The ‘Cultural Triangle’ is the area roughly between Kandy to the south, Anuradhapura to the north west and Polonnaruwa to the east. It was the cradle of the ancient irrigation civilisation of Sri Lanka that flourished 2500 years ago. It is a wonderful region to visit – monuments spanning a period of 1700 years are in abundance and in close proximity.
Anuradhapura is the jewel in the crown – one of the worlds’ great cities in its heyday, 2200 years ago. Sigiriya – a pleasure palace built upon a huge rock, is a mind boggling remnant of ancient engineering prowess and has a magnificent view to boot. Polonnaruwa is perhaps the most accessible of the ruins as much is intact and the artistry and skill apparent at sites such as the Gal Vihara Buddhas, is startling.
The area remains thinly populated and large areas are given over to national parks. It is a beautiful region in any case and if you are lucky you may see elephants out in the wild. You will certainly see monkeys and birds of all descriptions; snakes, lizards and various other fauna. For a safari trip you can go leopard spotting in Wilpattu or enjoy the richly varied landscapes at Wasgomuwa. For observing elephants in their natural habitat, there are great short safaris to be enjoyed to either Miniriya or Kandulla.
The best places to stay are clustered towards the centre of this area. Nearby the cave temples of Dambulla by the Kandalama Tank (ancient reservoir) is the incomparable and beautifully designed The Kandalama. Across the Tank is the spacious and tranquil Amaya Lake.
Further north, at Habarana, is the stylish The Cinnamon Lodge and sister hotel The Chaaya Village, its design based on the ancient monastic complex at Ritigala. At Sigiriya itself, 'Hotel Sigiriya’ offers good value and a lovely view of the rock while the beautifully laid out Sigiriya Village has its own organic farm and is fantastic for families.
In a stunning location near Sigiriya, Sri Lanka’s most luxurious eco lodge, Vil Uyana offers the ultimate in rustic style luxury. Private plunge pools, Vil Uyana now sets the bar by which other properties in the region are measured.
Accommodation is sparse at Anuradhapura but Ulugalla is one of the best hotels in the country. It is a wonderful building with atmosphere to match. It's an evocative place to relax after a long days sightseeing.
Nearby Polonnaruwa has very limited options, so we'd suggest a more centrally local place which would suit you.
One of Experience Travel Group’s favourite activities in the area is the fantastic Hot Air Ballooning. There is no better way to see the magnificent Sigiriya Rock and the surrounding wildlife.
For the nature enthusiasts and those looking for something a little less conventional, then the magnificent Kurulu Uyana offers beautiful eco-friendly accommodation close to Sigiriya.
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