Locations: Airport – Anuradhapura - Dambulla – Habarana - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa – Kandy -
Pinnawala - Nuwaraeliya - Kithulgala – Airport
Genre: Heritage, Safari, leisure, honeymoon
AIRPORT - CULTURAL TRIANGLE
Day 1 - Arrive in Katunayake Bandaranayake International Air Port. Your driver from CYRIL TOURS will meet you at the airport and take you directly to the Cultural Triangle. Checking to hotel at Dambulla / Habarana / Sigiriya
ANURADHAPURA - MIHINTALE
Day 2 - After breakfast visit the largest and oldest of Sri Lanka’s ancient city Anuradhapura, and it's dates back to the 6th century BC. It was made capital in 377 BC, rising to prominence with the arrival of the Buddhism, a pivotal event that saw the city transformed in to a major centre of Buddhist pilgrimage and learning. The great kings of Anuradhapura oversaw a golden age in the island’s history, building colossal dagobas that rivaled the pyramids of Egypt in scale. It’s remained an important centre of power till the 12th century AD. Anuradhapura located in the North Central Province, 206 km from Colombo. It is nestled between three vast reservoirs known as tanks- the Basawakkulama, the Tissaweva, and the Nuwaraweva. The sacred city of Anuradhapura is a magical place. Featuring some of the most ancient archaeological treasures in Sri Lanka, this vast heritage site is an impressive reminder of an ancient civilization. Most memorable are its gleaming white dagobas (pagoda) – large bell-like structures some over 100meters high which house for Buddhist Relics. The city’s fame spread afar and features in writings from ancient Greece, Rome and China. But after enduring frequent invasions from South India, Anuradhapura eventually fell into decline in the 10th c. AD.
You feel overwhelmed at the scale of ancient Anuradhapura. At the centre of the ancient city is the Mahavihara, the oldest of the city’s monasteries. Worshippers still come to meditate here, drawn to the Sri Maha Bodhi, which is the oldest documented tree in the world. (Over 2200 years). This was grown from a cutting of the Bo tree under which Buddha archived enlightenment in Bodhgaya in Northern India. The Thuparama dagoba, erected in the 3rd c.BC..., was the first dagoba to be built in Sri Lanka and enshrines the Buddha’s right collarbone. Standing before the red- brick Jethawana dagoba- once the third tallest structure in the world is an awesome experience. The Abhayagiri dagoba is still covered in earth and vegetation, while the more famous Ruvanveliseya dagoba, fully restored is beautifully illuminated at night. The magnificent Kuttam Pokuna or ‘twin baths’ with their stone steps are well preserved but all that remains of the Brazen Palace – once a nine-story structure with 1000 rooms- is 1600 granite columns. Then proceed to Mihintale.
Mihintale is regarded as the cradle of Sri Lankan Buddhism since it is here that in 248 BC King Tissa whilst hunting met monk Mahinda with Sri Maha Bodhi tree who converted him and his 4000 followers to Buddhism. It is a sapling of the bB tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, and is symbolic of the most significant event of Tissa's reign, you reach the impressive temple complex via a spectacular ancient grand stairway of 1840 steps. Not as tough as it sounds since they are very shallow and most are in the shades of perfumed Frangipani. Entrance ticket Rs.500.00 to the site per person.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
POLONNARUAWA - SIGIRIYA
Day 3 - After breakfast proceed to visit the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa,
Polonnaruwa located 142 km from Colombo was the islands second ancient capital. In 11th - 13th c.AD, the medieval capital of Polonnaruwa was one of the great urban centers in South Asia. Today the well-preserved ruins give you the opportunity to experience the grandeur of this period and marvel at the artistry of the island’s early craftsmen. The great ruler King Parakramabahu 1st (1153-1186) reign was the highest peak of the agricultural development of the island with the subtitle of “Granary of the East” with the development of a vast and complex irrigation systems connected to “Sea of Parakramabahu”, the largest reservoir build in the history of Sri Lanka. At the heart of the ancient city are the remains of the Royal palace and Council chamber. Nearby is the Vatadage or “relic house”, a beautifully decorated circular structure with an uncanny resemblance to Stonehenge. Among the other sites are the Gal potha (stone book) – a 9m – long granite slab inscribed with the feats of a king – the Lankathilaka shrine and the supremely graceful Buddha statues at Gal Vihara, the pinnacle of Sri Lankan rock carving. Polonnaruwa‘s ancient splendor cannot fail to inspire. Set amongst gently undulating woodland, the monkeys, giant lizards and bird life in abundance seems tamer than elsewhere in the island. Even 1980 pop group Duran Duran were obviously impressed, featuring Polonnaruwa in their music video “Save a prayer”.
