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Top Choice Monument in Polonnaruwa

Gal Vihara

This is a group of beautiful Buddha images that probably marks the high point of Sinhalese rock carving. They are part of Parakramabahu I’s northern monastery. The Gal Vihara consists of four separate images, all cu…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Anuradhapura

Abhayagiri Dagoba

Dating back to the 1st century BC, this colossal dagoba was the ceremonial focus of the 5000-strong Abhayagiri Monastery. Originally over 100m high, it was one of the greatest structures in the ancient world, its sc…
Top Choice Historic Site in Polonnaruwa

Quadrangle

A short stroll north of the Royal Palace ruins, the area known as the Quadrangle is literally that – a compact group of ruins in a raised-up area bounded by a wall. It’s the most concentrated collection of buildings…
Top Choice Buddhist Stupa in Anuradhapura

Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

This magnificent white dagoba is guarded by a wall with a frieze of 344 elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. Apart from a few beside the western entrance, most are modern replacements of the originals from 140 B…
Top Choice Fort in Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

The steep ornamental staircase of this dramatic rock fortress is perhaps its finest feature, and once led to the Temple of the Tooth. One of the lions near the top of the staircase appears on the Rs 10 note. The por…
Top Choice Buddhist Site in Anuradhapura

Sri Maha Bodhi

The sacred bodhi tree is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. It was grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgaya in India and is said to be the oldest historically authenticated tree in the…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Dambulla

Cave Temples

The beautiful Royal Rock Temple complex sits about 160m above the road in the southern part of Dambulla. Five separate caves contain about 150 absolutely stunning Buddha statues and paintings, some of Sri Lanka's mo…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Ridi Vihara

Ridi Vihara

The primary attraction at this Buddhist temple is the golden standing Buddha statue in the main cave called the Pahala Vihara (Lower Temple), which also houses a 9m recumbent Buddha resting on a platform decorated w…
Top Choice Buddhist Stupa in Anuradhapura

Jetavanarama Dagoba

The Jetavanarama Dagoba’s massive dome rises above the entire eastern part of Anuradhapura. Built in the 3rd century by King Mahasena, it may have originally topped 120m, but today is about 70m – similar to the Abha…
Top Choice Historic Site in Sigiriya

Frescoes

Halfway up the Sigiriya rock an open-air spiral stairway leads to a long, sheltered gallery in the sheer rock face. The paintings of the buxom, wasp-waisted women are popularly believed to represent either apsaras (…