Habarana is a small city in the Anuradhapura District of Sri Lanka. The location has some mid-range and up hotels aimed at package tourists, and is a departure point for other nearby locations of greater interest.
Habarana is a popular tourist destination for safari lovers as it is the starting point for safaris in the nearby Habarana jungle and the Minneriya sanctuary which is heavily populated by elephants. Elephant back riding is also an attraction in this small city. Habarana is situated nearby to the ancient rock fortress and castle/palace ruin of Sigiriya and is situated on the main road from Colombo to Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa. The population of the city is expected to be in the area of 5000-10,000.
SHINES AT HABARANA
01. MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK-(09 Kms away from the Habarana Center)
The Minneriya National Park is situated in the Polonnaruwa district in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The Minneriya National Park covers an area of 8,889 hectares. Hundreds of animal and plant species are found in the Minneriya National Park. Around 160 species of birds, 09 amphibians, 25 reptile species, 26 fish species and more than 78 butterfly species have been found in the Minneriya National Park. The Minneriya National Park also consists of wet lands, which have global significance.
02. SIGIRYA ROCK FORTRESS.(01Km away from the Sigiriya City Center)
The spectacular Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, 19 kilometers North East of Dambulla is one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. The Rock was the Fortress of the “King Kasyapa” who murdered his father and stole the throne from his elder brother who was the rightful heir to the throne. Kasyapa built his fortress in this 182-meter high rock to protect himself from his enemies.
Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 3rd century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by Kasyapa 477 – 495 AD. Following Kasyapa’s death it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered in 1907 by British Explorer John Still.
Today Sigiriya is famous for its ‘Mirror Wall’, which consists of poems and paragraphs carved by visitors to the rock many years ago and for its magnificent frescoes of shapely be-jewelled maidens, vibrant colours and the water garden similar to the Ajantha frescoes of India. Sigiriya is in fact, the best-preserved city center in Asia from the first millennium and has been named as a UNESCO world heritage site and 08th Wonder of the World.
03. DAMBULLA GOLDEN TEMPLE.(01Km away from the Dambulla City Center)
The murals, covering an area of 2,100 square metres, include depictions of Buddha’s temptation by Dambulla is a world heritage site in Sri Lanka, located north of Kandy in Matale district The town of Dambulla is built around a large granite outcrop, concealing an impressive Buddhist cave complex, Raja Maha Vihara, dating from the 1st century BC. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.
The murals covering an area of 2100 square meters included depictions of Buddha’s temptation by Mara, and Buddha’s first sermon. Statues of the Hindu gods Vishnu and Saman are also present, reflecting the arrival of Hinduism in Sri Lanka during the 12th century.
04. PIDURANGALA MONASTERY.(2.5Kms away from the Sigiriya city Center)
The historical Pidurangala Temple is located just behind the Sigiriya rock. The ancient monastery is a despoiled dagoba at the base of the hill and a long cave at the pinnacle. The steps to the top are made of rubble and climbing it in itself is an experience.
The Pidurangala temple features caves with old statues, inscriptions, ponds and remains of dagobas on the top of the rock, a pillared hall and a large stupa, which is believed to be the cremation site of King Kasyapa.
05. HURULU FOREST RESERVE.(09 Kms away from the Habarana Center)
Hurulu Forest Reserve of Sri Lanka was designated as a biosphere reserve in January 1977. The forest reserve is an important habitat of the Sri Lankan elephants. Hurulu forest reserve represents Sri Lanka dry-zone dry evergreen forests. There are many other protected areas situated around Hurulu Forest Reserve viz. Carved out at the edge of the Hurulu Forest Reserve is the Hurulu Eco Park which offers jeep safaris.
06. RITIGALA STRICT NATURE RESERVE-(20Kms away from the habarana center)
Ritigala is an ancient Buddhist monastery and mountain in Sri Lanka. The ruins and rock inscriptions of the monastery date back to 1st century BCE.
Ritigala mountain range consists of four peaks of which the main and the highest peak at the south of the range is named Ritigala Kanda. Ritigala mountain range, a 1,528 ha (3,780 acres) Strict Nature Reserve, in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, is managed by the Department of Wildlife of Sri Lanka together with the Forest Department of Sri Lanka.
07. PINK QUARTZ MOUNTAIN-THE NATIONAL IRONWOOD FOREST(17Kms Away from the Dambulla Center)
“Na” is the national Tree of Sri Lanka.The English Name of the tree is “Ironwood” .The pink Quartz mountain is the biggest in Asia.
Jathika Namal Uyana revealed 15 years ago, which has become the first NA Forest is the most popular sacred place among the people in Sri Lanka which has a great history during the era of king Devanampiyathissa in Anuradhapura.
Ancient statues added with historical values are nearby Jathika Namal Uyana pink quartz mountain. Ruins of buildings, Bodhigara, Stupas, inscriptions further can be seen here. 60acres of forest has been apportioned as an ancient area Ancient statues added with historical values are nearby Jathika Namal Uyana pink quartz mountain. Ruins of buildings, Bodhigara, Stupas, inscriptions further can be seen here. 60acres of forest has been apportioned as an ancient area.
08. ELEPHANT BACK RIDE.
The majestic, stately and most intelligent of mammals – the Sri Lankan Elephant is a subspecies of the Asian Elephant and is native to Sri Lanka. Watching these large animals is a fascination to all of us, so imagine the thrill and excitement of riding on an elephant back. Elephant back safaris/rides is the latest of tourist activities promoted in areas such as Habarana, Sigiriya and Yala to name a few. Sri Lanka is known as a nature lovers paradise due to its diverse landscapes and most of all, its natural beauty and way of life, which is untouched by development. There is no better way than experiencing the beauty and wilderness of this island paradise than atop the back of the largest animal in the country – the Elephant. It is also the opportunity of spending time interacting with this magnificent animal and sharing a day in its life!
09.HIRIWADUNNA VILLAGE WALK & THE COOKERY DEMONSTRATION.
This is something unique to Sri Lanka and is a recent attraction for tourists, who are attracted to this walk which is truly an experience! They will start the walk from near the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and go through the village by Bullock Cart and then by foot and then cross the Habarana Lake. During this period the guest is treated to a Traditional Cup of Tea in a Coconut Shell. If you are really interested you could also opt to do an Elephant ride.
This includes a nature trek, Bullock Cart ride, local boat ride in Hiriwadunna Reservoir and opportunity to interact with a local Family for a cookery demonstration and to enjoy a local lunch.Experience the Rural Life Culture with Villagers and Do the Cookery demonstration with them.You will be given a very good lesson of Cooking the authentic Sri lankan cuisines by a well trained instructor.You just need to study and try your meal with the ingredients provided by them.Enjoy the Lunch with the Villagers with the food cooked by you.
10.HOT AIR BALLON RIDE.
During your visit to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka then you should take the opportunity to see the wondrous sights from the air starting from Kandalama, Dambulla in the Cultural Triangle.Hot air ballooning is an adventure activity like no other, your flight path unknown, taking off at sunrise around 6 am. Passenger to be at the launch site by 5.30 am.
Flying over the jungle you may see elephants roaming freely, variety of birds, wild life, water buffaloes standing in the paddy fields and monkeys swinging from the trees.
After an exhilarating flight over the jungle you will be welcomed on landing by friendly villagers who are happy to meet and greet you. Your Pilot will toast the flight with a glass of champagne after which our transport will take you back to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day to visit around Sigiriya, Habarana and include a safari at Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks.
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