A tear-drop falling from the southern tip of peninsular India, suspended on the blue-green waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka was known over the centuries, as ‘The Pearl of the East’, ‘Swarndvip’ (Golden Isle) and ‘Serendib’ – the root of the word ‘serendipity’ – the faculty of making happy discoveries by accident – names which, though rather grandiose, are not too far from the truth.
Sri Lanka has always epitomised the exotic – a place where the earth opens up to yield precious bounty of ‘pigeon blood’ rubies and bright green emeralds, of yellow and blue sapphires as big as rocks and sloping tiers of rubber, tea, coffee and spice plantations on hillsides. Although tiny, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s major tourist destinations, with enough spice gardens, temples, elephants and tea plantations to hold its own against the rest of the Far East.
On your arrival in Sri Lanka you will be met by our Representative at the Airport and transferred to Colombo, the commercial Capital of Sri Lanka. The journey will take approximately one hour. PM. city tour of Colombo. Colombo – A drive through the city will take you to the Fort and Pettah- the commercial area of the city and the tree-lined Colombo – 07 area commonly known as Cinnamon Gardens. Colombo 3, 4, 5, 8 are the prime residential areas of the City. Visit Fort, and Pettah for Shopping. The Hindu Temple at Sea Street which is lined with goldsmith’s shops, the Dutch Church at Wolfendal, dating back to 1749. The historic Davatagaha Mosque, Independence Hall, B.M.I.C.H, and the Museum are some of the attractions in Colombo.Museum are some of the attractions in Colombo. Dinner and Overnight stay at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed to Sigiriya via Pinnawela. The journey from Colombo to Pinnawala will be approximately two hours, and from Pinnawela to Sigiriya another two hours. Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage -Pinnawela is app. 55 miles from Colombo, off the Colombo Kandy road. An orphanage was started here in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded Elephants. Elephants young and old are given sanctuary in a natural habitat here. It now has babies born at the orphanage, as a result of the captive-breeding programme. The elephants are reared here and are trained to become working animals. The best time to visit is the feeding time from 0930 hrs – 1000 hrs & 1330 – 1400 hrs and the bathing time from 1000 – 1030 hrs & 1400 – 1430 hrs when all the Elephants are taken to the river close by. Then, proceed to Sigiriya via Kurunegala. Check in at the Hotel. PM. climb the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Sigiriya is home to the 5th Century “Fortress in the Sky” which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the Island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge crouching lion image that is carved at the entrance to the fortress. King Kasyapa, having murdered his father, wanted to hide from his brother Mogallan, and thereby built himself an impregnable fortress on a 650ft rock. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pool. On one of the stairways lies the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting in the form of Frescoes of life sized beautiful damsels (550 in number) in all the freshness and delicacy of their original colour continues to mesmerize the visitor. They are so beguiling that generations of graffiti artists have poured out their hearts in verse. Dinner & overnight stay at Camp.
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa. The duration of the journey will be approx. one hour. Polonnaruwa – The distance from Sigiriya.to Polonnaruwa is 45 miles. Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th – 13th C.A.D Great revival was achieved in the country, politically, economically and socially during the Polonnaruwa period. The monuments here are better preserved than at other sites. The King Parakrama Statue, Royal Palaces, Audience Halls, Vata-da-ge, Thuparama, Rankoth Vehera, Kiri-Vehera, Gal-Vihara, Lankathilaka and Tivanka Image House are some of the interesting monuments here. On conclusion return to hotel for lunch. Evening optional visit to Dambulla Cave Temple or Minneriya Sanctuary or at leisure. Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass 500ft high and a mile around the base. The famous Rock Temple dating to the First Century BC. Is found here.The caves of Dambulla sheltered the King Walagamba during his 14 years of exile from Anuradhapura. When he regained the throne he built the most magnificent of Rock Temples to be found on the Island. In the first Cave is a recumbent image of the Buddha 47ft long cut out of the Rock. There are images of deities associated with Buddhism all around. The frescoes on the ceiling date back to the 15th – 18th Centuries. In the Second Cave, the finest and the largest of all, there are 150 life-size statues of Gods from the Buddhist religion along with numerous images of the Buddha himself. The ceiling is also covered with frescoes which depict great events in the life of the Buddha and landmarks in the history of the Sinhala people. Minneriya National Park – This vast sanctuary is home to about 250 wild elephants, wild buffaloes, Eild Boar, Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear, Sambhur, Crocodiles, amphibians,reptiles, 160 species of birds, 26 varieties of Fishes and 78 varieties of butterflies amongst others. Dinner & overnight stay at Camp.
