Habarana, Sigiriya & Dambulla holiday highlights

Habarana is a small city nestled within the Anuradhapura district, which also contains the city of Anuradhapura, which is once the capital of Sri Lanka and homes to a plethora of well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. Habarana itself is a great gateway to safaris in both the Habarana Jungle at the Minneriya Sanctuary, home to a great many Sri Lankan elephants as well as the leopard, loris and sloth bear.

During the climbing of Sigiriya Rock you’ll see the famed Mirror Wall, a wall made of porcelain that was said to be polished to such a shine that King Kashyapa could see his reflection in it. Now it bears the marks of those who climbed mighty Sigiriya before writing on it was banned. You’ll also come across countless frescoes on your journey to the top, before passing through the Lion Gate, flanked by two gigantic lion paws, to the summit and the remains of the palace and fortress.  At the base of the rock are a collection of gardens, known as the water, boulder and terrace gardens. They are well worth a visit and can also be seen from the summit of Sigiriya, clustered round its base.

Dambulla is a big town famed for its cave temple complex as well as its nearby rose quartz mountain range and ironwood forest. The cave temple complex, also called the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the largest and best preserved cave system in the whole of Sri Lanka. The complex is made up of approximately 80 caves though it is the five filled with painting and statues that make up the main tourist attraction. Within these five main caves are 152 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings, 4 statues of gods and goddesses including the two Hindu gods Vishnu and Ganesh. Of the five main caves, two are especially worth noting. The first is the Cave of the Divine King which is dominated by a 14 metre statue of Buddha as well as statues of Vishnu and of the Buddha’s greatest attendant, Ananda. The second is the Cave of the Great Kinds which holds 56 statues of Buddha, 16 seated and 40 standing, as well as statues of the gods Saman and Vishnu as well as those of King Vattagamani Abhaya and King Nissanka Malla.

Habarana, Sigiriya & Dambulla key facts

Time difference

GMT +6 hours

Currency

Sri Lankan rupee

Flying time to destination

10¾ hours

Language

Sinhalese. Tamil and English are also widely spoken, and newspapers are printed in all three languages.

Habarana, Sigiriya & Dambulla good to know

Etiquette

Religion
Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.

Tipping

Typically a 10% service charge is included in the bill, even in markets. If not, tip 10-15%.

Religion

Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.

Sports

Your resort may offer badminton, tennis, pool and archery.

Spa and wellness

Many of our hotels boast sophisticated spas or Ayurveda centres where you can unwind at the hands of skilled therapists. 

Food & drink

Food

  •    In Anuradhapura you’ll find international and Sri Lankan cuisine, while Kandy is known for its spicy curries.
  •    In Polonnaruwa stick to hotel and guest-house restaurants.

Water

  •    Don’t drink the tap water. Most hotels offer boiled and bottled water, so stick to this instead.