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I had wanted to write this article under the title “8 Historical Places In Sri Lanka for a memorable Sri Lanka Heritage Tour” for a long time because visiting historical places are one of the very popular activities among travelers and is included in most Sri Lanka tour packages such as 4 days Sri Lanka cultural tour. But in front of a heap of work and a busy schedule I had to keep it postponed. But this time I thought of completing this article because the inquiries for Sri Lanka trips with historical attractions are increasing day by day.

Lankatilaka image house of Polonnaruwa is a vaulted type temple. The image house dates back to the 11th century and it was built by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186 A.D.). Lankatilaka was one of the biggest images of houses that existed on the island. Today it looks like in this image. A part of the image house is destroyed. Some statues and parts of the building still remain.

There are cities around the world that are considered to be pieces of living history, where the visitors can see not only the presence of everyday life but tangible in myriad forms from ancient temples to forts and palaces. Many centuries of old human habitation are visible in those ancient structures, and the cosmopolitan necessities like highways and cables have to be carefully built, lest the precious past is destroyed. Here is a list of 8 historical places in Sri Lanka that could be a part of most Sri Lanka heritage trip packages, these ancient places in Sri Lanka are known for their historical monuments and storied pasts.

This article is mainly about historical places in Sri Lanka that are included in Sri Lanka Heritage Tours. You might be also looking for some information on historical places in Sri Lanka, that’s why you landed on this page, I think. I’m intending to write about only the most popular historical places in Sri Lanka. Because, if I try to pack all the historical places in Sri Lanka into this article, I will not be able to complete it within a few hours, it might even take years because the number of historical places in Sri Lanka is that much great.

Sri Lanka from a holiday destination perspective

Sri Lanka tourism is thriving on a big scale and the number of travelers increasing day by day. Sri Lanka had been primarily a beach holiday destination in the past but now it is branching out into other areas such as Eco-tourism, adventure holidays, and cultural tours. I thought this article cannot be delayed any more because we get a large number of emails from travelers around the world and making questions like “what are the popular historical places in Sri Lanka”, “what are the historical places we can visit during our Sri Lanka heritage tour” etc.

Visiting historical places on a Sri Lanka heritage tour

After having done a lot of research, we have chosen below mentioned historical sites as important historical places to scratch on a Sri Lanka trip, we discuss only these few historical places in Sri Lanka. By far these are the most visited historical places in Sri Lanka.

All historical monuments listed in the blog post have an important historical background. And they are located in different parts of the island. If you wish to visit all of them it is recommended to plan on a customize Sri Lanka tour inclusive of all places.

If you have time constraints and are not able to dedicate 5 days to a trip, you may venture on a short trip and visit a few places, E.g. one day Sri Lanka trip to Sigiriya allows you to visit both Sigiriya rock and Dambulla temple. More than half of the historical places on the island are religious sites and therefore sacred places.

All visitors to these sacred places suppose to dress in a particular manner to uphold their religious values. There is a set of rules that every visitor to religious sites observes while visiting sacred places in Sri Lanka. If you are wondering what these rules are? Check this article “13 RULES TO OBSERVE WHILE VISITING SRI LANKA BUDDHIST TEMPLE, SRI LANKA TEMPLE DRESS CODE TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH DRES’s CODE“.

This nature tour includes rainforest trekking, white water rafting, safari, hiking and trekking. This adventure tour also includes whale watching based in southern Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka cultural triangle

Any article about Sri Lanka’s historical places is incomplete without talking about the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle harbors many hundreds of ancient monuments and more than fifty percent of important historical places of Sri Lanka are located within the borders of the cultural triangle. Almost every visitor to Sri Lanka visits the cultural triangle to experience the rich historical past of Sri Lanka.

