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At first, it seemed like we landed in Goa or Kerala but it was Sri Lanka. The streets/roads resemble so much so that you might want to check your boarding pass. Probably because of all the palm trees, weather & people that look no different than ours. A country with endless beaches, timeless ruins, unexpected weather, welcoming people, rolling turf and so much more making Sri Lanka irresistible.

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, over the past few years has definitely scored a point on people’s bucket list. The undiscovered place that offers the best of nature and history. The country itself has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Back in 2016, when I visited Sri Lanka, it was exciting & surreal. There were a lot of interesting things to know about the country like if you hail from India, you have to know this that Sri Lanka hardly has anything about Ramayana. The country is 90% Buddhist (which gives you one more reason to visit this place). Being a Buddhist myself, the country is packed with knowledge about Buddhism or Lord Buddha and it indeed is enlightening.

Here in this blog, we have listed Top 10 Places to Visit in Sri Lanka, if you’re planning an itinerary. It’s that place if you haven’t been to, you should.

1.  Sigiriya
Sigiriya
Image Source – Google

One of the top tourist attraction in Sri Lanka is Sigiriya. The place is located in Northern Matale District in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress and is famous for its palace ruins on top of 200-meter high rock surrounded by the remains of extensive gardens, reservoirs & other structures. It is renowned for Ancient Paintings, frescoes. Also, Sigiriya offers a 2.5 hours once in a lifetime opportunity Village Tour including a food & tour guide. The tour starts with a boat to reach the village and then a bullock cart to explore the village. One cannot miss the food that the localities have to offer. Being an Indian and especially from UP, I absolutely loved the dal & rice and the green leafy salad. We strongly recommend this place.

2.  Anuradhapura
Anuradhapura
Image Source – Google

One of the 8 UNESCO World Heritages in Country, is the sacred city of Anuradhapura. It is the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. This city was established around a cutting from the “tree of enlightenment” brought there by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. The place is dense, extremely humid in summers, but with the splendid site with monasteries, palace ruins & monuments.

3.  Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa
Image Source – Google

Yet another UNESCO World Heritage is Polonnaruwa. Interestingly, it was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura 993. As the most beautiful archeological site in Sri Lanka, it was inscribed in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1982. The place within itself has a few more places that you cannot miss. Do visit gal vihara, sathmahal prasada (royal palace), royal audience hall, royal bath, golden pinnacle stupa, alahana piriwena.  All the places are located within a distance of 10 minutes, so either a bus or walk would do.

4.  Dambulla
Dambulla
Image Source – Google

Again, the place is located in Matale District, Central Province in Sri Lanka. Dambulla houses, Dambulla Cave Temple, the biggest, best-saved, cave temple complex in the nation. The place has over 80 caves few of which are used by monks as meditation locations. The major attraction is spread over 5 caves, which includes paintings & statues about Buddha’s life. You cannot miss this place if you’re planning to visit Sri Lanka, you’ll be amazed to look at the intricate details of the paintings and statues.

5.  Yala National Park
Yala National Park
Image Source – Google

The second largest national park in Sri Lanka and the best places for sighting Wild Elephants is, Yala National Park. Located 300kms from Colombo, is spread across 979 square kilometers, with parts of the park reaching to the water and touching the Indian Ocean (the view of never-ending blue water is breathtaking) This national park is home to 215 bird species, Leopards, Monkeys, Crocodiles, wild Boars & Bears. The Park is divided into 5 zones. Zone 1 and 5 are open to public & tourists and the other zones are reserved for only professional research & documentary filming. The safari is safe & goes through checkpoints. If anything can compete with it is its wildlife! The park closes for September for Leopard’s breeding season.

6.  Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Image Source – Google

Get up close and personal with elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The highly commercialized place in Sri Lanka initially opened for protecting abandoned or orphaned elephants in the jungle. There are about 100 elephants, of all ages. The conservation organization is obviously beautiful and interesting but is a big source of income, with Rs 100 million per year. But it’s all worth it when you see baby elephants being fed and bathe in a stream of water cutting through the forest and the city.

