CULTURAL & SCENIC TOUR OF SRI LANKA – 13 DAY

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CULTURAL & SCENIC TOUR OF SRI LANKA – 13 DAY

COLOMBO – DAMBULLA – KANDALAMA – SIGIRIYA – POLONNARUWA – ANURADHAPURAM – MATALE – KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA – ELLA

– KOSLANDA – GALLE – COLOMBO



HIGHLIGHTS

CULTURAL & SCENIC TOUR OF SRI LANKA – 13 DAY

COLOMBO – DAMBULLA – KANDALAMA – SIGIRIYA – POLONNARUWA – ANURADHAPURAM – MATALE – KANDY – NUWARA ELIYA – ELLA

– KOSLANDA – GALLE – COLOMBO

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  • Day 1: Arrival at Colombo

    Our Company Representative will receive you on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Check into the hotel and relax.
     

     

    The capital city is spread along the shore of the Indian Ocean for some miles, where business and commerce begin and end. The Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah are Colombo’s busiest and most traditional Bazaar area. Visits to the Hindu temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Dutch Church at Wolfe dhal dating back to 1749, the historic Devatgahaha mosque and the Gangarama Temple give a good cultural feel about the country. While the city holds less obvious interest than many other parts of the island. It’s still a colorful enough place and worth a visit to see what makes Sri Lanka tick.    
     

     

    Learn the word ‘Estuti’ - it means thank you in Sinhalese and can go a long way in pleasing the locals.
     

     

    Proceed for the city sightseeing.
     

     

    Visits to the Hindu temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Dutch Church at Wolfe dhal dating back to 1749, the historic Devatgahaha mosque and the Gangarama Temple give a good cultural feel about the country. While the city holds less obvious interest than many other parts of the island. It’s still a colorful enough place and worth a visit to see what makes Sri Lanka tick. The Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah are Colombo’s busiest and most traditional Bazaar area.   
     

     

    Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara: It is a famous Buddhist temple and is believed to be at the spot where the Buddha preached 2000 years ago. It has an excellent carving of a reclining Buddha, and is the site for an annual perahera (religious procession) in January. 

     


    National Museum: Housed in a grand colonial building, the National Museum is the custodian of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. Among its exhibits are a vast collection of half a million books, more than 4000 archaic palm leaf manuscripts, and rock sculptures from the ancient cities, bronze brassware and royal weapons of Sri Lankan kings, fascinating paintings of by gone eras and an excellent collection of antique demon masks. The most interesting among the exhibits are the regalia of the Kandyan Kings dating back to the 17th century. 

     


    Wolvendaal Church:  It is Colombo's oldest Dutch church. Its floor tiles are made from tombstones from the Dutch church in the Fort, and were brought here in 1813. 

     


    Hindu Temples: There are several Hindu temples, which are called Kovils in Colombo. In the Sea Street in Colombo are several Hindu temples, the Ganeshan, the Old Kathiresan and the New Kathiresan with their colorful Gopurams (doorways). Other important temples are the Shiva Subramania Swami temple on Slave Island and the Sri Muthumariamman temple.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Colombo.

  • Day 2: Colombo – Dambulla – Kandalama:

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.
     

     

    Proceed to Habarana visiting Dambulla enroute.
     

     

    Dambulla Cave Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991. This temple, dating back to the first century BC, when hermit monks established a monastery here, is one of the most impressive in Asia. It has five caves under a large overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interior dry. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with religious pictures and the colorful designs continue along the contours of the rock. There are images of Buddha, bodhisattvas, and various gods and goddesses
     

     

    Continue drive to the hotel in Kandalama. Reach and check into the hotel.
     

     

    Spend evening in leisure.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Kandalama.

  • Day 3: Kandalama – Excursion to Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa:

    After early breakfast proceed for an excursion to Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa.
     

     

    The day starts early, but it’s worth it! Your guide will lead you through ancient pleasure gardens to visit the fortress of Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, built on top of a huge boulder in the 5th century. If you are keen to see the rock at its best with panoramic views from the top, then the ideal time to visit is 7.30am.
     

     

    Sigiriya is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.
     

     

    Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.
     

     

    You might like to enjoy a light lunch at the Sigiriya Rest House overlooking the rock fortress.
     

