This’ Heritage & Cultural Tour’ takes you deep back into history while gaining a better understanding of the island’s remarkably rich cultural and religious history that dates back 2,500 years. The itineraries are designed to uncover lesser-known, but still entrancing remains of Sri Lanka’s cultural past. Of course, we are able to tinker with this itinerary and add an extra night here and there
Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights Tour 1200 US$ per person
Arrival at Bandaranaike International Ari Port and transfer to Hotel in Negambo
Dinner & overnight stay at a hotel in Negambo
After breakfast leave for Anuradhapura and en-route visit Arankele ancient Forest-Cave Buddhist Hermitage and afterwards discover the Yapahuwe Ancient Kingdom.
Arankele, a fascinating 6th c AD forest monastery in a thick forest mountain, was the abode to a most famed Buddhist monk Arahat Maliyadeva who, along with other monastic monks lived nearly 2,000 years ago. The sylvan environment of this monastery is also home to archeological findings. Stretching out on many acres of calm & quiet forest canopy, there are stone-carved caves used for meditation, long pathways across the dense forest, alms-giving halls, bathing ponds, and drip-ledged caves where hermit monks resided, display the excellent craftsmanship of yesteryears.
Yapahuwe; an ancient fortress & capital in 1301 c.AD rises to a height of 90 m above the surrounding plains. Today, the Royal residence, the Temple of Tooth Relic, and the battle defenses are in ruins. While many traces of other ancient defenses still can be seen, an ornamental stairway decorated by murals and guarded by lions remains it’s the main draw. Yapahuwa is described by the Insight Guide to Sri Lank as “one of the great architectural wonders of the island.
Dinner & Overnight stay at a hotel in Anuradhapura.
After breakfast visit Anuradapura-UNESCO World Heritage Site and Evening visit Mihintale: The cradle of Buddhism of Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura; Sri Lanka’s first capital, which was the greatest monastic city of the ancient world, dates back from the 4thc.BC. to 11th c AD., ruled by more than 100 Sri Lankan kings. The World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura consists of a large number of sacred Buddhist sites including dagobas (gigantic dome-like structures), monasteries, palaces and the ancient Bo Tree, grown from the original tree in Budda Gaya under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Just 13 km away, is Mihintale, one of Sri Lanka’s most significant religious sites, where Buddhism originated on the island in 247 BC. Today it is very popular with Buddhist pilgrims and tourists, the complex consists of rocks caves, ponds, and stupas. The first monastery of Sri Lanka and the world’s first declared sanctuary; Mihintale’s ancient, spiritual ruins can leave you in awe.
Dinner & Overnight stay at the same hotel in Anuradhapura.
After breakfast leave for Dambulla and en-route visit Aukene Buddha & Ritigale ancient Forest Buddhist Monastery. Aukene Buddha; One of Sri Lanka’s most perfect and elegant statues, built in 5th c AD, lies to the west of the large Kala Wewa tank.The statue stands 12m high, is carved from a single rock and is completely free-standing. The nearby Kala Wewa tank is an excellent place to stop off and have a picnic with a most satisfying view.
The Ritigala Buddhist Monastery nestles deep inside the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve, is the partially excavated ruins of an extensive Buddhist Monastery, that dates back 7th to 10th c AD. Walking around the beautiful ruins certainly gives you a feeling of adventure in search of mythical pasts; it is easy to imagine yourself as Indiana Jones whilst clambering over the overgrown relics of a forgotten time.
Dinner & Overnight stay at a hotel in Dambulla.
After breakfast visit, Dambulla Cave Temple-UNESCO World Heritage Site and evening leave to climb up the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Cave Temple at Dambulla where a large number of Buddha statues are housed in 5 caves, including a 14-meter-long, colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the rock, The caves’ rock ceiling is covered in one large sweep of colorful frescoes, It is the best place to see the classical Buddhist paintings & murals of the island.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Sigiriya; the lion rock, a rock fortress-cum royal palace complex of 5thc AD, was created by king Kashyape who committed patricide and made the rock his hideout in order to stay away from his half-brother who sought vengeance. This king not only fortified his stronghold but also added to its artistic beauty with water gardens, pavilions, courtyards, summer houses, etc. About two hours can happily be spent walking through its water gardens, and then up the steep steps – either hewn out of the rock or on circular iron staircases – past the frescoes. You will be in no rush to abandon the spectacular views at the summit
Dinner & Overnight stay at the same hotel in Dambulla
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa and en-route visit Medirigiriye Vatadage. Vatadage: The circular Chamber building was constructed to house and protect a Stupa built to enshrine the sacred relics of the Buddha The monument is a classical example of ancient Buddhist Temple architecture of Sri Lanka. The vantage at Medirigiriya is generally considered to be the best vantage in the country. The original structure was built here around the 2nd c.AD, but the one that stands today was constructed in the 7th c.AD by King Aggabodhi the 4th. Leisure in the evening or Wild Elephant Safari at a nearby national Park-Optional.
Dinner & Overnight stay at a hotel in Giritale / Polonnaruwa
After breakfast leave for Polonnaruwa ruined city- UNESCO World Heritage site, the second kingdom of Ancient Sinhalese, became Sri Lanka’s royal medieval capital in 10th c AD and remained the capital until the late 13th century. Today, the ancient city’s ruins remain in remarkably good nick; huge Palaces, Monastic complexes, Giant Stupas, Hospitals, Image Houses, etc. The most impressive are the ancient sculptures of the Buddha at the Gal Vihara cut into Granite stone dating back to the middle of the 12th century.
Dinner & Overnight stay at the same hotel in Giritale / Polonnaruwa
After breakfast leave for Kandy and en-route visit the Aborigines people of Sri Lanka in Dambana. Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas or Wanniya-laeto (‘forest-dwellers) as they call themselves, preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC. Dambana, a remote jungle village of those Vaddas, would give you unique insight into their way of life.
Dinner & Overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy
Kandy- UNESCO World Heritage Site, the capital of the hill country, was the last seat of Sinhalese kings who ceded power to the British in1815 after many battles with the western colonial forces, still remain much of its old world charm and traditions of the Sri Lankan life style. After breakfast, commence sightseeing in the city; visiting the most venerated Tooth relic temple of the Buddha, picturesque premises of the University of Peradeniya, Royal Botanical Gardens, Market Place, Kandyn traditional Arts & Crafts, Gem Lapidary, etc. Late evening enjoys the Kandyan Cultural show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display.
Dinner & Overnight stay at the same hotel in Kandy
Leave for Airport for Departure (According to your flight times)