In the central province of Sri Lanka and 200km from Colombo, this cultural triangle of Sri Lanka runs parallel to the A9 main road, which runs from Kandy to Jaffna. This is one of the most popular roads on the island that link northern Sri Lanka to the rest of the island. For centuries A9 road was a geographical and cultural crossroads, a place of meetings and exchange. It had been important for travelers and it attracted travelers from all over the world, however, the A9 road was largely neglected from 1983 to 2009 due to the armed conflict in northern Sri Lanka, and since 2009 has been doing so again.

The iconic historical tourist attractions in the cultural triangle such as Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden temple, and Polonnaruwa ancient city has been recognized as important parts of the ambitious development program that aims to attract three million visitors in the coming years and make Sri Lanka one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Asia.

How long does a cultural triangle tour lasts

Sri Lanka heritage tour may last between 2 days to a few weeks, depending on the number of historical sites you like to visit. If you opt for the 2 days Sri Lanka heritage tour you can see scratch the important places of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. If you like to have a good picture of the cultural triangle it is recommended to spend at least 5 days here.

If you are a leisure traveler and like to explore the most important part of the cultural triangle, a 3 days tour in the cultural triangle does the job for you. The 5 days Sri Lanka heritage tour covers Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy.

Cultural triangle Sri Lanka: what do we see?

Many UNESCO world heritage sites have made their residence here. These historical monuments represent the grandeur of the ancient flourishing civilization of Sri Lanka. Imposing Dagobas, palaces, Buddhist temples, hospitals, gardens, reservoirs, and many other structures that sprang many thousands of years are resting here.

The most magnificent ancient structures take modern engineers by surprise. Ancient engineers had been able to build many structures that are superior in design and technology, despite the absence of cutting-edge technologies that we use today. E.g the sluice of the modern reservoir was invented by ancient engineers in the 3rd century BC and named BISOKOTUWA. The Bisokotuwa follows the same principle as the modern sluice.

Many ancient structures exist for many thousands of years. Some of the ancient structures in the cultural triangle had been huge structures at that time and surpasses the imposing size of many modern buildings, E.g. the Jetwanaram stupa had been the 4th tallest brick building in the world with 400 feet in height it was built in 4th century AD.

If you have not read about Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle, I highly recommend this article under the title “5 IMPORTANT CITIES OF CULTURAL TRIANGLE SRI LANKA“.

If you look for a perfect program to visit historical places in the Sri Lanka cultural triangle, I recommend you to look into the article under the heading of “SRI LANKA CULTURAL TRIANGLE ITINERARY“.

What are the top 8 historical places in Sri Lanka?

  • Anuradhapura historical city – 200 km
  • Polonnaruwa historical city 229 km
  • Sigiriya Rock – 176 km
  • Dambulla golden temple – 160 km
  • Tooth relic temple – 115 km
  • Kataragama temple – 300 km
  • Seetha Temple – 173 km
  • Adams peak

1 Day trip to Sigiriya

This is the shortest trip to the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. If you are in a hurry and have only a few hours to explore historical monuments, this is the best bet for you. The tour covers Dambulla golden cave temple and the Sigiriya rock fortress. The tour starts at 05.00 am from Colombo and finish at around 06.00 pm.

2 Days Sri Lanka heritage tour to Sigiriya, Kandy and Dambulla

This two-day trip takes you to 3 of the most important historical sites of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya, Kandy, and Dambulla. This is a perfect Sri Lanka heritage tour that demands only 2 days of your time.

4 Days Sri Lanka Heritage Tour to the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka

This is a perfect itinerary for travelers, who have a cultural buff, with this tour itinerary you are able to Sigiriya rock, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla temple and Kandy tooth relic temple in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.

3 days Sri Lanka Heritage Tour with Kandy and upcountry

This is a 3 day Sri Lanka heritage trip that includes the tooth relic temple and the Sita Amman temple. The tour is very popular among Indian travelers, who are interested in exploring important sites mentioned in the Ramayana tour. The tour also includes activities like visiting the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, tea gardens, waterfalls, and Nuwara Eliya.