The site also hosts many distinctly South Indian-style Hindu Temples. Ethnic harmony prevailed between the Sinhalese and the Tamils during this period. Buddhist and the Hindu temples located in the same complex and many other ruins symbolizes this fact. The palaces, huge granite sculptures and the massive tanks and complex irrigation systems built by the great kings convey the extent of development that existed in this middle history period. On completion proceed to Sigiriya. Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Minneriya National Park by Hired Jeep or hvae a one hour Elephant back safari.
Sigiriya the “The Lion Mountain”. Sigiriya presents a unique concentration of fifth century urban planning, gardening, engineering, hydraulic technology and art. In 470 AD Kashyapa, the son of a non-royal consort of the king took over the kingdom after committing patricide. He built his magnificent palace on the top of this 200 meters high rock fearing the wrath of the crown prince Moghallana. The architectural wonder is famous for pleasure gardens, extensive moats and ramparts and especially the well preserved rock paintings. The, e beautiful “Cloud damsels” can be seen half-way up the rock and the “Lion stairway” that provides access to the summit. The complex of the fortress and the plains around the rock extends over 15 hectares.
DAMBULLA - MATALE KANDY
Day 4 - Travel to Kandy, Enroute visit Dambulla Golden Rock cave Temple, Spice and Herbal Garden, Batik Factory.
Dambulla is renowned for its Golden Rock Cave Temple, which were built by King Valagambahu in the 1st century BC in gratitude for the shelter he sought in the caves when fleeing from Indian invaders. Sighted on gigantic granite out crop which towers more than 160m above the surrounding land, the caves are completely covered by ancient frescoes depicting religious and secular scenes. Protected within the caves are hundreds of statues of Buddha, many carved out of the rock itself, of which the largest is the 15m long Dying Buddha. While continuing to Kandy, on the way (in Matale) you will have a chance to visit the spice plantation that grows a variety of spices such as cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg, for which Sri Lanka was renowned and initially colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as a food additive for the purpose of flavoring, and some as a preservative by killing or preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. Many of these substances are also used for other purposes, such as medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery or eating as vegetables. For example, turmeric is also used as a preservative; licorice as a medicine; and garlic as a vegetable. In some cases, they are referred to by different terms. You could also visit the Batik Factory and watch the production of artistic fabric.
Batik: Melted wax (Javanese: malam) is applied to cloth before being dipped in dye. It is common for people to use mixture of bees wax and paraffin wax. The bee’s wax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking, which is a characteristic of batik. Wherever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the dye will not penetrate. Sometimes several colors are used, with a series of dyeing and waxing steps. Continue to Kandy.
Kandy is the reputed ancient hill capital of Ceylon and the seat of the last Sinhalese Kingdom. It’s nearly 120km away from capital of Colombo. Kandy is the famous city of Sinhalese history, culture, religion and pageantry. The Kandyan Kingdom, the last independent state in Sri Lanka withstood the onslaught of three invading European nations for over two centuries. The islanders looked upon the King of Kandy as their King and the city of Kandy as the last bastion of independent Buddhist thought, which gave spiritual strength and virtue to the Kandyan people. Kandy can be explored on foot, with the higher altitude giving it a cool climate conducive to long walks. The city is visually rich with its narrow streets lined with old buildings and crowded with people. The Municipal Market has superb displays of fruits, vegetables, textiles and clothing and most important Buddhist temples in the country, the ancient official man-made lake amongst rolling hills that are covered by forests and tea plantations. Set in the mountainous area of the island, there is fantastic view from above the lake where you can see the whole city of Kandy.
Wandering about in Kandy is a fun experience, with cross roads and interconnecting byroads – all forming an intertwined complex. Most pavements are dominated by the town vendors who are frequented often for their array of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat stalls, sweets, cloths, fancy goods and what not ……!
