Day 1 - Arrival Transfer/ Colombo
Meet on arrival at Colombo International Airport by Heritance Holidays staff and transfer to Colombo for overnight stay
Day 2 - Colombo/Aukana/Dambulla
After Breakfast transfer to Dambulla which is located in the Cultural Triangle area.
En-route visit the Avukana statue which is a standing statue of the Buddha near Kekirawa in North Central Sri Lanka. The statue, which has a height of more than 40 feet, has been carved out of a large granite rock face during the 5th century. It depicts a variation of the Abhaya mudra, and the closely worn robe is elaborately carved. Constructed during the reign of King Dhatusena, it may have been made as a result of a competition between a master and a pupil. Avukana statue is one of the best examples of a standing statue constructed in ancient Sri Lanka. It is now a popular tourist attraction in the country.
Continue to Dambulla and check-in at hotel for overnight stay
Day 3 - Dambulla/Anuradhapura/Mihintale/Dambulla
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Anuradhapura, located on the dry plains of the North Central Province within the Cultural Triangle area.
On arrival leave on sightseeing tour off Anuradhapura a Kingdom which lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380 B.C. This city is home to many of the earliest grandest monuments of Sri Lanka and a popular destination of Sinhalese Buddhist’s pilgrimages because of its many ancient Buddhist monuments. The ruins at Anuradhapura tell tales of a Royal capital of 113 successive kings who made it the greatest monastic city in this part of the ancient world.
Visit the oldest historically documented tree on earth, The Sacred Bo tree over 2000 years old, grown from a branch of the very tree beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. This was brought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd Century B.C. by Buddhsit Nun Sangamitta who was the daughter of Emperor Ashok of India.
The perfection and scale of the adobes or the relic chambers which houses some of the most important Relics of the Enlightened one like the Ruwanveliseya, Abhayagiriya, and the Jetavanaramaya , which are the largest in the world, are staggering, the latter vying with the largest pyramids at a height of 122 meters. Also visit the remains of the Brazen Palace (which was once 09 storey high monastery), Kuttam Pokuna or Twin Ponds, and the Samadhi Buddha (a statue of the Buddha in a meditative pose), which is being acknowledged as a masterpiece. Among the other highlights are Isurumuniya temple with some of the finest rock carvings in the country, The Moonstone, The Guard stones and Thuparama and Lankaramaya Dagobas.
Then visit Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. In the 3rd century B.C. area of Mihintale a hunting ground reserved for the royals. All this changed in 250 BC when the son of the Indian Emperor Asoka, Mahinda Maha Thero arrived at the Missaka Pauwa to meet king Devamnampiyatissa for the first time and asked the famous questions to decide whether he is intelligent enough to understand the philosophy of the Buddha. Initially Mahinda Maha Thero’s residence, but later Mihintale became a main center for Theravada Buddhism feet in height and is considered the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Prior to then the Lord Gautama Buddha had visitedthis place during his Third visit which was then called as Missaka Pabbatha. Being one of the sixteen places (Solosmasthana) the Lord Buddha had visited in Sri Lanka, this is regarded as one of the most important sacred places by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
Return to hotel for overnight stay
Day 4 - Dambulla/Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Dambulla
After Breakfast leave for Sigiriya
Explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. The great rock fortress of Sigiriya is yet another attraction found in this side of the island, which you can visit Surrounded by the wonders of the nature
Then proceed to Polonnaruwa the second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, today the city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdoms first rulers. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982, its beauty was used as a backdrop to filmed scenes for the Duran Duran music video save a prayer. Its green environment, amazing ancient constructions (including a huge lake built in 1200a.d.), good hotels and its warm, friendly people make it an attractive city to visit. The Polonnaruwa visitor information Centre and museum, brings this ancient city to life. A visit to the Centre and museum first, will prove useful before setting out to explore its fascinating sites.
