail ships since the late 19th century, the requirement of harbors that could provide anchorage to larger naval ships emerged. Trincomalee, in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, became the sea port location of South East Asia Command- Air Force and Naval- of the British Royal Navy during the Second World War. Allied forces in Asia set Trincomalee up as major strategic harbor for Australasia and Pacific. Japanese air raid in April 1942, destroyed five Blenheim bombers, aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and the destroyer Vampire and corvette HMS Hollyhock were sunk off Kalkudha and Passekudah bay beaches of Sri Lanka Holidays to the south Seruwawila Royal Buddhist Temple south of Trincomalee.

Trinconamala or Trincomalee ancient history
Trincomalee was known by the names of Gokanna, Sri Gokanna, Sri Gonapura, Siri Gonamala, Gonamala Pattana, Gonagama-patuna and Gokannatitta during the periods of Sinhala Kings reigned at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The present Sinhala name Tirikunamala is derived from Siri Gonamala.
The earliest records made in the historical chronicles of Sri Lanka on Trincomalee refer to Gokarna, as the ancient sea-port town where Prince Panduvasudeva, King Vijya’s nephew sailed into Sri Lanka from Sinhapura, India. Also recorded is that Trincomalee was the sea-port Princess Bhadda Kacchana, who was to become the queen of King Panduvas Dev (505-474 BC), arrive with her party of Royal maidens. Princess Bhadda Kachchana was a sister of Prince Diga, the founder of Dighawapi. The city of Tincomalee was to serve as a major conduit for Sri Lanka’s seaborne trade during the glorious eras of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Vehera Gala (Sinhala: Buddhist temple on a rock) of Sri Lanka Holidays was the most ancient Buddhist edifice at Trincomalee. It was built by King Mahasen (276-303 AD), the builder of Minneriya tank (see Minneriya Wild life Park) and numerous other great rainwater reservoirs.

Trincomalee had been home to numerous Buddhist temples and Vihara (Monasteries) since the reign of King Mahasen (275-301 AD) built by King Mahasen (275-301 AD) was expanded by King Agbo V (718-724 AD) and was demolished by the Portuguese to build a fortress in the 16th century. Gokarna Vihare is one of the 74 Buddhist sites identified by the Department of Archeology of Sri Lanka. Triyaya, Weligam Vehera and Seruwila Raja Maha Vihara and Kuchchaveli are three living Buddhist heritage sites of the Trincomalee district.
An inscription found close to stone doorway of Colonial Ford Fredrick reveals of an arrival of Prince by the name of Codagama deva at the sea port of Gokkana (Trincomalee today) of unconquerable Lanka in 1223 AD.

Seruwawila Raja maha Viagra (Sinhala: Seruwawila Royal Buddhist Temple) located close to ancient man-made rainwater reservoir, was built by King Kavantissa of Ruhuna Kingdom, the father of the Hero of the Nation King Dutugamunu, in a diplomatic and religious maneuver to establish his authority over the prince at the ancient city of Seru in the second century AD. The ancient chronicles reveal Buddha’s frontal bone relic is enshrined at the small restored dagoba stupa.

Trincomalee town: Swami Rock: Koneswaram Kovil and Sri Gokanna Vihara Buddhist Temple (Vehere Gala)
According to much publicized view, there was a Hindu Kovil on the Swami Rock in the year 1624. It is also said that the most sanctified object of the Hindu Kovil, the phallic symbol of Shiva, was toppled over the cliffs into the depth of the Indian Ocean by the Portuguese. The Hindu rock was rebuilt yet ancient Buddhist temple wasn’t. Bandu de Silva points out that the sanctity of Koneswaram temple is based on mere folklore rather than proven historical facts. There is a belief the three Buddhist temples that stood on the hill over looking the Trincomalee harbor was demolished by the Portuguese and the building materials were used to build the fortress.

Trinconamala, Swayambahu linga, God Skanda and 2001 Space Odyssey
The accidental retrieval of Shiva symbol from the seabed of Trincomalee was narrated by Arthur C. Clarke in his book Reefs of Taprobane. While filming the Sinhala movie, Ran Mutu Duwa (Sinhala: Golden Pearl Island) (1962), Mike Wilson made the most fortunate discovery of Swayambhuwa Linga (a natural stone obelisk- self bodied regenerative organ, the symbol of Hindu God Shiva), one of the 69 authentic stone carved Siva Lingam artifacts whose antiquity runs into half a decade of millenniums. Such a discovery, not to mention the discovery of sunken treasure (Boby Kriegal, Mark Smith ) at the Great basses 8 miles off the beach of Kirinda in 1961 would have made any other mortal content for the rest of his lifetime; but not indomitable Mike Wilson.