Kandy is a great place to buy gemstones, Sapphires of all colures, rubies, tourmalines and many precious and semiprecious stones can all be found here. Visitors are also invited to have a look around their workshops, where they will be able to see the design, cutting, polishing and setting processes.
Day 05 - PINNAWALA - PERADENIYA BOTANICAL GARDEN - TOOTH TEMPLE - CULTURAL SHOW
After breakfast leave to visit the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala to witness the feeding to the baby elephants. The elephant orphanage is about 2 and half hour’s drive from the hotel and good chance for people to get up close and personal with the pachyderm. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground established in 1975 for abandoned elephants in Sri Lanka. Currently its home to one of the largest elephant herds in captivity in the world with more than 85 elephants. Pinnawala was first established by Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka in 1975 on a 24 acre preserve near the town of Kegalle, halfway between Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and Kandy. The main purpose of the orphanage is to feed and provide care and sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that are found in the wild. In 1978, the orphanage was taken over by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, and in 1982 the breeding program was launched, It is good idea to go and have your lunch by the river while bathing elephants. After the orphanage,Then continue to Peradeniya botanical garden near Kandy.
Peradeniya Botanical Garden - initially a royal park in 1821 under British rule it became a botanical garden. Here exotic crops, such as coffee. tea, nutmeg, rubber and cinchona (quinine) – all of which were to become important to the country’s economy. The botanical gardens are fantastic with an excellent Orchid House, and a wide variety of plant species from all over the world. For keen gardeners, at least a morning is recommended to visit the garden, possibly longer. Later take a guided city tour of Kandy. In the evening there is a local dance performance which you will enjoy in the town. We arrive in the late afternoon, which can be a little touristic, but entertaining none the less. After the show, visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Ever since it was founded in the 16th century, it has one of the most sacred relics of Buddhism – a tooth of the Buddha collected from his funeral pyre and which is now protected within the gold – roofed Temple of the Tooth. At the end of the day return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 06 - KANDY - NUWARAELIYA
After breakfast checkout from the hotel and proceed to Nuwaraeliya (little England) with this journey all the way through scenic tea gardens. Visit the Tea Factory to watch how to process the tea before it reached to us. (Optional). You have the opportunity to enjoy a brief train ride on your way to Nuwaraeliya. Your vehicle will travel ahead of you and pick you up from a predetermined railway station. Arrive Nuwaraeliya and check into Hotel for overnight stay. (If you like to have a train journey, you must inform me at least one week minimum prior to booking the tickets. As it has only limited seats in observation gallery, it can sometimes be difficult to organize quickly. Overnight stay in the cool comfort in Nuwara eliya situated in 1900 meters above sea level.
Nuwara Eliya means "city on the plain (table land)" or "city of light", is a town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka with a picturesque landscape and temperate climate. It is located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and is considered to be the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka. The town is overlooked by Pidurutalagala, the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka. The city was founded by Samuel Baker, the discoverer of Lake Albert and the explorer of the Nile in 1846. Nuwara Eliya's climate lent itself to becoming the prime sanctuary of the British civil servants and planters in Ceylon. Nuwaraeliya, called Little England then, was also a hill country retreat where the British colonialists could immerse in their pastimes such as fox hunting, deer hunting, elephant hunting, polo, golf and cricket.
Although the town was founded in the 19th century by the British, the whole district is today visited by native travelers, especially during the month of April, the season of flowers, pony races, go – cart races and auto rally.
NUWARAELIYA - HORTON PALINS ( WOrLD'S END)
Day 7- Morning getup to proceed to Horton Plains - world's end. It is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 35 kilometers (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya. They are best viewed at sunrise as the mist is less likely to spoil the view at that time of day. A road journey and the Approximately 3 hours walk passes through heartland with giant ferns, terraced vegetable gardens and tropical fruit, mist-shrouded forest, where tree branches poke sky wards like gnarled fingers. You reach big world’s end after a 5km walk from the entrance. The view from the sheer 1000m (3300-ft) drop is awesome. With luck there will be no mist to impede the panorama over the plains. Collect your breakfast packets before leaving. You will be able return to hotel around 11 -12 mid-day and checkout from hotel to go to Ella. Overnight stay in Ella or stay in Nuwaraeliya.