After breakfast leave for Kandy (appx 2 hrs – 65 miles) en route visiting a Spice Garden. Afternoon city tour of Kandy including the Kandy Market Place and the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Spice Garden at Matale – see the luscious Cinnamons, Cardamoms, Pepper plants etc. in these privately developed gardens. You can also purchase your requirements of spices and herbal oils. visit a Batik Factory where you can see the manufacture of beautiful Batik prints. The shop contains a wide variety of Batik items. Kandy – surrounded by hills, the Mahaweli River and the Virgin Forest, Kandy was well protected and was the last refuge of the Sri Lankan Kings. Today it is the centre of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts and Culture. One would always return a second time to this beautiful city which is the heart and soul of the country. Temple of the Tooth – To Buddhists of Sri Lanka and the world, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Late evening view a cultural dance performance featuring various dance types of Sri Lanka. Dinner & overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast leave for Nuwara Eliya, which is Sri Lanka’s Tea country. Enroute visit a Tea Factory. Nuwara Eliya – Appx. 3 hrs and 50 miles from Kandy, Nuweraeliya lies 6200ft.above sea level. In 1826 some British Officers erected a road constructed over the ridge at Ramboda Pass and a station for convalescent Soldiers was established. It was Sir Samuel Baker who fell under the spell of Nuwara Eliya, that brought hounds, horses, cattle, sheep etc; and started a typical English farm here. Flowers and vegetable were brought from England and planted and made it into “a little England“. The abundant rainfall combined with sunshine, cold nights and misty mornings offers the perfect climate for producing high grown, aromatic teas. Here you see endless valleys of close cropped tea bushes, processing factories belching out fragrant aromas and the bright flash of female “tea pluckers” in their pimento, fuchsia and cerise saris picking their way through millions of “two-leaf-and-a-bud”. Tea Plantation – Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China. More were introduced from Assam in 1839. In 1867 a Scottish Planter named James Taylor planted tea seedlings on an 8 hectares of forest land, in the Loolcondura Estate. In 1873, the tea export industry of Sri Lanka began with a modest 23lbs being shipped to London. Tea will grow well only on rolling terrain and is classified by elevation into 3 main groups. They are, low grown, medium grown and high grown. In 1996 Sri Lanka has produced 258 million kgs. of tea and has earned Rs.34,068 million by exporting 244 million kgs. of tea. Lunch at the Hotel Dinner & overnight stay at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed to Yala. The journey will take approximately 5 hours and is 120 famous of miles. Evening jeep safari at Yala National Park. Yala -This is the largest and the most famous of Sri Lankan national parks and is a haven for Fauna. It is famous for the elusive Leopard and has one of the highest densities of Leopard in the world. Both indigenous and migrant Bird concentrations are by the Lagoons.Salvers. Here are thousands of flamingoes, Assemblies of spotted billed, Spoonbills, Cormorants and various species of Herons. Pheasants, Pea Fowl, Peacocks and the Wild Fowl are found in hundreds. Wild Buffalo and herds of Wild Elephants, spotted Deer are a common sight. Whether it is birds or animals you have them all at Yala. Lunch at the Hotel Dinner & overnight stay at Camp.
After breakfast proceed to Galle. The duration of the trip will be approximately 4 hours and is 110 miles. En route visit the stilt fishermen in Weligama. Lunch at Lighthouse Hotel. PM. city tour of Galle including a visit to the Dutch Fort and museum. The Fort of Galle – The South Coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Portuguese and Dutch fort in which the central city is contained. But the city may be much older. Some scholars believe it to be the ‘Tarshish’ of the Old testament, to which King Solomon sent his merchant Fvessels, and to which Jonah fled from the Lord. Today, the 90 acre Galle Fort who’s no evidence of the Portuguese founders.The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was build inside of it. Between the two walls, a covered passage connected the central bastion with the fort’s two half bastion’s overlooking the sea. The Dutch also installed a sophisticated drainage system, complete with brick-lined underground sewers that were flushed twice a day by the rides. The original gate to the fort was by the harbor. It is still there, marked by the old Dutch V.O.C ( for ‘Verenigde Oost Indische Compagnie) arms with a rooster crest. Dinner & overnight stay at Hotel.
After breakfast proceed to the airport for departure, or to your chosen Beach Hotel for your beach stay.