The discovery of Swayambahu linga resulted in Mike Wilson renunciating his family. “It changed me completely. It was diksha (initiation) and darshan (divine vision) all in one. I understood something, how I had spent many lives here in Sri Lanka already, how this was not my first. I was prompted to go to Kataragama. One needs a place to sit and ponder; that place for me was Kataragama” Mike Wilson, an ex-Royal Navy scuba diver in an interview in the Sunday Times, 18th November, 1990. It is also said that the discovery of the holy object had provided Mike Wilson and Arthur C. Clarke with the core concept that later bore fruit in Stanley Kubrick’s (1928 – 1999) classic science fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was ranked among the top ten films of all time by 2002 “Sight & Sound” poll of critics. However, this claim was vehemently denied by Arthur C. Clarke.

Then again, in the great classic film, “Hal”, who runs most of spacecraft Discovery’s operations being disconnected, ends with a shot of endless voyage of no set direction into the space and the final frame of a new born baby implying birth death and rebirth, the regeneration. Or at least that’s how my father Baminahennadige Donald Benedict Peiris of Lakshaptiya, Moratuwa of Sri Lanka Holidays explained in response to my question of the meaning of the infant at the end of the film. We were simply stepping out of Majestic Cinema, Bambalapitiya, Colombo and I bombarded my father with questions. I am bunpeiris. Another couple of decades later his reply created a century of questions in me: Who are we? What is our purpose? From where did we come? Where are we going? Where will the science and technology take us? Who else are there in the universe? What is their purpose? If they are highly advanced why no contact was made with us, no help extended? Why does the almighty give and take back? Are they laughing at us holding their brace bones? We, such a fickle, frail, feeble species, imagine we are made in the image of god. Such arrogance! Such stupidity!
Mike Wilson on Swayambhuwa Linga: “one is aware of its enormous antiquity. And one’s mind is able to soar back to the distant past and see all those who have sat there before.”
Having restored Swayambhuwa Linga to where it belonged, Koneshwaram Kovil at Trincomalee, Mike Wilson settled down at the sacred city of Kataragama of Sri Lanka Holidays to become an ascetic in search of God Skanda of Kataragama. Mike Wilson wasn’t the only one to connect Trincomalee and Kataragama in search of spiritual conquest. The historical chronicles of Sri Lanka reveals Prince Manawamma, son the King Kashayapa the second (652-661 AD) found sanctuary in Trincomalee to chant powerful Mantra seeking benefaction of God Skanda at Kataragama to defeat the marauding Dravidian invaders from South India. Since King Manawamma reigned for 35 years (691-726 AD) at Anuradhapura, it can be deduced that homage to God Skanda of Kataragama bore fruit to the fullest.
However, it hasn’t been recorded that whether God Skanda ever made a divine appearance upon good old Mike Wilson, who began to be known by the name of Swami Siva Kalki, the human being. One of the few humans who had ever made a credible record, albeit a marginal comment, of an appearance by God Skanda is most illustrious Buddhist scholar monk Balangoda Ananda Mathriya Maha Nayaka Thero (1896- 1998) who had attained a lower level of spirituality, one of the stepping stone to the supreme enlightenment in the mode of gradual elevation.
Sunday Times, 18th November, 1990 narrates. When asked on the reaction of the Brahmins at the Koneshwaram Kovil to his discovery, Mike Wilson said with regret, “I’m afraid they had mixed feelings. They finally stated that this wasn’t the genuine lingo. Naturally I was outraged but later delivered it to the Koneswaram Temple.”
Wasn’t Swayambahu linga discovered by Mike Wilson endowed with the regular shape and features for the Brahmins to suffer mixed feelings?

The road to Trincomalee From Colombo
The whole Trincomalee Koneswaram affair sinks in the murky waters shrouded in grey mist: the existence of a Hindu Kovil in 1624 isn’t substantiated; Swayambahu linga discovered by Mike Wilson in 1962 isn’t authenticated. Furthermore, none of the 1000 pillars of the so called “The Temple of thousand Columns” was ever discovered unlike the colossal cluster of 1600 stone pillars (preserved ruins) of the Loha Maha Prasada (Sinhala: Brazen Palace) (narrated in the great Sinhalese historical chronicle of Mahawamsa) of Sri Lanka Holidays Anuradhapura built by “The Hero of the Nation”, King Dutugamunu (161-137 BC) that exists to date.

Kandy Road

February 13th, 2011

Kandy Road, Sri Lanka

Kandy, the natural fortress
Kandy had no roads leading to it from Colombo. Sri Lanka Holidays  Kandy (altitude: 489 meters), the gateway to the Central Highlands (altitude: 489-1800 meters) of  Sri Lanka, was a natural fortress of wooded mountains and as if that wouldn’t do, it was devoid of roads from the surrounding plains. In the early 1800s roads in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka were not very different from the Colonial Dutch tracks along the coasts. The roads were merely rough clearings cut through forests. There were no permanent bridges or culverts.

