Sri Lanka has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and the island attracts many million tourists every year. However, a large number of places in Sri Lanka still remains unexplored and hidden secrets. As a local traveller, I thought of crafting this article on unexplored places in Sri Lanka, here is a list of 5 places to explore ahead of the crowds.
Top 11 Unexplored places in Sri Lanka
1.Meet Sri Lankan aborigines, at the unexplored destination, Damnbana
Mahiyangana used to inhabit by a large number of Vedda community. Vedda community considered being the ancestors of Stone Age inhabitants of the island, who believed to be a crossover to the island from India about 1600 years back. The community still has the old lifestyle and they are mainly living on hunting while some people are engaged in agriculture. Today most of them are living in Dambana, which is located about 19 kilometres eastward from Mahiyangana.
Visiting the Vedda community is an interesting thing to do because there is still stick to their age-old lifestyle. They are still clinging to their customs and traditions and they are fascination. However the Vedda community is shrinking past due to the changing lifestyle of modern Vedda generation, they are absorbing the average Sri Lankan lifestyle, traditions and customs while alienating their traditional life.
A village tour of Dambana in the Vedda territory allows you to meet these indigenous people; the Vedda will host a traditional meal for you and take you to their village. This is a perfect opportunity to meet the tribesman, who still lives partly in the jungle. Hunting and agriculture are the main income for the people in the village. This is a perfect opportunity to discover the jungle territory and get a clear insight into the rural life of the Vedda community.
2. Knuckles forest is one of the unexplored places in Sri Lanka
The knuckles forest sits in the central province of Sri Lanka; this jungle terrain is remote, beautiful and visited by few travellers every year. Sinharaja is a bio-diversity hot spot and hosts a large number of fauna and flora species, and many dozens of endemic species among them. The patch of forest with mountainous backgrounds is a UNESCO world heritage site since 2010.
Trekking through the knuckles forest enables you to explore one of the most beautiful patches of cloud forests in the island. Leopards lurk in the shadows (although they’re rarely seen) along with many other creatures such as purple-faced langur monkeys and giant squirrels as well as many endemic avian Fauna species.
3. Visit Pigeon Island marine sanctuary and swim with sharks
Pigeon island marine sanctuary is one of the 2 marine sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, located in the east coast of Sri Lanka off the town of Trincomalee. A short boat ride from Nilaveli beach takes you to the tiny island with pristine beaches known as Pigeon Island. He Island is surrounded by a plethora of marine life. A large array of exotic fish species, coral reefs, sea-weeds, sea turtles, are a very common sight for snorkelers here, and all life a few meters away from the beach. Here you can make a short boat trip to shark point reef, where you can spot blacktip reef sharks. Surfing, whale watching, fishing are some other activities readily available here.
4. Kalpitiya is a largely unexplored destination in Sri Lanka and best place to spot dolphins
Kalpitiya is fast developing beach resort on the north-west coast of Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya was out of reach for more than 30 years due to the north-east civil war, however, it has been able to get its due place in the tourism industry with the ending of civil war. Kalpitiya still largely unexplored, it pristine beaches awaits the attention of travellers.
The Puttalam lagoon from one side and the Ocean from the other side, this peninsula hide a narrow sliver of land, perfect for a tranquil beach holiday. The lagoon is the perfect spot for kite-surfing and fishing. The most popular natural splendour of Kalpitiya undoubtedly is the vast pods of spinner dolphins that can be spotted from the shore. A trip in a boat off to the sea gives you unforgettable experiences. As your boat runs over the waves, you will be accompanied by dozens of dolphins, racing alongside your boat. Occasionally launch their body into the air with a twisted acrobatic movement.
