Culture and scenic Tour.

(09 Days / 08 Nights)

DAY 1
Negombo

Arrival Colombo International Airport, Clients will be met at Airport by a Lankan Heritage Tours Representative and transferred to Hotel in Negombo – 15 minutes’ drive from the Airport for overnight stay. Rest of the day at leisure / Free for own arrangements.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Negombo.

Day 2 (Awkana/ Mihinthale)

After early breakfast, leave for Anuradhapura, Anuradhapura was one of the greatest cities of its age, functioning as the island’s centre of both temporal and spiritual power, dotted with dozens of monasteries populated by as many as 10,000 monks – one of the greatest monastic cities the world has ever seen. Enroute visit Awkana;

Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka from southern India in the 3rd century BC and took root among the Sinhalese, themselves from India, during the early stages of the island's first great kingdom ... Anuradhapura. The early form of Buddhism, carried to the island by Mahinda, son of the Indian emperor Asoka, were enthusiastically embraced and developed into the Theravada - or Middle Way - school that spread into South East Asia's Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The Awkana Buddha was carved in the fifth century, during the reign of Dhatusena from 459 to 477AD and who was responsible for many great works - including building the enormous Kala Wewa tank (or lake) at Awkana. The statue looks towards the tank and, at a certain time, the eyes are level with the water. It is beautifully upright with the tip of the nose exactly over a 'plumb line marker' between the feet. The pleats of the robe are seen as an artistic masterpiece of the time. And while the right hand, the one that usually indicates meaning in Buddha statues, is in the gesture of 'the giving of the blessing', the symbolism of the left hand involves the gathering up of the robe in preparation to step over a river - a representation of the cycle of rebirths.

Awkana means ''sun-eating'' and some writers have linked that to the statue rather than the location, pointing to the way that it lights up in the sun to reflect a rich sand colour contrasting with the blacks and greys of the granite cliff from which it was carved. It is easy to imagine the reverence and ceremony of the Awkana Buddha during the centuries that followed its carving: the monks who attending it, the people worshipping there, the splendour of the kings and their couriers who looked to Buddhism for their guidance and sovereign legitimacy. But, in the 500 years from when it was carved until Anuradhapura was abandoned in favour of the new capital at Polonnaruwa, there were desperate times too - with invasions from southern India. There were periods of neglect when the jungle reclaimed the land and the Buddha was partially covered, hiding and protecting it from the island's enemies and preserving it from the elements. Today, as you sit under the Bodhi tree and gaze across at the Buddha, it is hard to imagine how the jungle reclaimed it. It is far easier to see the distant past of monks and kings, farmers and traders, men and women with their children ... the living serenity of a temple from 1,500 years ago.

Evening will be leaving for Climb Mihinthale.

Mihintale, one of Sri Lanka’s most significant cultural sites, lies 13kms east of Anuradhapura and is where Buddhism originated on the island. In 247 BC King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura, was deer hunting of the plains beneath Mihintale, and met Mahinda, son of the Indian Buddhist emperor, and chose the path of Buddhism for the Sinhalese nation following Mahinda’s persuasion. Despite this, Mihintale is less famous than many cultural triangle sites, but those who visit are rewarded with a beautiful location with magnificent views, along with the experience of visiting a working Buddhist temple, the intriguing excavated ruins of former monastery, a stunningly set dagoba and arguably the most religious rock in Sri Lanka where Mahinda preached Buddhism to the deer hunting King Tissa below, well worth a visit.

Day 3 (Anuradhapura City tour.)

Anuradhapura – Sri Lanka ancient capital founded in 5th century B.C over 2000 years. "Anuradhapura The Birthplace of Sinhala Civilization"

Anuradhapura, according to legend, was first settled by Anuradha, a follower of Prince Vijaya the founder of the Sinhala race. Later, it was made the Capital by King Pandu kabhaya about 380 BCE.

