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  • The south Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    and Nara Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to China View Guide The Rough Guide to Seoul View Guide The Rough Guide to Myanmar View Guide The Rough Guide to Korea View Guide In many ways the south encapsulates Sri Lanka at its most traditional Stretched out along a great arc of sun baked coastline from Galle in the west to Tissamaharama in the east the area remains essentially rural a land of a thousand sleepy villages sheltered under innumerable palms where the laid back pace of life still revolves around coconut farming rice cultivation and fishing the last still practised in places by the distinctively Sri Lankan method of stilt fishing Culturally too the south remains a bastion of Sinhalese traditions exemplified by the string of temples and giant Buddha statues which dot the coast and by the colourful festivals celebrated throughout the region which culminate in the exuberant religious ceremonies enacted nightly at the ancient shrine of Kataragama The south s physical distance from the rest of the island and from the hordes of Indian invaders who periodically overran the north meant that the ancient kingdom of Ruhunu or Rohana a name still often used to describe the region evolved into one of the heartlands of traditional Sinhalese culture In later centuries despite the brief importance of the southern ports of Galle and Matara in the colonial Indian Ocean trade Ruhunu preserved this separation and with the rise of Colombo and the commercial decline of Galle and Matara in the late nineteenth century the south became a relative backwater as it remains despite the more recent incursions of tourism The region s varied attractions make it one of Sri Lanka s most rewarding areas to visit Gateway to the south and one of its highlights

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/south/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Kandy and the hill country Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    Lombok View Guide The Rough Guide to India View Guide Rough Guide Audio Phrasebook and Dictionary Japanese View Guide Occupying the island s southern heartlands the sublime green heights of the hill country are a world away from the sweltering coastal lowlands indeed nothing encapsulates the scenic diversity of Sri Lanka as much as the short journey by road or rail from the humid urban melee of Colombo to the cool altitudes of Kandy or Nuwara Eliya The landscape here is a beguiling mixture of nature and nurture In places the mountainous green hills rise to surprisingly rugged and dramatic peaks in others the slopes are covered in carefully manicured tea gardens whose neatly trimmed lines of bushes add a toy like quality to the landscape while the mist and clouds which frequently blanket the hills add a further layer of mystery The hill country has been shaped by two very different historical forces The northern portion around the historic city of Kandy was home to Sri Lanka s last independent kingdom which survived two centuries of colonial incursions before finally falling to the British in 1815 The cultural legacy of this independent Sinhalese tradition lives on today in the city s distinctive music dance and architecture encapsulated by the Temple of the Tooth home to the island s most revered Buddhist relic and the exuberant Kandy Esala Perahera one of Asia s most spectacular festivals In contrast the character of the southern hill country is largely a product of the British colonial era when tea was introduced to the island an industry which continues to shape the economy and scenery of the region today At the heart of the tea growing uplands lies the town of Nuwara Eliya which preserves a few quaint traces of its British colonial heritage

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/kandy-hill-country/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Cultural Triangle Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    tangled green hills of the central highlands tumble down into the plains of the dry zone a hot and denuded region covered in thorny scrub and jungle and punctuated by isolated mountainous outcrops that tower dramatically over the surrounding flatlands Despite the unpromising natural environment these northern plains traditionally referred to as Rajarata or The King s Land although now more popularly known as the Cultural Triangle served as the crucible of early Sinhalese civilization centred on the great cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa whose grandiose monuments still serve as potent reminders of the golden age of Sinhalese civilization At the spiritual heart of the Triangle lies the great ruined city of Anuradhapura capital of the island from the third century BC to 993 AD and one of medieval Asia s great metropolises dotted with vast monasteries elaborate palaces enormous tanks and a trio of monumental dagobas excelled in scale in the ancient world only by the Egyptian pyramids The remains of Polonnaruwa the island s second capital are more compact but equally absorbing while few visitors miss the chance to climb the spectacular rock citadel of Sigiriya perhaps Sri Lanka s single most extraordinary sight Other leading attractions include the marvellous cave temples of Dambulla a magical treasure box of Buddhist sculpture and painting and the religious centre of Mihintale scene of the introduction of Buddhism to the island Major attractions aside the Cultural Triangle is peppered with other intriguing but relatively little visited ancient monuments including the abandoned cities of Yapahuwa and Panduwas Nuwara the great Buddha statues of Aukana and Sasseruwa the absorbing temples of Aluvihara and Ridi Vihara and the haunting forest monasteries of Arankele and Ritigala And there is no shortage of natural attractions either at the national parks of Minneriya Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa Read

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/cultural-triangle/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The east Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    the east where the west coast is predominantly Sinhalese the east is largely Tamil and Muslim and where parts of the west coast are crowded with tourists and almost buried under a surfeit of hotels the east remains largely untouched and tourist free for the time being at any rate Much of the east s beautifully pristine coastal scenery derives ironically from its often tragic wartime past during which the region splintered into a fluid patchwork of territories controlled variously by government and LTTE forces Two decades of fighting took a devastating toll on the region s already struggling economy villages were abandoned commerce collapsed and the coast s few hotels were simply blown up and allowed to fall into the sea Meaningful reconstruction and economic development became possible only after the LTTE were finally driven out of the area in 2007 and although the lingering effects of war can still be seen in places the east s fortunes appear finally to be turning with ambitious plans to tap into the coast s massive tourist potential exemplified by the extraordinary glut of new resorts under construction around the formerly war torn and deserted Passekudah Bay Much of the region s population is concentrated in the long string of mainly Tamil and Muslim towns and villages that line the coast backed by fine sandy beaches and labyrinthine lagoons the vast swathes of predominantly Sinhalese country inland whose arid climate has always discouraged settled agriculture remain sparsely populated and largely undeveloped Capital of the east is the vibrant town of Trincomalee with its appealing blend of faded colonial charm colourful Hindu temples and beautiful coastal scenery Few tourists venture this way however except to press onto the extremely low key beachside villages of Uppuveli and Nilaveli just up the coast South from here the formerly unspoilt beaches at Passekudah and Kalkudah are currently in the throes of major tourist development while continuing south brings you to the personable town of Batticaloa strung out around its enormous lagoon Further south the laid back surfing hotspot of Arugam Bay is currently the only place in the east to see significant numbers of foreign visitors and also makes a convenient starting point for trips to the national parks of Lahugala and Yala East and the remote forest hermitage at Kudimbigala Brief history Although now something of a backwater the east was for many centuries the most outward looking and cosmopolitan part of the island a fact borne out by its for Sri Lanka unusually heterogeneous ethnic make up with roughly equal numbers of Sinhalese Tamils and Muslims the region is the most culturally diverse in Sri Lanka Much of the area s early history revolved around Gokana modern Trincomalee the island s principal trading port during the Anuradhapuran and Polonnaruwan eras and the harbours of the east continued to serve as an important conduit for foreign influences in subsequent centuries Islam spread widely along the coast thanks to visiting Arab Malay and Indian traders while

