Well, what is it so special about this place? Looking at it on a Wikipedia definition, you will see that per se, nothing really. It is a small city in Anuradhapura district with no special attraction inside its own perimeter. But…when you take a look at the bigger picture so to speak, the situation changes completely.
Whatever you wish to do in Sri Lanka, we believe it is wise for you to include Habarana in your itinerary as the perfect hub for the cultural triangle and not only. After a long sightseeing day, this small town provides you with perfect relaxation, starting with a beautiful sunset by Habarana lake or a relaxing massage at one of the ayurvedic spas.
So, where and how can you go from here? Well, everywhere. Let’s start historically and say first you can go to Anuradhapura., the ancient capital of Sri Lanka, the place of Sri Maha Boddhi (the oldest plated tree in the world) and Jethawanaramay (the highest pagoda or stupa in the world) We recommend an early start as all the objectives within the complex are in the light of the son and it may take a lot of the charm of the visit if you are preoccupied with getting a son burn. If you go by car, which we suggest especially if you do not have much time, it will take you one hour to reach there and one to return. If you go by bus, it may take longer and we do recommend that you rent bicycles inside. If you want to have a complex picture of it all, you may want to see Mihintale, part of Anuradhapura complex and cradle of Buddhism. Apart for its importance, it will offer you breathtaking scenarios that will stay long time with you.
Another day can start with Sigiriya, the Lion Rock, and a masterpiece from all points of view you want to see. Also, it has enough drama around it to make a good soup opera too J Now, do go at 7 am, it avoids crowds and heat. It is also a perfect opportunity to try one of my personal favorites in local transport: the tuk tuk or three wheeler (I will get back to it and dedicate a whole article to this cute moving object). After this, you may continue with Dambulla and see the famous and best preserved cave temple, the Golden Temple of Dambulla. The paintings are just marvelous, do not miss it.
How is it so far? All good? Perfect…take some rest as there is more to come. You just have to go to Polonnaruwa, not only because it my favorite site in the country, but because it offers a lot more than other places. It is a turning point for the country, the golden age and I always compare it with the Renaissance for Europe. The Middle Eve capital of Sri Lanka had a man of vision in king Parakramabahu I and his ideas, especially when it comes to irrigation systems and water usage, his model is still being n use now with amazing results. Artls, language, culture, poetry, crafts …all were created and developed during the Polonnaruwa period. And, yeah, while in town, do not miss the jack fruit curry…you will not find it easily on the island, also because its preparation takes about 3-4 hours…but do not worry, when you get at the restaurant, Iwill be ready, fresh and waiting for you to try it…
All right, so here we are, ready to take a day trip to the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings before the British occupation. Yes, you guessed it right…it is time for Kandy. Rise early and plan wise, or let us or someone else do it for you. Visi a spice garden on the way if you have not seen one before, a silk factory or a hindu temple. In Kandy, The Temple of the Tooth is a us, as it is the Royal Garden of Peradeniya. And I will pray that you get a sunny day in this land loved by rainfall…The umbrella takes a lot off the charm of a botanical garden, even with a tropical rain… When you visit the temple, make sure you do so during one of the ceremonies, as it is beautiful to see people in white dress and carrying lotud flowers for Lord Buddha. You may even buy some yourself…but, do not smell them, as they are not for your delight… There are 3 ceremonies at the temple: very early morning 5:30, the another morning ceremony at 9:30 and the evening one at 6:30. Sine you are coming from Habarana, leave the temple las and fill the gaps with a beautiful kandiyan dance show, admire the view from the top or just get lost on the maize that the streets of kandy can be (it was for me for quite a while..)
All right, so this pretty much ends the visits to the cultural triangle. But, hey, still stuff to do. Love nature? Well then, go do a village tour on a bullock cart, start early and watch the birds while doing so. Go have lunch on a small island, it is perfect for relaxation as well as trying out traditional dishes. Go take a walk in Ritigala and see the ruins of the old monastery there. Fond of sunsets or sunrises? We have the perfect spot: Pidurangala rock. This is parallel rock to Sigiriya so one if its attractions is obviously the great potion to get photos of the Lion Rock.
Hmmm. If you did some reading, which I am sure you did otherwise you would not be here…you will wander what is wrong with this picture that leaves out elephants…wasn’t this Habarana described as best location for safari? And indeed, you would be right. It is actually the perfect spot to see hordes of elephants. And a visit in Sri Lanka without elephants could never be complete. There are three national parks in the area, namely the most famous, Minneriya (which is my favorite national park in the country so far), Kadulla and Eco Park. You will not get to choose, instead the law of the jungle chooses for you: as the park is chosen closer to date depending on elephant migration.
You will tell me, all right, but I want to go to the sea, this I cannot do. Well, well, well…but you can. In my opinion, the best beaches in the country are the eastern ones: calm, turquoise waters and virgin white sand beaches. Yes, my friends, let’s go to Trincomalee for a day. After all this cultural travel, we surely deserve to relax on the beach. You can even do whale watching if you come at the right time of the year. And since we are here, let’s do take a tiny cultural stop in Koneswaram Temple, the hindu kovil dedicated to Shiva, protector of the area.
So, yes, it is a must to stop in Habarana…for how long, that is entirely up to you. I would say, so that you do all this and relax a bit, minimum 6 nights J
We are waiting for you…and do not miss our guide of recommended things to do within Habarana, coming up soon.
Until we meet again, safe travels