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Other Places to Visit

A few kilometres from Haputale in Colombo - Kandy road lies the Benedictine monastery Addisham. The garden is home to blue magpies, paradise flycatchers, green barbets, brilliant orange plumaged mini-verts hornbills, golden orioles & a host of other bird life.

Originally the country seat of Sir Thomas Villiers. The spirit of Thomas Lister Villiers strongly pervades this stately house. Villiers came to Ceylon in 1887 with 10 sterling pounds in his pocket. He was born in 1869 in Addisham Rectory in Kent, the son of Rev Henry Montague Villiers. He was a grandson of Lord John Russell, twice prime minister of Britain.

Villiers received a public school education but instead of settling down to a business or political career in England chose adventure in the colony of Ceylon. Soon after his arrival, he began life as a trainee planter In 1905 Villiers joined the firm of George Steuart, a trading and estate agency house in Colombo, and rose to be its chairman in 1928, a position he held till retirement in 1948. He also played a role in Ceylon politics.It was while he was chairman of George Steuart that Sir Thomas commenced building a dream home in the country. He selected an idyllic site at Haputale, surrounded by virgin forest and commanding views across hills and valleys and the highest mountain ranges of Ceylon. The house was designed in the Tudor style, on the lines of Leeds Castle in Kent, with stout granite walls of locally quarried stone, long, narrow turret windows and chimneys. It looked in every detail an Elizabethan country mansion, the retreat in the tropics of a homesick Englishman, nostalgic for the scenes of his boyhood. Villiers spared no expense to ensure that his country home was luxurious in its appointments. The roof was covered with flat Burma teak shingles. The doors, windows, paneling, staircase and floors were all of Burma teak. The elaborate pillared landing on the main staircase adorned by portraits of his relatives, the Clarendons and the Dukes of Bedford, consists of four stout English oaks, polished, but otherwise natural. Villiers imported fine period furniture, linen, carpets, porcelain, silver, and glassware from England for his home and named it Addisham after the Kentish village where he was born. The garden lay-out was also British English tea and cabbage roses bloomed on the lawns. Albertines and honeysuckle climbed over the porches and windows; strawberries, apples and Victoria plums ripened in the cool mountain air and the tropical sunshine, and, as in the house, the incomparable scenery is used to best effect. The terraced lawns, flowerbeds and orchard, like the drawing room, study, library, dining room and bedrooms, look out on lofty mountain ranges, Today it is run as a monastery, which runs a domestic industry of food products such as jams & jellies from wild guavas & the produce of fruit cordials.

Dambulla Arboretum
This land is the only arboretum to be found in the dry zone, established in 1963 by Mr Sam Popham, a man simply motivated by the abiding interest in the love of trees. In 1992 He was awarded the first Lanka Conservation Award in recognition of his work. He has now returned to live in England. When Mr Poham arrived the property (originally covered with semi –evergreen forest) was overrun by scrub jungle due to chena cultivation. The woodland, a 27 acre property was acquired and added on to the property in 1989. Popham’s initial aim was to clear the scrub and replace it with native trees, however he soon found a unique method that not only achieved his aims but allowed the arboretum to rejuvenate with minimal human interference. This method came to be known as the ‘Popham method’ The method was influenced by his dislike of tampering with nature. By clearing away the scrub jungle, seedlings of the previous evergreen forest were released. These seedlings were acclimatized to cope with the harsh conditions of the dry zone. Popham in fact found that these seedlings grew and prospered much better than seedlings brought in from outside nursuries. Apart from the majestic trees and shrubs you can find here, it is also an excellent place for bird watching where many varieties of bird can be seen. Another undeniable attraction at this arboretum is the houses where Sam Popham lived, one of which was built by the illustrious architect Geoffrey Bawa and today serves as a visitor center.

Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage which is situated in the Kegalle district opened in 1975 with a land area of 10ha for the sole purpose of taking care of orphaned Elephants who were found in the jungles lost and separated from their herds or those who have sustained injuries caused either naturally or by poachers. It commenced with seven orphans and today, some of these orphans enjoy the fortune of seeing their grand children born in the same location. Currently it is home for over 70 baby and semi adult Elephants. At this Orphanage one can get the opportunity to watch the Elephants bathing and having fun in the nearby river, you can also see the baby Elephants being fed, and get the opportunity to bottle feed one yourself. You can also ride an Elephant if desired. With the opportunity to get close to this magnificent animal All in all this experience is one that you simply cannot miss. The Orphanage is Equipped with an excellent restaurant for your refreshments, a small snack or even a wholesome meal.

