Day 1: Colombo - Anuradhapura. Arrive at the Bandaranaike International airport, Katunayake. You will be met and assisted on arrival and leave for a hotel close by for refreshment. Procced to Anuradhapura (206 km, approximately 5 hour drive). On arrival in Anuradhapura, check in at the hotel. After a short break, visit the sacred ancient city founded in the 4th century BC a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization which flourished in this region.
You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagobas of Sri Lanka, Ruwanweliseya Dagoba, second century BC with its famous elephant walls and the 3rd century BC Thuparama Dagoba. Ruins of ancient royal palaces specially the pillars of the Brazen Palace, which once had nine storeys, temples, the image of the Samadhi Buddha one of the finest pieces of Buddhist sculpture, monasteries, the twin ponds, guard stones and the moonstone. The "Sri Maha Bodhi" or the sacred Bo tree is over 2200 years old grown from a branch of the very tree under which "The Buddha" attained enlightenment – the oldest historically documented tree in the world. Overnight stay at Miridiya Hotel - Nuwarawewa Rest House or similar standard in Anuradhapura.
Day 2: Mihintale - Aukana - Sigiriya. After breakfast at hotel leave for Mihintale (12 km – approximately a half hour drive). Visit the ancient remains of Mihintale, a sacred place which is regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The rock is dotted with shrines and rock dwellings. A grand stairway of 1840 steps made of granite slabs, 5 meters wide leads to the summit with its splendid views of the surrounding countryside. Afterwords proceed to Aukana (59 km, approximately 1 and a half hour drive) to see the statue of the Aukana Buddha, undoubtedly the most magnificent undamaged ancient image in the island. The 5th century statue ascribed to King Dhatusena. Aukana means "sun eating" and is best viewed when the sun rises. On completion, leave for Sigiriya (55 km – approximately 1 and a half hour drive). Overnight stay at the Hotel Kassapa Lion Rock - Pelvehira Village or similar standard in Sigiriya.
Day 3: Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa. After breakfast at hotel climb the Rock Fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by King Kassapa in the 5th century AD which was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The lion rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens. The majestic Lion’s Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the "Heavenly maidens" of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 foot high Mirror Wall.
On completion, leave for Polonnaruwa (67 km, approximately 1 and a half hour drive), (UNESCO World Heritage Site) the Capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century, a well-planned medieval city defended by enclosing walls (around 5 km which still remain), graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. Polonnaruwa is strewn with ruins in a resplendent state of preservation. Of these the "Vatadage" and the "Thuparama Image house" are the most spectacular. The "Gal Vihara" which consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha have been cut from a single granite wall and rank among the true masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art. On completion, return to the hotel in Sigiriya or stay in Polonnaruwa. Overnight stay at Hotel Suduaraliya or similar standard in Polonnaruwa.
Day 4: Polonnaruwa - Dambulla - Nalanda - Kandy. After breakfast at the hotel, leave for Dambulla and visit the famous Golden Rock cave temple which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, a vast isolated rock mass with its five caverns is the largest best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings are of particular importance as are the 157 statues including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha the ceiling of one cavern is fully illustrated with paintings that follow the natural folds of the rock so closely that it appears to be made of cloth. The complex of caves is one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world.
Thereafter leave for Kandy (72 km – approximately 3 hour drive). The bustling hill country capital is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for the Temple of the Tooth which houses the most sacred religious relic, the tooth of the Buddha, the Kandy Lake built in 1807 which is an attractive centerpiece to the town and the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. Kandy is also popular because of the annual festival known as the Esala Perahera where the inner casket covering the tooth relic of the Buddha is taken in a grand procession through the streets of the city held annually in the month of July or August. On arrival in Kandy, check in at the hotel. Evening, enjoy the Kandyan cultural show at the Kandyan arts and cultural centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display. Thereafter visit the sacred Temple of Tooth. Overnight stay at Hotel Thilanka - Hotel Suisse Residence or similar standard in Kandy.
