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Kandy

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city’s heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling. Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand Esala Perahera annual procession.

Near the Temple of the Tooth is the National Museum, housed in a former palace, with exhibits showcasing Kandy’s role as the last kingdom of Sri Lanka. In the nearby Peradeniya suburb, the Royal Botanic Gardens is known for its orchid collection and massive palm trees.The Ceylon Tea Museum, in a former tea factory, has a library and exhibits that explore Sri Lanka’s history as a major exporter of the beverage. Kandy is also a gateway to the Knuckles Mountains, a popular destination for hiking and camping.

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 an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was the third capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata, following the kingdoms of Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries.

The city 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. It is believed that from the fourth century BC until the beginning of the 11th century AD it was the capital of the Sinhalese. 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.

Colombo

Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.

The vibrant, jam-packed Pettah bazaar district’s thousands of vendors offer everything from spices and tea to textiles and jewelry. Galle Face Green is an oceanside promenade popular for picnicking and strolling. The city’s diverse religious landmarks range from the ornate, red-and-white-striped Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and the historic Dutch Reformed Wolvendaal Church to the Buddhist Gangaramaya Temple complex. International matches of cricket, Sri Lanka’s national passion, are played at Premadasa Stadium. The city is also a major hopping-off point for beaches in the island nation’s south.