Since the establishment of the royal city of Kandy in 1592, the succession of kings reigning in Kandy, refrained from cutting pathways to the plains surrounding the central highlands of Sri Lanka leaving the Sinhalese inhabitants of the coastal areas to the sword and fire of the invading Europeans. With the exception of battles fought at Tricomalee and Jaffna by King Senarath (1604-1634 AD) and his son King Rajasinghe the second (1634-1684) at Colombo, kings reigning in Kandy had no pricks of conscience in leaving the lowlanders at the mercy of the European invaders., i.e. Portuguese (1505- 1656), Dutch (1656-1796) and English (1796-1948).

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Highlanders rebelled against the king when the Portuguese were at the brink of total annihilation in the lowlands.
Furthermore, we mustn’t forget the opportunity to defeat the Portuguese and thereby preventing their successor Dutch and British from occupying the coastal areas of Sri Lanka, was deliberately squashed by the Sinhalese in Kandy. That was during the relentless siege of impregnable Portuguese fort in Colombo by the great warrior King Sitawake Rajansinghe (1581-1592 AD) reigning at Sitawake, Awissawlla in the lowlands. Sinhalese in the highland stronghold of Kandy revolted against the king, resulting in withdrawal of the Sinhalese forces, who had brought down the Portuguese to the brink of total annihilation. Portuguese had already suffered the worst ever defeat of an European power in an Asian region: Mulleriyawa battle in the year 1562 at the hands of the Sinhalese forces of King Sitawake Rajansinghe, the most ferocious warrior king ever lived in Sri Lanka. Medieval Sinhalese chronicle “Rajavaliya” records that the waters Mulleiryawa marshy land overflowed with the blood of Portuguese. Reinforcement from Goa, the Portuguese maritime stronghold in India, couldn’t be prevented from another defeat on the banks of River Kelang ganga close to Colombo.

The last refuge of the Portuguese was at the great fort of Colombo: Portuguese, already reduced to slaughter rats, cats and dogs for meat, were thrown a  lifeline with the revolt by the Sinhalese in Kandy against King Sitawake Rajasinghe.

Sinhalese must stay united in all fronts and close ranks against all foreign enemies and local traitors.

Lowlanders had been put to the sword and the fire by the Portuguese.
The Portuguese with free reign given, held sway in the coastal area to toss up the Sinhalese infants high into the air and then hold their long spears high up to have them impaled. Following the death of the King Sitawake Rajasinghe, unable to bear the utter brutality of the Portuguese, a significant proportion of the Sinhalese inhabitants in the coastal areas found embracing Roman Catholicism was the only means of preventing their children killed. Portuguese wouldn’t massacre baptized infants and their parents.

The Lowlanders continue to suffer at the hands of European invaders., i.e. Portuguese (1505- 1656), Dutch (1656-1796) and English (1796-1948). The highlanders sat tight in the refuge city of Kandy.

The ultimate betrayal of the Sinhalese Buddhist nation at Kandy
The kings in Kandy had been saving the provinces of Kandy from the colonialists since 1505 only to be served in subjugation on a platter by the Sinhalese in Kandy themselves to the British on 2nd March 1815. And that was amidst “magul bera” traditional Sinhalese ceremonial explosive drum beatings at the Great Hall of Audience of Kandy. The Kandyan ministers in Kandy betrayed Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe, the last king of Sri Lanka. It was the ultimate betrayal of the Sinhalese nation and island of Sri Lanka.

Sinhalese must never allow division among themselves to dish out advantage to the foreign enemies and local traitors.

The downfall of the kingdom of Sri Lanka was the result of the shameless treachery and treason by the most powerful minister at the Royal Court of Kandy, Adigar Pilima Talawwa. The capture of the king Sri Wickrama Rajasingha was effected by the rebel chief Ekneligoda Dissawa, one of the henchman of Ehelapola, a Minister at the Royal Court of Kandy.

On the night of 13th February 1815, while General Brownrigg was at dinner with a small party of officers, intelligence of the capture of the king reached him. “He stood at table,” says an eye-witness, “and while the tears rolled down the cheeks, shook hands with every one present and thanked them for their assistance in furtherance of an object which seemed to be nearly accomplished, and which had been vainly attempted for nearly three centuries by three European powers in succession-the conquest of the kingdom of Kandy.” ‘From this day,’ says William Kinghton (History of Ceylon from the Earliest Period to the Present Time), “we may date the extinction of Sinhalese independence, an independence which had continued without any interruption for 2357 years.”

