Anuradhapura Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SRI LANKA 142

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Day 1: Colombo

Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! Arrive Colombo at 01:40am, included transfer to hotel to check in on arrival.

Day 2: Colombo

Morning at leisure - Afternoon proceed on sightseeing Tour of Colombo driving through the Commercial area of the “ Fort” so named, because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. Drive passed “Pettah” – a noisy Oriental bazaar with a hotchpotch of Humanity, ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques & temples. Visit Hindu temple & drive pass Jumi-UL Alfar Jumma Mosque, Continue the tour through the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, to the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens and on to the Independence Square and Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall. And also visit the national museum with its fine collection of antiques and local art. (Fridays the museum is closed). Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight!

Day 3: Colombo

Morning proceed to Kelaniya to visit the "Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara", graced by Buddha on one of his three visits to Sri Lanka. Thereafter return back to Colombo and drive to Dehiwela to witness the Zoological Gardens, Also visit a Hindu temple.

Day 4: Colombo - Anuradhapura

Leave for Anuradhapura visiting Dambadeniya, capital of the Island after the fall of Polonnaruwa in the 13th century. Its principal surviving ruins are a two-story Dalada Maligawa temple and the dagoba revered by the locals for the 60 corporeal relics of the Buddha it is said to contain. Also visit Panduvas Nuwara, featuring a well-preserved walled citadel, Padeniya, Arankele, and Yapahuwa, a rock fortress - the stone ruins of the steps are reminiscently Cambodian. Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 5: Anuradhapura

Morning proceed on a sightseeing tour of Anuradhapura – It was the first capital and undoubtedly the grandest city of the ancient Sri Lanka, It is the home of two World Heritage sites. Many places of historical and archaeological interest could be visited. Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree) was brought as a sapling of the tree under which prince Siddhartha attained to enlightenment and it is over 2,200 years old and is the oldest historically documented tree in the world. At Brazen Palace (2nd century B.C), the 1600 stone columns you see are all that is left of a magnificent multi-storied residence for monks. Ruwanweliseya (2nd century B.C) is the most famous of all the Dagobas. It originally depicted the perfect ‘bubble shape" that modern restoration has not been able to accurately reproduce. Samadhi' Buddha statue (4th century AD) is one of the most famous statues, depicting the Buddha in a state of 'Samadhi' or deep meditation. Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century B.C) is well known for its rock carvings of 'The Lovers'. Kuttam Pokuna – twin ponds (6th century AD) was used by the Buddhist monks as a bathing pool. Thuparama Dagoba (3rd century B.C) is the oldest Dagoba in the island, which enshrines the right collarbone of the Buddha. Thereafter proceed to visit Mihintale, where Buddhism was first introduced to Sri Lanka. On this rock are many shrines and dwellings originally used by monks. A grand stairway of 1,840 steps made of 15 feet wide granite slabs leads to the summit from where one could get a splendid view of the surrounding countryside.

Day 6: Anuradhapura - Giritale

Proceed to Polonnaruwa en route visit the Aukana Buddha statue which is undoubtedly the most magnificent preserved image on the island. The 5th century statue, ascribed to King Datusena, whichis 13 metres high. Also visit the Dambulla Rock Temple. Climb up to the temple, which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters. Check in at Royal Lotus Hotel 3* - (Standard Room) – Afternoon proceed on a sightseeing tour of Polonnaruwa which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka, built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and which is a world heritage site - Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya – where 4 splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall, the Lotus Bath, king Parakramabahu’s statue, and the Parakrama Samudraya lake built by King Parakramabahu the great. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.

Day 7: Giritale - Kandy

Morning proceed to Sigiriya - climb the 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress which is a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Visit the world-renowned frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These frescoes are painted in earth pigments on plaster. On completion leave for Kandy – En route visit a spice garden in Matale to see the different spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for. You will be introduced to different spices and shown how some of these spices are grown and processed. Proceed to Kandy.

