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Anuradhapura first became a capital in 380 BC under Pandukabhaya, but it was under Devanampiya Tissa (r 247–207 BC), during whose reign Buddhism reached Sri Lanka, that it first rose to great importance. Soon Anuradhapura became a great and glittering city, only to fall before a South Indian invasion – a fate that was to befall it repeatedly for more than 1000 years.
But before long the Sinhalese hero Dutugemunu led an army from a refuge in the far south to recapture Anuradhapura. The ‘Dutu’ part of his name, incidentally, means ‘undutiful’, because his father, fearing for his son’s safety, forbade him to attempt to recapture Anuradhapura.
Dutugemunu disobeyed him, and later sent his father a woman’s ornament to indicate what he thought of his courage.
After ruling the country for over 1,200 years from the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, in 1017, Chola King Rajarajan I captured Anuradhapura and took King Mahinda V as a captive to India where Mahinda V would die in 1029. Cholas shifted the capital to Polonnaruwa and ruled Sri Lanka for 52 years. Polonnaruwa was named as Jananathamangalam by the Cholas. King Vijayabahu I defeated Cholas and regained the Sinhalese lineage. Polonnaruwa had previously been an important settlement in the country, as it commanded the crossings of the Mahaweli Ganga towards Anuradhapura.
Some of the rulers of Polonnaruwa include Vijayabahu I and Parakramabahu I (Parakramabahu the Great). Most of Polonnaruwa that remains today dates from after the 1150s, as the extensive civil wars that preceded Parakramabahu's accession to the throne devastated the city. Parakrama Pandyan II from Pandyan Kingdom invaded the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the thirteenth century and ruled from 1212 to 1215 CE. He was succeeded by Kalinga Magha the founder of the Jaffna kingdom. Kalinga Magha ruled 21 years until he was expelled from Polonnaruwa in 1236.
Sigiriya also known as the Lion's Rock is a rock fortress and a palace located in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. This ruin is surrounded by gardens, ponds and other structures.
Sigiriya was built by King Kassapa and it is included as a World Heritage site. Sigiriya is the best preserved city Centre in Asia.
Dambulla is a large town, situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka, situated 148 km (92 mi) north-east of Colombo and 72 km (45 mi) north of Kandy.
Due to its location at a major junction, it’s the Centre of vegetable distribution in the country.
Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling.
Kandy is famed for sacred Buddhist sites, including the Temple of the Tooth (Sri DaladaMaligawa) shrine, celebrated with the grand EsalaPerahera annual procession.
Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison.
Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal. The canal leads south to Colombo.
Neoclassical St. Mary’s Church, completed in the 1920s, features a ceiling decorated with vivid religious paintings.
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.