5. Enjoy the mesmerizing views at Yapahuwa
Yapahuwa was one of the many capitals of historical Sri Lanka and little remains from the ancient capital today. Much of it except the stoned staircase had been destroyed at the wrath of harsh weather. Visiting cultural triangle in the bucket list of most Sri Lankan visitors but Yapahuwa still remains in the list of unexplored places in Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa are some of the historical tourist hot spots in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka located within easy reach of Yapahuwa. Investing a little bit of your time is well worth; the astonishing near-vertical staircase is in very good shape and well preserved. The staircase is adorned with friezes of stone carved musicians and dancers while two lions guard the entrance. There had been a palace on the elevated platform to which the staircase is directed to. Today almost nothing is to be witnessed from the palace. However, the view from the top across the plain below is spellbinding. Some parts of the ancient city that stood at the foot of the rock can be seen from the top.
6. Explore Buddhist hermitage of Ritigala
Exploring Sigiriya rock fortress, Dambulla golden cave temple, crumbling monuments in Anuradhapura ancient city is part of most tour itineraries. Ritigala forest hermitage is equally magical but less encountered in most tour itineraries, by and large one of the least explored places in Sri Lanka. Ritigala forest hermitage sits in the forested hill of Ritigala, at the heart of the north-central province of Sri Lanka. The forest-dwelling monks used it as their abode for many millennia before, which is a perfect spot to carry out their mediations habit without any disturbances from the outside world.
According to the historical notes, many hundreds of Buddhist monks lived in the jungle hermitage about 5000 years ago. Most of the ancient building that stood in the hermitage is reduced to rubble. However substantial remains still hiding in the jungle and can be accessed. Meditation paths, in the deep jungle, could have been perfect spots for concentrations and calm the mind and body. Many quaint little monastic residences are still can be seen in the thick forest reserve. A pair of tiny houses, ponds, walking paths and a tiny bridge can be easily spotted here.
- Highlights-Water rafting, Boat tour, Rainforest trek, Visit temples, Jeep safari
- Duration-4 Days
- Places- Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Kithulgala, Tooth relic temple, Sinharaja forest, Udawalawe national park, Mirissa, Galle Fort, Bentota
- Transport-Private vehicle
- Accommodation 3-star hotel
- Meals-Breakfast and Dinner
- Availability-From Nov 2019 to Nov 2021
Special Price US$ 550, save $125, Regular Price US$675
7. Visiting most remote village in Sri Lanka- Narak village
This remote village Narak village is located near Balangda in the Sabaragamuwa province. The village sits well above 720 feet above sea level, thereby it is among the villages with the highest elevation on the island.
The remote village of Narak is very rich in natural beauty and it is still spared bt the human touch. Only few families are living in the village and development of the modern world yet to encroach this beautiful city. If you like to enjoy the natural beauty, Narak village is one of the best places for you.
8. Meditate in a health resort
Sri Lanka is a venue for Buddhist pilgrim tours for many millennia and Buddhism is a living religion. Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in the world to get a perfect picture of Buddhist spirituality. Meditation and Yoga practices are very popular among the locals as well as foreign travellers. There are large numbers of health retreats on the island providing all facilities for travellers, who wish to engage in Yoga and meditation in order to relieve from the stress and calm their body and mind. Most health retreats conduct the sessions for local as well as foreign travellers and many of them provide ac accommodation for their visitors. Many health retreats of Sri Lanka provide day tour packages for travellers to make use of benefits of Ayurveda treatments, Yoga sessions and Meditation.
9. Unexplored south coast beaches
Sri Lanka is a leading beach holiday destination in the world and visiting beaches is part of almost every Sri Lanka tour package while some other opt only to stay on the beach. West coast beaches are the most popular hideouts for foreign travellers and southern coast beaches are still not fully utilize for recreation activities.
The tourism infrastructure is not well developed to accommodate thousands of travellers on the south coast like in west coast beaches; however, there has been an improvement in the tourism industry during the recent past. Only a few tourists can be seen on the south coast beaches, means that you can evade the crowd, head to beaches such as Weligama, Tangalle and Hambantota and enjoy the peaceful holiday. In the south coast, there are many palm-fringed pristine beaches with warm torque water of Indian Ocean they are perfect spots for sunbathing and swimming.