The island that couldn’t be conquered, in its glorious history running as far back to 543 BC, in spite of the succession of waves of invasions by the marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India in the ancient times and then by the Europeans in the medieval times, was served on a platter to the British by those who lived in a natural fortress city surrounded by rings of hills and the largest river of the island.

The jungle track to Kandy that witnessed the massacres of the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British
The one and only access to Kandy made use by the Portuguese and the Dutch to attack Kandy was a jungle track via Hanwella. Then came the British. Once again the main access road to Sri Lanka Holidays  Kandy and the interior of the country was via Hanwella, a small town in Sri Lanka, situated about 30 km from Colombo, that lies on the Colombo-Ratnapura main road, on the banks of the Kelani River. Hanwella was part of the medieval Seethawaka kingdom in the lowlands.

Hanwella, the battleground
Hanwella witnessed a many a ferocious battles between the Portuguese and the Sinhalese. From Hanwella a jungle track, along most of which men had to walk in single file, led through Ruanwella, Hettimulla to Attapitiya (Fort King), and so up what was then known as Balana Pass to Gannoruwa 15km East of Kandy. Gannarowa saw the massacre of Portuguese on their return to Colombo from Kandy. Indeed, the invaders would cut their pathway with great effort and reach Kandy to find the city is deserted. On each occasion the invaders were routed in their return journey; Kandyans were masters of jungle guerilla warfare.

Hanwella Today
Portuguese and other colonial influences are still visible in the town. Several Christian churches scattered in and around Hanwella is testimony to these influences. Hanwella lies on both Colombo-Ratnapura roads of Sri Lanka Holidays, namely the High-level and Low-level roads. The Kelani River, one of Sri Lanka’s major rivers, runs alongside the town.The nearest towns are Padukka (8 km), Pugoda (8 km), Kosgama (8 km) and Nawagamuwa (8 km).

Avissawella, the British outpost
Till the Kandy Road was built the British military outpost was at Avissawella, 15 km furthermore to the interior of the island from Hanwella, on the River Kelani Ganga. From Avissawella, a jungle track, along most of which men had to walk in single file, led through Ruanwella, Hettimulla to Attapitiya (Fort King), and so up what was then known as Balana Pass to Gannoruwa.

Balana Mountain Pass twice witnessed utter defeats of Portuguese forces in Sri Lanka. In 1594, a Portuguese army led by Lopez de Zosa escorting Sinhalese Princess Dona Catherina was totally destroyed. Commander Lopez de Souza gambled that escorting the Princess Catherina, the daughter of Kandy’s King Weerabahu who died while in exile at Mannar with Portuguese would lessen the resistance of the Sinhalese. Princess Dona Catherina fell into the hands of King Wimaladharma Suriya (Konappu Bandara) who married her in the victorious battlefield itself to consolidate his right to the crown of Sri Lanka. Following the demolition of the Portuguese forces, another army was sent to Ceylon by the Portuguese governor in Goa, India with Commander Don Geronimo De Azavedo. Once again the Portuguese force was defeated at Balana on their return from Kandy and for five days Sinhalese has chased the defeated army retreating to Colombo .In 1638 Diego de Mello got through but on the return, the whole army was slaughtered. The Dutch, in the year 1765, found their way into Kandy by another route followed by the British in 1803. But the classic ascent to Balana was made by the British in 1815 though no Sinhalese force encountered them there following the betrayal of the last king of Sri Lanka.

Major Skinner, then a second lieutenant had marched a detachment down the Kandy Road in 1819, narrates:
“The second day’s march was down the old Ballany Pass, over which, four years before, my father had brought up his battery of heavy guns, one of them a 42-pounder, for the taking of Kandy. It was a marvel to me how he could have accomplished it; I subsequently learned that he had parbuckled the guns from tree to tree. I can scarcely imagine anything better calculate to expunge from a son’s vocabulary the word ‘impossible’ than this feat; the mountain path was so narrow, broken, steep and rocky, that it was quite impassable for any horse and rider.

Thanks to Captain Dawson and Major Skinner, the near insurmountable mountain passes at Kadugannawa and Balana pass are made accessible for the Sri Lanka Holidays tourists.

Bridge of boats” over the Kelani river near Colombo
When then governor (1820-1822; 1824-1831) of Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) Sir Edward Barnes planned to construct a road from colonial seaport and capital of Colombo to the medieval royal city of Kandy, there was no bridge across the River Kelani Ganga at Colombo. In the year 1822 “bridge of boats” pontoon was thrown over the Kelani River near Colombo Grandpass on the South bank to Peliyagoda on the opposite bank by Lieutenant General John Sheaffer. This boat bridge, which was 500 feet long, was built over the Kelani River at Grand Pass in 1822 by Lieutenant General John Sheaffer. Bridge making use of 21 boats tied together, made entirely out of timber. It served passengers and goods crossing the Kelani River until the building of the Victoria Bridge in 1895.