King Pandu kabhaya, 380 BCE

According to the Mahavansa, the epic of Sinhala History, King Pandu kabhaya’s city was a model of planning. Precincts were set aside for huntsmen, for scavengers and for heretics as well as for foreigners. There were hostels and hospitals, at least one Jain chapel, and cemeteries for high and low castes.

King Devanampiya Tissa.

It was in the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (250-210 BCE) that the Arahat Mahinda. son of the great Buddhist Emperor Asoka, led a group of missionaries from North India to Sri Lanka. With his followers he settled in a hermitage of caves on the hill of Mihintale, (literally, Mahinda's Mountain).The new religion swept over the land in a wave. The King himself gave for a great monastery in the very heart of the City his own Royal Park - the beautiful Mahamegha Gardens. The Buddhist principality had but a century to flourish when it was temporarily overthrown by an invader from the Chola Kingdom of South India. The religion, however, received no set-back.

King Duttha Gamini.

At this time far away on the southeast coast, was growing up the prince who was to become the paladin of Sinhala nationalism: Gamini, soon to be surnamed Duttha, the Undutiful (161 - 137 BCE). For all his martial prowess, King Duttha Gamini must have been a man of singular sensibility. The lives he had had to take weighed heavily upon him, for slaughter-in any cause- is repugnant to the sincere Buddhist; and the better part of his regime was devoted to expiatory service to the Sangha.

The Mirisavati Temple and the mighty Brazen Palace nine stories high, he presented to them. But he did not live to see the actual completion of the Ruvanveliseya Dagaba (picture at top right), his most magnificent gift. Two more, at least, of the Anuradhapura Kings must be mentioned; if only because some of the greater monuments are indisputably attributable to them.

King Vattagamani Abhaya. The earlier of these was Vattagamani Abhaya Valagam Bahu (103 & 89-77 BCE) in the first year of whose reign Chola invaders again appeared and drove him temporarily into hiding. For fourteen years, while five Tamil Kings occupied his throne, he wandered often sheltering in Jungle caves. It is recorded that as in his flight he passed an ancient Jain hermitage, an ascetic, Giri called and taunted him. 'The great black lion is fleeing!' Throughout his exile the gibe rankled.

Winning the Kingdom back at last, he razed the Giri's hermitage to the ground, building there the Abhayagiri Monastery. The name is a wry cant on his own name and the tactless hermit’s as well as (meaning mountain of fearlessness) a disclaimer of his cowardice! King Mahasena. Next came the heretic king Mahasena (274 - 301 A.D.). He alienated to the Abhayagiri vast spoil from the Maha Monastery, Devanampiya Tissa’s original foundation. But he had more substantial claim to notability than his heresy; not only did he build (for the heretics) Sri Lanka’s vastest completed Dagaba the Jetavana Ramaya, - but he was also the greatest irrigator of the Sinhala Kings, building 16 major tanks and a great canal.

Anuradhapura was to continue for six hundred years longer as the national capital. But as the protecting wilderness round it diminished with prosperity, and internecine struggles for the royal succession grew, it became more and more vulnerable to the pressures of South Indian expansion. The final blow came when the Chola King Rajaraja I invaded Sri Lanka, burnt and looted the city. Anuradhapura was finally abandoned and the Capital withdrawn to more secluded fastness.

But the monuments of its heyday survive, surrounded by such beauties as become the past: the solemn umbrage of trees, the silence of cold stone, and the serenity of the sheltering sky. "Sri Lanka Attractions - Anuradhapura "

The Jethawana Stupa (33 meters) ranks the next to the pyramids in Giza in size, pillars of the time nine story Brazen palace, sculptured lovers of Isurumuniya, moonstones, guard stones. After visiting the 1st capitol of Sri Lanka proceed to the hotel with memories.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Anuradhapura.

