Magnificent Craftsmanship - Magical History
Updated: Mar 17, 2020
Travellers are flocking to see Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, home to frolicking monkeys, giant Buddha statues and 1,500-year-old palaces.
Sri Lanka may be known for palm-fringed beaches, but it also houses a treasure trove of archaeological sites, the most magnificent of which lies in the geographical heart of the country – an area known as the Cultural Triangle. The region is home to no fewer than five Unesco World Heritage sites.
Sri Lanka was ruled by Kings from ancient times as far back as the 3rd century B.C spanning over 2.500 years as recorded history depicts. Ancient Cities of Sri Lanka has so much to see for every traveler from majestic dagobas, exquisitely carved stone structures, serene statues of Lord Buddha, dazzlingly decorated temples built in to rocky overhangs and feats of irrigation that amaze the world even today are just some of the treasures left by a proud civilization stretching back more than two thousand years.
Anuradhapura, is the first capital of Sri Lanka was founded in 380 B.C. by King Pandukahabaya and remained as the capital till 1017 AD. But it was under King Devanampiya Tissa (247–207 BC), during whose reign Buddhism reached Sri Lanka, that it first rose to great importance. Sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta. The construction of Ruwanweliseya, the third largest stupa of Sri Lanka,
Abhayagiri Stupa built over a footprint of Buddha. As a result of invasions from South India the kingdom of Anuradhapura fell by the end of the 10th century A.D and moved to Polonnaruwa. Great kings of Polonnaruwa were Parakrama Bahu the Great and Nissanka Malla both of whom adorned the city with numerous buildings of architectural beauty.
Invasion was intermittent and the capital was moved constantly to Sigiriya, Yapahuwa, Seethwaka, Kandy until the Portuguese arrived in 1505, when the chief city was established at Kotte, in the western lowlands. Dutch thereafter rules Sri Lanka from 1656 to 1796. British then displaced the Dutch and the arrival of the British in the mid-1800s transformed the culture of Sri Lanka still further. European powers who came to colonise Sri Lanka also impacted significantly on the island’s culture, bringing with them new religion, traditions, languages and food. Sri Lanka’s modern day culture is, as a result, a wonderful melting pot of different religions and traditions, old and new, drawing from many different aspects of the island’s complex heritage.
Sri Lanka is one of the few countries with a very vast and rich cultural diversity. The culture is itself very unique and thereby contributes to the Sri Lankan identity. Sri Lankan culture includes a lot of customs and rituals, whish date to more than 2000 years which were handed down from generation to generation. The most prominent feature of the Sri Lankan is its colorful festivals , which is one of the main tourist attractions. Religion plays an important role in molding the Sri Lankan culture and traditions.
Once treasured by museums and private collectors, mask carving is on the decline with the only remaining aspect being a cottage industry focused on tourism