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1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

1998-2017

Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). the pioneer National Ecotourism Organization in Sri Lanka... Marching towards greener and pro-poor tourism fabric in Sri Lanka

Sample Eco Tour (21 Days)


Days-16,17,18 (Cultural Triangle)


You could explore UNESCO Cultural Triangle based in Sigiriya, Habarana or Giritale. Many things you could do here including visiting of cultural, historical and archaeological sites such as Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla etc. and visiting of museums, nature parks managed by the Forest Department of Sri Lanka etc. Also, these locations are just right place to explore Sri Lanka's 5000 year old 'Hydraulic Civilization' embedded with very ancient man-made reservoirs. (Cultural triangle is the Cradle of Buddhism and Sri Lanka civilization of Sri Lanka)

Day 16 - 17 - 18
Prepare yourself to get indulged with the best of everything on Island while enjoying to the maximum in visiting amazing places of interest like the Royal city

Home stay with a Sri Lanka family, Half Board Basis or at Habarana Rest House


You could explore UNESCO Cultural Triangle based in Sigiriya, Habarana or Giritale. Many things you could do here including visiting of cultural, historical and archaeological sites such as Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla etc. and visiting of museums, nature parks managed by the Forest Department of Sri Lanka etc. Also, these locations are just right place to explore Sri Lanka's 5000 year old 'Hydraulic Civilization' embedded with very ancient man-made reservoirs. (Cultural triangle is the Cradle of Buddhism and Sri Lanka civilization of Sri Lanka)

Places to visit from Habarana; Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla etc.

Sigiriya Rock. Sigiriya is a UNESCO declared 'World Heritage Monument'. Sigiriya was the capital of king Kassyapa who ruled Sri Lanka from 477-495 A.D. in the 5th Century AD. He transformed this 600 feet solid rock in to a rock fortress and beautiful palace garden. Sigiriya is one of the loveliest royal sites that ever graced the earth and one of the most remarkable archaeological feats in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya is very famous for its lovely paintings or frescoes belong to the 5th Century A.D.

These frescoes closely resemble the cave painting of Ajantha and Ellora in India.

Sri Lankan architectural tradition is well displayed at Sigiriya, the best preserved city centre in Asia from the first millennium, with its combination of buildings and gardens with their trees, pathways, water gardens, the fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical elements, use of varying levels and of axial and radial planning. The Complex consists of the central rock, rising 200 meters above the surrounding plain, and the two rectangular precincts on the east (90 hectares) and the west (40 hectares), surrounded by two moats and three ramparts. The plan of the city is based on a precise square module. The layout extends outwards from co-ordinates at the centre of the palace complex at the summit, with the eastern and western axis directly aligned to it. The water garden, moats and ramparts are based on an 'echo plan' duplicating the layout and design on either side. This city still displays its skeletal layout and its significant features. 3 km from east to west and 1 km from north to south I display the grandeur and complexity of urban-planning in 5th century Sri Lanka.

Climbing Sigiriya is very interesting. There are number of flight of steps leading to the summit through archaeological excavations, hanging gardens, stone thrones, ponds, meditation caves etc. From the top you can enjoy a breadth taking panoramic view of the surrounding jungles and countryside. Surrounding jungles of Sigiriya are rich in bird life and hotels arrange the bird watching tours on elephant back.

To climb Sigiriya rock and back to the plains would take approximately one and half to two hours.

Dambulla Rock Temple and Caves;

Dating back to the 1st Century BC, this is the most impressive cave temple in Sri Lanka. It has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. In 1938 the architecture was embellished with arched colonnades and gabled entrances. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses.

The temple is composed of five caves, which have been converted into shrine rooms. The caves, built at the base of a 150m high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st Century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa times (1073 to 1250), are by far the most impressive of the many cave temples found in Sri Lanka. Access is along the gentle slope of the Dambulla Rock, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding flat lands, which includes the rock fortress Sigiriya, 19kms away. Families of friendly monkeys make the climb even more interesting. Dusk brings hundreds of swooping swallows to the cave entrance. The largest cave measures about 52m from east to west, and 23m from the entrance to the back, this spectacular cave is 7m tall at its highest point. Hindu deities are also represented here, as are the kings Valgamba and Nissankamalla, and Ananda - the Buddha's most devoted disciple.

Within these shrine rooms is housed a collection of one hundred and fifty statues of the Buddhist Order and the country's history. These statues and paintings are representative of many epochs of Sinhala sculpture and art. The Buddha statues are in varying sizes and attitudes - the largest is 15 metres long. One cave has over 1,500 paintings of Buddha covering the ceiling.

The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. King Walagambahu is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are. King Nissanka Malla gilded the caves and added about 70 Buddha statues in 1190. During the 18th century, the caves were restored and painted by the Kandyan Kings.


Anuradhapura


Anuradhapura, is a major city in Sri Lanka. It is the capital city of North Central Province, Sri Lanka and the capital of Anuradhapura District. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was 3rd capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata after Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara.

