The Cultural Triangle – Dambulla – Polonnaruwa – Anuradhapura – encompasses very many of the unique historical and religious sites of Sri Lanka. The popular sites include the sacred city of Anuradhapura, the ruined city of Polonnaruwa, the ruined palace atop Sigiriya, the extensive murals in the Dambulla Cave temples, the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Invitation Rock at Mihintale and the monastic ruins of Ritigala and many more. In addition it also has wonderful the National Parks and Nature Reserves such as Kaudulla, Minneriya and Giritale. I’ve also included Wilpattu here because, although it is on the West Coast, the entrance is easily reached from Anuradhapura. These beautiful reserves offer great chances to see large groups of elephants, elusive leopards, sloth bears, water buffalo, water monitors and a rich bird life.
Many visitors head to this area on arrival, either by car from the airport or Negombo or by train from Colombo to Anuradhapura on the Colombo to Jaffna line or Colombo to Habarana on the Colombo to Batticaloa line. You can find distances between places here and even more transport information in my ebook here.
November to January are the wettest months here, especially so in the three National Parks around Habarana. June to August are the hottest and driest. A good guide will add fascinating stories of the lives of Royalty in ancient times to the historical facts.