Architectural Marvels of Sri Lanka


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Discover the story of a nation’s brilliance with some unique architectural experiences on offer in Sri Lanka. From challenging irrigation systems devised by Kings, to novel monsoon architecture of a brilliant 20th century Sri Lankan architectural maestro. Here’s a Guide to just 5 of the best examples of architectural mastery Sri Lanka has nurtured throughout the years.


Irrigation tanks in Yala National Park

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Challenging irrigation systems in Yala! The most visited wildlife destination in Sri Lanka, prior to its National Park status was a farming land under the rule of a visionary Sinhalese King during the 1st century BC. In the art of successful farming he built large tanks to store water, each tank filled by the spill waters of the one above it through superior irrigation skills in a time of manual labor and zero automation. Throughout the years, the jungle took over, making the king’s masterpiece a haven during the drought to wildlife. Learn more fascinating facts on tour with the Natural History Guides of Ayu in the Wild.



The Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa

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Central Air conditioning in the 11th century? This 7 storey palace was built to be several degrees cooler within it’s incredibly massive walls to beat the scorching heat of Polonnaruwa, in the Cultural Triangle. King Parakramabahu 1 certainly was a master of Sri Lankan principles of architecture designing his Palace with 2-3 metre thick walls, a predominantly wooden structure and a Pagoda styled roof with a 1-2 foot gap between the upper and lower roofs. On a privately guided tour with Ayu in the Wild glean more insights into the layout, art and architecture of more paragons in Polonnaruwa.




Heritance Kandalama Hotel - the masterpiece of Geoffrey Bawa

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Right there among the masterpieces of ancient Sri Lankan Kings stands the 20th century ingenuity of Geoffrey Bawa, the most famed architect of Sri Lanka. His modern day mastery of monsoon architecture makes him Royalty in Sri Lanka’s architectural heritage. The Heritance Kandalama Hotel is an astonishing belvedere built into the rocky outcrop with no earth moving machinery used, blurs the distinction between the natural and the man-made with an ambiance of luxury and sophistication. Kandalama Hotel is one of Ayu in the Wild’s top picks for luxury accommodation in the Cultural Triangle and an excellent base for visits to the Dambulla Cave Temples or a safari in Minneriya National Park.



Local Village Huts

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Away from the beaten track and blessed with lakes, fertile soil, natural beauty and abundant wildlife live simple Sri Lankan folk: unpretentious, humble men and women of the soil. Their homes are models of vernacular architecture. Local village huts built with adobe (wattle and daub) walls and roofs of woven coconut fronds ideal to tropical climates. These huts are built to absorb the cool moisture at night and let it out during the day when its warm. Each one creatively built with an unwavering sensitivity to the environment. Visit these earthy havens with Ayu in the Wild and interact with local farmers and rural kids – an incredible experience on your tour of Sri Lanka.



Sigiriya Palace

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A marvelous feat built through fear gave rise to an ancient skyscraper. Built on top of a 600-foot rock lies the palace ruins of a fugitive king. Along with a remarkable network of subterranean water channels made out of terracotta pipes and unplugged bubbling fountains amidst Asia’s oldest pleasure gardens. The phenomenal idea of converting each drop of rain to a symphony of water through gravity and pressure gave rise to one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Privately guided tours by the Guides of Ayu in the Wild to the Lion Rock in Sigiriya is an awe inspiring lesson on architecture, fugitive Kings, battles and victories of the 5th Century. 


Immerse yourself in the exquisite architecture all around this stunning island with our “Inner You –Outdoor Sri Lanka” Tours by Ayu in the Wild.



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