Sri Lanka culture cocktail tour 6 days tour with historical monuments

This is a Sri Lanka round tour that includes all major historical places of Sri Lanka. The program also includes wildlife reserves, beaches, tea gardens, and Sri Lanka mountains.

Simply Sri Lanka 8 days Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

Another popular Sri Lanka multi-day trip that allows you to visit major historical monuments of Sri Lanka. It also includes the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Galle, Sri Lanka upcountry as well as a sightseeing tour of Colombo.

The historical city of Anuradhapura

If you are intending to explore the historical places in Sri Lanka, the First historical site to explore undoubtedly be Anuradhapura because it is the root of Sri Lankan history. None of the Sri Lanka tours to explore historical sites of Sri Lanka is complete if it does not include Anuradhapura. It was the capital-ruling center of Sri Lanka for more than a thousand years, starting from the 3rd century BC.

Anuradhapura is one of the oldest cities in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura was the first capital of ancient Sri Lanka and is considered the birthplace of the Sinhalese civilization. Many dozens of Dagobas, stupas, and palaces shine brightly on the plains of the ancient city, overlooking the nearby ancient tank “Nuwara Wewa”. The monuments in Anuradhapura are instantly recognizable and celebrated as a symbol of Classical Sinhalese architecture. Anuradhapura hosts many dozens of archaeological sites, temples, ancient tanks, and museums with archaeologists studying the ancient Sinhalese art, culture and architecture

Many historical buildings in the ancient city are still in good shape despite their excitant for many centuries. Places such as Ruwanweli Stupa, and Thuparama dagoba are in good shape while some other ancient structures are reduced to ruins by the sun, rain and wind.

The historical part of Anuradhapura is belonging to the UNESCO world heritage Site. The historical part of Anuradhapura includes prominent landmarks such as Isurumuniya, Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweli Stupa, Kuttam Pokuna, many other places, and museums.

What are the 8 most important monuments to visit in Anuradhapura historical city?

These 8 places also called “Atamasthana”, considered being very sacred and every Buddhist should witness these 8 places within their lifetime.

  1. Sri Maha Bodhi
  2. Ruwanweli stupa or dagoba
  3. Isurumuniya
  4. Jetawanarama Dagoba/Stupa
  5. Abhayagiri Dagoba/stupa
  6. Meirisaweltiya Stupa
  7. Lankarama Stupa
  8. Lovamahapaya

Visiting Sri Maha Bodhi

At the heart of the historical site is Sri Maha Bodhi, which is the oldest documented tree in the world and the tree is 2247 years old. The entire story about the tree is documented in ancient chronicles. It is considered to be one of the most sacred places for Buddhists in the world.

This temple is visited by many thousands of local as well as foreign travelers every day. As per the historical evidence, the Bo Tree was planted at the present site in the 2nd century BC.

There had been many Buddhist temples around the sacred tree in the past. The ruler of the country is the guardian of the sacred tree. And it is under the purview Peradeniya botanical garden and the monks residing in the monastery.

Thuparama stupa & Ruwanweli stupa

Around the corner is Ruwanweli Stupa another important Buddhist monument, it was built by King Dutugemunu in the 2nd century BC. About a hundred meters away from Ruwanweli Stupa is the Thuparama Dagoba, which is believed to be the oldest Stupa in Sri Lanka and was built by King Devanampiyatissa in the 2nd century BC.

Apart from these three places, there are many dozens of important places to visit in this historical site such as Twin pond, Lankarama dagoba, Samadhi Buddha statue, Jetawanarama dagoba, museums, Moonstone …the list is endless and a tour around this historical city of Anuradhapura is one of the most loved guided tours in Sri Lanka.

You might be wondering where to get more details on Anuradhapura’s historical city and what it offers. Please check this article “ANURADHAPURA SRI LANKA TEMPLE“.

Polonnaruwa: One of the important historical places in Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy mark three corners of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Among the important cities in the cultural triangle, Polonnaruwa is regarded as one of the most-visited archaeological sites on the island.

