Search for the sacred stones of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
The second film in the swashbuckling adventure series, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Harrison Ford as “Indy”, an archaeologist/explorer/saviour of the world.
Released in 1984, Temple of Doom was originally supposed to be filmed in Rajasthan in northern India, but permission was eventually denied because Indian authorities deemed the script offensive. Instead, Spielberg relocated to Sri Lanka’s second city, Kandy.
Today, the city is the gateway to the glorious Hill Country, and is home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which houses a tooth of the Buddha and is Sri Lanka’s holiest spot.
Go white water rafting past The Bridge over the River Kwai
Perhaps the classic Sri Lanka-based film, the 1957 David Lean directed World War II epic featuring Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and William Holden, tells the story of a group of Japanese prisoner of war captors forced to build a bridge over the River Kwai that once completed will help the Japanese connect Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).
Much of the film, which won seven Academy Awards, was filmed in Kitulgala on the western edge of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. It’s said that during a break from filming, Lean nearly drowned in the fast-flowing river that flows through Kitulgala.
Today, visitors come to Kitulgala less for the big screen memories (though a trail leads through the forest to the site of filming) and more for the white water rafting, jungle trekking and bird-watching.
Kelani River near Kitulgala © Vasas Andras/Shutterstock
Explore the far north along The Road From Elephant Pass
Perhaps the finest home-grown Sri Lankan film of recent years, The Road From Elephant Pass recounts the civil war years and the battle for the Elephant Pass, a narrow strip of land that links the Jaffna Peninsula to the rest of Sri Lanka.
The 2008 film, which was Sri Lanka’s Academy Award entry under foreign films, was based on the novel by Nihal de Silva.
Learn about the bare necessities in The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo
The Second Jungle Book is a 1997 film adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s literary masterpiece, The Jungle Book. If you’ve never heard of the film then you’re in good company – it only took around $350,000 at the box office.
Much of the filming took place in Kandy’s Udawattakele Sanctuary, a forest park just beyond the city centre that has lots of monkeys but not so many (in fact, zero) tigers.
Image by Ravindu Ranaweera on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)