Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle and What to Expect

If Sri Lanka is on your 2019 holiday plans, then be sure to include time to explore Sri Lanka’s rich and interesting Cultural Triangle. An island saturated in culture and history, the Cultural Triangle is a connection of three of the foremost locations that moulded Sri Lanka’s historic journey. The great ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. Within the triangle you also get the fascinating Dambulla Rock temple and caves, the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Ritigala and the Mihintale rock which was the pivotal scene for the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka. The Cultural Triangle is a treasure trove of ancient monuments, structures and temples that leave you in awe of the ancient Sri Lankan ingenuity.


Visit the bustling city of Anuradhapura, that though modern retains its aura of ancient splendour. Being an ancient capital city, its majesty is unmistakable as you come across one impressive ancient temple or monument after another. Sri Lankan’s are proud of their rich heritage and work towards preserving their history. It is advisable to travel earlier in the morning or towards late afternoon, if you want to spend time exploring the ancient attractions, as early to mid-afternoon the heat can become quite intense.


The island’s second ancient capital city, Polonnaruwa is on a more compact scale to that of sprawling Anuradhapura but no less captivating. It has Brahamin monuments built by the Cholas giving visitors a glimpse into an important part of the island’s history. The city is mostly famous for being a garden-city created by the capable king Parakramabahu the 1st in the 12th century. Walk around exploring the archaeological delights that hark back to the city’s glory days.


Honestly, who hasn’t heard about Kandy? This beautiful city is home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic or the Dalada Maligawa and has a large, serene lake as its eye-catching centre piece. Surrounded by tree-laden hills, often shrouded by a gentle mist, the city is a bustling hub of activity that blends seamlessly with its historic architecture and background. Kandy is where visitors can see the magnificent cultural pageant the Kandy Perahera in August. However, this vibrant city is worth visiting anytime of the year.


Within the Cultural Triangle and its outskirts are many other locations that should be visited, such as the Ritigala Forest Monastery. This relatively easy hike takes visitors on a journey through time, with ruins that present to perfection the life of the monks that use to reside there. Be sure to visit the library ruins that overlook the lush vast surrounding and you can experience the peaceful solitude the monks would have experienced while referring their ancient scripts.

Another not to be missed experience is the climb to the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Interesting history notwithstanding the climb itself puts you into a contemplative mood as you pass the mirror wall, visit the frescos and reach the summit where you feel the magnitude of building an entire palace up in the clouds. The ruins give you a very good feel for the layout and of particular interest is the King’s throne which overlooks the bathing ponds.