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Eerie & Unusual Attractions You Need To Visit In Sri Lanka

Mainly known for being an idyllic tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and tall peaks, Sri Lanka is the embodiment of life and energy. However, the country has had its fair share of horrors – colonised for about 500 years and a nearly 30 year-long Civil War- it is understandable that there are a few sights that will make the hair on the back of your neck stick up! What is interesting is that these eerie attractions are in plain sight. So here are some of the eerie sights which are off the beaten track that you and your friends are sure to enjoy.

Lover’s Leap Waterfall, Nuwara Eliya

The tragic story behind this waterfall has been mythicised in local history; it is believed that two lovers whose union was disapproved by their families came to this cascade and jumped to their deaths to ensure everlasting love in the afterlife. Legend has it that the ghosts of these lovers still haunt the waterfall and many refuse to go there after nightfall. Despite this, the natural surroundings are stunning, especially the view from the top of the waterfall. It is located in Nuwara Eliya, and is a 5km hike through the Pedro Tea Plantation.

Saint Anthony’s Church And Cemetery, Jaffna

Located on the northeast coast of the island, St Anthony’s Church and Cemetery in Jaffna is an incredible 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, and the structure is now sinking into the sand dunes on which it was built. The scene looks apocalyptic with pillars and arches peeping out of the sand… there is nothing quite like this site and you and your friends should definitely visit before it disappears altogether!

Kilinochchi Water Tower, Jaffna

Found in the Kilinochchi district, the Kilinochchi Water Tower is truly a chilling sight. 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 provided water to the whole 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, Kalutara

Richmond Castle is unlike any other structure in Sri Lanka. It is a two-storeyed mansion with 16 rooms, 99 doors and 34 windows, and almost all of the building materials were imported from different countries like Burma, Scotland and Italy. Built between 1900 and 1910, the ‘Castle’ was commissioned by Don Arthur de Silva. After studying in Britain he was appointed as a Mudaliyar, he wanted to build a palace similar to his schoolmate- Raja of Ramnad’s- one in India. After his marriage to Clarice, and inability to conceive, which caused their marriage to fall apart Don Arthur abandoned his house. The castle was converted to a children’s home and after his death, it has been looked after by the Public Trustee Department. You can walk around the house and its grounds, but it is nowhere near to its former glory.

Wewurukannala Vihara, Dikwella

This temple is home to the country’s largest Buddha statue which rises up to 50m high. The statue is definitely the main attraction of the temple, but to get to the larger than life statue, you have to walk through the tunnel of hell. It is a hallway of horrors depicting what would happen to anyone who would succumb to earthly pleasures, with life-sized demons punishing various sinners. The images are unsettling, but they are meant to teach you a lesson of choosing to do good rather than evil.