The Cultural Triangle
The Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka
It extends from the medieval Kandy to the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura in the north and Polonnaruwa in the east.
Is a treasure chest of some of the oldest ancient monuments of the island, if not the world.
The central-northern plains of Sri Lanka, which belongs to the dry zone of the island, are mainly covered by dense forests of shrubs and isolated mountain outcrops that are surrounded by flat lands.
These north-central plains which are known as “Rajarata” (Translation: King’s Land / land of Kings) together with the kingdom of Kandyan are popularly known as the Cultural Triangle of the island.
A tour inside the Cultural Triangle will help you understand the ancient Buddhist culture of Sri Lanka and the intense devotion shown by the natives.
The Cultural Triangle is a concentration of many Buddhist temples, sculptures, ancient monasteries and stupas, while some of them date back over 2000 years.
The area also covers some of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy.
There are numerous monolithic rock formations that have been ideally transformed into places of worship.
Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Polonnaruwa
It was the island’s capital for over a millennium and adorned with countless kings with a series of extravagant buildings, including three of the largest stupas the world has ever seen.
The nearby Mihintale is revered as the place where Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka, with a fascinating series of temples and stupas scattered on a beautiful hill.
Sigiriya, the Lion Rock or Ravana’s Palace
The huge Buddha di Aukana
The majestic Buddha statue in Aukana is the oldest best preserved in Sri Lanka.
Aukana means “sun that eats”, and the statue is best seen at dawn, when the poor light shines directly into the face.
With a height of 13 meters (43 feet), the imposing image was carved with maximum safety from a single rock.
The Buddha is erect, with his heavy right hand raised to the blessing position, while the other hand gently touches his shoulder, as if holding his pleated robes in place.
It is only when you look down at the massive feet that you realise the vastness of this statue.
Located on a granite spur in the heart of the Cultural Triangle, the richly painted cave temples of Dambulla are the best preserved of their kind in Sri Lanka.
Dating back to the first century BC and full of colourful Buddha statues and murals.
Built as an act of gratitude by a Sinhalese king forced to hide from the Tamils who invaded Anuradhapura and chased him from his throne.
The cave temples are positioned under a large rock overhang with dividing walls built to separate the cave into individual temples.
Over the years and up until the twentieth century, the site was embellished, renovated and repainted several times by various kings, but the style and appearance of the art are surprisingly consistent.
Today the main attractions of Dambulla are spread over five separate rock temples.
The narrow Cave 1 houses a 15 meter long reclining Buddha carved into the solid rock with beautifully painted feet and delicate traces of the gilded gilding that once covered most of the sculpture.
The largest and most impressive of the caves is Cave 2 with over 150 life-size statues and images of Buddha.
Also you will observe a fabulous murals that cover the ceiling and walls depicting historical and religious events.
The nearby Cave 3 also contains a good part of interesting frescoes, although the strong point of this particular temple is the solid rock that the Buddha meditates.
The relatively small Cave 4 is noteworthy for the dagoba in the centre, while the Cave 5 is the smallest of the group with statues of Buddha in brick and plaster.
Useful tip: when you visit the cave temple complex, it begins at the end (Cave 5) in reverse order so you can see the different caves in order of magnificence, ending with the most impressive.
Sri Lanka is indeed the perfect place for children and for people who like animals and nature.
This country is incredibly green.
It is impossible not to find elephant herds on safari or even on the same road traveling.
It is also very easy to see leopards, macaques and other types of monkeys, giant squirrels, jackals, etc. etc
Furthermore, walking with children and adults through the Peradeniya Botanical Garden is a delight.
Along with the giant trees and millions of plants, we will also find monkeys and other animals in this immense place.