7.  Ella
Ella
Image Source – Google

It’s said the views from the train ride are surreal. They surely were. Ella also has breathtaking viewpoints & waterfalls. Ella and few other places in Sri Lanka have spread out of tea plantations. Ella’s tourism has soared in recent times and why not, it’s got the best-picture-perfect views.

8.  Kandy
Kandy
Image Source – Google

Known as the sacred Buddhist site, popular for The Temple of Tooth Relic (the sacred tooth of Buddha) was the last capital of Sinhala Kings. It is also Sri Lanka’s second largest city. The places you cannot miss in Kandy are The Temple of Tooth Relic, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kandy Lake, The White Buddha Statue soaring above, and not to forget to take the world’s most beautiful train ride to Ella! Kandy is just 4 hours away from Nuwara Eliya. Talking about…

9.  Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya
Image Source – Google

Often referred to as ‘Little England’ because this place has a British Village Vibe to it. Treat yourself with tea plantations, vegetable plots, hills for scenic views. This magical stop has quaint colonial buildings & cascading waterfalls to offer to its visitors. Stroll around Lake Gregory for relaxation. The weather is usually chilly, stay aware of the rain forecasts (it literally can rain anytime). Don’t miss out the sample of Ceylon Tea. Enjoy this Little UK!

10. Colombo
Colombo
Image Source – Google

Last we have the current capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo! This place is a haven for history lovers and culture vultures. Plan a walking tour to city’s historic Forts & Pettah Districts. Shop at Paradise Road, a sure paradise for shopping lovers. Colombo has a plethora of temples and kovils, few of them that you must visit are the Asokaramaya Buddhist Temple, having a spectacular grandeur and Kathiresan Kovil. Take some time out of your itinerary to take a stroll around the Galle Face Green, the landmark of the city.

These were the Top 10 places that we strongly recommend if you plan to visit Sri Lanka. Hope this helps you while planning an itinerary. Happy traveling!

“Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast

Hamin ast-o Hamin ast-o Hamin ast

-Amir Khusro

Until I visited North East, I was living under a rock about the existence of a heavenly place on Earth. It wasn’t just a place like heaven. It was the HEAVEN in all true sense. Amir Khusro’s words were in context to the beauty of Kashmir. Well, been there done that too! It sure is a beauty but I cannot emphasize enough on the fact that North East India is sublime. A piece of advice? Go see this heaven for yourself, if you haven’t already visited Northeast India you’re missing out on a big chunk of travel experiences in India! That place is a dream! If there’s heaven on earth; it’s there, it’s there!

North East India

The Places I visited (Guwahati-Bhalukpong-Tawang via Bomdila & Sela Pass)

My journey to the northeastern side of India started with a flight to Guwahati from Delhi. I was traveling with my family. We’re a family who loves to travel and I have been a travel junkie since my first trip. Hint-hint, you might get to read more about my travel experiences! Early morning flights are so easy and hassle-free. But in the month of December, winter plays a huge part to piss any traveler off because of flights getting delayed. Well, all thanks to dense fog at 5 in the morning. We landed safely in Guwahati. And oh boy, the weather went crazy. It was foggy and windy in Delhi and Guwahati? It was humid! Guwahati is the largest urban area in the Northeast region. It’s packed with people & vehicles. We met our driver, Dheeraj, who’ll be driving us around for the entire trip. He was extremely polite & cute! Initially didn’t talk much but gradually started and was able to make our stomach hurt with all of his lame jokes. It’s fun when you have such a fun-loving company also knowledgeable. He guided us throughout with all the must-visit places. We had our trip organized by Kaziranga Tours n travels, Mr. Mahendra Nath. The company only managed our accommodations, convenience, and food. The plan of the places to visit was organized by my Uncle (another travel enthusiast! Thanks to him for passing on the legacy!) We got late because of our flight and Mr. Mahendra was so helpful with all the bookings and arranging breakfast on the first day in Guwahati when we reached there.

