Nestled amidst the waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island country, full of pristine beaches, mountains, tropical forests, an array of wildlife and historical sites. Also known as Pearl of the Indian Ocean, the tourist appeal of Sri Lanka is well justified by its never-ending natural beauty. Ravaged by a civil war for almost a quarter of the century, it is now emerging as one of the most favoured tourist destinations in South Asia. With the co-operation and packages, offered by Sri Lanka tour operators, this popularity is only rising with each passing day.
Religion is integral to the country, which is one such place where you can spot statues of Lord Buddha, Lord Ganesha and Jesus Christ in one go. The nation was once home to great civilisations like the kingdom of Gampola, kingdom of Polonnaruwa and Jaffna kingdom. The ruins and monuments from some of these civilisations are well preserved till date and serve as famous attractions. While visiting this timeless country with cheap holidays to Sri Lanka, travellers can visit the following three sites:
An ancient Buddhist temple, approximately 1000 years old, it is about 10 km from Wellawaya in the Monaragala district. This site is famous for the huge carved stone statues in its complex, and hence, the name Buduruwagala, which roughly translates into the rock of Buddhist sculptures. One of these statues – Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara – is of great religious significance for the followers of Buddhism.
Sri Maha Bodhi
Situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Maha Bodhi is considered to be the oldest living tree, planted by a human in the nation. Planted in around 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa, this tree is said to be a sapling from Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, under which Prince Siddhartha Gautama gained enlightenment. This is the reason why it is called Bodhi, meaning awakening. Thousands of devotees pray to this tree, and on full moon nights special offerings are made here.
Golden Temple of Dambulla
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Golden Temple of Dambulla is situated in the central part of Sri Lanka. This temple complex, tucked under a gigantic rock, is the largest and one of the best preserved ones in the country. A visit to this attraction is included in most packages offered by Sri Lanka tour operators.
These three sites can be thronged during a tour to this country to learn about the Buddhist beliefs of locals.