We’re back in Sri Lanka today for part 2 of our series on the little island’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
5. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura
Established around a sacred tree which is believed to have been planted here in the 3rd Century BC, Anuradhapura flourished for around 1300 years as a political and religious capital. Abandoned in the late 900s, and hidden away by dense jungle, the site is now accessible again, and the sacred tree larger than ever.
One of the principal shrines of Buddhism, Anuradhapura also features Dagaba Thuparama, built to house the clavicle of Buddha. It’s still a sacred place, with enormous stupas, ruins and of course the tree itself to visit at its place of honour in the temple.
6. The Sacred City of Kandy
Kandy was probably one of my highlights on the trip. The city is known for The Temple of the Tooth Relic, believed to house one of Buddha’s teeth – and thus one of Sri Lanka’s most sacred places.
The last capital of the Sinhala kings, the city flourished for 2500 years until the occupation by the British in 1815. Remnants of this colonial past are everywhere, lending the place a certain charm. Be sure to visit the Botanical Gardens as well, a lush green space filled with incredible flora. Look out for giant fruit bats in the trees too!
7. Central Highlands of Sri Lanka
Added to the list of World Heritage Sites as recently as 2010, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are of great significance. With several national parks to protect the flora and fauna – including the seldom-seen Sri Lankan leopard, the region is hugely important for its biodiversity.
With this area – comprised of three conservation areas – representing the more than half the entire island’s endemic plants and animals, it’s a hugely important area to Sri Lanka and a global priority for conservation.
8. Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The last viable area of primary tropical rainforest on the island, Sri Lanka’s Sinharaja Foresst Reserve features many rare plants, birds, fish and animals – including Sri Lankan leopard and Indian elephant. Many of the plants are also hugely beneficial to man and are still used by the surrounding villagers.
Sri Lanka is an incredible place to visit, with both natural and man-made wonders in great supply! Visit Sri Lanka and experience this incredible little island for yourself!
Read Part 1 of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites here.