Table of Contents
- 1 Sri Lanka Cultural triangle itinerary in a nutshell
- 2 How much does it cost the cultural triangle tour? US$ 190.00 P.P on twin sharing double
- 3 What are the important cultural triangle cities of Sri Lanka?
- 4 What is the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 5 What do I see in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 6 What is the best time to visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 7 Visit all these tourist hotspots on the cultural triangle tour
- 8 Where about the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 9 How do I travel to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 10 How long do I need to explore the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 11 How do I find accommodation in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 12 How much is the entrance fee to the cultural triangle?
- 13 What is the best time to visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- 14 Anuradhapura
- 15 Anuradhapura historical places
- 16 Polonnaruwa
- 17 Historical places in Polonnaruwa
- 18 Sigiriya
- 19 Dambulla
- 20 Kandy
- 21 Places to visit in Kandy
- 22 Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary
- 23 Visiting Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary
- 24 Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa with Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour
- 25 Sigiriya rock, for whom is it suitable?
- 26 Visit Polonnaruwa
- 27 Wildlife safari at Minneriya national park
- 28 Visiting Dambulla cave temple on Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour
- 29 Important Information:
This 3 days Sri Lanka cultural triangle itinerary is one of the best opportunities to see the rich historical past of Sri Lanka. The cultural triangle tour takes you to many important places with historical and natural importance, and the tour includes 5 of the seven UNESCO world heritage sites…
The cultural triangle Sri Lanka showcases some of the stunning historical marvels in the form of Dagobas, Palaces, Lakes, tanks, paintings and statues. Sri Lanka, today, the wonder of Asia had been a wonder of the world many centuries before.
Cultural triangle of Sri Lanka is located in the central province of Sri Lanka. The three corners of the triangle are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. The cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, as the name denotes, it is comprised of a Large number of Cultural and historically important places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya.
Centuries past the Sri Lankan civilization unfortunately targeted by the south Indian Tamil invaders and it was the major reason for the downfall of this great culture. Even though Sri Lankan kings were managed to regain the kingship from the invaders, damages done to the cities were beyond the repair. There had been many such invasions destroying the great achievements of the Sinhalese people in the past. Today some of their great achievements can still be seen in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.
The constructions of ancient Sinhalese engineers show the advance knowledge of trigonometry and a thorough grasp of hydraulic principals. Their arts and crafts are boasts to be some of the masterpieces in the old world. In this article, I share some of my favourite monuments from the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Life is too short; don’t wait for the perfect moment to explore the achievements of this great culture. Therefore pack your case and set off for the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. You have a great opportunity to explore one of the advanced civilizations existed in the past.
Sri Lanka Cultural triangle itinerary in a nutshell
- Day 1: Colombo/Anuradhapura/Sigiriya-Meet and greet by Seerendioity tour representative ane leave for the hotel in Sigiriya, en-route visit the historical city of Anuradhapura.
- Day 2: Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Minneriya national park- visit Sigiriya rock fortress, Minneriya national park and Polonnaruwa historical city from your hotel in Sigiriya.
- Day 3: Sigiriya/Dambulla/Kandy/Colombo-Leave for Colombo via Kandy, en-route visit Dambulla cave temple and tooth relic temple.
How much does it cost the cultural triangle tour? US$ 190.00 P.P on twin sharing double
What are the important cultural triangle cities of Sri Lanka?
What is the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka, one of the most popular tourist destination in southern Asia has a large number of historical attractions. Most of these historical places are top-notch holiday attractions in the country and include in most road trips of Sri Lanka. Most of these historical places are concentrated in the so-called ‘cultural triangle’. The three corners of the cultural triangle are formed by Kandy, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Most tourist, who make round tours in Sri Lanka visit the attractions in the cultural triangle. It is highly unlikely to get a tour itinerary without these places as attractions to visit.
What do I see in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
Sri Lankan civilization is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. First, it emerged in the 4th century BC and evolved for many thousands of years. During this period Sri Lankan civilizations were enriched by other contemporary civilizations in the world such as Rome and Greek. This ancient civilization was strong believers of Buddhism and it was the foundation of their culture.
The kings and queens of ancient Sri Lanka had managed to build large constructions such as Jetawanarama, which was the largest Buddhist construction by 5th century AD and it was as big as the second pyramid in Giza. Apart from dagobas, historical places in the cultural triangle are comprised of palaces, bath ponds, image houses, and dwelling houses for monks, audience halls, chapter houses and many other religious places such as Jayasri Maha Bodhi.