Day 5: Kandy - Pinnawela - Kandy. After breakfast proceed to Pinnawala and visit the elephant orphanage (50 km, 2 hours drive). This orphanage was set up by the government to take care of baby elephants lost or abandoned in the wild. Witness the feeding of the elephants. The baby elephants being bottle fed with milk is a heartwarming sight. Thereafter observe them as they take their daily bath in the river nearby, which affords marvelous photo opportunities. Bath time is enjoyed by all elephants, young and old alike and it is a good time to closely observe their tightly knit family structure. The young elephants are protected and cared for, by the older ones in the group and the leader of the group is respected by all. On completion, returned to Peradeniya and visit the Botanical Gardens where a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora including the famous Orchid House could be viewed. Evening, enjoy walking around the lake - town and the authentic market in Kandy. Overnight stay in Kandy.
Day 6: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya. After worm break fast at the hotel proceed to Nwara Eliya. En route visiting a Tea Factory and Tea plantation. This beautiful town of Nuwara Eliya, set in the heart of Tea country and situated 1890 meters above sea level, is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne with well kept lawns with hedges. Afternoon commence a sightseeing tour of the city. Visit the Nuwara Eliya Town, Market place, Golf Course, the Hill Club, and drive around this hill station viewing Lake Gregory. Over night stay at Hotel Vindsor - Galway Forest or similar standard in Nuwara Eliya.
Day 7: Nuwara Eliya - Horton planes - Ella. After an early breakfast at hotel, leave for Horton Plains (40 km, approximately 1 and a half hour drive), the highest plateau in the country. It is one of the very important National parks in Sri Lanka especially for its topographical variations. It has unique vegetation and is famous for many rare and endemic highland birds. The most awesome physical feature of the Horton Plains is the escarpment that falls 880 meters to the lowlands of the southern region of the island. Aptly known as the "World’s End" the view from the precipice of the countryside below towards the south coast is spectacular. Dawn or early morning is the best time for observing it. On completion returned to Nuwara Eliya and proceed to Nanu Oya Railway station to catch the train and a charming train ride to Ella. Ella excellent base for keen trekkers. Overnight stay at Ella Motel - Hotel Country Comfort or similar standard in Ella.
Day 8: Ella - Badulla - Ella. After a worm break fast at the hotel and start trekking in Ella rock the magnificent view through Ella Gap. Enchanting and spectacular scenery among the tea plantations, temples, pine forests and waterfalls. On completion proceed to Badulla (30 km one hour drive) and visit Dunhinda Falls, Dunhinda is considered to be one of the most enchanting falls in Sri lanka The water resembles a thin cloud as it cascades 63 meters downwards into a large pool. The backdrop to the fall is known as "Dunhinda Adaviya". After visiting the Falls returned to Ella and evening climb the Little Adam’s peak. Over night stay in Ella.
Day 9: Ella - Buduruvagala -Yala. After breakfast proceed to Yala (107 km, approximately 2 hour drive). En route visit Rawana Waterfalls, a sight to behold with a scenic backdrop of mountains and valleys. It is featured in the Rawana mythology, where Sita is said to have bathed from this waterfall while she was in captivity. The complex consists of seven statues and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought. The statues date back to 10 century AD. On arrival in Yala, check in at the hotel. Afternoon commence a jeep safari in the Yala National Park by private jeep accompanied by a tracker. Yala National Park one of Sri Lanka’s premier eco tourist destinations is renowned for its variety of wildlife notably its many elephants. It is also home to the spotted deer, sambar deer, wild buffalo, sloth bear, jackal, mongoose and crocodiles. The peacock is easily the most famous of the birds in this park. Yala has a high concentration of leopards although seeing these nocturnal carnivores still requires some luck. Overnight stay at Hotel Priyankara - Hotel Chandrica or similar standard in Yala.
Day 10: Yala - South beach. After breakfast You will drive back to the airport or your hotel along beautiful beaches with the opportunity to stop wherever you like to take dip. The most know beach resorts are Tangalle, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Hikkaduwa.
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Asia Sri Lanka History Whiz Archeology/History Wildlife Viewing
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