Visit Horton Plains National Park!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Horton Plains National Park is in Sri Lanka’s central highlands. Covered by montane grassland and cloud forest, the park is famed for its biodiversity and cool, wet climate.
It’s also famous for the spectacular World’s End. This is where the plateau comes to an abrupt end, with the escarpment suddenly plunging 880m.
There’s a wide variety of wildlife to see in the park, from monkeys to mongooses, sambar deer and leopards. And the park is even home to its own species of slender loris!
Did you know?
Horton Plains National Park is the perfect place in which to talk about man’s impact on the environment around him. This is the only national park in Sri Lanka which isn’t home to a herd of elephants, because the resident population was hunted to extinction by British colonialists.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sigiriya is an iconic symbol of Sri Lanka and an incredible example of ancient urban planning.
As far back as the 3rd century BCE, the rock was used as a Buddhist monastery. Then, in the late 5th century CE, King Kasyapa selected the site for his new royal residence.
Despite sitting on a huge rock 200m high, the complex boasts some incredible landscaped gardens, consisting of water gardens, cave and boulder gardens and terraced gardens. And there’s a complex hydraulic system to water them which include fountains that may well be some of the oldest in the world.
Did you know?
Sigiriya gets its name from the huge stone lion that formed the entrance to the complex. Sigiriya comes from the word Sihagri, which means Lion Rock. You can still see the lion’s feet today, although sadly the rest has been destroyed over time.
Take a tour of Kandy!
The last capital of the ancient kings’ era and home to the Temple of the Tooth, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this tour will teach your students more about Sri Lankan history and culture.
Thanks to its location in Sri Lanka’s mountainous Central Province, Kandy remained fiercely independent after much of the rest of the country had fallen to European colonialists. Resisting the Dutch and then Portuguese colonists from the 16th century, Kandy only fell to the British in the 19th century. This allowed the city to preserve its unique culture and traditions.
A highlight of the tour is a visit to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - one of the holiest shrines for Sri Lankan Buddhists, who believe they must visit at least once in their lifetimes.
Did you know?
The tooth of the aforementioned Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is said to be that of Gautama Buddha, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. The tooth was retrieved from his funeral pyre by a disciple and eventually made its way to Sri Lanka.