     

    Post lunch you will proceed for The UNESCO World Heritage Site Pollonaruwa. Polonnaruwa was the second capital and the seat of government from the eleventh to the thirteenth century. Constant invasions by southern Indian warrior tribes meant that the city was abandoned and Dambadeniya became the new capital. It was not until the nineteenth century that the citadel was rediscovered by English explorers.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Kandalama.

     

  • Day 4: Kandalama – Excursion to Anuradhapuram:

    Today – visit Anuradhapuram.
     

     

    The sacred city of Anuradhapura is made up of monastic complexes dedicated to different sects of Buddhism including Theravada, Mahavihara, and Mahayana. It also has four monumental stupas (Jetavana, Ruyanvelisaya, Mirisavati and Abhayagiri).
     

     

    Ruwanvelisaya Stupa: Known as the “Great Stupa,” the Ruwanwelisaya stupa is an enormous white structure that predates the Jetavanarama stupa by over 100 years. King Dutugemunu, who became ruler after defeating King Elara, commissioned its construction in 161 B.C. Sadly, he did not live long enough to see its completion. The gleaming white monument is quite large, with a height of 91.4 meters and a circumference of 290 meters. It is the second highest stupa in Anuradhapura and continues to be an important place of worship
     

     

    From the Ruwanwelisaya stupa complex, a five-minute walk along a sidewalk promenade, past picnickers and curious monkeys, brings visitors directly to the Sri Maha Bodhiya, or the Sacred Bodhi Tree. This sacred fig tree was propagated from the original Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama was the young Indian prince who founded the Buddhist religion. He is also referred to as Gautama Buddha, or known simply as the Buddha.
     

     

    The Ratna Prasada, or Jewel Palace, is a monastic complex that was used by a sect of monks who practiced Mahayana Buddhism – a split from the Theravada school of thought that dominated Anuradhapuran religious life. King Kanitthatissa originally built Ratna Prasada in the first century. The building, which was an enormous structure in its heyday, was demolished during the Dravidian invasion around the 8th century. It was later rebuilt during the reigns of King Mihindu II and King Mihindu IV.
     

     

    Moonstone of Abhayagiri Vihara
     

    A Sandakada Pahana, or Moonstone, is a distinctive Sri Lankan architectural element developed during the later years of the Anuradhapura Kingdom. A moonstone is a semi-circular carved slab of stone traditionally placed at the entrance of a Buddhist temple. The Sandakada Pahana at Abhayagiri Monastery dates back to 1st century B.C. A lotus blossom leaf is depicted in the center and is surrounded by rows of animals, each of which represents a stage of life.
     

     

    The elephants represent birth, bulls represent aging, lions represent disease, and the horses signify death. The swans, on the other hand, are believed to represent the forces of good and evil at play during one’s lifetime. The moonstone, then, is interpreted as a depiction of transcending worldly temptations and reaching the ultimate goal of Nirvana, which is symbolized by the lotus flower. The image of the lotus flower is found in architecture throughout Asia and is considered a sacred figure in Buddhism.
     

     

    The use of moonstones carried into the Polonnaruwa period. By then, the designs of the moonstones had changed slightly and were used at the foot of other buildings, not just at the entrances of Buddhist temples.
     

     

    Also visit other important site - Abhayagiri Vihara Monastery, Isurumuniya Vihara, Jetavanaramaya Monastery and Stupa and Thuparama Dagoba .
     

     

    Also visit Mihintale.
     

    Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures. According to the Mahavamsa, Thera Mahinda (son of India’s Emperor Asoka) came to Sri Lanka on the full moon day of the month of Poson (June) and met King Devanampiyatissa and preached the doctrine to the King and his people. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is revered by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka.
     

     

    The climb to Mihintale is not strenuous – it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The best time to climb is in the early morning or the late afternoon. Mihintale is a fabulous place to see the sunset. Mihintale is not touristy at all. Archaeologists and historians say that the ruins of the great 40 foot stupa and the surrounding caves date back to the 1st century B.C.
     

     

    Later – return back to the hotel.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Kandalama.

     

  • Day 5: Kandalama – Matale – Kandy

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.
     

     

    Drive to Kandy visiting Matale enroute.
     

             

    Visit a spice garden in Matale to see different spices for which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will beintroduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
     

     

    Continue drive to Kandy. Reach and check into the hotel.
     