Day 4 (Sigiriya / Dambulla)

After breakfast will be leaving for Climb the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, Sigiriya – “Eight Wonder of the world”. Sigiriya was declared a World Heritage site in 1982 and is now the country’s most memorable single attraction – a remarkable archaeological site made unforgettable by its dramatic settings.

It will take 2 to 3 hours to explore Sigiriya Rock. Historically a resort of pleasure and citadel of beauty and a fortress of strength, world famous for the frescoes of heavenly maidens on its rock walls.

After visit the lion rock leave for Dambulla and visit Rock Caves Temple which is the greatest of Sri Lanka's cave temples, dates from the first century BC and contains over 150 Buddha images, subtly lit for maximum atmosphere. Actually a series of five caves, the temple is called Raja Maha Vihara by locals, but known simply as Dambulla to visitors. The entrance is marked by a large white dagaba along a long sloping rock face, from where there are views of the rock fortress of Sigiriya, about 20km away. Most of the caves were carved out by hand and some of the amazing arrays of Buddha statues are still attached to the wall. Visit spice garden and proceed to Kandy.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy.

Day 5 (Kandy/Elephant Orphanage/Peradeniya Garden)

After breakfast can visit to Peradeniya botanical garden, Temple of tooth (as you wish), Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is another great place where many a tourists visit.

Royal Botanical Garden, Peradeniya is located in close proximity to the city of Kandy in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is renowned for the collection the variety of Orchids, and has more than 300 varieties of Orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palms trees attach it is the National Herbarium. it is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture.

After lunch visit the Pinnawela to see the elephant orphanage in Kegalle; situated northwest of the town Kegalla, halfway between the present capitol Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. If you leave the Pinnawela early then you can watch the elephants bathe in the river. After wards, the youngest babies are milk fed. Evening at leisure / Free for own arrangements.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Kandy.

Day 6 (Nuwara Eliya/Hakgala/Tea Plantation)

After breakfast proceed to

*Nuwara Eliya - The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the island, but is really just like an England spring day although the temperature does drop at night. Evening free to explore the scenic surroundings, Flower gardens of the hill station.

Hakgala botanical garden, Hakgala, 10km south of Nuwara Eliya, is the second most important garden in Sri Lanka. Hakgala’s plantations of roses, shrubs, ferns and montage woodland are delightfully located, with scenic views. Above the gardens, a forest trail leads into virgin woodland – the home of a troop of purple faced leaf moneys, a species endemic to Sri Lanka, and to endemic bird species including the Sri Lanka white-eye, Sri Lanka wood pigeon, and Sri Lanka whistling thrush. Open daily from 7.30 to 17.00

Dinner and Overnight stay at Nuwara Eliya.

Day 07 (Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains/ World’s End)

After breakfast at leisure. In the after noon do a city tour of Nuwara Eliya. In Nuwara Eliya one could see the most popular and rewarding places like Horton Plains – (Covers a wide stretch of bleak, high-altitude grass land bounded at its Southern end of the hill country) and World’s End – (Where the escarpment falls sheer for the best part of a kilo meter to the low lands below.) through there are plenty of more accessible options closer to town, including a couple of tea states, the fine botanical gardens at Hakgala, and some wonderful walk through surrounding hills.

Dinner and Overnight stay at Nuwara Eliya.

Day 8 (Negombo)

After the breakfast Proceed to Negombo via Kithulgala, driving through rich coconut country. Lunch at hotel in Negombo.

Negombo City Tour – a photographer’s delight-sun kissed beaches ,sun tanned simple fisher folk limpid lagoon and scenic Catamarans with their billowing sails .Negombo is called “Little Rome” with a predominant Catholic population and church with ornamental facades.

and impressive belfries,19th century Dutch Canal, Old Rest House – a one-time Dutch Building ,and a fish auction at “Lellama”. Negombo –at leisure to browse through Negombo Town and the Fishing Villages in the neighborhood.

Day 9 (Negombo)

After breakfast proceed to airport, to take the flight with unforgettable memories in SRL LANKA.