Kuragala – pre-historic archaeological site in the Intermediate Zone By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Dating back to the 2nd century BC, Kuragala is a pre-historic archaeological site with ruins of an ancient Buddhist Cave Temple Complex. Located on the *Balangoda – Kaltota Road approximately 24 kilometers from Balangoda town, Kuragala is derived from “hollow rock” in Sinhala. According to historians, during the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Kuragla was known as ‘Thanduleika pabbatha’ and ‘Daththa shaila pabbatha’. Later, it had been known as “Kuharagala” from which the present Kuragala has derived. According to archaeologists, Kuragala is the oldest archaeological site in the *Intermediate Zone. According to archaeological evidences, Kuragala had been inhabited by humans dating to pre-historic period. During the excavations carried out by archaeologists, they have found fossilized bone fragments, remains of a human skeleton dating more than 8000 years and stone stools. There is also evidence that humans who lived in Kuragala ...

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Badulla Pillar Inscription – Sri Lanka’s largest pillar inscription By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Badulla Pillar Inscription also known as Sorabora Wewa Pillar Inscription is the largest Pillar Inscription with the smallest letters found in Sri Lanka with a height of 2.43 meters.  The Pillar Inscription carved on a rock surface contains 203 lines and about 2000 mediaeval Sinhala scripts belonging to the era of King Udaya IV (946-954). Badulla Pillar Inscription had been found by Jone Belli, British Deputy Agent for *Badulla in 1857 about 4.8 kilometers towards north east of Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya (an ancient Buddhist Temple in *Mahiyangana) and in close proximity to *Soraborawewa.  Initially, the Pillar Inscription had been placed at the *kachcheri in Badulla. Later, it has been placed at Senarath Paranavithana Memorial Library of Badulla, the present location, due to conservation purposes. According to archaeologists, the inscription has described about the king’s orders about ...

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Urban Forest Park in Colombo City – symmetrical manifestation By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Encompassing a network of verdant vistas with trees planted sporadically, water parks and a space to dine within magnificent greenery, Galle Face Urban Forest Park and the Beira Lake Open Air Restaurant is an urban oasis adorning the landscape of Colombo City that was declared open recently. As there are plants and trees intermittently in the Urban Forest Park with vistas of Beira Lake and the cool breeze, dining is within verdant vegetation. Spread within two acres in the heart of Colombo City, the Forest Park and the Open Air Restaurant is indeed a cynosure of all eyes. Situated in Scout Road which runs across Galle Face Road, along the Beira Lake, the Urban Forest Park is a symmetrical manifestation of trees and foliage. The corridor at the center of the Forest Park made of red beams ...

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Robert Knox Memorial – tribute to a British Traveler By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Located at Eladatte in Lagundeniya about 12 kilometers from Gampola town, this memorial is a tribute to *Robert Knox who lived in *Ceylon for almost 20 years as a captive of *King Rajasinghe II, the ruler of the Kandyan Kingdom.  Robert Knox was an English Sea Captain who served in the British East India Company. In 1659, when the ship he was sailing had a malfunction and landed in Ceylon, he was captured by King Rajasinghe II along with 15 other sailors and they were prisoners of the Kandyan Kingdom till he finally escaped to England (present United Kingdom) in 1680. Although, he was in captivity, the King had treated him well and he had been given land as well as houses to live in various places with almost unrestricted mobility within the Kandyan Kingdom. He had ...

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Crocodile Rock – archaeological site in Arugam Bay By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Situated in Arugam Bay in East Coast of Sri Lanka, a surfers’ paradise, Crocodile Rock is also known as “Elephant Rock”, according to many tourists. The site is known as “Crocodile Rock” due to its elongated ‘snout’ shape. In reality, the name is derived due to mugger crocodiles that access this site via the adjoining Heda Oya (Oya meaning stream in Sinhala). At times, there are mugger crocodiles basking in the sun on Crocodile Rock. Situated around 320 kilometers east of Colombo adjacent to the Indian Ocean, Arugam Bay is one of the best surfing sites in the world. Crocodile Rock is situated at the river mouth where Heda Oya falls to the sea, towards east of *Sastrawela Mani Naga Pabbatha Viharaya. The area of Crocodile Rock is a popular beginner as well as intermediate surfing site.  Crocodile ...

