Sri Lanka: From evocative ruins to a boutique retreat

25 September 2018

One of Sri Lanka’s historic capitals and still the capital of the island’s North Central Province, Anuradhapura is home to one of the most culturally compelling sights in all of South Asia. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of ancient Anuradhapura embraces an incredible array of archaeological and architectural relics, including vast dagobas (stupas built of brick), temples and pools all dating from the city’s 1,000-year rule.

But this is no mere historic remnant: some of the sites are still used as temples and holy places, and the frequent ceremonies hosted here make it an incredibly special place to visit. Indeed, touring the ancient ruins and learning about the history of Sri Lanka is one of our top recommendations in Sri Lanka. We can arrange tours either on foot or by bike, depending on your preference.

“To our delight, there was a religious festival happening at the temple to the sacred Bo tree. Musicians and dancers accompanied a long procession of worshippers dressed in white who were carrying a roll of brightly coloured cloth above their heads, which was carried up the steps to the temple before being wound around the base of the temple by Buddhist monks.”

Julie, Travel Counsellor

One of our favourite recommendations for places to stay close to this historic wonder is Ulagalla Resort Anuradhapura 30 minutes away. This secluded boutique retreat within a 19th-century mansion is an intimate sanctuary with just 20 eco-friendly villas with private pools, spread across 58 acres of lush greenery. Home to a solar farm, it generates half of its own energy requirements. Ulagalla is also just an hour from Sigiriya, the ancient rock kingdom that has been dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World. 

“The Ulagalla luxury boutique resort at Anuradhapura is a beautiful former Wallawwa or chieftain’s house surrounded by luxurious modern villas on stilts, each with their own plunge pool […] We had a dawn date with the estate horses Olax and Scotch. It was touching to see the bond that existed between the horses and their cheerful jockeys, and we loved riding around the estate taking in the abundant early-morning wildlife.”



To find out more or to book your Sri Lanka cultural adventure, contact your Travel Counsellor today.

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