The most intriguing and popular world heritage site in Sri Lanka is Sigiriya dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, a stupendous rock on which a particular king built a magnificent place. The rock face was covered with sensual frescoes of celestial maidens, described as the world’s largest picture gallery. S few frescoes exist, and there is a remarkable water garden complex, an excellent example of Sri Lanka’s hydraulic sophistication.
Sigiriya is located in the Matale district in the center near the town called Dambulla. A visit to Sigiriya will show a 1600 years old fortress that was built by Kind Kashyapa. This massive compound is protected by two moats and three ramparts. It is once known to be the private residence of King Kashyapa and also one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka. There is a huge gateway shaped like a lion and the place derives its name from this gateway. The fortress complex, constructed in the 5th century, includes attractions such as the royal gardens, one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, and the mirror wall which is adorned with ancient graffiti. The gigantic lion’s paws greet visitors before the summit. Sigiriya museum at the foot of the rock has a plethora of artifacts related to Sigiriya on display for visitors seeking information regarding the history.
Dambulla cave temple also known as the golden rock temple is also one of the world heritage cities in Sri Lanka. The cave temple is made of a massive granite outcrop. Dambulla cave temple is nestled in the central province. This temple displays over 150 priceless Buddha statues, intricate sacred cave paintings, and huge murals. It is Sri Lanka’s best-preserved Buddhist shrine within ancient caves. Even before entering the temple, a giant buddha statue built with gold awaits you at the main entrance of the Dambulla museum on the foothill.
Other than the cave temple there are plenty of places to visit at Dambulla. Minneriya national park is just about a 50-minute drive away from Dambulla town and this is one of the best places to see wild elephants, the beautiful park is a nature lovers’ delight. Another paradise for nature lovers near Sigiriya and Dambulla is Popharms Arboretum. A man-made forest created by an English man. Jathika Namal Uyana is a rare attraction on earth and one of the most unique with its pink quartz mountain range topping the list. The place is also been awarded as the largest ironwood forest in South Asia. Although, a little way away about 20km from the city of Dambulla, the Arangala mountain peak is one of the best Dambulla attractions for thrill seekers. The adventure allows you to fully explore this mountain range as there are plenty of trails, paths, and camping zones.
Sigiriya and Dambulla are the most popular places to visit in the central province of Sri Lanka. Both places are dotted with numerous age-old temples and other historical, cultural, and adventurous places that attract tourists.