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Romantic Things To Do In The Cultural Triangle

Are you planning a romantic getaway to the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka? Head away from the beaches or mountains to experience history and culture thrive on the island’s most unique locations. Explore Anuradhapura, stroll through Polonnaruwa’s ruins, visit Dambulla and discover Kandy’s charms. Here are some of the interesting things you can do.

Explore Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved ruins. It was also the first place where Buddhism was first introduced in the country. Explore the variety of ruins in the complex, palatial pools, stupas, and temples– some of which are still functional today. Do keep in mind to dress modestly before entering the premises of temples, and leave your footwear at the entrance. Two places, in particular, that might just take your breath away are –

Ruwanwelisaya – a temple built by King Dutugemunu c. 140 BC, which is one of the country’s most revered and largest temples and Buddhists from all over the world visit.

Sri Maha Bodhi – a shrine dedicated to the Jaya Sri Bodhi tree- one of the oldest trees in the world- which is believed to have come from the original Bodhi tree in India, under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment.

Stroll Through Polonnaruwa’s Ruins

Polonnaruwa is the second ancient capital, and what once was the centre of all political and economic matters, has now become the centre of Sri Lanka’s best-preserved ruins. In some ways, Polonnaruwa was more regal than Anuradhapura, and you will still find ruins of the palace too. As the ancient ruins are spread around the city, rent a bicycle and embark on a cycling tour with your partner.

Visit the Sacred Quadrangle, where you can find the Vatadage at the centre of it. The Vatadage is a circular relic house which is 18m in diameter, and there are four entrances which all lead to the central dagaba which houses four Buddha statues.

The Gal Vihara, which translates to ‘rock temple’ is another unique place to visit in Polonnaruwa. It houses a collection of four Buddha statues carved on a single rock face. The four statues each depict a different stage in the Buddha’s path to nirvana, and the statues range from 4.5 feet to a whopping 46 feet.

Polonnaruwa was also famous for its reservoirs and one of the largest is the Parakrama Samudra (The Sea of Parakrama). This tank was constructed around 386 BC by King Parakramabhau, which is a great place to watch the sunset with your partner.

Visit Dambulla

Dambulla is best known for being home to Sri Lanka’s largest cave temple complex. The Dambulla Cave Temples dates back to the 1st century BC, and it is made up of 5 caves which are full of rock paintings and nearly 150 ancient Buddha statues. Climb to the top of the rock, either in the wee hours of the morning or late evening; as the rock can get quite heated when you walk barefoot.

Located close to Dambulla, is the popular town of Sigiriya. If you have a bit more time to explore the area, climb up Sigiriya Rock Fortress with your partner.  Escape the crowds by visiting early morning, and a total of 1,200 steps later; you’ll find yourself at the peak, admiring the jaw-dropping vistas before you! For the more adventurous couple, hike up the mysterious Pidurangala Rock.

If you’re planning a romantic getaway and looking for the perfect place to ‘pop the question’, at the top of Sigiriya or Pidurangala would be ideal. However, reach for the stars and take a hot air balloon ride instead! Need more options? Read more on our unique ideas for a proposal. 

Explore Kandy’s Charms

Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings. But it is best-known for Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Due to its religious value, many newlyweds visit the temple for a blessing!

Another romantic activity in Kandy is to visit the famed Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya. The garden is adjacent to the country’s longest river- the Mahaweli River-and it is one of the most beautiful locations in Sri Lanka. Within the 147 acres, there are over 4000 species of plants, including the largest collection of orchids in the country! Walk hand-in-hand with your partner through scented pathways lined in various blossoming colours during your romantic getaway to Kandy. If you like strolling through Peradeniya Gardens, check out these other favourite places to stroll around!

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