What is the best time to visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
From January to September all months except April have fairly dry weather with occasional rainfall.
Cultural triangle is situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and it means the few rainfalls in the cultural triangle sites are much lower compared to the rainfall in the cities on the west and south coast. However, the cultural triangle also receives a considerable amount of rainfall and much of its rainfall from the north-east monsoon.
The rainfall in the month of April can be increased in the cultural triangle cities while usually September, October, November and December also record increased rainfall throughout the cultural triangle. During the heavy rainfall, some places in the cultural triangle are coming under the water and movement across the regions can be hindered.
Visit all these tourist hotspots on the cultural triangle tour
Pinnawala elephant orphanage
Where about the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka?
You may be wondering, why the majority of attractions in the cultural triangle are to be found in Dry-zone of Sri Lanka. According to the archaeologists, the reason being that dry-zone had been the region, where ancient culture most flourished. Dry-zone had the most suitable conditions for the agricultural lifestyle.
They were dependent on cultivation such as rice and lived in places where water was readily available. The people of ancient Sri Lanka had built large-scale irrigation networks, in order to supply water for agricultural lands. These irrigation networks are still in use and tourists have the opportunity to see some of the gigantic reservoirs and canals achieved by the ancient engineers.
Along with material development, this ancient civilization had concentrated on spiritual development as well. They had great dedication to their religion and built a gigantic temple and monasteries for monks. These monasteries and temples were adorned with paintings, sculptures, murals, stone and wood carvings and many other elements.
Today Sri Lanka has its own identity with regards to the arts and crafts large due to the ancient artisans of Sinhalese culture. The cultural triangle is considered a treasure trove of the island and some of the valuable items discovered during the excavations are very rare and of high value.
According to the archaeologist, only a portion of the treasure of this great culture unearthed so far and there is much more to unearth. Sri Lanka is a holiday destination that offers a wide range of products for tourists from pristine beaches to relax to unbelievable achievements of one of the most ancient cultures in the world.
How do I travel to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka?
Usually, most travellers who wish to explore the cultural triangle start their tour in Anuradhapura, while some of them start the cultural triangle tour from Kandy. If you wish to see only important places in the cultural triangle, starting the tour in Anuradhapura or Kandy does not make much difference. But if you wish to explore other important places such as mountains, southern Sri Lanka, along with the cultural triangle, it highly recommended commencing your cultural triangle tour in Anuradhapura.
If you start the cultural triangle tour from Anuradhapura you can proceed in the southward direction from Anuradhapura exploring other important sites in the cultural triangle such as Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Kandy. After visiting the cultural triangle then you can continue the journey further in the direction of southern Sri Lanka and explore Mountains, tea garden and Yala national park. Later you will be able to travel to southern and west coast beaches and Colombo.
Usually, most Sri Lanka tour packages offered by Sri Lanka tour operators such as Seerendipity tours start in Anuradhapura and continues through mountains, southern Sri Lanka and west coast. It is the most convenient and time-saving route while it saves a lot of money for travellers.
How long do I need to explore the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
The duration of the cultural triangle tour highly depends on the time you spent to explore the historical marvels. We usually organize the cultural triangle tour from Colombo and the duration of the tour is 3 days. This three days tour cover all important sites in the cultural triangle and participants can see the places without any hassle. The same tour can be done in 2 days (if you have only limited time), but then the time spent on sites limited and travellers do not have much time to relax during the tour.
- Anuradhapura historical city
- Polonnaruwa historical city
- Sigiriya Rock
- Dambulla golden cave temple
- The tooth relic temple
- Entire ground transportation an air-conditioned and modern vehicle
- All entrance fees
- English speaking tour guide
- 3 nights accommodation with daily breakfast and dinner
Sketch of the program
- Day 1 Colombo-Anuradhapura-Dambulla-Habarana
- Day 2 Sigiriya-Polonnaruwa
- Day 3 Habarana-Kandy
- Day 4 Kandy-Colombo
How do I find accommodation in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
The availability of accommodations in the cultural triangle is very high and travellers can find luxurious boutique hotels to cheap accommodation types such as dormitories. There is a very high demand for accommodation facilities in the cultural triangle because it includes most Sri Lanka land packages. Normally the travellers base in cities such as Habarana, Sigiriya, Dambulla during their tour and make short tours to important places in the cultural triangle. Habarana and Sigiriya are centrally located in the cultural triangle, hence provide easy access to all places within a short period of time. Due to this reason, most travellers opt to say in those cities and the most number of hotels are also concentrated in those areas.
