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Cultural Triangle

Dubbed the ‘King’s Land’ or ‘Rajarata’, the Cultural Triangle, lying at the heart of Sri Lanka, is the epicentre of the country’s ancient kingdoms that boasts of a rich culture and heritage, with its many ancient monuments, sculptures, ancient monasteries, stupas, royal cities and Buddhist temples that once served as the crucible of early Sinhalese civilization.

Starting from the Anuradhapura Kingdom that has its beginnings in the 3rd Century BC and ending at the Kandyan Kingdom in the 19th Century AC, Sri Lanka is a whirlwind of ancient history that can even rival that of the Egyptian Land of the Pharaohs. With UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Abhayagiri Dagoba (stupa) in Anuradhapura, the Royal Palace Complex in Polonnaruwa, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sigiriya, the Cave Temples in Dambulla and Matale, the Rock Fortress in Yapahuwa and the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) in Kandy to name but a few of the more prominent ones, it is a haven for the history lover, looking to understand the unique heritage and culture of Sri Lanka, that is deeply intertwined with the spiritual teachings of Lord Buddha.

What further accentuates the Cultural Triangle as the heart of Sri Lanka is the presence of an abundance of wildlife that roams around the lush green forests of the area. It is in these areas that the world famous ‘Gathering of the elephants’ and can be vividly seen in the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks. Coupled with other endemic and rare species of flora and fauna, the Cultural Triangle also doubles up as hub for the nature lover looking to witness the natural wonders of the Paradise Island.

Many might think Sri Lanka to be all about sun, sand and beaches, however, if you are to witness the true splendour of Sri Lanka in its entirety, then exploring the Cultural Triangle too is a must for you.

Interesting Facts

  • The reason for this particular area to be called the ‘Cultural Triangle’ is really due to the way the ancient monuments have been strewn across 3 main cities, namely Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy.
  • Although it is these 3 cities that are highlighted, there are many other ancient cities too that surround the area, such as Yapahuwa, Matale and Kurunegala.
  • Many of these sites are surrounded in a rich cascade of evergreen mountains and lush green rain forests, making for perfect havens for the various species of flora and fauna that dwell within the confines of the Paradise Island.
  • Due to the abundance of lush greenery and wildlife, the Government of Sri Lanka has designated certain areas as nature reserves. The most notable being the Minneriya, Kaudulla and Wasgamuwa National Parks that prove to be a vital haven for the endangered Asian Elephant, Sri Lankan Leopard and Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, making it the ideal destination for the nature lover.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Since the Cultural Triangle is a vast area of ancient ruins, rock and wildlife, the season runs almost the entire year, however, the months from January to August have proven to be the ideal season to visit the places and monuments, due to the favourable weather conditions.
  • Many of the places of attraction do have operating times, however, they vary depending on the place.
  • Do take note, that in order to view many of the ancient monuments and ruins, an entrance fee is charged, however, they too vary depending on the place.
  • Since many of the monuments are steeped in religious history, it is important to be clad modestly to respect the traditions.
  • Photography too, can be quite tricky, especially at Sigiriya and Dambulla, since there are many fragile paintings that can be tainted easily with a flash. Therefore, make sure you click it without the flash.
  • Whenever visiting a temple, be mindful that you do not turn your back, in front of the statues of Lord Buddha, as it is considered to be disrespectful.
  • Similar to entering temples, clothing when partaking in a wildlife excursion also requires you to be clad appropriately.

The Cultural Triangle then, is a kaleidoscopic wonder of ancient history and nature blended in an eclectic manner that would entice even the casual traveller.

Title image by: Tourism Board

Location info

Cultural Triangle - Anuradhapura

Cultural Triangle - Polonnaruwa

Cultural Triangle - Dambulla

Cultural Triangle - Sigiriya

Cultural Triangle - Matale

Cultural Triangle - Mihintale

Cultural Triangle - Yapahuwa

Cultural Triangle - Ritigala

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Season

January - August

Guided Tour

Nkar Travels and Tours

Type

Culture and Heritage

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