Kudawella Blow Hole
The Kudawella Blow Hole, a site that is breathtakingly mysterious. Volumes of sea water whistle through a natural fine hole from beneath a massive rock in the sea. Located on a rock about 40 ft above sea level, this magnificent site was first discovered after a close scrutiny of photographs taken from the sea.

At the site, rough and high waves push water into the triangular based rock bottom, and force it through a hole at the bottom of the rock with very high pressure. With the sound of a blow whistle the water is blown high into the air. Approaching this place, one can find many small outlets selling local fruits, thirst quenching drinks and the all time favorite fresh fried fish. In addition to this you will also find souvenir shops with a variety of local handicrafts and ornaments made out of sea shells and other marine findings

National Museum
The Colombo museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1st January 1877. It founder was sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. The Royal Asiatic Society (CB) was instrumental in bringing to the notice of Gregory on his appointment as Governor in 1872 the need for a public Museum with much difficulty the approval of the legislative council was obtained within a year. The Architect of the Public Works Department, J. G. Smither was able to prepare the plans for new structure on Italian Architectural style. The construction was completed in 1876 and the Museum commenced it functions in the following year.

With the development of the museum to international level, it earned the status of a national museum and the installation of the Throne and crown of the last king of Kandy which were handed over back to Sri Lanka by the British Government, has greatly enhanced the quality of the museum collection. In spite of the enormity of the various collections thematic arrangement of the galleries has provided and opportunity to visitors to study the ancient culture of the Sri Lanka under one roof. This process has further been improved by the arrangement of the galleries of the ground floor in a historical sequence and those of the upper galleries on a thematic basis.

The National Museum is open to the public from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm daily except for Sundays and government holidays.

Other Museums that can be visited

National Museum Kandy
National Museum Galle
National Museum Ratnapura
National Museum Maritime Galle
Sigiriya Museum
Colombo Dutch Period Museum
Folk Museum Anuradhapura

Walisinghe Harischandra Museum Katana (Negombo)

Viharamahadevi Park
Viharamahadevi Park, is a public park located in Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo, in front of the colonial style Town Hall building. It is the only public park in Colombo, and is maintained by the Municipal Council of Colombo.

Like many roads and places in Colombo, the Viharamahadevi Park is a rename of a park created by the British. Originally named Victoria Park after Queen Victoria, it was renamed in 1958 as Viharamahadevi Park in honor of a Sri Lankan girl named Viharamahadevi, who would one day be queen, Viharamahadevi was born poor, and was cast adrift as a sacrifice to favour the gods. she was rescued off the coast at Kirinda by King Kavantissa, who took her as his wife. Her only significance in history is for having a son, Dutugemunu, who managed to wrestle Anuradhapura back from the conquering Cholas of South India

Viharamahadevi park still referred to as Victoria Park by some of the city's dwellers. It is notable for its elegant flowering trees, which bloom in March, April and early May, the huge Buddha statue and a series of water fountains. It also includes a mini zoo, and a children's play area.

Waterfalls of Sri Lanka
The island is blessed with 103 rivers and streams radiating from the central hills, rushing down rocky precipices forming a number of roaring waterfalls of various shapes and heights, all ending up loosing the momentum at the Indian Ocean.Here are some of the most picturesque waterfalls, out of which only a few can be viewed with ease, where as the others can only be seen by penetrating thick forests and tea plantations.

1. Bambarakanda Ella The highest waterfall in Sri Lanka (865 feet), which is at it`s peak capacity during September and October.

2. Diyaluma You will find the 2nd highest waterfall around 13 Km towards "Koslanda" on the Wellawaya Road. Diyaluma means
     Watery light.

3. Dunhinda To see the breathtaking beauty of Dunhinda falls(210 feet), you have to travel about 5 Km from Badulla along the
     Mahiyangana road, and walk for another 2 Km (trekking) away from the main road.