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Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens – evolution of Sri Lankan economy By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Situated in close proximity to Gampaha town and Gampaha Railway Station in Gampaha -Minuwangoda Road about 32 kilometers from Colombo, Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens also known as Gampaha Botanical Gardens was opened in 1876.  Surrounded by paddy fields, the picturesque water stream (Attangalu Oya) and a secondary forest, the Gardens has a large collection of tropical flower plants, an extensive collection of palms, orchids, endemic trees, properly designed shrubs, bushes and trees as well as a well-landscaped garden layout. Plants from every corner of Sri Lanka can be found in the Gardens. The Gardens is linked to the evolution of Sri Lankan economy as the first imported rubber tree to Sri Lanka was first planted in the Gardens from the first imported seedlings of Brazilian rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) planted in Asia. According to legends, British Explorer Sir ...

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Hanthana Mountain Range – protected nature reserve in Kandy By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Situated 1240 meters above sea level, Hanthana Mountain Range is situated in central Sri Lanka, south-west of the city of Kandy.  The Mountain Range stretches from Kandy City to the town of Galaha situated about 20 kilometers to the south of the City. There are seven peaks in the mountain range. *University of Peradeniya is situated at the foothills of Hanthana Mountain Range, on a 1,080 acre stretch of land. Hanthana Mountain Range is a favorite destination among mountain hikers and nature lovers in Sri Lanka, especially among undergraduates of the University of Peradeniya as well as undergraduates of other national universities in Sri Lanka who choose the location for their annual trip. The foot of the mountain range can be reached from Peradeniya-Galaha Road or Kandy-Udawela Road, the most popular being the Peradeniya-Galaha Road. Hanthana Mountain Range has been ...

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Lakegala Mountain – wrapped in mystery and legend By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Located about 324 meters above sea level, Lakegala Mountain is a 1310 meter high rock famous due to its unique triangular pyramidal shape and colossal size. Spectacular Lakegala Mountain is one of the highest bare rock outcrops in the world. Meaning “Rock of Lanka” (Lankagala in Sinhala which later became Lakegala), Lakegala is situated about 175 kilometers away from Colombo in *Meemure. As Lakegala Mountain is situated in Meemure, the mountain is pristine and undisturbed from the external world and has abundant endemic flora and fauna. Situated in close proximity to Kandy and Matale Districts, there are several access roads to Lakegala. According to foreign tourists, the unique triangular shape of Lakegala Mountain resembles the “Matterhorn of the Rockies”.  The trek to the peak is arduous for average hikers, especially the last 300 meters of the journey. Hence, ...

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Cenotaph War Memorial – a tribute to military personnel By Arundathie Abeysinghe     Situated near Viharamahadevi Park and Public Library in Colombo, Cenotaph War Memorial is a monument dedicated to military personnel who died in action during the World War I and II. The *Cenotaph War Memorial comprises a towering Cenotaph as well as a Memorial Wall.  Initially, the War Memorial was located at Galle Face Green. The foundation stone for this memorial had been laid by Governor of *Ceylon Brigadier General Sir William Henry Manning on December 7. 1921. This memorial had been unveiled by Sir William on October 27, 1923 (at Galle Face Green). It was initially known as Victory Tower. It was initially built to commemorate Ceylonese as well as Europeans who died in action during the World War I. Cenotaph and the Memorial Wall had been designed by the renowned architect *Sir Edward Lutyens. During ...

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Dutch Hospital – aura of Colonial Era Architecture By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Nestled among skyscrapers and situated within the hustle and bustle of Colombo Fort, Old Colombo Dutch Hospital, popularly known as “Dutch Hospital” dates to Dutch Colonial Era of *Ceylon. The Dutch Hospital had been constructed in 1600s as a hospital to treat Dutch Soldiers, Dutch Sailors as well as officers of the Dutch East India Company due to the close proximity of the Building to Colombo Harbor.  Dutch Hospital is considered as one of the oldest buildings in Colombo. Considered as a heritage building, the Building is a well-maintained shopping and dining precinct at present.  The Building, although constructed during the Dutch Colonial Era has been influenced by tropical requirements as well as local building style of Ceylon during that period, and is different from Colonial Era Structures in Ceylon. With red clay roof tiles, boxy pillars, a ...

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