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/east/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Jaffna and the north Guide | Sri Lanka Travel | Rough Guides
    Guide Central Honshu Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand s Beaches Islands View Guide The Rough Guide to Laos View Guide Tibet Rough Guides Snapshot China View Guide The Rough Guide to Singapore View Guide The north is a world away from the rest of Sri Lanka Closer to southern India than to Colombo the region was settled early on by Tamil migrants from southern India and has retained a unique character and culture one which owes as much to Hindu India as to Buddhist Sri Lanka From 1983 to 2009 the entire region was engulfed in the civil war between the rebel guerrillas of the LTTE Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan Army SLA and the decades of fighting have further reinforced the two thousand year history of difference that separates the Tamil north from the Sinhalese south For much of the past two decades large areas of the north were controlled by the LTTE who established their own de facto independent state stretching from just north of Vavuniya through to Elephant Pass while for a period they also controlled Jaffna and the Jaffna Peninsula until it was recaptured by the SLA in 1995 The region is only gradually emerging from the long years of isolation and fighting and the painfully slow process of rebuilding shattered towns and villages de mining fields restoring roads and returning refugees to their former homes is likely to continue for some time to come For the traveller the north is Sri Lanka s final frontier and offers a fascinating opportunity to explore a region emerging from over twenty years of isolation and civil war Reaching the area is now straightforward and although it still entails a long road journey or short flight

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/jaffna-north/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Map of Sri Lanka | Sri Lanka Regions | Rough Guides
    rainforests to misty mountains and tea plantations boasting a superb array of exotic wildlife and one of Asia s most spectacular collections of Buddhist monuments few countries can offer such a variety of attractions Use our map of Sri Lanka below to start planning your trip Whether you fancy looking for leopards and elephants at Yala National Park discovering the origins of your cuppa at Dambatenne Tea Factory or climbing up to the palace in the clouds on the top of Sigiriya rock Sri Lanka offers plenty to explore Gain an insight into the rich and complex history which underpins this unique destination wander through the ancient ruined city of Anuradhapura a UNESCO world heritage site once populated by as many as ten thousand Buddhist monks or gaze upon the magnificent Temple of the Tooth at Kandy Find out more about Sri Lanka Interactive Sri Lanka Map Regions of Sri Lanka Click the links below to find out about your chosen region 1 Colombo and the west coast 2 The south 3 Kandy and the hill country 4 The Cultural Triangle 5 The east 6 Jaffna and the north Related Ebooks The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka View Guide The

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/maps/asia/sri-lanka/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in Sri Lanka | Where to go in Sri Lanka | Rough Guides
    never visited the place Romantically inclined geographers poring over maps of the island compared its outline to a teardrop falling from the tip of India or to the shape of a pearl the less impressionable Dutch likened it to a leg of ham while even the name given to the island by early Arab traders Serendib gave rise to the English word serendipity Marco Polo s bold claim still holds true Sri Lanka packs an extraordinary variety of places to visit within its modest physical dimensions and few islands of comparable size can boast a natural environment of such beauty and diversity Lapped by the Indian Ocean the coast is fringed with idyllic and often refreshingly undeveloped beaches while the interior boasts a compelling variety of landscapes ranging from wildlife rich lowland jungles home to extensive populations of elephants leopards and rare endemic bird species to the misty heights of the hill country swathed in immaculately manicured tea plantations Nor does the island lack in man made attractions Sri Lanka boasts more than two thousand years of recorded history and the remarkable achievements of the early Sinhalese civilization can still be seen in the sequence of ruined cities and great religious monuments that litter the northern plains The glories of this early Buddhist civilization continue to provide a benchmark of national identity for the island s Sinhalese population while Sri Lanka s historic role as the world s oldest stronghold of Theravada Buddhism lends it a unique cultural identity that permeates life at every level There s more to Sri Lanka than just Buddhists however The island s geographical position at one of the most important staging posts of Indian Ocean trade laid it open to a uniquely wide range of influences as generations of Arab Malay Portuguese Dutch and

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/?wpfpaction=add&postid=24260 (2016-02-16)
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  • Explore Destinations | Travel Guides | Rough Guides
    to go When to go Getting there Getting around Accommodation Eating and drinking The media Festivals and public holidays Sport and outdoor activities National parks reserves and eco tourism Cultural values and etiquette Shopping Travelling with children Crime and safety Health Costs Travel essentials Inspiration Things not to miss Itineraries Features Gallery Explore Colombo and the west coast The south Kandy and the hill country The Cultural Triangle The east

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/explore/ (2016-02-16)
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