Polonnaruwa historical site is an essential part of every Sri Lanka heritage trip. The historical city of Polonnaruwa was the second ruling capital of the Sri Lankan dynasties and held the role of capital of Sri Lanka for several decades in the 10th and 11th centuries until it fell into negligence due to the south Indian invasions.

Sri Lanka culture cocktail is the perfect Sri Lanka tour to visit all the important historical monuments on the island. This interesting 6 days Sri Lanka trip also includes many other interesting activities such as wildlife safari, visiting mountains, tea gardens, pristine beaches and city tours.

Nature of ruins found in Polonnaruwa

The historical places of Polonnaruwa are much younger than the ruins of Anuradhapura, hence the temples, places, hospitals, parks and other historical places of Polonnaruwa is in very good condition compared to the historical places of Anuradhapura. Owing to this reason, a large number of tourists opt to visit Polonnaruwa instead of visiting Anuradhapura, when they have timing constraints.

What are the 7 most important historical places in Polonnaruwa?

  1. Parakrama Samudra
  2. The palace of Parakramabahu (12th century)
  3. Galvihara with 3 gigantic granite statues (12th century and)
  4. Vatadage (12th century)
  5. Thuparama
  6. Rankoth vehera (stupa)
  7. Pothgul Vehera

These are some of the noteworthy places in the historical site of Polonnaruwa. Don’t forget to step into the historical museum of Polonnaruwa near Parakrama Samudra, this is the best place to have a good insight into the glorious historical past of Polonnaruwa.

You are probably thinking about where to get more details on Polonnaruwa and what to see in Polonnaruwa, check this article “POLONNARUWA“.

This 3-day Sri Lanka tour includes important cultural and historical monuments such as Sigiriya rock, Dambulla golden temple, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. The tour also includes wildlife tours, a spice/herbal garden, Peradeniya botanical garden and many other places.

The historical site of Sigiriya rock fortress

As one of Sri Lanka’s most visited historical sites, the Sigiriya rock fortress welcomes nearly about one million tourists every year, and it should be on every traveler’s bucket list, who is fascinated by exploring historical sites during their trips.

Sigiriya rock is a UNESCO world heritage site

Sigiriya is another UNESCO world heritage site on the island and it is one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. The well-planned garden is comprised of swimming pools, palaces, caves, guardrooms, protected walls, and a ditch.

Sigiriya rock fortress is dating back to the 5th century AD, and it was built by King Kashayapa. The frescoes of Sigiriya are world-renowned and show similarities to paintings at Ajanta caves. The paintings are also dating back to the 5th century AD. They were painted using natural colors but they are still very bright and clear.

The restoration work of this archaeological site began during British rule in Sri Lanka (18th century). Still, the excavations and restoration activities are going on at the site under the purview of the archaeological department.

According to the archaeologists, the King and his retinue lived on the rock. King’s throng, ruined place, a swimming pool, and many other structures are still to be seen on the rock.

The rock rises like a mushroom from the surrounding jungle up to 500 meters above sea level. Climbing the rock in 1200 steps is a bit difficult task, however, the reward is unforgettable, and the spellbinding view from the top of the rock will make an everlasting picture on your mind.

On top of the rock, there had been a palace (today only the foundation to be seen), which was occupied by the king, few steps away from the palace is a huge pond or a swimming pool.

Pidurangala cave Temple

You might have already heard of Sigirya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, and many other historical places in Sri Lanka but I highly doubt that you have heard of the Pidurangala rock cave temple. Because this temple is not known to most foreign as well as local travelers despite its historical importance. This ancient temple is overlooked by most travelers due to its unpopularity. This ancient cave temple is located a few hundred meters from the iconic tourist attraction Sigiriya rock. It is believed that the Pidurangla temple was also built under the patronage of King Kashayapa, who built the Sigiriya rock fortress. Pidurangala temple shows a lot of similarities to Sigiriya rock, and it is also a large rock formation.