How much is the entrance fee to the cultural triangle?
The cultural triangle is under the purview of the archaeological department and central cultural fund, which are government institutions. The visitors should pay the entrance fees to all sites of the cultural triangle. The entrance ticket can be bought at the main gate of each site. The separate entrance ticket should be bought at each location. Earlier there was a ticket allowing the travellers to enter all places of the cultural triangle but this ticket is not available anymore.
What are the most important places of Sri Lanka cultural triangle itinerary?
What are the prices of the entrance ticket at each location of the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
- Entrance fees for Anuradhapura USD 25
- Entrance fees for Polonnaruwa USD 25
- Entrance fees for Sigiriya USD 30
- Entrance fees for Dambulla Golden cave temple USD 10
- Entrance fees for The tooth relic temple USD 10
What are the important historical places in the Sri Lanka cultural triangle?
What is the best time to visit the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka?
It is best to avoid mid-day sun s much as possible, especially when you visit Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. These cultural cities are located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s north-central province. North-central Province of Sri Lank tends to be very hot throughout the year and the average temperature hovering around 35°C. If you are not familiar with hot weather it makes you tired and can make sunburns.
You will be visiting many historical monuments on those places and most if they are in open areas means you are exposed to the direct sunlight. The temple’s gardens are paved with stones or some times covered with sands, making them also very hot during the day. Please keep in mind that you are not allowed to wear shoes, sandals and head covers such as hats while visiting the temple. Get a clear idea of Sri Lanka temple dress code in this article.
Anuradhapura was founded by King Pandukabhaya in the 4th century B.C and Anuradhapura was the first capital of ancient Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka till 11th century A.D. and the city was the capital of Sri Lanka for more than a thousand years. Anuradhapura had been the centre for Buddhism and it had been 40 km² in extent.
Anuradhapura considered being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Same times it had been one of the most stable and durable centres of political power and urban life in South Asia. Today Anuradhapura is being visited by many foreign as well as local tourists, owing to its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. Some of the religious edifices of Anuradhapura are more than 2000 years old and in extent second only to the structures of Egypt.
A large number of palaces, temples, dagobas, parks, moats, ponds, reservoirs and many other historical buildings are scattered all over the historical city. Some of the buildings are not yet identified by the historians and a large part of the city is yet to be uncovered. Anuradhapura is one of the world heritage sites in Sri Lanka and attracts a large number of local and foreign travellers since its discovery in nearly 18’s.
Anuradhapura is a must visited place for travellers, who wish to see the rich historical past of the island. Anuradhapura is worth to be considered as a destination for a short tour. It has a large number of ruins dating back to the 2nd century BC. If you visit Sri Lanka just for a beach holiday and water sports, you might miss one important part of the Sri Lankan life. Sri Lanka is one of the few countries that were continuously inhabited since the pre-Christian era.
The historical cities such as Anuradhapura showcase the knowledge of ancient inhabitants in the fields of architecture, engineering, water management, Ayurveda medicine and art & craft. Their dedication to the religion is testified by the gigantic temples and other religious buildings. The magnitude size of the ancient city demands you to spend several days if you wish to study all the monuments.
In spite of being a large city, it is calm and serene. The city has a high profile among the historical attraction in the country. Following are some of the important places that can be covered within several hours and important attractions with religious importance.
Thuparama is the oldest Dagoba in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Thuparama dagoba built by King Devanampiyatissa and one of the oldest constructions in the historical city of Anuradhapura.
Anuradhapura is an archaeological zoo and has a large number of historical monuments. I hereby listed some of the most important places in the city.
- Abhayagiri Monastery complex
- Jetawana monastery complex
- Palace of King Vijayabahu
- Sri Maha Bodhi
- Brazen palace
- Ruvanveliseya Dagoba
- Thuparama Dagoba
- Dakkina stupa
- Mirisaveti Dagoba
- Aukana Buddha Statue
Legend apart, inscriptions suggest that the history of Polonnaruwa dates back at least to the 2nd century AD, in the 6th century it became a military garrison of some importance to the Sinhalese kings of Anuradhapura. This was because it guarded the vital crossing point of the Mahaweli River from the southern province of Ruhuna, where rebellion was a continuous threat. A century later, the kings of Anuradhapura started to use Polonnaruwa as a country residence.
