Sri Lanka Heritage Tour

Duration : 5 Nights / 6 Days
Destinations : Colombo - Kandy - Dambulla - Sigiriya - Anuradhapura - Colombo

Day 1 : Arrive Colombo
Upon arrival transfer to Hotel.

Colombo city-tour in the afternoon: Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka with a population of 1,1 million. The Fort, in the very center of the city, is where most of the colonial remnants, mainly from the British era are still to be found. Nearby Pettah is Colombo’s busiest and most traditional bazaar, a mosaic of human activities and architectural memories. Cinnamon Gardens is the most prestigious residential area. Shopping in Colombo (optional).

Day 2 : Colombo – Kandy
After an early breakfast travel to Kandy, via elephant orphanage in Pinnawela; situated northwest of the town Kegalla, halfway between the present capitol Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. If you leave the Pinnawela early then you can watch the elephants bathe in the river. After wards, the youngest babies are milk fed.

We stop for a short visit of a tea factory where you will learn in details, how the green tea leaves are treated to become high-quality Ceylon Tea.

Upon arriving in Kandy, transfer to the hotel.

The old royal city of Kandy, situated at 500m, is beautifully nestled between green hills. At its very center lies a small artificial lake and the palace of the last Singhalese king which has become a temple and the holiest shrine in Sri Lanka, where the tooth relic of Lord Buddha is highly venerated.

In the evening short city-tour of Kandy with visit to a lapidary. During the city tour you will pay a visit to the temple of the holy tooth. After the temple visit you have the opportunity to attend a dance performance, where you will see the famous Kandyan dances, as well as up-country and devil dances. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 : Kandy – Dambulla
Today we visit of the world-famous Botanical Garden in Peradeniya. The park dates back to 1371 under the reign of king Vikrama Bahu III when he held court here. The English put the cornerstone of the present garden in 1821. During the Second World War the garden served as the headquarters of Earl Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia who became later the last Viceroy of India. You will find in the garden a very large variety of orchids, spice trees, palms, bushes, as well as tropical plants and flowers of all type.

Now leave the central hill country and proceeding to north. Along the road you will see paddy fields, coconut groves, rubber and spice gardens and plantations. You will stop at one of the spice gardens there you can see a lot of trees, bushes and plants cropping spices. In Dambulla you will ascend for a visit of the most impressive of all the many cave temples in Sri Lanka. The Raj Maha Vihara temple complex consists of 5 separate caverns with numerous statues of the Buddha and Hindu deities. The ceilings of the caves are fully illustrated with paintings mostly from the many lives of the Buddha. The history of the caves dates back to the 1st Century BC when this place served as refuge to the king Valagam Bahu being driven out of Anuradhapura by invading armies from South India. After the king returned to his capital, the caves became a Buddhist sanctuary.

On arriving Sigiriya proceed to Hotel.

Evening we drive to Polonnaruwa for the visit of the well preserved remains of the city which has been the capital of the Singhalese kings from the 11th to the 13th century. You see the excavations: Temples, dagobas, the royal palace, the royal library. The most famous Sinhalese king Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153-1186) has built in the environs of Polonnaruwa an impressive irrigation system with many artificial tanks inter-connected with irrigation channels. The reservoir near Polonnaruwa has been until recently, when the large dams were built in the mountains, the largest and most beautiful artificial lake. After the visit you return to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4 : Sigiriya
After breakfast first visit will be to the Sigiriya rock; This impressive monolith which rises 200 m out of the jungle has been transformed in the 5th Century by king Kassapa into a fortress and became his capital as he feared for his life. On top of the rock was the kings palace “The Heaven-Castle”, what remains today are only foundation walls of this once magnificent building and the many fortifications. What remains to be seen and is worth the difficult climb are the phenomenal frescoes of the Sigiriya Maidens. No one knows whom the seductive beauties, painted in brilliant colours on the rock walls, represent. One can think of them as heaven-dwelling nymphs from a realm of radiant light.

Day 5 : Anuradhapura – Colombo
After breakfast drive for Anuradhapura in order to visit a selection of the most remarkable sights. As per written records Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Panduk-Anhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AC when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dageba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

After this visit we continue to Colombo, on the way you pass paddy fields, coconut plantations and huge areas with rubber trees and plantations. You will reach Colombo in the later afternoon and proceed to hotel.

Day 6 : Colombo – Airport
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart in good time for your flight home.
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