Sri Lanka - A Beautiful Country
After all the talk about the LTTE and the violence in Sri Lanka, I wanted to end this three party series on a positive note, talking about the beauty of the country. I have never been to Sri Lanka myself, so all of this is hearsay from my dad and cousins who have been there. And now Indians can visit Sri Lanka without a visa !
The best places to visit are Anuradhapura, Colombo and Nuwara Eliya.
Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka for 1300 years beginning 380 BC. It is in the Northern part of the country, pretty close to the territory controlled by the LTTE. Anuradhapura is the oldest city in Sri Lanka and was at one point filled with huge palaces, upto nine stories high.
Anuradhapura's proximity to Tamil Nadu led to a great deal of cultural influence and also encouraged the kingdom's conversion to Buddhism, but was also its eventual downfall, making it vulnerable to the invading Tamil forces of Rajaraja Chola, who sacked the city in the 11th century AD. The Sinhalese capital then moved to Polonnaruwa.
Colombo is similar to any large Indian city, with crazy traffic, lack of systems and a huge abundance of color and liveliness. Some of the places worth visiting are the Colombo Fort, Cinnamon Gardens (where the rich live), Slave Island and several temples and pagodas. Oh and stay at the Taj Samudra :-)
Nuwara Eliya is the Sri Lankan version of Simla, a hill station built by the British as a summer retreat. With verdant vegetation and golf courses, its a great place to relax. It was built also completely in the 19th century and the architecture is largely English in style.
Some more pictures .....
Images copyright Lonely Planet Images, Aloka Foundation & http://www.comebackalive.com
Go to Sri Lanka !!