Polonnaruwa was the second capital of ancient Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century. Polonnaruwa is the home for many ancient religious buildings dates back to the pre-Christian era. Along with the religious buildings, one can see the Palaces, Audience halls, Trade stalls, and many Hindu temples. The ruins of Polonnaruwa are younger than the ruins of Anuradhapura and in good shape.
Historical places in Polonnaruwa
- Pothgul vehera
- council chamber
- Nissankamalla bath
- The palace of King Parakramabahu
- The Quadrangle
- Menik vehera
- Pabalu vehera
- Rankot Vehera
- Ayurveda hospital
- Tivanka Image house
Sigiriya considered being one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Sigiriya (Lion’s rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
Dambulla golden cave temple is one of the ancient cave temples in southern India. Dambulla cave temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka. Dambulla temple complex comprises 5 caves and the temple dates back to 1st century B.C. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of god and goddess. The latter 4 include two statues of Hindu gods, Vishnu and Ganesh.
The tooth relic temple of Kandy is the world heritage site in the mountains. The temple is visited by hundreds of thousands of devotees every day and the temple is included in almost every tour package offered in Sri Lanka.
Kandy lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is one of the three angels that marks the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka; it is both an administrative and religious city. Kandy is the home of The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) one of the most venerable places for the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka and all around the world.
Places to visit in Kandy
- Temple of the tooth relic
- Pattini devala
- Hindagala temple
- Gadaladeniya temple
- Lankathilaka Temple
- Embekke devala
Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary
Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour starts in Colombo or at any other places convenient place of your choice, but the pick-up location should be within Colombo, if the pick-up location is far away from Colombo there will be supplement charge for the transfer. The pick-up location and time will not affect the tour at all, because this is a private tour and vehicle is reserved only for your group. You will not be a part of a big coach, having a private vehicle for the tour means that you can enjoy the tour while having maximum privacy, the tour will run at your pace. An air-conditioned modern vehicle will be allocated for the tour and the same vehicle with the same chauffeur guide will be allocated until you finish the entire circuit.
Visiting Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Itinerary
You will visit Anuradhapura on the first day of this Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour. Anuradhapura is the first capital of Sri Lanka and darting back to 3rd century B.C. According to the historical information, Anuradhapura played the role, the capital of Sri Lanka, for many centuries, since it’s inception in 3rd century BCE. However, as the fame of this flourishing city grew exponentially, it became a target of south Indian invaders, whom it is easy to access Anuradhapura from south India, and which led a never-ceasing Indian invasion.
The city was equipped with palaces, temple complexes, gardens, hospitals and living quarters for people. Today the city is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its cultural and historical importance. You will be accompanied to dozens of important historical sites in Anuradhapura and our historian will you a full report to you about these important historical sites.
Now it is time to move to one of the tourist hotspots on the island, Sigiriya rock fortress, However, the visit to the Sigiriya rock fortress is scheduled to next day due to the time constraints. The journey from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya takes around 30 minutes. The first day of the Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour come to the end with check-in to your hotel in Sigiriya.
Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa with Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour
On the second day of the tour, you will visit Sigiriya rock fortress. Sigiriya rock fortress is another important historical site in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka and visited by many thousands of travellers every week. The history of Sigiriya rock fortress dates back to 5th century AD, it had been a well-planned city with palaces, gardens, swimming pools, moats, ditches, walls and the fortress was built at the middle of the city.
At Sigiriya, the visitors can see the world-renowned Sigiriya frescoes and mirror wall. They can catch breathtaking sceneries on the surrounding area from the top of the rock. The upward climb to the pinnacle of the rock takes around 1 hour and the downward journey takes around 30 minutes.
Sigiriya rock, for whom is it suitable?
It is advisable to start the climb early morning to avoid the scorching heat in Sri Lanka’s dry zone. The humidity is also very high here making a sweaty condition. There is a great deal of walk-in Sigiriya and you have to climb a rock on well-laid stairs. Even though there is a well-laid stair the climb of the rock cab very tiring for some people, therefore the site is not recommended for pregnant ladies, old people as well as heart patients. It is a site recommended for travellers with good physical and mental fitness.
