Anuradhapura was the Capital city which was founded in 5th century B.C. introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd century B.C to the country was the beginning of a new era, which encouraged the development of art culture and architecture. Massive Buddhist monuments called Dagobas and huge manmade lakes, canals, stone carved figures and statues will give evidence of a marvelous history. Anuradhapura went on to become a Ceylonese political and religious capital (4th century BC) that flourished for 1,300 years. The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. Most of the great reservoir tanks still survive today, and some many be the oldest surviving reservoirs in the world. After an invasion in 993 AD, Anuradhapura was permanently abandoned. For centuries, the site lay hidden in the jungle. Rediscovered by the British in the 19th century, Anuradhapura became a Buddhist pilgrimage site once again.
Polonnaruwa is one of the most beautiful and well-arranged cities in the country built during the 12th century AC. and were the 2nd largest capital of Sri Lankan history. During this Period there was a vast improvement in the irrigational system. The king had a vision to make use of every drop of water, which fell from the sky, before it took its natural course. Even today Sri Lanka collects the best paddy harvest from this region, thanks to the ancient irrigational systems and reservoirs. While visiting Polonnaruwa, a visitor could discover the beauty of ancient art and architecture, combined with the Hindu culture, which explains the religious harmony. The glory of Polonnaruwa still remains with the Stone-carved Buddha statues at Gal Viharaya rock temple, which is a remarkable masterpiece, of the Polonnaruwa.
Sigiriya (UNESCO) is home to the 5th Century, "Fortress in the Sky" which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the island. It is also known as The Lion’s Rock because of the huge Lion that used to stand at the entrance of the fortress within its triple - molted defense. The huge rock rises almost to a sheer height of 500ft. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pools. On one of the stairways the only known ancient work of Sinhala, secular paintings survive in the form of frescoes of the life sized damsels in all its freshness and delicacy of their original colour. Sigiriya today is one of the world heritage sites and is considered to be the 8th wonder of the world.
Dambulla rock caves. Located at an elevation of 1118 ft from the sea level, this cave temple depicts the life of Lord Buddha through around 157 of the murals and painting of Lord Buddha’s life and history of Buddhism dated in 2nd century BC (Anuradhapura era). During a South Indian invasion the king Valagamba had to abandon his Anuradhapura Kingdom. For 12 years, King Valagamba was in hiding and had frequented these caves for his safety. After regaining the kingdom of Anuradhapura and becoming the King, to show his gratefulness for his safe place, he converted those caves into Buddhist Temples by constructing walled partitions under the rock overhang which spans the entire area as a single large cave. Today this world famous temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourist throughout the Year.
Minneriya national park - Dominated by the ancient Minneriya tank, this national park has plenty of scrub and light forest in its 8890 hectares to provide shelter for its toque macaques, sambar deer, leopards and elephants - to name few. The dry season, from June to September, is the best time to visit. bBy then, water in the tank has dried up, exposing grasses and shoots to gazing animals; elephants, which number up to 150, come to feed and bathe; and flocks of birds, such as little cormorants and painted storks, fish in the shallow waters.