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Welcome to Sri Lanka. We will meet on arrival at the Bandaranayake International Airport and proceed to Mt. Lavinia Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
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 Cambodia.
Morning proceed to Aukana - The Aukana Buddha statue which is undoubtedly the most magnificent preserved image on the island. 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. On completion proceed on a sightseeing tour of Anuradhapura - It was the first capital and undoubtedly the grandest city of the ancient Sri Lanka. 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.
Proceed to Dambulla and 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. metres of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. We then head to Giritale and check into the hotel. In the evening 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 is a world heritage site.
Morning proceed to Sigiriya and 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. 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. We then head to Kandy and en route visit a spice garden in Matale to see the different spices.
Morning proceed to visit the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela. The orphanage is the home for about 89 elephants. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. Thereafter proceed to visit the ruined temples of Embekke, Gadaladeniya and Lankatilleke. We then return to Kandy and en-route visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. We then have a city tour of Kandy. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendor and magnificence. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive. In the evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic and thereafter witness a cultural show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dancing.
Leave for Nuwara Eliya and 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. We then 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. In the evening we have a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya including the Hakgala Gardens and we drive through "Little England”.
We head to visit Horton Plains, which is located on a high windswept saddle at 2134 meters. These Plains are hard to reach but the scenery is well worth the effort. At Horton Plains, hike to the Bakers Fall, passing en route the Gem Pit Pool, the Chimney Pool, and the Leg of Mutton Pool.
This morning leave for Kataragama, with an en-route stop at the Mahayana Buddhist rock sculptures at Buduuvagala. We then head to Kataragama at Yala and check into the hotel. Evening do a safari to the Yala National Park by jeep. Yala is the largest National Park in Sri Lanka and is the home of wild elephants, wild boar, wild buffalo, leopard, bear, deer and crocodiles. You can also see large flocks of migratory and indigenous birds.
We visit the Bundala Bird Sanctuary and then travel on to Koggala. En route we visit the Galle Dutch Fortress, which 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. We will check you in to the hotel in Koggala.
The next few days are yours to enjoy at leisure in Koggala, an ideal tropical beach with its sparkling warm blue seas and a lush fringe of palm trees, all bathed in warm golden sunshine.
Today we head to Beruwela and en route we visit a Turtle Hatchery.
We head to Colombo and have a sightseeing tour of the city, driving through the Commercial area of the “Fort” so named, because both the Portuguese and Dutch had a Fort at this point. Drive past “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, Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, 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.
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.