Visit this well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues. The ruins of the Royal Palace, The majestic King’s Council Chamber, the Lotus Bath, the Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, Thuparama Dagoba, the Gal Viharaya (rock temple) – 3 splendid statues of the Buddha in upright, sedant, and recumbent postures, all carved of a large rock, Thivanka Image house with the best known Buddhist frescoes of Sri Lanka, Hindu Shrines and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa’s greatest kings, Parakramabahu the great, are a few of this
Capital’s memorable sights. The Sea of Parakrama – a vast 12th century man-made water reservoir dominates the city. Moreover, the monuments here are located in a more compact area, and their development is easier to follow.
Return to hotel for overnight stay
Day 5 - Dambulla/Matale/Kandy
After Breakfast leave for Kandy
En-route visits 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.
Also visit a Spice Garden at Matale to see many different types of Spices Sri Lanka is famous for.
Then visit Aluviharaya Temple where Tripitakas were first written in (104-77 B.C.) would go in to the annals of the Buddhist literary history as the Tripitakas (Buddhist Scriptures) were written down on Ola leave in Pali by a conclave of Buddhist monks of the Aluvihara Temple.
These Tripitakas originally had come down by mere word of mouth by being committed to memory by Buddhist monks of the time. Such Tripitakas are classified into three divisions. They are Vinaya Pitakaya (Basket of discipline), Suthra Pitakaya (Basket of Discourse) and Abidarma Pitakaya (Basket of Metaphysics).The entrance canopy has a prominent Pandal with an arch constructed out of concrete. From there is a steep ascent of stone steps leading to the meda midula – frontage terrace. Here looms a mass of rock boulders harbouring cave shelters.
Continue to Kandy and the name Kandy conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, which is a world heritage site. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.
17.30 hrs witness a cultural dance show of drumming, dancing, music and fire walking and followed by a visit to the most sacred place of the Buddhist world, the famous Temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, during Evening “Pooja” Ceremony time. Sri Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country.
Check-in at Earl’s Regency hotel for overnight stay.
Day 6 - Kandy/Pinnawela/Kandy
Breakfast at hotel
Proceed to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage near Kegalle to see the daily routine of up keeping of baby elephants and other abandoned elephants. The unique concept of the Elephant Orphanage of Pinnawela is one of the most visited sites in Sri Lanka. Founded in the year 1975, with 03 baby elephants found abandoned in the forest, is today the home of nearly 65 elephants of different ages and sizes. Bottle feeding of the baby elephants is the highlight event of the place.
Then visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya on the banks of the Sri Lanka’s longest river Mahaweli, which has been 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. Orchids, medicinal plants and herbs as well as other decorative plants have been an integral part of this garden.
Afternoon proceed on a sightseeing tour of Kandy. Drive around the Lake built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798 and the scenic upper lake drive. You may visit a Gem Lapidary and then visit the Arts and Crafts centre where you can buy Kandyan silver and brass ware, Metal work, Lacquer work, Wood and bone carvings, Pottery and Hand woven fabrics.
Overnight stay at Hotel.
Day 7 - Kandy/Nuwara Eliya
After Breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya.
Nuwara-Eliya the ‘heart’ of the tea country located at an elevation of 1980 meters in the central highlands of a tropical island, it offers the best both worlds advantages, of tropical abundance and pleasant cool mountain climate. While the time climate is sub-tropical, night temperature plunge low enough to produce frost.
You may visit a Tea Factory and a Plantation en-route and taste a cup of factory fresh cup of Tea.
Late afternoon leave on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya or the City of Lights and which is a resort city in the Central Mountain Range of Sri Lanka. Blessed with a salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it’s hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. Nuwara Eliya, also known as ‘Little’ England’, was the favorite hill station of the British who tried to create the resort into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club, with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, and its strict formal dinner attire; the 18 holes golf course, race course etc., evoke nostalgia of Colonial British Ceylon.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 8 - Nuwara Eliya/Ella/Kataragama
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Katargama via Ella.
En-route stop briefly at Ella to observe Ravana Ella a beautiful Water fall named after King Ravana of Ramayana legend and breathtaking Ella Gap.
