The little-visited area north of Kurunegala is home to an intriguing range of attractions: the abandoned cities of Yapahuwa and Panduwas Nuwara; the absorbing forest monastery of Arankele; and the beautiful Kandyan-era temples at Padeniya and Ridi Vihara. If you have your own transport, all of these sites could be visited in a leisurely day’s excursion, either as a round-trip from Kurunegala, or en route to Anuradhapura. (If you don’t want to pay for a car all the way to Anuradhapura, ask to be dropped at Daladagama, from where it’s easy to pick up a bus.)

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