[In the year 1995, Sir John Kotelawa, then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) commenced construction of another bridge over the River Kelani Ganga. On 3rd February 1959, the supreme leader of modern Ceylon, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake, then Prime Minister, had the new bridge opened by the bridge builders themselves. In 1998 colonial Victoria Bridge was dismantled. A new bridge called Japanese Friendship Bridge was built with aid from the Japanese Government. Another bridge named New Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Bridge was built in the year 2002. The Colombo-Katunayake Expressway is planned to connect to the new Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Bridge]

Kurunagala Tunnel
Quote Henry Charles Sirr
On every side Kandy is approached by mountain passes; and through one of these ran the celebrated Kurunagala tunnel, which was 537 feet in length. The road through the tunnel united at the base of the mountain, with principal route to Colombo, thus enabling troops advancing on Kandy, to turn the heights near the Kadugannawa pass. This tunnel was constructed by order of Sir Edward Barnes, to consolidate, so to speak, the British power after Kandy came into our possession; for a legend has been extant, from time immemorial, that no foreign power could retain the Kandian dominions, until a path was bored through the mountain. And a chief told us, that when his countrymen beheld this task commenced, their hearts failed them, but, when they saw it completed, and men walking through the bowels of the earth, they then knew it was their destiny to be ruled by a nation who could pierce rock, and undermine mountains. The tunnel was completed on the 8th of December, 1823, but we regret to say this has now collapsed.
Unquote Henry Charles Sirr (Late Deputy Queen’s Advocate for the Southern Circuit in the Island of Ceylon): Ceylon and the Cingalese, 1850, London.

The Kuruangala tunnel (year 1823), which was a result of an enormous endeavor in road construction engineering, in no way, ought to be mistaken for the piercing of a small rock at the hair-pin bend of Kadugannawa (please see the image in the cluster above) on Colombo-Kandy road. Unfortunately, that is precisely, what has been done erroneously by numerous websites on Sri Lanka Holidays. Bunpeiris

The British fulfill the near-ultimate prophecy on Sri Lanka
The prophecy was not confined to a legend or tradition of drilling a hill, which the British had already done with the 537 feet Kurunagala tunnel in 1823. The prophesy encompassed still more: bridging the River Mahaweli Ganga; taking possession of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha.

The British was to build a bridge over distance of 215 ft across the Peradeniya gorge in the year 1832. And the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha fell into their hands by accident on 2nd November 1818. “Its recovery had a manifest effect on all classes and its having fallen into British hands again by accident, demonstrated to the superstitious people that it was the destiny of the British Nation to govern the Kandyan Kingdom,” wrote Gov. Brownrigg to Earl Bathurst in triumph. Some months earlier, Keppetipola Dissawe had the Sacred Tooth Relic spirited away from under the very noses of the British sentries at the Dalada Maligawa.

The fortune favors the brave. They had the Golden Pearl of the orient in their hands to rip its wealth off and fatten the coffers of Empire or rather the market of Great Britain.

Quote Ali Foad Toulba Ceylon, the land of eternal charm
Barnes had, according to the Major Skinner (the chief engineer of Kandy road), who was one of his trusted lieutenants, the rare faculty of gaining the affections of those who served under him, and inspiring them with his own enthusiasm. The result was that within an incredibly short period the capital, first by way of Kurunegla and Galagedara, and finally by the Grand Kadugannawa Pass, by means of roads. These were marvels of then engineering skill, and were valuable in military sense, as they broke for ever the power of highland chieftains. But their chief use was in opening up the country to industrial enterprises.

Kaduganawa Pass
No article on Colombo-Kandy road would be complete without paying tribute to Captain William Francis Dawson of Royal Engineers of Ceylon, who made the road via Kadugannawa pass possible. Dawson died in Colombo on the 28th of March, 1829. prior to the completion of Colombo-Kandy road. In his memory is erected light house like Dawson tower on the summit of the Kadugannawa hill.

“We believe the road that winds round Kaduganawa Pass can be compared to nothing of the same construction in modern time, save the Simplon”. Henry Charles Sirr: Ceylon and the Cingalese, 1850, London

[Simplon Pass (Italian: Passo del Sempione) (2,008 m) is a high mountain pass between the Pennine Alps and the Lepontine Alps in Switzerland. It connects Brig in the canton of Valais with Domodossola in Piedmont (Italy). The pass itself and the villages on each side of it, such as Gondo, are in Switzerland. The Simplon Tunnel was built beneath the vicinity of the pass in the early 20th century to carry rail traffic between the two countries.]

