Cities Of Sri Lanka


Colombo is capital of Sri Lanka. Sheltered from the South-west Monsoon by a barely perceptible promontory jutting out into the sea, Colombo's bay was an important site for Muslim traders before the colonial period. However, it is essentially a colonial city, whose rise to pre-eminence did not start until the 19th century and the establishment of British power. Before that it was a much less important town than Galle, but when the British took control of Kandy and encouraged the development of commercial estates, the Island's economic center of gravity moved north. The capital, Colombo offered two east routes into the Kandyan highlands.


Dambulla is sited on a gigantic rock which towers more than 160m above the surrounding land. The Rock is more the 1.5km around its base and summit is at 550km. The caves were the refuge of King Walagamba (Vattagamini Abhaya)
When he was exile for 14 years. When he return to the throne at Anuradapura in the 1st century BC, he had magnificent rock temple built at Dabulla.
The site has being repaired and repainted several times in the 11th, 12th and 18th centuries.

Dambulla was designated a World Heritage site in 1991. The caves has a mixture of religious and secular painting and sculpture. There are several reclining Buddha's, including the 15m long sculpture of the dying Buddha in Cave 1. the frescoes on the walls and ceiling from the 15th-18th centuries; the ceiling frescoes show scenes from the Buddha's life and Sinhalese history. Cave 2 is the largest and most impressive, containing over 150 statues, illustrating the Mahayana influences on Buddhism at the time through introducing Hindu deities such a s Vishnu and Ganesh.
A new large white Buddha (similar to the ones in Kandy and Mihintale) is planned for Dambulla. There is little evidence of monks who are housed in monasteries in the valley below where there is a monks' school.


The city of Kandy lies at an altitude of 488.6 meters (1629 feet) above sea level in the center of the island and surrounded by the ranges of mountains. It is still very much a focal point of Sri Lankan culture. It was the capitol of last generation of Sri Lanka`s kings until it fell in to the hands of British in 1815.
Kandy was originally known as Senkadagala pura after a hermit named Senkada who lived there. Many of Sinhalese people call it “Mahanuwara” meaning the "Great City”. But the name Kandy was derived from the Word Kanda, which means mountain. Due to it’s geographical location Kandy was not an easy target for the foreign invaders who could gain the control of coastal area of the island.

Thus Kandyan culture was abler to foster and maintain its own social structure, mode of living, Art & Architecture. The kings of Kandy ensured the safety and sovereignty of the hill capitol and it’s great culture until the British finally captured the city in 1815.

The royal palace in Senkadagala was built by King Vikramabahu the 3rd of Gampola on the advice of a Brahmin who selected the site as a lucky ground for a Capital city. The first king to ascended the throne of Senkadagala was Sena Sammata Wickramabahu.


Kurunegala is the royal capital for only half a century, starting with the reign of Buvanekabahu II (1293-1302) who was followed by Parakramabahu IV (1302-1326).There is little left of the Tooth relic temple save few stone steps and part of doorway.

Nearby are three earlier capitals - Panduvasnuwara (north - west) with remains of a moated palace and monasteries from the 12th century, Dambadeniya (south - west, mid-13th century), and Yapahuwa (north).

Today, Kurunegala is an important cross - roads town, astride the route from Kandy to the Puttalam and Colombo to Anuradapura. It enjoys a pleasant location overlooked by huge rocky outcrops some of which have been given names of the animals they resemble:- elephant rock, tortoise rock etc. According to a legend, when during drought, the animals threatened the city's water supply, they were magically turned into stone, Situated at the foot of the 325km black rock Etagala there are excellent views of across the lake from the Top. It is also within easy reach of a few sites which are not very often visited


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