Sigiriya climb-what to wear?
A pair of good shoes recommended for hiking makes it easy to climb 200 steps, however not essential. A cotton t-short and pair of shorts is the best possible attires as it is warm and sweaty throughout the climb. Sigiriya is not a sacred site, therefore, you can wear a pair of shorts.
After visiting the Sigiriya rock fortress you might be hungry and tired, so it is time to have the lunch or just a refreshment. In fact, there is a great deal of distance to cover on foot in Polonnaruwa historical city.
You will proceed to Polonnaruwa after a break, the second capital of Sri Lanka. After the downfall of Anuradhapura, the kings of Sri Lanka had chosen Polonnaruwa as the capital of Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa was the ruling capital of Sri Lanka for many decades, VijayabahuI, Parakramabahu and Nissannkamalla had been the noteworthy kings, who immensely contributed to the development of the city. Most historical monument such as Galvihara, Thuparama, Hetadage, Atadage at Polonnaruwa is attributed to these three kings.
Due to the invasions that took places in the latter period most of them were damaged. Today Polonnaruwa is another important tourist attractions and a UNESCO world heritage site. Polonnaruwa city tour takes around 2 hours and doesn’t forget to cist the Polonnaruwa museum.
There are many places to visit in Polonnaruwa and you come across image houses, palaces, dagobas, conference halls and many other places important places. Some of them are religious sites and you are required to have dressed at least covering your knees and shoulders. Please check our 2 articles Clothing & gear guide for Sri Lanka and Visiting a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka here are 9 rules to consider.
Wildlife safari at Minneriya national park
There is a great opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to explore Sri Lankan wild animals today. After Polonnaruwa, as you are coming across the Minneriya national park, here you can witness a large number of wild elephants. Wild buffaloes, monkeys, crocodile, wild boar, deer are some of the very common animals here. Minneriya is an optional activity and it can only be done if time permits you to do it.
By the time, you return to your hotel in Sigiriya it will be around 6.00 pm today. The hotel you are staying in a middle-class hotel with outdoor swimming pool. Maybe you can have a dip in the outdoor swimming pool in the hotel before heading to the restaurant. Ou you can sip a glass of wine or arrack (Sri Lankan alcoholic drink) at the bar.
Visiting Dambulla cave temple on Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour
On the 3rd of your Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour, you leave for Kandy after the breakfast from your hotel in Sigiriya. The first stop on the day is at Dambulla golden cave temple, which is only 20 minutes away from your hotel in Sigiriya. The temple is located about 300 meters above the ground. The visitors need to climb the rock on the staircase to reach the temple on the rock. Dambulla golden cave temple is another UNESCO world heritage site in Sri Lanka. Here you can see hundreds of statues and wall painting, the temple is dating back to the 1st century BC.
After Dambulla golden cave temple the travellers proceed to the tooth relic temple of Kandy, which is another important historical site and a UNESCO world heritage site included in the Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour. The tooth relic temple is the most important Buddhist temple in Sri Lankan and left eye tooth of Buddha suppose to be residing here. The temple is visited by thousands of local and foreign visitors every day. Tooth relic temple is the last important cultural site in the Sri Lanka cultural triangle tour and it is time to proceed to Colombo.
After the Tooth relic temple, it is time to drive to Colombo, the journey will take around 3 hours and you have the opportunity to visit Pinnawala elephant orphanage on halfway down the track as you drive to Colombo. You are most welcome to visit it and see the biggest herd of tames elephants in the world.
The time is taken for the tour is unpredictable due to the traffic and other circumstances, the time mentioned above is only based on rough calculation. If you any time constraints, due to the departure flights, appointment etc, please inform us in advance, so that we can plan your Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Tour accordingly.
Please contact us at least a day before your Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Tour so we can easily arrange our vehicles and guides. Thank you for your cooperation. We do pick up from 40+ hotels most of them on the west coast beaches.
The Sri Lanka Cultural triangle tour can be booked with all categories of hotels such as five-star hotels, four-star hotels, three-star hotels… however, this tour package planned with four-star compatible hotel accommodations. you will be notified the hotel name before finalizing the Sri Lanka Cultural triangle tour. The rate can make a notable difference across difference hotels categories.