     

    Kandy was the capital of the venerated 16th century Kandyan Kings, who fiercely and successfully defended their kingdom against Portuguese and Dutch invaders for 300 years. It eventually fell to the British in 1815, but the salubrious hill station has maintained its position as an epicenter of Sinhalese culture and the site of an important spiritual pilgrimage for Buddhists. Many of the legends, traditions, and folklore are still lovingly kept alive by the region’s friendly people.
     

     

    Enjoy the city sightseeing.
     

     

    Kandy National Museum – This building established during Sri Wickrama Rajasingha era was then known as “Palle Vahala” This was used as the palace where the Queens of the king lived. This building has been built according to the architectural features of Kandy period. This pallevahala building was used to deposit the various items of historical value made by Kandy Art Association established in 1832 and technicians of Matale district. This was opened for the public as a museum 1942. This museum has over 5000 museum objects which are depicting various aspects historical and cultural events of the Kandyan period. (17-19 century A.D.)
     

     

    We head towards the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka’s most sacred site. Tradition relates that a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th Century A.D. and was enshrined within the Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth. This sacred relic has ever since been the symbol of sovereignty for the Sinhalese kings and always enshrined in great splendor. Kandy’s Dalada Maligawa is a magnificent shrine, with decorative walls, golden roof and fine woodwork. Religious services (pooja) are held daily at dawn, midday, and in the evening and can be viewed by visitors. The services are accompanied with traditional music and drumming.
     

     

    Enjoy walk around Kandy’s central market. Stocking a range of foods, spices, herbal tonics, crafts, textiles and factory-reject designer-brand clothing, it caters mainly to the locals.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Kandy.

     

  • Day 6: Kandy

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.
     

     

    You will start the day in Kandy with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens. First conceived as a Queen’s pleasure garden in the 14th century and a Kandyan Prince’s residence in the 18th century the gardens were formally opened under their current guise in 1821. Walking around these tranquil, immaculately-designed lawns, borders, pavilions and plant houses, you could easily think you are in England but the heat and extraordinary diversity of the tropical plants give the game away. The Botanical Gardens are as popular with Sri Lankans and travellers alike, and they are large enough to guarantee that there is shady seating available for each visitor.
     

     

    Proceed to visit Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. The garden was built as a pleasure garden and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and has an amazing variety of trees, flowers and plants. This garden is easily one of the best of its kind in the world.
     

     

    Visit the University of Peradeniya, laid out near the banks of the Mahaweli River. This is the longest river in Sri Lanka.
     

     

    Wander around the lake and the streets of Kandy getting a feel for this wonderful city. 
     

     

    Overnight will be at Kandy.

  • Day 7: Kandy – Nuwara Eliya:

    After breakfast drive to Nuwara Eliya experiencing a scenic drive en route stop at Ramboda falls watch point.
     

     

    Arrive in Nuwara Eliya - land of tea-laden hillsides, gurgling waterfalls, stirring mountains and clear hill-country air. Here, in temperatures akin to a beautiful English summer’s day, is wonderful walking country, a chance to experience Sri Lankan scenery at its finest.
     

     

    Enjoy the sightseeing - Sri Lanka’s hill villages, tea processing factories, Botanical Gardens etc.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Nuwara Eliya.

  • Day 8: Nuwara Eliya – Excursion to Horton Plains:

    After breakfast – proceed for an excursion to Horton Plains.
     

     

    Horton Plains National Park is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka of Nuwara Eliya District. It is positioned at the eastern boundaries of the Upper Montane Forest Range (1500m-2524m above sea level) of Central Highland of Sri Lanka.
     

     

    The plateau of Horton Plains which is at a nominal elevation of 2100 m also bears the 2nd and the 3rd highest peaks of Sri Lanka, namely Kirigalpoththa (2389m) and Totupolakanda(2357m). The area of the Horton Plains is 3160 ha. or 31.6 sq. km. and is about 8% of the total upper montane forests and grasslands of Sri Lanka.

     

     

    The rainwater of Horton Plains plateau is drained through tributaries to Mahaveli river to the North (through Uma Oya), Walawe river to the South (through Belihul Oya and Kiriketi Oya) and Kelani river to the West (through Bogawantalawa Oya). Horton Plains has an average rainfall figure of around 5000mm though the surrounding areas have an average of 2540mm.
     