Visiting Pidurangala temple on a Sri Lanka one day tour

Seerendipity tours offer a popular one day tour to Sigiriya, Dambulla and Pidurangala temple from Colombo. This one day tour can be booked throught othe year. This customizable trip can be booked not o9nloy from Colombo but also from 400+ beach resorts along the west and south coast of Sri Lanka. Usually the tour starts at around 05.00 Hrs due to the large distance to cover between colombo and Sigiriya. If you are interested on this one day tour of Sri Lanka to Sigiriya, Dambulla and Pidurangla please click here.

If you are wondering why it is proposed to be 8th world wonder check this article “SIGIRIYA ROCK FORTRESS SRI LANKA“.

Simply Sri Lanka 8 Days Private Tour with Luxury Accommodation- This eight-day private tour takes you to the most important tourist places on the island such as Sigiriya rock, Dambulla golden temple, and tooth relic temple of Kandy, the national park of Udawalawe. Towards the end of the trip, you will be anchoring on the empty beaches of Mirissa.

Visit the Dambulla cave temple on Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

The Golden cave temple of Dambulla is one of the oldest Buddhist shrines in the world. The origin of the ancient temple is going back to the 1st century B.C. The temple is situated in Dambulla, which is a modern metropolis in the central province of Sri Lanka.

The temple is lying on the western flank of Dambulla mountain, about halfway up from the foothills. Dambulla golden cave temple is one of the earliest cave temples on the island and is still in very good condition. The temple is comprised of 5 spacious natural caves. These caves hide a large number of paintings and statues.

Due to its strategic location on the main route of Jaffna-Kandy (A-9 road), it is easy to reach from any part of Sri Lanka. The temple is visited by a large number of local as well as foreign tourists due to its religious and historical importance.

The temple is managed by the central cultural fund. Dambulla golden cave temple is one of the many important historical sites of the Sri Lanka cultural triangle and it is a UNESCO world heritage site, therefore the temple is a part of any multi-day Sri Lanka road trip.

The temple was known as the Dambulla cave temple in the early days. In the 12th century, King Nissanka Malla added several Buddha statues and plated them with gold, since then the cave temple was named Dambulla golden cave temple. The temple is primarily dedicated to Buddhism but a few Hindu God figures are also can be seen.

The temple is believed to have provided shelter to one of the Buddhist kings known as Walagambahu in the 1st century BC, during a south Indian invasion. It is believed that the king took refuge at the site for 14 years, during that time, the king managed to organize his army. Later the king expelled the foreign forces from the country and regained his throne.

When the king took the kingship back from the invaders he converted the caves into a Buddhist temple adding a large number of Buddha statues and decorated with beautiful paintings.

The temple was renovated many times by the kings, who ruled the country in the later periods, these kings had added many other Buddha statues, and god figures and repainted the walls and ceilings of the caves.

The Temple of Dambulla has become the most historical temple with the largest collection of Buddha statues on the island, numbering 150 Buddha statues. Today this cave temple is considered a great antiquarian, an epigraphical, and archaeological site on the island.

A large number of beautiful ceiling and wall paintings depict the scenery from the life of Buddha. Those paintings can be seen on the inner wall and the ceiling of the caves.

A colossal Buddha statue, which is in a recumbent position can be seen in the first cave, This Buddha statue is one of the biggest Buddha statues on the island measuring 14 meters long.

If you are wondering why this 1st-century temple is highly important and what it offers cross over to this article “DAMBULLA CAVE TEMPLE SRI LANKA“.

Tooth relic temple Kandy

The tooth relic templeone of the most visited historical places in Sri Lanka

Kandy is one of the most important historical places in Sri Lanka and a must-visit place for every traveler. Especially, it is a must-visit place for local travelers (Buddhists) due to the presence of the tooth relic of Buddha.

