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Sri Lanka

Destination: Sri Lanka Discovery
Colombo, Anuradhapura, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Pinnawela, Nuwara Eliya

Duration : 10DAYS

The ancient and the modern, the man-made and the natural, the hills and the seas. If you’ve always dreamt of travelling in Sri Lanka but didn’t know where to begin, this is the program you’ve been waiting for. A 10 day journey of discovery into the heart of the nation, an opportunity to meet her people and touch her soul.

Day 1:

Arrive at the Bandaranayake International Airport and check in at your preferred hotel in Colombo, a city with a long and dramatic history. Founded by Arab traders, fortified by the Portuguese, conquered by the Dutch and rebuilt as an imposing capital city by the British, Colombo is today, colonial past and bustling commercial present in almost equal parts. A drive through the city will take you to Fort, the bustling centre of town that was once a fort during the Portuguese and Dutch eras. Today, modern marble and glass structures stand shoulder to shoulder with classic monuments such as the President’s Residence, Cargills and Millers, and the old lighthouse that has become a clock tower. You will also visit Pettah, the 500 year old bazaar that prides itself on the best bargains in the country. At Pettah, you will see Hindu temples called Kovils, that stand among goldsmith shops, the historic Davatagaha Mosque, and the oldest Dutch Church in Colombo, the Wolvendhaal, which still holds services in English and Tamil. Other attractions in Colombo are the Independence Hall, the convention centre, its museums and the Sambodhi Chaitiya, the large white dome-like Buddhist dagoba that marks the skyline of the city.

Day 2:

After breakfast, leave for a day tour to Anuradhapura, the most significant ancient city of Sri Lanka. Once the seat of Sinhalese kings, Anuradhapura was a centre of power for over 1000 years, evidence of which lives on in the ruins of the numerous palaces and other landmarks, like the beautiful dagobas, and a 4th Century statue of a seated Buddha, considered to be one of the finest in Sri Lanka. The sacred Bo tree that stands at the centre of town is the spiritual centre of Anuradhapura. Planted about 2,250 years ago, it is more than just the oldest tree in history, it is said to have grown from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment in Gaya.

Day 3:

Make an early start to explore the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya. This 5th Century ‘Fortress in the Sky’, is also known as Lion Rock because of the enormous lion that used to stand at the entrance of the fortress. Perched on a 180 m sheer rock outcrop, the fort is surrounded by small moated islands and trees that frame the approach way. And on its summit are the foundations of what was obviously, once a great palace with landscaped gardens. About halfway up, a modern spiral stairway leads you to a sheltered gallery where you will see the only known non-religious rock paintings in Sri Lanka, life-sized frescoes of the Sigiriya damsels. Later, you will travel on to Polonnaruwa, the well-preserved ancient capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th-13th Century. Here, you will see some splendid monuments, statues, shrines and stupas, as well as the Gal Vihara, an amazing rock shrine with four images of Buddha cut from a single slab of granite. And, for the next two nights, Anuradhapura, Habarana, Sigiriya, or Kandalama could be the base from where you explore the mysteries of time.

Day 4:

After breakfast, set out towards Dambulla. Located on a vast isolated rock mass about 500 ft high and a mile around the base, these famous cave temples date back to the 1st Century BC and contain 150 images of the Buddha, and 22,000 sq ft of murals on the walls and ceilings of the caves. On the way, you will stop at a spice garden and allow yourself to relish the aroma of fresh cinnamon, cardamom, and peppers, and visit a batik factory to see traditional Sri Lankan fabrics come to life. In the afternoon, you will reach Kandy, one of the most delightful lakeside hill-towns of Sri Lanka, and a sacred site for Buddhists with its Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, said to have been snatched from the flames of Buddha’s funeral pyre.

Day 5:

This is your day to discover the many sights around Kandy. Start the day at the unique Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, started in 1975 to save abandoned and wounded wild elephants. Today, the orphanage has grown into a large family that welcomes visitors throughout the day, though the best time is during feeding and bathing hours! Return to Kandy via the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, a 700 year old garden originally developed as a royal pleasure garden and transformed by the British into a botanical garden that prides itself on an amazing variety of orchids, spice trees, palms, bushes, as well as tropical plants and flowers of all kinds. A major attraction here is the giant Javan fig tree that covers 1600 sq m. In the evening, you will enjoy a special cultural show featuring various dance forms of Sri Lanka like Kandyan dance or ‘Kolam’, the popular masked dance-drama.

Day 6:

After breakfast, drive to the Little England of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya. Here you will encounter the beauty of the mountains, the valley and waterfalls, and realise why Nuwara Eliya became the favourite hill station of the British. Known as the City of Lights, Nuwara Eliya is more than just beautiful hills, it is tea-country land. Only occasionally will you see a few paddy fields, and vegetable plantations or gardens nearer the villages. Spend the rest of the day visiting the Victoria Park, Moon Plains and Elk Plains, and drive around the lake to the delightful Hakgala Gardens, famed for its roses and ferns.

Day 7 - 9:

From Nuwara Eliya, you will drive to one of Sri Lanka’s famed beach resort areas like Negombo, Beruwala or Galle where you can spend the next few days unwinding from this fascinating tour.

Day 10:

Transfer to Colombo airport to board your international flight home

RG DESTINATIONS

(An Inbound Div. of R G Destinations Pvt. Ltd.)

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