The Loris, with its large bulging eyes and tiny limbs, is a nocturnal primate found in India, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. Hidden in the scrub forests, this mystical creature moves slowly through the trees after dusk to feed on insects and berries. At Jetwing Vil Uyana the conservation of the resident Loris has been given much prominence and the Loris Information Centre which is near the Loris Conservation site provides information on these strange and fascinating creatures.
Jetwing Vil Uyana sits on its own man made eco-reserve which boasts a wetland, secondary monsoon forests and paddy lands. What was formerly a barren patch of land has now emerged into a nature lover's paradise with more than a hundred varieties of wildlife inhabiting the area. Amongst the most eco friendly hotels in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka the property is surrounded by nature on all sides and a stroll through the premises will bring you into close contact with the environment and the animals and birds that live there. The enhanced biodiversity of the environs enables the hotel to conduct wildlife watching tours on the premises itself, which means you only have to step out of your room to experience the local wildlife.
The World Heritage Site of Sigiriya or "Lion Mountain" as it is also known holds the ruins of a rock fortress and palace. Constructed by King Kasyapa at the end of the 5th Century, it was built on the lines of an impenetrable fortress, ringed by a moat and ramparts and surrounded by dense forests. The rock which has a unique shape that is easily recognizable for miles around, rises to a height of 200 m and extends over an area of 1.6 ha at its summit.
Listed sixth in the Lonely Planet's Guide to the Natural Wildlife Spectacles of the world, the 'Gathering' is the largest assembling of Asian Elephants at any given time. Jetwing Vil Uyana offers guests the opportunity of witnessing this unique phenomenon by conducting elephant watching safaris into the Minneriya National Park. Situated in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, the centre piece of the park is the Minneriya Tank which is surrounded by varied habitats of wetlands, grasslands and scrub jungle.
The Wilpattu National Park situated along the North Western coastal lowland of Sri Lanka is both the oldest and largest national park in the island. The many 'villus' or small lakes that dot the landscape of the park are responsible for its name ‘villu-pattu’ which means "Land of Lakes". These depressions which fill up with rainwater attract a wide range of water birds and wildlife. The park is also accorded a prominent place in the island's history as, according to the records of the Mahavamsa, Prince Vijjaya from India landed at Kudiremalai Point in Wilpattu, married Kuveni a local princess and founded the Sinhala race.
The town of Dambulla which is located north of Kandy is considered to be the central point of Sri Lanka. Built around a vast isolated rock mass, the name Dambulla was derived from the words ‘Damba’ which means rock and ‘ulla’ meaning fountain. Comprising five caves which have been converted into shrine rooms, it is considered the best preserved and largest temple complex in Sri Lanka. Among the many improvements made to the complex over the centuries, one of the most spectacular is the gilding of the inside of the temple by King Nissankamalla, thereby earning it the name “Ran Giri” which means Golden Rock.
Sri Lanka, with its tropical climate and exotic landscape, has been described as a paradise for bird watchers. The varied habitats in the country which include lowland rain forests, montane forests and plains, wetlands and monsoon forests are home to 492 recorded species of birds. Of this large number of species, 272 are migratory from India, Siberia, Scandinavia and Western Europe, and 26 are known to be endemic to Sri Lanka. About 150 of the species are common to the Dry Zone, and can be seen in the area around Sigiriya. Jetwing Vil Uyana is located in Rangirigama, an area which has become well known as a haven for birders, with over 120 recorded species.
Situated in the island’s central hills, Kandy was the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, bringing to an end 2500 years of royal rule. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this ancient kingdom and its kings warded off attempted invasions by the Portuguese and Dutch, but fell to the British at the beginning of the 19th century. A sacred pilgrimage site and amongst the most important places in Sri Lanka for Buddhists, it is the home of the Sri Dalada Maligawa - the Temple of the Tooth where the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is housed. The Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya, which is close to Kandy, was a royal residence and park during the reign of the last king of Sri Lanka.
Anuradhapura, the most renowned of Sri Lanka's early cities and capitals, has also been called the cradle of Sinhalese Buddhist civilization. The capital of the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, it is famous for its well preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. The city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. With a history that dates back to 400 BC, Anuradhapura served as the capital city for 1400 years. During this period many stupas, palaces, hospitals and complex irrigation systems were built, and even today these palaces, monasteries and monuments draw many pilgrims and visitors to the sacred city.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka between the 11th and 13th centuries AD. The kingdom contained royal palaces, bathing ponds, monasteries, and dagabas and owed most of its splendour to the three kings - King Vijayabahu I, Parakramabahu I, and Nissankamalla I. The sites in Polonnaruwa reflect a combination of Sinhalese and South Indian culture and architecture, and though it was ravaged by invasion in the centuries that followed, there is still evidence of its former grandeur. The ruins of the ancient city stand on the east shore of the Parakrama Samudraya (the Sea of Parakrama).
Located about a kilometre north of Sigiriya, the massive rock formation of Pidurangala has a history that is closely related to the rock fortress. Built by King Kasyapa, this rock served as the royal temple during his reign in the 5th Century AD and today is one of the main places to visit in Sigiriya. The Buddhist monastery which housed over 500 monks contains the Chapter House, Image House, a sacred Bo tree, a shrine and monks' dwellings. The climb to the summit can be divided into two stages, the first is up flights of irregular steps that lead to a landing, and the second stage starts at the far end of the landing past the reclining Buddha, and has no clearly defined path or steps. Reaching the summit of Pidurangala is like being on the roof top of the world - it offers a magnificent view of the surrounding area which includes the Sigiriya Rock.
Considered a most exciting and enjoyable activity, whale and dolphin watching is fast becoming one of Sri Lanka's most popular attractions. One of the top locations for watching whales is the port city of Trincomalee which is situated on Sri Lanka's north-eastern coast. Witnessing these magnificent ocean giants in their natural habitat is a thrilling sight that is best seen when the north east monsoon recedes. Trincomalee is the only place in the world which offers the sight of Blue Whales from land, and the vantage point at Swami Rock in Trincomalee provides views of whales passing the submarine canyon. When it comes to whale watching in Trincomalee most sightings occur between March or April and August or September when whales continue their migration around the island from the south coast where they are from December to April.