For foreigners, Kandy is one of the must-visit cities on the island, where the tooth relic temple resides. Kandy offers many important places to explore such as the tooth relic temple, Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Peradeniya botanical garden, tea plantations, etc. Kandy is another UNESCO world heritage site and lies about 500 meters above sea level.

Kandy was the last kingdom of the Sri Lankan monarchy and the ruling capital of the island before the British occupation of Sri Lanka (1796). The city has a fascinating blend of historical monuments, colonial buildings as well as modern structures.

The landmark building of the temple of the tooth relic (earlier the king’s palace) is the oldest structure in the city and is still in very good shape. There is a large number of buildings built by the British administration in the 18’s and all of them are also belong to the old part of the city.

You probably thinking why this historical temple is named after the “Tooth relic temple”, here is the answer for you “TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC KANDY“.

This 5 day Sri Lanka tour includes many iconic tourist places such as the Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden temple, and tooth relic temple. This 5 days private tour also takes you to the breathtaking scenery in Sri Lanka’s hill country. The travellers will be able to explore Sri Lanka’s fascinating wildlife on a safari too.
Sri Lanka 7 days tour with a fascinating blend of history, culture, nature, wildlife and leisure

Kataragama Temple- multi-religious historical place in Sri Lanka

Travelers who venture on a trip to southern Sri Lanka might visit this multi-religious site located towards the southern tip of the island. This is one of the most historical places in Sri Lanka as well as a sacred religious site. Most importantly the temple showcases the religious harmony among the different ethnic groups of Sri Lanka.

Even though the Kataragama temple dates back to the 6th century BC, the temple is more popular as a religious site than a historical monument. Most visitors to Kataragama temple are Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims, who are coming to take part in religious observances. Don’t encounter many foreign travelers here. If you are a foreign traveler and wish to see the religious part of Sri Lankan life, then it is worth visiting this place. Here you can see the true attachment of Sri Lankan people to their religion.

Kataragama temple is one of the most historical places in Sri Lanka, which is believed to be one of the places, that Buddha visited in the 6th century BC. Kirivehera stupa believes to be the place, where Buddha meditated as he visited Kataragama.

Today Kataragama is most popular due to the Kataragama Devala, where God Kataragama or God Skanda is worshipped. The god of Kataragama is believed to be able to fulfill the wishes of the devotees. A large number of local devotees are present here with a plate of fruit as an offering. They go to the Altar with fruits, offer them to God and make a wish.

It is a very common sight to see many thousands of devotees with fruit plates line up in a cue on long weekends and public holidays. The queue is usually many kilometers long. The devotees are standing in the queue for many hours while carrying the fruit plates in their hands. However, the devotees are well prepared to absorb the pain because they believe that God can fulfill their wishes.

Why is Kataragama one of the most important historical sites in Sri Lanka, here is the answer for you “KATARAGAMA TEMPLE“.

Sita temple one of the Hindu historical places in Sri Lanka

Sitting in the central hills of Sri Lanka, the Sita Amman temple is the only historical monument on this list that is directly attributed to Hinduism. Because most historical sites in Sri Lanka are closely related to Buddhism, however, there is a large number of historical monuments in northern and eastern Sri Lanka that are dedicated to Hinduism.

Historical monuments dedicated to Hinduism

If you look for historical places in Sri Lanka that have Hinduism influence, it is best to explore the east coast and northern Sri Lanka, where the majority of historical places have strong Indian influence.

According to Ramayana Sita Amman temple is the place, where Sita was kept by King Ravana. Temple is dedicated to Sita along with other Hindu deities. According to the information, the temple is dating back many decades but the present temple is not more than a decades-old.

Sita Amman temple is visited mostly by Hindu devotees. This is one of the few temples in the world, which is dedicated to Sita. The temple is included in most Ramayana tours that are been sold to Indian tourists.

This Hindu temple is visited by tens of thousands of Hindu devotees from India, but why? here is the answer “SRI LANKA TRIP FROM INDIA-RAMAYANA, SEETHA AMMAN TEMPLE AND ASHOK VATIKA“.