The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²)

The city


Protohistoric Iron Age


Although according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. Very little evidence was available about the period before the 5th century BC (i.e. the protohistoric period), though excavations have revealed information about the earlier inhabitants of the city.

Further excavations in Anuradhapura have uncovered information about the existence of a protohistoric habitation of humans in the citadel. The protohistoric Iron Age which spans from 900 to 600 BC, marked the appearance of iron technology, pottery, the horse, domestic cattle and paddy cultivation. In the time period 700 to 600 BC the settlement in Anuradhapura had grown over an area of at least 50 ha. The city was strategically situated of major ports northwest and northeast, it was surrounded by irrigable and fertile land. The city was also buried deep in the jungle providing natural defence from invaders.


Lower Early Historic period


The Lower Early Historic period, spanning from 500 to 250 BC, is studied on the lines of the chronicles. During this time King Pandukabhayaformally planned the city, with gates, quarters for traders etc. The city at the time would have covered an area of 1 square kilometre which makes it one of the largest in the continent at the time.


Beginnings


The layout of Anuradhapura as described in the Mahavansa:

"He laid out four suburbs as well as the Abhaya-tank, the common cemetery, the place of execution, and the chapel of the Queens of the West, the banyan-tree of Vessavana and the Palmyra-palm of the Demon of Maladies, the ground set apart for the Yonas and the house of the Great Sacrifice; all these he laid out near the west gate." [2] "A hermitage was made for many ascetics; eastward of that same cemetery the ruler built a house for the nigantha Jotiya.(...) On the further side of Jotiya's house and on this side of the Gamani tank he likewise built a monastery for wandering mendicant monks, and a dwelling for the ajivakas and a residence for the brahmans, and in this place and that he built a lying-in shelter and a hall for those recovering from sickness." [2] It is said that King Pandukabhaya made it his capital in the 4th century BC, and that he also laid out the town and its suburbs according to a well organized plan. He constructed a reservoir named Abhayavapi. He established shrines for yakkhas such as Kalawela and Cittaraja. He housed the Yaksini-Cetiya in the form of a mare within the royal precincts and offerings were made to all these demi-gods every year. He chose the sites for the cemetery and for the place of execution, the Chapel of the Western Queen, the Pacchimarajini, the Vessavana Banyan Tree, the Palm of the Vyadhadeva, the Yona Quarter and the House of the Great Sacrifice. The slaves or Candalas were assigned their duties and a village was set apart for them. They build dwellings for Niganthas, for wandering ascetics and for Ajivakas and Brahmanas. He established, the village boundaries. The tradition that King Pandukabhaya made Anuradhapura the capital city of Sri Lanka as early as the 4th century BC had been very important. The administrative and sanitary arrangements be made for the city and the shrines he provided indicate that over the years the city developed according to an original master plan. His son Mutasiva, succeeded to the throne. During his reign of s ixty years, he maintained Anuradhapura as his capital and further laid out the Mahameghavana Garden which was to play an important role in the early history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was in the period of his successor, his son Devanampiya Tissa, that Buddhism was first introduced this island 236 years after the passing away of the Buddha. Emperor Ashoka in India was a contemporary of Devanampiya Tissa. Historically this period is considered to extend from 250 to 210 BC. This is the point at which a kingship began and a civilization developed based on one of the most significant religions of South Asia, Buddhism.


Buddhism and Anuradhapura


With the introduction of Buddhism, the city gained more prominence and the great building era began. The Mahavansa states that King Kutakannatissa built the first city wall to a height of sevencubits with a moat in front of the wall. This fortification was further enlarged by raising the wall a further 11 cubits to 18 cubits by King Vasabha. The king also added fortified gatehouses at the entrances of which the ruins can be seen to date. The Mahavamsa also states that soothsayers and architects were consulted in the construction.

During the late Anuradhapura period, the royal family and nobility of Sri Lanka strongly supported Buddhism. As such, they frequently commissioned works of art and donated these items to Buddhist temples. In return, the temple and local Buddhist community supported the king's rule. Art works featuring depictions of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion, became increasing popular.[3]


Great Building Era


The city grows


The city's popularity grew both as a ritual centre and as the administrative centre, a large population was attracted to the city for permanent settlement. Thus the living facilities were improved to accommodate the expanding population. King Vasabha constructed many ponds which were fed by a network of subterranean channels which were constructed to supply water to the city. Tissa and Abhayavapi tanks were built, the Nuwara weva was built and theMalwatu Oya was dammed to build the Nachchaduwa wewa which was 4,408 acres (17.84 km2) in size.

