Cultural Heritage of Sri Lanka

With a history spanning back over 2,500 years, Sri Lanka has developed a unique culture and heritage. Today, the country is home to people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds and as harmony increasingly prevails here so does the island’s prosperity.

Sinhalese people were born after the arrival of Prince Vijaya from India. The prince as well as his team arrived in a place that they named Thambapanni. They populated the island and created the culture and traditions of the country. Until then the country was occupied by native tribes which were called yakkas.

abhayagiriya anuradhapura
Abhayagiriya Stupa, Anuradhapura

The golden era of Sri Lanka began with the establishment of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. The first monarch of the Anuradhapura Era was King Pandukabhaya.

The country’s golden irrigation systems were developed extensively during this period in order to help the famers who were thriving in and around the capital city.

After the fall of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, the capital of the country was shifted to the nearby city of Polonnaruwa. Several remarkable architectural marvels were created in the country during this period.

Some of the best examples of Sri Lankan stone carving traditions can be witnessed and admired in places like the Polonnaruwa Vatadage and Nissankalatha Mandapaya.

kandy city and lake
Kandy City and the Lake

The final kingdom of Sri Lanka was established in the Hill Country city of Kandy. This was a time of great political and social turmoil in the country as the European invaders were ravaging through the country, desperately attempting to bring the Kingdom of Kandy to its knees.

At last the kingdom fell and the whole country fell in to the hands of the British regime in the year 1815. From that point on, till the year 1948, the country was ruled by the British. Then on the 4th of February in 1948, Sri Lanka, which was known as Ceylon back then, gained her independence.

sigiriya rock fortress
Lion's mouth, Sigiriya

There are several remarkable attractions that you can visit in the country if you are keen to learn more about the culture of the country.

The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka especially is home to a large number of prominent attractions. Places like Ruwanweliseya, Mirisavetiya, Jetavanaramaya, Samadhi Buddha Statue, Aukana Buddha Statue and Dambulla Cave Temple are attractions which well deserve to be explored.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress is also an iconic attraction in the country which should not be missed. Many people call this the Eighth Wonder of the World too. There are frescoes, water gardens, boulder gardens as well as terraced gardens to witness here in Sigiriya.

galle dutch fort and lighthouse
The Galle Dutch Fort

The colonial attractions in the country are many in number and magnificent in nature. The Galle Fort which is also known as the Ramparts of Galle is one of the prime attractions in the southern coast.

There are several beautiful churches that you can visit when travelling in this iconic city. Places like the Dutch Reformed Church are quite prominent among these.

In other parts of the country also you will find many beautiful colonial attractions. The Dutch Hospital in Colombo, which has been converted to a shopping and dining area is a remarkable attraction which effortlessly evoke nostalgia.

In the Hill Country also there are plenty of wonderful colonial buildings. The Grand Hotel is one such regal building which will inspire ardent admiration in your heart.

In addition to all of these monuments and buildings, places like Fort Frederick, National Museum, Old Parliament Building and Wolvendaal Church in Colombo are also prominent colonial buildings that should not be missed when travelling in the city.

temple of tooth complex
The temple of the tooth complex, Kandy

Sri Lanka has a strong culture which has been greatly shaped by the teachings of Lord Buddha. Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka back in the third century BCE. It is said that Lord Buddha himself visited Sri Lanka three times.

The sacred relic of the tooth of Buddha is one of Sri Lanka’s most prized treasures. It is enshrined in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, which is also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa.

The annual procession of the temple which takes the relic around the city is witnessed by countless numbers of devotees as well as tourists.

There are elephants as well as dancers adorned in elaborate costumes, beautifying the procession. This is known to be one of the grandest Buddhist festivals in the world too!

sri lankan rice and curry
Rice and Curry

Sri Lanka has a very interesting food culture as well. The locals love fiery rice and curry options. Quite a number of them favour a variety of different cuisines like Chinese and Indian too.

As you travel in the country you have to experiment with different dishes to understand and appreciate the complexities of the food culture here.

Dishes like kottu roti, pittu and hoppers are quite popular in the country. To complement your delicious meal, you must also enjoy a steaming cup of Ceylon Tea, which is a popular beverage all over the world!

All images used on the site have been legally purchased from a stock photo site.

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