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Welcome to Sri Lanka and the start of your holiday! We will be there to meet you at the airport and transfer you through to your hotel in Polonnaruwa. Polonnaruwa was built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD, and 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 Lankatilaka, the Watadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.
This morning we climb the Sigiriya Rock fortress - this 5th century Sigiriya rock fortress is a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD). The ‘Lion Rock’ is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200 meters 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. We will also explore 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 depart for Kandy, en-route we will visit a spice garden in Matale to see the different spices, which Sri Lanka is famous for.
Departing this morning for Nuwara Eliya. En-route we 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. Arrival 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.
Morning at leisure. This afternoon we visit Yala national park - This Park is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are sure to see elephants, sloth bears, 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 give way to lagoons and open plain areas and the park has a simply beautiful sea front.
After breakfast we drive to Kalutara – En-route today we will vsit The Galle fort, which was built first by the Portuguese, and 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 the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. Today the 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.
Day at leisure in Kalutara.
Day at leisure in Kalutara.
Sadly today is our final day in Sri Lanka. We will be transferred to Colombo where we enjoy a sightseeing tour of this city before transferring to the airport. Colombo's sightseeing includes a drive through the Commercial area of the “Fort”. Drive passed “Pettah” – a noisy Oriental bazaar with a hotchpotch of ancient vehicles, bargains, mosques and temples. We will explore the Hindu Temple and drive past Jumi-UL Alfaro Jumma Mosque. We will tour the Wolvendaal Dutch Church, Hultsdorf Law courts, the residential area of Cinnamon Gardens, Independence Square, Bandaranayke Memorial International Conference Hall and Gangarama Temple. Welcome to the Maldives! We will be there to meet you at the airport and transfer you through to your hotel.
Enjoy the coming days at your leisure.
Today we bid you farewell with a transfer to the airport.