One of the islands most inspiring archeological sites. This majestic tourist site was first built by an ancient King Kasaypa who killed his father to take over the kingdom but was banished to this site by his brother. He created his Palace on the top which enabled him to keep a watchful eye on any approaching enemies. Now tourists have the opportunity to walk up this ancient monument and stand where this King stood.
This is a magnificent group of Buddha statues built by King Parakramabahu, consisting of two seated, one standing and one reclining statues.
The tale has it that a western hunter took a challenge to shoot the Buddha statue, without heeding the advice from his guide. While he tried to do this a lone elephant living in the surrounding jungle charged at the hunter in order to the statues. The hunter fired at the elephant but this did not deter the elephant who eventually killed the hunter. The wounded elephant after protecting the statues wondered back into the jungle and passed away. This shows the deep link that elephants have with country and is a parallel to how horses are looked at in the west.
The ensemble of Dambulla is an outstanding example of the religious art and expression of Sri Lanka.
The excavated shrine caves, painted surfaced and statuary are unique in scale and degree of preservation. The monastery includes significant masterpieces in 18th century art in the Sri Lankan school of kandy. The rock of Dambulla is the centre of a Buddhist cave-temple complex established in the 3rd century BC and occupied continuously today. The site has been in continuous use for over 22 centuries when it was occupied by a Buddhist monastic establishment following the arrival of Buddhism on the island.
Two ancient Kings Parakramabahu and Dutugamunu who were largely responsible for introducing large man made irrigation projects and some of the ancient ruins found in the North Central Province are directly attributable to these two Kings.
In the 12 century AD medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was one of the great urban centres in South East Asia. Today the well preserved ruins give you the chance to experience the grandeur of this period and marvel at the artistry of the islands early craftsman.
Located about one hundred and forty km from Colombo, Polonnaruwa was the islands second ancient capital and many of its existing ruins owe their construction to King Parakramabahu the great