Day 8: Kandy

Morning proceed to visit the Elephant orphanage in Pinnawela - This orphanage is the home for about 89 elephants, out of which some are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see them having their daily bath. Thereafter proceed to visit the ruined temples of Embekke, Gadaladeniya and Lankatilleke. On completion return to Kandy en-route visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. This botanical garden was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. Also do a city tour of Kandy. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, and is a World Heritage Site. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. Drive around the Kandy Lake built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798. Visit the Kandy town and Bazaar, the arts & crafts centre and a gem museum and a lapidary. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.

Day 9: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya

Leave for Nuwara Eliya – En route visit a tea plantation and a tea factory, where the best tea in the world is produced. You will be told all about the process of manufacturing tea. You can also see how tea is graded. Taste a cup of pure Ceylon tea in the factory. On completion, proceed to Nuwara Eliya, because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, is Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country producing a significant share of the world’s best tea. Sri Lanka’s highest mountain Pidurutalagala (8282 feet) is located here. Nuwara-Eliya also has one of the finest 18 hole golf courses in South Asia. Check into your accommodaiton. Evening leave on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya including the Hakgala Gardens – Drive through "Little England."

Day 10: Nuwara Eliya

Morning proceed to Horton Plains, The coldest and windiest location in Sri Lanka consists of ecosystems such as Montane evergreen forests, grasslands, marshy lands and aquatic ecosystem. At an altitude of 2,100 meters above sea level, Horton Plains spreads across over 3,169 hectares of the highest tableland of the island. In view of the large number of endemic flora and fauna species, Horton Plains was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 30th July 2010. The escarpment with a depth of 900 meters called World’s End and Baker’s Falls are the highlights of the Horton Plains.

Day 11: Nuwara Eliya - Yala National Park

Morning leave for Yala en-route visiting the Mahayana Buddhist rock sculptures at Buduuvagala. Proceed to Kataragama - Check in at Rosen Hotel 4* - (Standard Room). Evening proceed on a Jeep Safari to visit the Yala National Park – This park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are also sure to see elephants – grumpy loan males during the dry months and large herds in the wet season. Sloth bears are also a big draw. You will also see mammal such as wild boars, several species of deer and wild buffalo. There is a plethora of reptilian species and platoons of crocodiles. As is common in Sri Lanka there is a huge diversity of stunning birdlife including migratory species such as the flamingo. It is also one of the few places in the world where the severely endangered black necked stork can still be seen. The uniqueness of the park is the sheer diversity of the habitat: dense jungles suddenly gives way to lagoons and open plain areas and the park has a simply beautiful sea front. Huge, stark boulders dominate the horizon and the elegant, languorous leopard can often be seen basking atop the sun baked rock. Overnight KATARAGAMA

Day 12: Yala National Park - Kalutara

Morning proceed to visit the Bundala Bird Sanctuary - This park falls within the southeastern arid zone of Sri Lanka, with a general climate that can be classified as hot and dry. The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes bordering the coastline, and vegetation consists mainly of dry thorny scrublands and lagoons. A total of 383 plant species have been recorded from the park, including 6 endemics and 7 species considered as nationally threatened. It is also home to 32 different species of mammals, 5 of which are classified as threatened. For keen birdwatchers, the complex wetland system harbours a rich bird life (approximately 197 species), including several species of migratory waterfowl. This has led to the declaration of the park as Sri Lanka’s first ‘Ramsar’ wetland – one of great international importance especially for migratory waterfowl. On completion leave for Kalutara, En route visit the Galle Dutch Fortress – The Galle fort was built first by the Portuguese, then modified by the Dutch during the 17th century. Even today, after 400 years of existence, it looks new and polished with reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. Today Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. Thereafter proceed to Kalutara.

Day 13: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 14: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 15: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 16: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 17: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 18: Kalutara

Day at leisure on the Kalutara.

Day 19: Kalutara

Leave for the airport to connect with the departure flight.

Tour Spotlight

Buddha and Beach

12 days from USD $2,569

Spend a week travelling to some of central Sri Lanka's best sites before heading off to a gorgeous beach for a few days....

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