Adams peak

Adams peak is another important historical site on the island, which resides in the western part of the central mountain range. The history of Adams peak is going back to the 6th century BC and coincides with Buddha’s 1st visit to the island. Adams peak is a leading Buddhist pilgrimage site and Catholics, Hindus, as well as Muslims, are conquering the mountain.

Adams peak is the 5th highest mountain on the island, which rises up to 2,243 meters (7,359 ft) from sea level. A large number of Buddhist devotees climb the mountain, mainly during the peak pilgrimage season from November to April. If you are heading to Adams peak on a long weekend from November to April, it is guaranteed that you will encounter hordes of local travelers.

You might be wondering why people climb this sacred mountain amidst a lot of hardships. The 5 hours trek is really a challenge and extremely tiring, read more on “ADAMS PEAK SRI LANKA“.

Sri Lanka heritage tour

Below mentioned Sri Lanka cultural tour is carefully crafted to explore the most important historical places, which are located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. You will be traveling in a private luxury, fully air-conditioned vehicle with our experienced driver/guide.

This Sri Lanka heritage tour is a private program, which means you are not a part of a big group of tourists from various parts of the world and you do not have to follow a predefined tour itinerary. Even though there is a tour plan for this trip you have maximum flexibility because it is a private program.

If you look for Sri Lanka private tour, I would like to recommend 9 day Sri Lanka private car tour. This tour package includes all historical places, tea gardens, Sri Lanka mountains with great scenery, wildlife reserves, beaches, and many many more. Check here for more information for this car tour “Sri Lanka private car tour“.

What are the historical places included in the heritage tour?

  1. Anuradhapura historical city
  2. Polonnaruwa historical site
  3. Sigiriya rock fortress
  4. Dambulla golden cave temple
  5. Kandy tooth relic temple

Map of Sri Lanka heritage tour

Map of Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour

The Itinerary of Sri Lanka Heritage tour

Day 1 of the Sri Lanka heritage tour

Colombo / Anuradhapura / Sigiriya

Places to visit Anuradhapura

Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport, meet & greet “Seerendipity Tours” Representatives and proceed to the hotel in Sigiriya, En-route visit Anuradhapura historical site.

Anuradhapura is the first capital of Sri Lanka dating back to the 3rd century BC. It was the capital of Sri Lanka for more than 1000 years and the country was ruled by more than 100 Kings and Queens from Anuradhapura. Today Anuradhapura is visited by local and foreign tourists. Buddhist temples, Palaces, Museums, Parks, and lakes are some of the important places to visit in the city.

Overnight stay hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya

Day 2 of the Sri Lanka heritage tour

Places to be visited on the 2nd day of the Sri Lanka tour are Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, and safari at Minneriya national park

Sigiriya / Polonnaruwa

Breakfast at the Hotel and leave for the Historical city of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya rock fortress.


Sigiriya is one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world, which is dating back to the 5th century AD. The Sigiriya was built by King Kashayapa and consisted of many parts such as the Sigiriya water garden, the Sigiriya fortress, Gallery with paintings, mirror wall with old scripts. The paintings of Sigiriya originated in the 5th century AD. The paintings are still in very good shape.


The historical city of Polonnaruwa is the 2nd most important historical city in Sri Lanka. Many kings ruled the island from Polonnaruwa and 3 Buddhist kings namely Vijayabahu, Parakramabahu and Nissankamalla are the most important Kings, who ruled the country from Polonnaruwa. Today Polonnaruwa houses a large number of temples, palaces, parks, hospitals and many other buildings of historical importance.

Minneriya national park (optional)

Minneriya national park safari is an optional activity and can be included in your Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour. The Minneriya safari lasts around 2 hours. The safari allows the visitors to spot a large number such as wild elephants, deer, monkeys, crocodiles, and wild buffaloes.