Continue to Kataragama and visit Kirivehera. Legend says that the sword that prince Siddhattha cut his hair off at the time of his renunciation is deposited in this stupa. According to the Dhatuvamsa the Buddha stopped here briefly during his third visit to Sri Lanka before going to Tissamaharama. Already a sapling from the Bodhi Tree at Anuradhapura had been planted at Kataragama. In all the ancient sources Kirivehera is called Magulmahasaya and it is not sure how when or why the name, which means ‘the milk stupa’ came into use. The stupa was renovated in 1912 and sits on a platform
130 feet square and 10 feet high. Stupa is is 95 ft. in height with a circumference of 280 ft. This structure probably dates back to the 3rd century.
Then visit Kataragama temple which is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama deviyo or Lord Karthikeya. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the majority Sinhala Buddhist, minority Hindu Tamils, Muslims and Vedda people. Almost all the shrines— and the nearby Kiri Vehera — are managed by Buddhists, apart from shrines dedicated to Tevyani, Shiva (Siva) and the Muslim mosque.
Check-in at hotel for overnight stay
Day 9 - Kataragam/Tissamaharama/Weherahena/Galle/Bentota
After Breakfast visit Tissamaharama Temple.
The Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple in Tissamaharama, Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It was one of the four major Buddhist monasteries established in Sri Lanka, after the arrival of Arhant Mahinda Thera to the country. The site of the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara was consecrated by Lord Buddha himself, who spent some time in meditation there with 500 arahats (individuals who have reached enlightenment), during his third visit to the island. Tissamaharama monastery had been recognized as a pre-eminent Buddhist educational center of the southern Sri Lanka from the 3rd century B.C. to the 11 the century A.D. The Tissamaharama Dagoba which is situated in the premises of the monastery is one of the largest stupas in Sri Lanka.
Proceed to Bentota.
En-route visit Weherahena Temple. This Temple in the little southern Sri Lankan town of Matara is a small but interesting temple that has many wall murals/cartoons depicting interpretations of events in the life of Buddha. The temple is multi-story with awesome views from the top and amazing devotional ceremonies in the basement. It is worth the short detour out of Matara.
Then visit Galle with its’ 17th century Dutch Fortress. (Pronounced gawl in English and ‘gaar-le’ in Sinhala) is the big un-miss able destination in the south. It’s at once endlessly exotic, bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds, and yet also, with its wonderful collection of Dutch-colonial buildings, a town of great beauty. Classic architecture melds with a dramatic tropical setting to create a reality that is endlessly interesting.
Check-in at hotel in Bentota
Day 10 - Bentota/Kelaniya/Colombo
Breakfast at hotel.
Morning at leisure on the beach
Afternoon leave for Colombo via Kelaniya Temple. Built on the banks of the Kelaniya River is one of the most sacred sites of Sri Lanka. It is believed Buddha together with 500 Arahats (Supremely enlightened beings) visited Kelaniya on the Vesek day of the Buddhist Era 2531 and expounding of the Dhamma, the Buddhist doctrine to the inhabitants of the island. Buddha’s timely visit to the island resulted in quelling an imminent war between two kings named Chulodara and Mahodara over a jewel encrusted throne. Buddha having preached the doctrine on the disputed throne offered to him ensued lasting peace between the two kings. The great stupa built upon the site enshrining the throne was since then called Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara.
Check-in at Ozo Colombo hotel for overnight stay
Day 11 - Bentota/Kelaniya/Colombo
Breakfast at hotel.
Morning at leisure
12:00 Hrs Check-out from hotel
Afternoon leave on a brief sightseeing tour of Colombo. Like many capital cities in developing countries is fast changing its face. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood. Yet in some parts, the old world charm is retained. For example, there is a 100- year-old clock tower and several British built colonial Buildings. Other places of interest are the Pettah bazaar – where one can shop for bargain, a Hindu and a Buddhist temple, residential areas where you find the stately homes of the affluent, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.
Transfer to airport to connect with the departure flight