10. Unexplored Aluvihara rock cave temple
Aluvihara Buddhist temple is one of the most ancient Buddhist temples on the island but it is coming under unexplored places in Sri Lanka. It is rarely included in most Sri Lanka tour itineraries as it is not coming under top-notch tourist attractions.
The temple is located in a series of natural caves. The ceiling and the walls of the caves are hidden with religious paintings depicting sceneries of the life of Buddha. The cave temple houses 10 meters long reclining Buddha statue hewn into the natural granite rock. It is believed that the history of the temple goes back to the 3rd century BC. The oral teaching of Buddha was committed to writing at Aluvihara in 3rd century BC. That’s the most significant event took place in this temple that hides amongst the boulders.
11. Dimbulagala Temple Sri Lanka
t is a range of hills situated 20km south-east of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and it is 220km from Colombo. Dimbulagala rock is picturesquely located bordering the Mahaweli River. Dimbulagala rock rises within the jungle near the Batticaloa-Valachchane main road. It can also be easily reached by the road of Mahiyangana. Dimbulagala rock is surrounded by Jungles, farmlands, rice fields, and Dumabara mountain range from one side. One can have beautiful bird’s eye view over the surrounding area from the summit of the rock, after the long and little bit tiring climb. The huts installed along the way up to the summit can be very handy to have a rest and have a refreshing drink such as juice, tea or coffee.
Dimbulagala considered being one of the important places for Buddhist in Sri Lanka. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Since it is located in the former war-torn area, it had been unsafe for people in the past and rarely visited by the people. Today after the 30 years wars, people from all around the country are pouring into the historical temple of Dimbulagala. People make donations of money and goods to rebuild the dilapidated temple premises.
The history of the temple is going back to the 3rd century BC. The historical name of Dimbulaga is Yakshapura and inhabited by tribal groups known as Yaksha and Naga. It had been the meeting place of these groups. Another ancient name of the rock is the Udiumbagiri. The temple was resided by Kashyapa Thera, during the reign of Greta Parakramabahu. The temple was frequented by the King while he was instructed by the monks with the state affairs. The king had donated a huge area of land for the temple. It is believed that if somebody uses this land illegally or by force, they will be born as crows and dogs.
Dimbulaga can be compared to cave hermitages such as Mihintale, Vessagiri, Dambulla and Pidurangala. Dimbulaga had been a popular training monastery for Buddhist in the early stage of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The monks from foreign countries such as Siayam, Kambodia, Soli country, Burma and Pandy country were also among the monks learned here. There are ruins of the historical temple in Dimbulagala. There had been more than two thousand monks in the ancient learning centre. There are two ponds among the ruins namely Namal Pokuna and Ausada Pokuna used by the monks. There is a large number of ruins in the temple dating from 300BC to 1200AD. The Brahmi inscription of caves proves the antiquity of this temple.
Near the summit of the rock is a series of caves with white plated walls known as Maravidiya. According to the historical information, large numbers of books, documents were written here by learned monks that lived here.
Well, known monk, Matara Kithalagama Siri Seelalankara Threra (Lion of Dimbulagala) is the key figure, who had started the present temple in Dimbulagala in 1954. At the initial stages, it was inhabited by wild animals such as elephants, leopards, bears and the people of Vedda community.
This brave monk was working very hard to improve the living standard of the people in this remote village while facing a permanent threat from the Terrorists. It had been a very difficult task to improve the literacy of the people in the remote area. But thanks to the untiring effort of the monk, a new school was built and other infrastructures such as roads, sanitary facilities, clean water, hospitals were also improved with the help of villagers.
The development of the area was widened up to the areas such as Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee. Even though he was a Buddhist monk, he did not favour the Buddhist; he did not consider religion or race. He helped all people in order to protect their rights and improve their living standards. Unfortunately, this monk was killed by the terrorists. Today the temple is resided by 300 monks and Monk Maldeniye Jenalankara Thera continues the good works started by his predecessor.
Get ready and start exploring unexplored places in Sri Lanka?
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