Satin-wood Bridge of a single span across the Mahaveligamga (the largest river in Ceylon) at Peradeniya
The road to Kandy was completed by constructing graceful single-arch Satinwood Bridge spanning a distance of 215 ft across the Peradeniya gorge, over the Sri Lanka Holidays Mahaweli River in the year 1832. Designed and constructed by Lt. Colonel John Fraser (1790-1863), a proficient road-builder and cartographer with technical assistance from Captain Brown the satinwood bridge was not only spectacular but had an innovative, sophisticated structure. The bridge’s ribs were also of 4ft long satin wood. The wood was neatly wedged and jointed. Surprisingly no metal nails or screws had been used for this purpose, only wood.

[The spectacular and unique wooden bridge had been in us for long years from 1832 to1904 till it was dismantled and replaced by a stone bridge which too, in turn, was replaced by a modern concrete bridge]

Completion of the Colombo-Kandy Road
On this road (115 km in length) on the 1st February, 1832, the Colombo and Kandy mail-coach-the first mail-coach-the first mail-coach in Asia-was started; and it continued to run successfully till the road superseded by the railway in 1867. Sir George Barrow (Ceylon: Past and Present, 1857, London) narrated that the road from Colombo to Kandy was the only metaled road in the island, and is considered to be equal to any road in the world.

Barnes on the completion of the Colombo-Kandy Road

Sir Edward Barnes was hell bent to establish the total British domination of the by means of breaking off the isolation of newly acquired highlands from the lowlands. ‘It was of utmost importance’, Barnes narrated later, ‘to destroy the confidence which the Kandyan people had in the intricate and difficult nature of their country’. He added that with the opening of the road to Kandy, a first-class macadamized road, one of the great military barriers on which the Kandyans greatly relied was broken.

[ A plan for an alternative road to Kandy was brought into the drawing room only in the year 2000, after nearly 175 years since the British Governor of Ceylon Edward Barnes directed the construction of a military road between Colombo and Kandy in 1831.

This proposed alternative road would be constructed as an expressway from Kadawatha via Ambepussa to Katugastota. For the first time in Sri Lanka a stretch of over 6.6 kilometers of this expressway from Gampaha to Veyangoda would be built on concrete pillars leaving the flood prone areas of Gampaha district undisturbed and the banks of River Kelani Ganga intact. Colombo-Kandy expressway is expected to be completed in 2016.]

Barnes was right
Sinhalese miserably failed to mount a successful revolt against the British colonial occupation during the long years of subjugation that spanned from year 1815 to year 1948. Inexplicably, Sinhalese failed to rise, taking the advantage of the occasions even in which the Military garrison of Ceylon sank from 6000 troops to 1000 troops.

Two unsuccessful revolts in the year 1818 (Uva rebellion) and year 1848 (Matale rebellion) ended with British capturing and killing the leaders.

The last wish of Rajapaksa Wickramasekera Mudiyanselage Monarawila Keppetipola, the warrior Dissawe of Uva of the Kandyan dominions, uttered in the temple of the Sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa, Temple of Tooth Relic, where he was taken for his religious rights, before being led to be beheaded for his part in the Uva Rebellion in the year 1818, speaks the voice of the that patriotism which is the pure flame of an impassioned & selfless idealism. “May I be reborn in Lanka to continue the struggle for freedom” (of Sinhalese from the British)

Weerahennadige Francisco Fernando alias Puran Appu of Moratuwa (that’s my hometown-bunpeiris) of western coastal belt to the south of Colombo, in Colombo district faced the British colonial firing squad saying “if there had been half a dozen such men as me to lead there would not be a white man living in the Kandyan Provinces”. Fernando was betrayed by the Sinhalese rebels in Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy themselves.

Sinhalese must never allow dissent and division among themselves to pave the way to the foreign elements to destroy our nation. Sinhalese must always stand united against all foreign invaders and local traitors at all times. bunpeiris. Sri Lanka will protect Buddhism till the ascent of Maithree Buddha.

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Sri Lanka Travel Guide

November 4th, 2008

Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Sri Lanka Travel: the times, travels and travails of The Golden Pearl of the orient
Sri Lanka Travel narrates that the sea hath its pearls. Sri Lanka, the Land of Delights is The Golden Pearl of the seas of Exotic Orient: in shape, in beauty, in heritage, in glory, in strategic location and in value to the humanity. The preservation of Theravda Buddhism in written form, alone elevates the ancient island of  Sri Lanka to the pinnacle of the contributors to the world heritage.

There is probably no other ancient land, no other tropical island, no other holiday destination in the world that possess such a remarkable combination of diverse tourist attractions, natural and man-made; geographical & historical; cultural and archeological; heritage and heritance, within such a small area of land (65,525 square kilometers) as that of Sri Lanka. Travel Sri Lanka during your Sri Lanka Holidays: we the people at Sri Lanka Travel, Riolta Sri Lanka Holidays reveal for you to revel.

