The North Central Plains of Sri Lanka which belongs to the dry zone of the island is mainly covered in thick shrubbery forests and isolated mountainous outcrops that are surrounded by flat land. These north-central plains which are known as “Rajarata” (Translation: King’s Land) along with the Kandyan Kingdom are popularly known as the Cultural Triangle of the island nation of Sri Lanka. A tour within the Cultural Triangle will help you understand the ancient Buddhist culture of Sri Lanka and the intense devoutness the natives demonstrate.
The Cultural Triangle is concentrated with many Buddhist Temples, Sculptures, Ancient Monasteries and Stupas while some of them date back to 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 a number of monolithic rock formations that are have been ideally transformed into places of worship.
Popular Destinations with the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka
Renowned as one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world, Anuradhapura was founded in the year 380 BC and was the island’s first ancient capital. The ancient Sinhala civilization’s irrigation and architectural expertise was the reason behind the thriving history of this kingdom while it was one of the foremost sacred cities of Buddhism making it an important UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is known for the “Atamasthana” which is venerated by many devotees throughout the year. The Eight Great Places of Veneration in Anuradhapura include the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Jetawanarama, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Mirisaveti Stupa and Lankarama. There are many more structures such as the Queen’s Palace, Isurumuniya, Kuttam Pokuna, etc which depict the greatness of the ancient Kingdom and its honour for Buddhism.
This city is the second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s Kingdoms while it was declared as the capital after defeating “Chola Invaders” in 1070. King Parakramabahu’s reign bought new dawn to the island while far more superior irrigation systems than Anuradhapura were used for paddy cultivation. The ancient city boasts of many archaeological relics and monuments and is one of the best-planned sites in the country. The city is also populated by ‘toque macaques’ which are a species of monkeys and has been used as the backdrop of the nature documentary “Monkey Kingdom”. Some of the well-known attractions of this stately city include the Statue of King Parakramabahu, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, the Rankoth Vehera, the Gal Viharaya and its statues, the Sathmahal Prasada, etc.