While we were settling ourselves down with the city, getting to know more about the place, it’s wildly diverse & home to hundreds of tribes. People are so warm & welcoming. They’ll make you feel homely. Just how our drivers and tour organizers were. We came across some really friendly and welcoming people throughout the trip. People there would help you, talk to you, they try and know about you. It’s just a heart-warming gesture. They’ll welcome you with a big smile and kids waving at you. The place had some really adorable dogs &| puppies playing around. With such kind hospitality, they work hard for their living. One can clearly see the hustle of the town and yet they’re relaxed. The relaxed pace of life is captivating.

Coming back to the food, you cannot miss the food! It was different. Tea with jaggery, Chhole Bhature but known as paranthe. I am hungry now! Off track. Okay back to our first day in Guwahati, Mr. Mahendra was a big help. He was on his toes all the time wherever we needed help during the trip. Got our stomachs filled with tempting food and went ahead with our road trip to Bhalukpong from Guwahati. The drive from Guwahati to Bhalukpong, a small town located in Arunachal Pradesh, was soothing. Kameng River in Bhalukpong makes the place so attractive. It feels like one of those ZNMD (Zindagi na milegi dobara) moments, traveling on a smooth road and a river with clear blue water and creating white foams when it hits those steady big rocks into them, flowing alongside. It’s therapeutic. Finally, after a 6-7 hours journey, we reached Bhalukpong, where we were going to spend a night before leaving for Tawang the next morning. We stayed in bungalow turned into a hotel kinda thing. It was nice and cozy. Not the best places to stay but was manageable for a night. Had our dinner and crashed into our beds.

Next morning, watching the sunrise at 5 in the morning while leaving for Tawang was one of the most beautiful mornings of my life! It was chilly, different from the first day at Guwahati. The sky was filled with sunshiny colors and had mountain ranges covered with snow peeping through the clouds. The drive from Bhalukpong to Tawang via Bomdila and Sela Pass was mesmerizing and definitely a highlight of the entire journey. We were all geared up for an entire day of road tripping. Packed our bags, filled our stomachs yet again with some really finger licking home cooked food and were all set to leave for our journey. To reach Tawang, we passed Bomdila as well. Yet another beautiful place. But to reach Bomdila from Bhalukpong you may need a permit for traveling from Bhalukpong to Bomdila. We got that within an hour and for that one hour to pass what could be the best way than to have Maggi and enjoy the cold breeze and snow-covered mountains all around you. After an hour or so, we headed towards Bomdila. The drive to Tawang from Bomdila had some crazy surreal views. BRO (Border Roads Org) has maintained the roads so well. The army and the local people together have kept the environment so clean and air that is pure & breathable! That place is so different from the rest of India. It just doesn’t feel like you’re there. For someone like me who has vertigo, driving through mountains and height I get anxiety. But the rounds are so safe and there’s help at every mile. So much respect for those people working for our country and also for maintaining the place for tourists. While driving through Bomdila to reach Tawang, you have to cross Sela Pass, a place at 13,000 ft. above sea level and beyond imagination. The region is extremely windy and cold. My words won’t do any justice to the place. With that freezing cold wind and stilled Sela Lake, the place looks dreamy and almost magical. It had a calming vibe with a little snow drizzling! I can trade anything to just be at this place. This unexplored paradise has my heart! After crossing Sela Pass, it takes another 4-5 hours to reach Tawang.

Tawang- a place that’s nothing short of a dream or just out of a movie! Not just a place with incomparable beauty but also with a history that every Indian must know. I explored Tawang and a lot of gems of Assam & Arunachal. Not to be missed I witnessed India-Bangladesh border too. How cool! But to know all of it, stay updated!

Here are some of the pictures of the breathtaking views I took!

Bhalukpong

Bomdila

Tawang

Sela Pass

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