When the highest temperature is steady at 30 degree celsius and the lowest temperature drops to 22 degree Celsius in December in Sri Lanka’s southern and western expanses, it’s the time to take advantage of those dry winter days for some thrilling explorations of the ‘Spice Island’. December to mid-April is the peak holiday season, which offers a cavalcade of exciting experiences to dive into from monument sites to sunny beaches to even the gorgeous environs of its tea country in the hills.

Colombo Kaleidoscope

If you are enjoying the allurements of in Colombo in January stay on to soak up the delights of the 3-day Duruthu Perahera, an extravaganza of theatrics in the three-night parades, which kicks off the calendar of traditional events through the coming year. Join the great throngs who gather to witness the gaily caparisoned elephants on parade and the medley of performances by flag-bearers, whip-crackers, fireball dancers and musicians. A religious event, in which Buddhist relics in a sacred casket are part of the procession it celebrates the arrival of Buddha in Sri Lanka in the 6th century BCE. The festival emanates with its ripple-like effect from Colombo’s suburb of Kelaniya, home to the beautifully illuminated Raja Maha Vihara temple. The festivities are preceded by a month-long series of rituals and ceremonies from the full moon day of December (Unduwap) to the full moon day of January (Duruthu).

Cultural Triangle

The balmy wintry days are perfect for exploring Sri Lanka’s iconic heritage cities which fall under the umbrella of its “Cultural Triangle”. With the benediction of the weather gods upon you, set out for the stunning remnants of the ancient citadel of Anuradhapura dating back to the 4th century BCE and ranked amongst the world’s continuously inhabited cities. Both temporal and spiritual capital of the island for well over a millennium, this UNESCO-acclaimed World Heritage Site offers a fabulous collection of ruins of royal palaces and monasteries, ancient gardens, and esoteric relics to explore. It’s the perfect time in these cooler days to pedal around exploring all these wonderments and ruins of the island’s first kingdom on lesser-known trails. Amongst the ruins of Polonnaruwa, explore the unique world of its current residents, three species of primates, who have provided a new name for it —“Monkey Kingdom”. In the Dambulla Caves marvel over the sacred space created here by the ancients featuring over 150 Buddha statues, deities and painterly ceiling and walls. The weather is more conducive too for forays the iconic Sigiriya Rock and safaris into Kaudulla and Minneriya game parks for some thrilling elephant-spotting.

Adam’s Peak-High Mountain Grandeur

This trekking paradise is one of Sri Lanka’s most enduring winter adventure hubs. Caution is required as it’s not an easy trek… kids and elders should definitely avoid it. But for the young and spry, it’s the challenge to write home about for sure.

Call of the Southern Beaches

With the seas calm and the sunshine lighting up the pristine sands, Sri Lanka’s southern beaches area magnet for visitors. Reluctantly, abandon the many charms of the Dutch fortified coastal town of Galle to head to the picturesque setting of Mirissa Beach and its piquant beachside offerings. Other beautiful beaches to explore are Weligama Beach, a surfing hotspot, Unakuruwa Beach near Tangalle and the lesser trumpeted gem of a find–the Kabalana Beach in Ahangama.

Sri Lanka’s winter days offer a fabulous range of experiences, which one might hesitate to indulge in during the hotter months. So pick your destinations for the optimum fun when organizing your precious winter vacay this year.

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