Sri Lanka Travel is for all seasons

Sri Lanka Travel is for all seasons

Sri Lanka Holidays narrates the shape of the glorious ancient tropical island. In the annals of history, Sri Lanka had most often been described as having a shape of a pearl, i.e., a drop pearl tapering towards the top and rounded at the bottom. The Hindu poets gracefully narrated Sri Lanka as “a pearl upon the brow of India”. Sri Lanka had been a source of exquisite pearls for millenniums: Sri Lanka had produced pearls since the visit of Chinese Buddhist bhikkhu monk scholar Fa-Hien (Fa Xian) to the island then known Lanka (Sinhala: the resplendent) to the colonial maritime powers of Portuguese (1615- 1750), Dutch ( 1751-1805)  and British (1805-1948).

Ham Vs. Pearl
The Dutch in Ceylon, in their meat and drink mood identified the shape of Sri Lanka to a cut of meat from the thigh of the hind leg of a pig: smoked ham. The Dutch would have been smoking a tad bit harder at In’t Aepjen. The Dutch even called the Fort they build in the year 1658 in the northernmost peninsula of the island of  Sri Lanka, Hammenhiel meaning “the heel of the ham.” The northernmost peninsula had, rather been Achilles heel of Sri Lanka, being the springboard to the marauding Dravidian invaders from powerful kingdom of Southern India bent on plunder and pillage of the ancient capital of Anuradhapura and the early medieval capital of Polonnaruwa (today, UNESCO World Heritage Sites), and then again, until the 2009, with its terrorism that wreaked havoc in the island, having made the western journalists draw the top dollar from the interested parties, sensationalize the bad news with the titles such as “Tear drop of India” and “Paradise Lost”.

The ancient Indian poets who composed epic poems of Mahabharata and Ramayana together with other writers who composed historical narratives of India while naming Sri Lanka, “a pearl upon the brow of India” would have turned in their graves. Milton too. The modern Indian advocates on the concept of emerging major world powers, are unlikely to take the unintended implication in good humor either: if Sri Lanka had been the teardrop of India, then India itself could have been a major world cry baby, a far cry of a super power that it claims to become.

Sri Lanka was never in the history, a part of India.
Sri Lanka, unlike India’s modern neighbors, though never in the history was a part of India, has been the proud custodian of the cannon of Orthodox Theravada Buddhism emerged in India in the 6th century B.C. Destruction of Sri Lanka, could have been a loss, in particular to the heritage of India and in general to the heritage of the world. It was not destined to be so. According to the historical chronicles of the ancient island, Sri Lanka is protected by Satara Waram Deviyo (Sinhala: the four guardian gods of Sri Lanka), four superior and resplendent beings living in other worlds. Sri Lanka is home to the supreme treasure that neither a human being nor his agent could ever destroy: the palladium of the nation, Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha at Sri Lanka Holidays Kandy (Left Tooth Relic of the Supreme Being) and Somawatiya (Right Tooth Relic of he Supreme Being).

Nobody beats destiny
Another tradition that is current amongst the Sinhalese is that, when Buddhism shall have completed 2500 years, a prince named Diyasena will establish a Buddhist Kingdom in Ceylon. Then, it is said, the faith will shine forth in glory and be a beacon to the whole world, and Lanka itself will be prosperous and joyous. This prediction, which originated from a verse in a poetical work, written during the reign of Parakrama Bahu the 6th of Kotte-the last period of brilliant achievement of the Sinhalese during the vicissitudes of the past 500 years. [The Revolt In The Temple (April 1953)]Hail the Heroes of the Nation & The Hero of Modern Sri Lanka, Prince Diyasena of “Revolt in The Temple” or “Dharma-Vijaya” (Sinhala: Triumph of Righteousness) maestro of “The Turn of the Screw” at “The Turn of the Tide” from 26th July 2006 at Mother River, Our Mother Lanka, to 19th May 2009 at “The Sea of Conches”,

Hail My Sri Lanka! Viva Our Island!

The Paradise Regained, the super supreme western powers and colonialists that ripped the orient nations of their wealth, are now robbed of their grand opportunity to perpetuate the title of “Tear Drop”. To the Sri Lankans, their island of ancient glory coupled with clear and present peace is non-other than a Golden Pearl of the exotic Orient.

To kiss or not to kiss the subcontinent: a bridge too close.
Not only the sheer geographical shape of Sri Lanka, but also the setting of the island separated by Palk Strait, mere 32km off the shore of the southern coast of India catches the eye, its fascinating- the subcontinent as well as the small island have tongues of land of their lands jutting out, in the same angle, just on the verge of reaching, almost, not yet; I am in two minds to let you kiss me. Is that what the island is wondering about?