Ella is a beautiful small village in Sri Lanka's hill country with little more than a handful of shops, hotels and guest houses, but it has an almost perfect climate and occupies a very scenic vantage point, with views on a fine day stretching right across the South Coast of Sri Lanka. Ella is blessed with some of the most beautiful views, you could find in Sri Lanka and only 12 km from Bandarawela,
NUWARAELIYA - KITULGALA - BENTOTA
Day 8 - Travel to Bentota via scenic route. Enroute have a white water rafting at Kithulgala, where the famous award winning film was made "Bridge on the river Kwai" Location: Checking to Bentota, Beruwala – Hotels(Bentota beach, The Surf - Eden, Avani Bentota, )
Day 9 -10 - At leisure by the sea. The day is free for local sightseeing.
BENTOTA - AIRPORT
Day 11 - Travel to the airport for the departure flight.
If you think this itinerary will suit you or want to change or add something else or skip anything, as well as for cost of above tour please contact me by filling contact us form.
"We are glad to meet Cyril. He is very kind and patient, very professional in his work. He have lot of knowledge about history of the places and the things that happened in Sri Lanka. He knows all the roads and places very well. Very friendly and stand on time. The tour he recommended us and places were excellent. He replied immediately for mails which we send. He was flexible when we asked him to stop in different places and to change our program. He speaks very good English and explanations..." Ruty Ben Haim from Isarel
"Thank you Cyril for caring us and giving a very enjoyable tour to all of our family while we are on holiday in Sri Lanka. Definitely we will recommend you to our friends and relatives. Hitendra Molleti and family" Hitendra Molleti
"Dear Cyril, Thank you very much for wonderful holiday. Your attention to detail and care of your clients is extraordinary. We certainly hope to cross paths again and we will recommonding you to all of our friends and to family too. Many thanks again. Paul nad Machelle Brisbane, Australia. Visited during 10/10/2012 - 26/10/2012" Mr. Paul and Mrs. Machelle from Australia
"Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from, Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland
"Cyril was our driver and guide for the last nine days. We had the comfortable white Toyota van shown in the pic - it was just as clean and shiny, and not a scratch on it. He is clearly a very skilled driver. He is particularly knowledgeable about the history of the many places we visited. We were pleased we had Cyril as our driver. He had been recommended to us by an acquaintance. Andrew Speirs Melbourne, Australia Travel period 04 Jan - 12 Jan 2018" Mr. Andrew an Mrs. Suzy Speirs from Australia
"Cyril was absolutly Fantastic,Veryhelpful, Patient and extremly knowledgable. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend and travel with him again. Whole tour was well organized and perfectly done. Kate Williams and family from UK 04th January 2015" Kate Williams UK
"We had excellent 8 days tour with CYRIL TOURS. It's all credit goes to Mr. Cyril. From the welcoming at Air port to hotels we stayed,food we had and driver who was provided was excellent. We always introduce CYRIL TOURS to all who wiling to tarvel to Sri Lanka. Swaran Kaur and family Kuantan - Malaysia 2012 May 18 - 25 May" Swaran Kaur and family from Malaysia
"Hello, We had 2 weeks exploring Sri Lanka and for most of that time Cyril drove for usto various towns, sites of interest. Cyril wsa a very pleasant chauffeur. Always prompt and greeted us with a smile. He was well informed about the sites we visited and pointed out many interesting historical buildings en-route. We had a great 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and Cyril's plesant and helpful nature contributed to this briliant holiday. Thank Cyril Sara and Steve from Birmingham, England" Sara and Steve
"Dear Cyril, We just got back to Singapore today...I am will be back to work tomorrow.. :) Sad but true ha ha……. We were very lucky to have you as our guide. I don’t think there will be anyone else who could have done an excellent job that you have done. We will spread the word around and will surely sell your services...do keep in touch so we can work something out. Thanks for the photos they are great Will visit your website soon and put in some good words for you.. Ti..." Shuhanth Haridas from Singapore
"If you ever plan to visit Sri Lanka (and I think you should) this is your guide!!! Martha Iordanidou - Thesoloneki - Greece " Martha Iordanidou