Highlights of The Cultural Triangle

A few days spent in the Cultural Triangle can be richly rewarding – especially for those interested in all things ancient, spiritual, and historical. The triangle’s northernmost point is Anuradhapura - home to the ruins of a thousand-year-old ancient city, once among the greatest in the world. Nearby is Mihintale, claimed to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa, with its equally ancient city ruins marks the Easterly point of the triangle, and Dambulla, site of an enormous golden Buddha and a breath-taking collection of cave temples is the southernmost tip. In the middle is arguably Sri Lanka’s headline attraction – the awe-inspiring and stupefying Sigiriya, a must-see. To round things off, a visit to Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks can be very enjoyable, and potentially breathtaking in the summer months should you be witness to the Gathering – hundreds of elephants simultaneously migrate from across the region to drink from the lush Minneriya Tank.

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Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Anuradhapura is the spiritual centre for all Sinhalese Buddhists and one of the most archeologically important ancient cities anywhere in the world and Mihintale is the place where Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in 247 BC.
Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Almost at the geographical centre of what is known as the ‘Cultural Triangle' is the town of Dambulla, which is famous for its UNESCO protected Golden Rock Cave Temple. This cave has been a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists for over 22 centuries and with its 5 caverns is the largest and best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka.
Ox-cart, Habarana, Sri Lanka
The small town of Habarana, in the heart of the ‘Cultural Triangle', provides a convenient base from which to explore the nearby ancient cities of Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, the hills of Mihintale, the famous Sigiriya Rock and the Dambulla Cave Temples.
The Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks and the neighbouring Hurulu Eco-Park are all ideally located for anyone staying for a few days in the ‘Cutltural Triangle' region in the centre of Sri Lanka. They provide a welcome change of scenery for anyone who has had their fill of ancient ruins and Buddhist temples. The parks offer some of the best wildlife viewing available anywhere on the Island and are particularly famous for seeing wild elephants.
Buddha, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
Polonnaruwa is one of the Cultural Triangle's real highlights. This ancient city was the capital in the 12th century and one of the most influential cities in Asia for a short time before its inhabitants were driven south by invaders from India and the city was taken by the jungle until being re-discovered in the twentieth century.
Fresco, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka
Rising 200 metres from the jungle floor, the famous Sigiriya Rock is probably the most impressive single attraction in Sri Lanka and its archaeological significance makes it a truly unforgettable place to visit.