     

    Horton Plains gets more rain from North West monsoon and throughout the year even the minimum rain fall per month for the area had been 100mm. The mean annual temperature for the area is about 13C . One can expect temperatures as high as 27C during day and 5C during nights.
     

     

    The distance to Horton Plains from Nuwara Eliya is 32 km.

     

     

    Later – return back and relax at the hotel.

     

     

    Overnight will be at Nuwara Eliya.

     

  • Day 9: Nuwara Eliya – Ella – Koslanda:

    After breakfast – drive to Koslanda via Ella.

     

    Reach Ella and visit Little Adam’s Peak.

     

    Visit the glorious Nine Arch Bridge between Ella and Demodara train stations is one of the engineering marvels in the early 20th century.

     

    Ravana Falls is another must visit in Ella. Hill country of Sri Lanka is quite popular for beautiful waterfalls and Ravana Falls is right at the top.

     

    History says that the cave is used by King Rawana to hide the Princess Sita. Located about 2 km from the Ella town. The cave lies on the foundation of a cliff.

     

    Religious house where tranquility lies like a blessing and the grandeur of sweeping mountain vistas takes your breath away, Adisham was originally the country seat of Sir Thomas Villiers.
     

     

    The famous viewpoint where Sir Thomas Lipton used to sit and contemplate his plantation with its stony landscape and green tea bushes.
     

     

    Proceed further to Koslanda.
     

     

    During the period of colonial rule, British planters found that the climate of the Hill Country could be too chilly at times, and the low country was too hot most of the time. But between the high hill country of Bandarawela and the low country of Wellawaya and Hambantota, they found that Koslanda at 700 meters elevation has a climate that is never too hot and never too cold, but just right.
     

     

    In British times, tea and rubber estates came up in the Koslanda region, along with good roads, a fine district hospital, and other government facilities. Today Koslanda enjoys the same amenities including its mild climate and beautiful environment.
     

     

    Reach and check in to the beautiful Living Heritage Kosalana.
     

     

    Living Heritage Koslanda is a tranquil retreat set among Beragala hills with a surrounding forest. Its mere four rooms beautifully combine boutique-style luxury and traditional Sri Lankan design and architecture.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Koslanda. 

  • Day 10: Koslanda – Galle

    Breakfast will be at the hotel. Enjoy the tranquility of the place, nature walk around the estate and visit the waterfall.
     

     

    Afternoon - travel to Galle, located in the southwestern coast of the island. Reach and check into the hotel.
     

     

    One of Sri Lanka’s finest colonial-era show pieces, this Dutch built town and the 17th century fort of Galle offer a fascinating glimpse into the colonial past of the island. Huge bastions and ramparts enclose the quaint town with its narrow streets, old villas and offer mesmerizing sunset views across the Indian Ocean.
     

     

    Spend rest of the day in leisure or else explore surroundings of Galle.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Galle.

     

  • Day 11: Galle

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.
     

     

    Visit the OLD GALLE FORT in Sri Lanka’s 04th biggest town.
     

     

    The best time to explore Galle Fort is in the afternoon. The 16th century Galle Fort is a world heritage site. Spanning over 90 acres, it is Asia’s best preserved and largest surviving fort built by European occupiers. It was originally built by the Portuguese in 1588 and extended to its present glory by the Dutch in 1663. The best way to soak up the charm of the Old City and to get our bearings is by taking a stroll around the thick granite walls of the fort. This one hour circuit is most enjoyable at sunrise and sunset as the air is cool and the light is long and low. The real allure is found in simply wandering through its warren of narrow alleys and side streets, replete with colonial homes with original archways and verandas, 18th century churches, mosques, museums and impressive art galleries and clothing boutiques.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Galle.

  • Day 12: Galle – Colombo:

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.
     

     

    Relax and spend morning in leisure or else explore surroundings of Galle.
     

     

    Later proceed to Colombo (if interested you can visit Bentota beach enroute). Reach Colombo and enjoy last minute shopping.
     

     

    Enjoy the New Year Celebrations and Gala Dinner at the hotel.
     

     

    Overnight will be at Colombo.

     

  • Day 13: Colombo – Back Home

    Today as per the flight timings, we will transfer you to the airport to take flight back home with sweet memories of the Sri Lanka tour.
     

     

    TOUR ENDS