Minneriya national park is the most popular national park for wild elephants observations and there is a ch of spotting large herds of wild elephants here. A large number of the wild elephants gathering is sighted in the grasslands of the park near the Minneriya tank. The herd of wild elephants exceeds several hundred in some instances.

Overnight stay hotel in Habarana / Sigiriya

Day 3 of the Sri Lanka heritage tour

Sigiriya / Kandy / Colombo

What do we see on the 3rd day of the Sri Lanka cultural triangle trip- Dambulla cave temple, Spice garden, tooth relic temple of Kandy.

After breakfast leave for Kandy and Colombo en-route visit the spice garden and tooth relic temple.

Dambulla cave temple

Dambulla golden cave temple is another important historical site with religious importance. The temple is dating back to the 1st century BC. The temple is believed to have provided refuge to King Walagambahu in the 1st century BC, during a south Indian invasion. Later the King built the temple after regaining his kingship. Today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and harbors more than 100 statues. The ceiling and wall paintings of the temple cover more than 2100 square feet.

Spice garden

Spices is a very important commodity for the island for many centuries, even today spices help the island to earn a large amount of hard currency. The village of Matale holds the reputation as the center of the spice trade. You will encounter many spice gardens here and you are able to visit one of them and learn about the local spices.

Tooth relic temple

The temple of the tooth relic is also an important world heritage site in Sri Lanka and houses the tooth relic of Buddha. The temple rises next to the Kandy lake and near the modern part of Kandy city. The temple is visited by thousands of foreign as well as local travelers every day.

Click here to book this 3 days Sri Lanka cultural triangle itinerary

Ready to take a Sri Lanka heritage tour with Seerendipity tours and visit historical places in Sri Lanka?

Seerendipity tour is a fully locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity tours and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

Best price for your Sri Lanka vacation packages

When you book a tour with us, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Plan your best Sri Lanka vacation packages with experts

Our staff makes a personalized program for you, which you can change until you find the best package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration; all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at admin@seerendipitytours.com

Read more on historical places in Sri Lanka

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  1. Excellent article about Sri Lanka’s historical places. I have read many articles about historical places in Sri Lanka, and by far this is the most comprehensive article. Very well written, at the moment I’m collecting information to plan my Sri Lanka trip next month.

  2. We were in Sri Lanka about 12 years back, soon after the civil war on the island. what is most interesting about is its validity with culture, nature, wildlife, beaches and very friendly people. We had a very nice trip and visited a large number of historic places. Most of them were UNESCO heritage sites.

  3. Sri Lanka is an amazing country And its natural beauty is wonderful. We visited Sri Lanka 2 years back on a short vacation. We did not have time to visit all the historical places mentioned in this article but we did a day trip from your beach hotel to Sigiriya and Dambulla temple.

  4. Appreciate you sharing an article on Sri Lanka’s historical places, great blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  5. Magnificent article about Sri Lanka’s historical places. Plenty of helpful information here.
    I’m sending it to a few friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And certainly, thanks on your sweat!

  6. We were referring to this article during our trip in Sri Lanka. The article contains trustworthy information and writer seems to have done great job.

  7. The article made our mind to reshape our Sri Lanka trip at the last moment and visit Sri Lanka cultural places. It was amazing experience.

  8. Simone troshina

    The article contains lot of information. most importantly it helped us to find a great local tour operators, which helped us to book a fantastic Sri Lanka at an very reasonable price.

  9. Prosenjie Toshina

    The article was very helpful for us, when we planning the Sri Lanka trip, very accurate information.

  10. We had a Sri Lanka trip very recently, but, unfortunately we did not visit most of the places mentioned here. It would have been great if we could visit those thousands years old monuments. However, the company, who planned out trip did not planned trip with those places neither we had any idea about those places. Our trip was not that much interesting and company, who planned it did not do properly. But Sri Lank is beautiful country and very nice friendly people. I definitely go back to Sri Lanka with the company suggest in this article. Seemingly they have good collection Sri Lanka trips.

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