Eerie & Unusual Attractions You Need To Visit In Sri Lanka
Beyond its immaculate shrines, strips of golden shores and misty mountains, Sri Lanka has its fair share of eerie and unusual attractions too. Explore these attractions, especially if you’re travelling with a group who can handle a horror story or two! From a depiction of hell that you can walk through to a waterfall with a tragic tale, these attractions around the island are sure to make the hair at the back of your neck stand up.
Lover’s Leap Waterfall
Our very own Romeo and Juliet rendition. Except instead of poison, the lovers choose a waterfall. When two star-crossed lovers are forbidden to be together, an attempt at eternal love is the only escape for the two. According to local legend, following the disapproval by the couples’ families, the lovers plunged down the cascade in a bid to be together forever – even if it’s in the after life. However, years later, rumour has it that the restless spirits still visit ‘Lover’s Leap Waterfall‘, and their screams can be heard too; especially if you visit after nightfall. However, do keep in mind that locals strictly advise against trekking to the falls at night, as can be quite dangerous (due to low visibility mainly). Visit during the daytime, so you can admire the stunning natural surroundings, especially the view from the top of the waterfall. Lover’s Leap Waterfall is located in Nuwara Eliya, and is a 5km hike through the Pedro Tea Plantation.
Saint Anthony’s Church And Cemetery
Located on the northeast coast of the island, St Anthony’s Church and Cemetery in Jaffna is a hauntingly beautiful sight. In a tiny village called Manalkadu, you will find the ruins of this massive church which is believed to have been built in the 17th century during the period of the Dutch rule. The church is built out of brick and coral, however, due to years of neglect, the land has started to reclaim it and the building is slowly sinking into the sand dunes. In a few years, it’ll be lost forever. The scene looks apocalyptic with pillars and arches peeping out of the sand… there is nothing quite like this site.
Kilinochchi Water Tower
Found in the Kilinochchi district, the Kilinochchi Water Tower is an eerie sight for visitors and locals. The city of Kilinochchi was once the stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the insurgent group who fought against the Sri Lankan Army. Nearing the end of the war, after the Sri Lankan army regained control, the LTTE contingent bombed the water tower that supplied water to the city. Today, the water tower still lies in the middle of the city, dwarfing all the buildings around it, a mammoth reminder of the war and the destruction it brought about.
Richmond Castle is unlike any other structure in Sri Lanka. This two-storeyed mansion complete with 16 rooms, 99 doors and 34 windows, was built from raw materials imported from different countries like Burma, Scotland and Italy. Built between 1900 and 1910, the ‘castle’ was commissioned by Don Arthur de Silva, who wanted to build a palace similar to his school friend- Raja of Ramnad’s mansion in India. After his marriage to Clarice, and due to their inability to conceive, the marriage fell apart and the house was abandoned. Although it was converted to an orphanage as owner’s last request, the gardens and rooms are empty and hauntingly quiet. The halls of this massive mansion remain eerily quiet, even today.
Keen on taking a walk through hell? The Wewurukannala Vihara in Dikwella, approximately 20 minutes from Tangalle, has a hall of horrors for you to pass through – that is, only if you can stomach through it. Additionally, the temple’s main attraction is a 50m high Buddha statue, that is believed to be the largest on the island. However! To view the statue, visitors must be brave enough to walk through the hall of horrors. This hall is a visual representation of hell depicting what torments await those that succumb to earthly pleasures, with life-sized demons punishing the sinners. While the hall might be haunting, it’s meant to serve as a reminder that you must always choose good over evil.