Visit Sri Lanka anyday: Sri Lanka Travel is for all seasons, year round
The main South Western Monsoon (May to September) and North Eastern Monsoon (December to February) defining the tourist seasons of the tropical island, the South Western and Southern Coastal Belt serve the main tourist season during October to April while Eastern Coast serves the secondary tourist season during April to September. Sri Lanka Travel is for all seasons, the year round.

Make merry in Sri Lanka beaches
Bali has its beaches from palm fringed white sand on the east coast to the wilder sand beaches on the west coast, with sleepy undisturbed coves in-between. So does Sri Lanka from the Sri Lanka Holidays South western & southern coastal belts replete with palm fringed pristine bay beaches to never ending wild undisturbed secluded white sandy beaches of Eastern coast belt.

Of the 1340 km of coast line of Sri Lanka, South-western and southern coastal belts are replete with lovely palm fringed sandy beaches that spread from Beruwala to Tangalle. In some of the areas, these twin coastal belts are elevated forming picturesque headlands. Unawatuna beach close to VOC Galle Dutch Fort, is an example of a bay beach with a headland. The eastern coastal belt too, though bold and rocky in some places, is home to several fine beaches such as Nilaveli and Uppaveli close to Trincomalee and Arugamby, Passikuda, and Kalukuda close to Batticalo.

On both sides of the island of Sri Lanka, the sandy coastal belts are interspersed by shallow lagoons of brackish water causing estuaries of enchanting beauty. Sri Lanka Holidays Bentota beach, home to Bentota national Holiday Resort is a prime example.

Central Highlands: live in colonial sanatoriums of Sri Lanka
Egypt has its healing climate, the Engadine of Swiss Alps its lovely scenery, Brazil its wooded wilderness, the Alps their flowery meadows, and Peru is high plateau; but here, in Sri Lanka, easy of access and free of ardors of long journeys, are all these and a hundred other attractions, forming a consummate combination of the most delightful conditions a man can live: the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka.

Four-fifth of the island consists of undulating plains that give way to the lofty mountains in the Sri Lanka Holidays Central Highlands of salubrious climate slightly titled towards the south western region. The concentration of hills in a single region, triangular in shape, south of Kandy, has resulted in “The Hill Country of Sri Lanka”, popularly called “Central Highlands of Sri Lanka”, a world apart in weather, climate, vegetation and terrain with the surrounding plains. Off the Central Highlands flow most of the 105 rivers of Sri Lanka in radial pattern to the plains surrounding it.

Rejuvenate at Hill country sanatoriums
Hatton, a starting point to Adam’s Peak Sri Pada mountain; Diyatalawa, A military canton established in the British colonial era; Haputale, Home to Lipton’s seat;  Sri Lanka Holidays Nuwara Eliya, the British colonial sanatorium, Bandarawela, the main market town of the hills; Ella, the Paradise Village are home to seamless plantations of Ceylon Tea, the finest tea in the world.

Get enlightened at Ancient Kingdoms: living testimony to the 2553 years of unbroken recorded Sinhalese Buddhist Civilization of Sri Lanka
Egypt has its great pyramid of Giza, Iran its sub terrain aqueduct system of Qantas, Indonesia its Borobudur, Rome its Vatican, Jordan its Edomite stronghold of Petra; but here, in Sri Lanka, easy of travel, within a few hours, are living monuments of heritage that rival all those: ancient Anuradhapura’s Jetavana Stupa, Abhayagiri Stupa and Ruwan Weli Seya Stupa; ancient Polonnaruwa’s and Anuradhapura’s vast ancient Irrigation networks consisting of enormous rainwater reservoirs, the man made lakes; ancient Golden Dambulla Golden Rock temple; medieval Kandy’s Sacred Temple of the Tooth; ancient Sigiriya’s Lion Rock Citadel. All these are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Begin Sri Lanka Travel in Colombo
Sri Lanka Travel begins at Colombo, the prime airport, sea-port, emporium and commercial capital of the Indian Ocean Island of Sri Lanka. Having visited Sri Lanka Holidays Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara (Sinhala: Kelaniya Royal Colombo Buddhist Temple), having learned a few important episode of 2553 years of uninterrupted glorious history of Sri Lanka, We make a move to Kandy. The Colombo-Kandy road begins at Queens’s House, Fort, Colombo. Do your Sri Lanka Travel with Riolta Lanka Holidays (Pvt.) Ltd., 10 minutes from CMB Bandranayake International Airport, Colombo. Riolta, bunpeiris.

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Kandalama Heritance



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