4. St. Claire The widest waterfall in Sri Lanka, about 265 feet high on the Hatton-Nuwaraeliya road near Talawakelle

5. Laxapana Falls Laxapana fall is 377 feet high, can be viewed on the Hatton-Colombo road

6. Aberdeen Falls A mere 5 Km away from Laxapana you will find the 322 feet high Aberdeen Falls.

7. Devon Falls Devon falls(318 feet) can be best viewed from the 20th mile post of the Talawakele-Hatton highway.

8. Rawana Falls Visible from the Ella-Wellawaya road, near Udunuwara village. A popular stopover for travelers.

9. Alupola Ella This 200 feet high fall is to be found 25 Km away from Ratnapura in the Wewalwatte village.

10. Bopath Ella The water falls 100 feet in the shape of a Bo leaf. When you travel along the Colombo-Ratnapura highway, turn at
      Higasthenna junction and drive along the Agalawatte road up to Devapahala village to see Bopath Ella.

11. The Lovers Leap The 100 feet high Lovers Leap begins it`s journey as a fountain at the Southern slope of Sri Lanka`s highest
       mountain. Pidurutalagala. The falls can be seen from the town Nuwara Eliya.

12. Mawanella Ella Travel 35 Km from Nuwara Eliya towards Udupussallawa and another 13 Km towards the Napola gap, and then you
      will find. Mawanella Ella in the Lunuwatta village.

13. Bakers Fall Discovered by Sir Samuel Baker and a good stopover on your way to the World`s end.

14  Elgin Falls Railway between Nanu Oya and Ambewela offers a panoramic view of the 75 feet high Elgin Falls.

15. Bridal Falls The winding highway to the Nuwara Eliya Plateau offers a memorable view of Bridal Falls, resembling a bridal veil,
      while dropping over  the rock face.

16. Perawella Falls Perawella Fall is about 90 feet high.

17. Ramboda Falls Can be seen from the Ramboda Bazaar on the Nuwara Eliya-Ramboda road.

Zoological Gardens
Situated in Dehiwala, a Colombo suburb approximately 11 kms from Colombo Fort area is the Zoological gardens which has a extremely large and fine collection of well over 3000 animals and 350 species as well as a large collection of birds brought from all over the world and is one of the finest zoological gardens in Asia.

Popularly known as the Dehiwala zoo which was found in 1936, this menagerie covers around 30 acres beautifully landscaped to provide more natural habitats, some lawns of the Zoo have been converted into small forest patches which are rich in rare plants. Valuable medicinal plants are prominent among the trees in these patches, it is also famous for its huge tree cover. The main objective of the zoo is not solely to exhibit the animals but also to conserve and provide animal welfare for these species as well as to provide education to school and university students. An interesting feature at the Colombo Zoo is the feeding of Pelicans. The pelicans that spend their time in lakes and canals in and the outskirts of Colombo visit the Zoo daily by about 1200 hrs for their mid day meal, they come up the flight of steps made for them and parade anxiously to eat the fish that they receive from the visiting public. Apart from a lot of other interesting features, the aquarium is the only one of its kind in Asia which displays well over 500 varieties of aquatic life. the Aviary, Reptilian, and Butterfly Parks are also remarkable. The zoo is engaged in many research and captive breeding projects.

These include:- enclosure for Leopards, enclosure for Jaguars free-living enclosure for elephants, large walking aviary for the exotic birds, and Zoo museum are underway. Similarly Pinnawala elephant orphanage is being modernized creating a new elephant entrance complex, elephant hospital, education & visitor centre, visitor viewing area and extension to the free roaming area of the elephant etc. All research activities which related to the zoo are based on animals and their environment in order to understand the behavior and habitat relationships of animals. These activities are scooped out on various purposes such as educational purposes, conservation purposes etc.

Dehiwala Zoo opens daily between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm and offers a vast range of services and amenities to make sure that you have a relive and pleasant visit which includes rides on an elephant or a donkey, There are also Chimp shows and Sea Lion shows but the main attraction is the elephant circus at 5.15 p.m. with an extra show on Sundays and holidays at 3.15

Hot springs
There are the seven hot springs of Kanniya on the road to Trincomalee. A high wall bounds the rectangular enclosure which includes all seven springs. Each is in turn enclosed by a dwarf wall to form a well. The water is warm, the temperature of each spring being slightly different. The use of the springs for bathing is controlled by the neighboring Mari Amman Kovil, who holds the lease of the wells.

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