Parks were also provided in the city. The Ranmasu Uyana below the bund of Tissavapi or Tisa weva was one such, but it was strictly reserved for the members of the royal family. Health care and education were two other aspects to which the authorities paid attention. There were several hospitals in the city. In the 4th century King Upatissa II provided quarters and homes for the crippled and the blind. King Buddhadasa (337-365 AD), himself a physician of great repute, appointed a physician to be in charge of every ten villages. For the maintenance of these physicians, one tenth of the income from the fields was set apart. He also set up refuges for the sick in every village. Physicians were also appointed to look after the animals. Kassapa V(914-923 AD) founded a hospital close to the southern gate of Anuradhapura. General Sena in the 10th century is believed to have built a hospital close to the ceremonial street (Managala Veediya). The history of medical care began early, for in the 4th century BC King Pandukhabaya, in the course of sanitizing the town constructed a hospital. A large workforce was entrusted with the task of keeping the city clean.

Large lakes were also constructed by the city's rulers to irrigate paddy lands and also to supply water to the city. Nuwara wewa and Tissa wewa are among the best known lakes in the city.

The great city


Anuradhapura attained its highest magnificence about the commencement of the common era. The city had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world, situated in the dry zone of the country the administration built many tanks to irrigate the land. Most of these tanks still survive.


Pictures found in the oldest great city at Anuradhapura excavations


Ruins


The ruins consist of three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings, and pokunas. The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of masonry, varying from a few feet to over 1100 ft (340 m) in circumference. Some of them contain enough masonry to build a town for twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Remains of the monastic buildings are to be found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC. The pokunas are bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of drinking water, which are scattered everywhere through the jungle. The city also contains a sacred Bo-Tree, which is said to date back to the year 245 BC.


Eight Great Places of Veneration in Anuradhapura - Atamasthana


Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri ,Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa, Lankarama


Other structures


Isurumuniya, Magul Uyana, Vessagiri, Rathna Prasadaya, Queen's Palace, Dakkhina Stupa, Sela Cetiya, Naka Vihara, Kiribath Vehera, Kuttam Pokuna, Samadhi Statue, Toluwila Statue


Polonnaruwa


It's the main town of Polonnaruwa District in the North Central Province, Sri Lanka. Kaduruwela area is the Polonnaruwa New Town and the other part of Polonnaruwa, remains as the royal ancient city of Polonnaru Kingdom. The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Cholainvaders in 1070 to reunite the country once more under a local leader.

The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site


History


While Vijayabahu's victory and shifting of kingdoms to the more strategic Polonnaruwa is considered significant, the real "Hero of Polonnaruwa" of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. It was his reign that is considered the Golden Age of Polonnaruwa, when trade and agriculture flourished under the patronage of the king, who was so adamant that no drop of water falling from the heavens was to be wasted, and each was to be used toward the development of the land; hence, irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the Anuradhapura Age were constructed during Parakramabahu's reign, systems which to this day supply the water necessary for paddy cultivation during the scorching dry season in the east of the country. The greatest of these systems, is the Parakrama Samudraya or the Sea of Parakrama. It is of such a width that it is impossible to stand upon one shore and view the other side, and it encircles the main city like a ribbon, being both a moat against intruders and the lifeline of the people in times of peace. The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was completely self-sufficient during King Parakramabahu's reign.

With the exception of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla I, all other monarchs of Polonnaruwa were slightly weak-willed and rather prone to picking fights within their own court. They also went on to form more intimate matrimonial alliances with stronger South Indian kingdoms, until these matrimonial links superseded the local royal lineage and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Kalinga Magha in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of Sri Lanka in 1284. The capital was then moved to Dambadeniya. The city of Polonnaruwa was also called Jananathamangalam during the short Chola reign.


Present day


Today the ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archaeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the Kingdom's first rulers. Its beauty was also used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music videoSave a Prayer in 1982. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Near the ancient city, there is a small town with several hotels (especially for tourists) and some glossy shops, and places to fulfill day-to-day needs. There are government institutions in a newly built area called "new town," about 6 km away from the town and the main road. The largest school in the district, Polonnaruwa Royal Central College is situated at new town.

Polonnaruwa is the second largest city in North Central Province, but it is known as one of the cleanest and more beautiful cities in the country. The green environment, amazing ancient constructions, Parakrama Samudraya (a huge lake built in 1200), and attractive tourist hotels and hospitable people, attract tourists.

Climate


One recent scientific observation is that of its climate changes: historically, Polonnaruwa had a tropical climate most of the year, although it was occasionally chilly in December and January. But in recent years the rain and chilliness has been increased noticeably. Although this is surprising to some people, it is more enjoyable for tourists. However, there is a setback, as paddy field farmers can suffer when there is too much rain.

Internships and Voluntourism in Sri Lanka with SLEF.

Please down load PDF to see a Profile on Internships and Voluntourism of the 2 EVS from Spain-2016

Sri Lanka Tourism News Paper

(UNWTO) Asia Pacific



Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) rated by UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in its publication 'Compendium of Best Practices and Recommendations for Ecotourism in Asia and the Pacific'

Visit

Asia-Pacific Regional Ecotuorism Council (APREC)

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ecotourism.org

ecotourism
conference.org

First South Asia Sub Regional Tourism Forum

Walawa Nadee Ecotourism Organitation

'RESPONSIBLE TOURISM WITHOUT BOUNDARIES' Documentary DVD on Ecotourism and Community Based Tourism released


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