Day 1 – Arrival transfer/Chilaw
Meet on arrival at Colombo International Airport by Heritance Holidays Staff and transfer to Negombo for oivernight stay
Day 2 – Negombo/Chilaw/Sigiriya
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Munneshwaram.
Munneshwaram Kovil close to Chilaw is one of the 5 major Shiva temples of Sri Lanka and Rameshwaram islands, called Ishwarams. According to a Tamil legend, the temple is situated at a place where king Rama prayed to Shiva after committing the worst crime according to Hindu Dharma, namely Brahmahasti, the killing of a priest, as Ravana who had to be killed by Rama in order to liberate Sita, was of Brahmin caste. Rama stopped the Vimana vehicle at Munneshwaram because of his impression the Doshana sin was not following him at this place. So he ascended from the vimana and prayed to God Shiva asking for a remedy. Shiva advised Rama to install four lingams at Manavari, Trinco, Mannar and Rameshwaram for this purpose.
Proceed to Sigiriya.
En-route visit Dambulla the Golden Rock Cave Temple. Climb up to the temple which was donated by king Walagambahu in the 1st century BC to Buddhist monks. Dambulla is a World Heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples.
The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. Meters of painted walls and the ceiling is the largest area of paintings found in the world. These caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock spanning 14 meters.
Continue to Sigiriya.
Check-in at hotel overnight stay
Day 3 - Sigiriya/Trincomalee/Sigiriya
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Trincomalee.
Visit Thiru Koneshwaram Temple, lovely located on a rock promontory of Trincomalee, was built by Rishi Agastya on the instructions of Lord Shiva who was impressed by the devotion of King Ravana. This place is unique in this respect, the Lord building a temple for his devotee as a reward for his devotion. Lord Rama is believed to have offered his prayers here, too, in order to get rid of the malediction of killing Ravana who was a Brahmin, meaning Brahmahasthi Dosham.
Adjacent to Trincomalee’s Koneshwaram temple there is another shrine, it is small in size, but of some significance for Hindu pilgrims. Nowadays’ Shankaridevi temple is a reconstruction at a new place. The original Shankaradevi temple, said to be built by Ravana, was the first in the list of Ashta Dasha (18) Shakti Pitas written down by Adi Shankara. But its whole cliff was destroyed by Portuguese cannon balls. Only a commemoration pillar is placed on that spot now. And it is believed that the original idol of the goddess has been preserved and replaced and can be venerated again now in this nearby new Shankaridevi temple.
Also visit the hot wells of Kanniyai or Kanniya are close to the main road to Anuradhapura, only 10 kms away from Trincomalee town. Pilgrims believe in the Kanniyai springs’ healing power. There are many different versions of the myth how these curative hot water wells came into existence; most of them are connected to Ravana. One legend about Kanniyai’s origin has it, that this is the place where King Ravana carried out the last rites for his mother. When he was unable to find water in order to duly perform the rites, he in anger pierced his Trishula into the ground seven times. Water started gushing out immediately. The very hot water cooled down to the present degree when Ravana’s anger calmed down. The temperature of the water is different in all of the seven wells.
Among the other places of interest are:
Fort Fredrick is an Old Dutch fort located on a peninsula east of the town centre. It still has a strong military presence from the war – the whole peninsula is basically a military base – but it is quite friendly and a nice place to explore. Thiru Koneshwaram Temple is atop of the cliff.
Uppuveli beach is about 6km north of the town and is a wonderful nearly pristine beach. Nilaveli, slightly farther north, is similar to Uppuveli but less crowded. The main Nilaveli beach is long and pristine with no crowds.
Pigeon Island national park, 1km offshore, is preferred for its white sand, rock pigeon breeding grounds and shark sights and Marble Beach is a beautiful bay, shallow safe swimming with marker buoys for safety.
Return to Sigiriya for overnight stay
Day 4 - Sigiriya/Matale/Kandy
Breakfast at hotel.
Then explore Sigiriya the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. The great rock fortress of Sigiriya is yet another attraction found in this side of the island, which you can visit Surrounded by the wonders of the nature.
Leave for Kandy
En-route visit a Spice Garden at Matale to see many different types of Spices Sri Lanka is famous for and you will be shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
Proceed to Kandy. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, which is a world heritage site. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.
On arriving Kandy leave on a sightseeing tour of the city. Drive around the Lake built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798 and the scenic upper lake drive. Also visit the Kandyan Arts & Crafts centre and a Gem Lapidary.
1730 Hrs witness a Cultural Dance performance.
Check-in at Hotel for overnight stay
Day 5 - Kandy/Pinnawela/Kandy
Breakfast at hotel
Morning visit the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawela which is the home for about 60 elephants, out of which many are baby elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being cared, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed. Also you could accompany the elephants to a river close-by and see the elephants having their daily bath.
Then visit the Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya which has been first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers.
Evening visit to the most sacred place of the Buddhist around the world, the famous Temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, during “Evening Pooja” Ceremony time.
Dinner and overnight stay at hotel
Day 6 - Kandy/Nuwara Eliya
Breakfast at hotel.
Continue to Nuwara Eliya and en-route visiting a Tea Factory and a Plantation and you may have the opportunity of tasting a factory fresh brewed cup of tea.
Then visit Shri Bhakti Hunuman Temple at Ramboda. It is in this place where Hanuman first landed in Sri Lanka as he embarked in the task tracing Goddess Sita.
Check-in at hotel
Then visit Seetha Amman Temple located halfway between the highland village Sita Eliya and the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, has become the most venerated of all Ramayana Trail sites in Sri Lanka, because it is believed to be the place where Sita spent most of the time during her captivity on the island of Lanka. After she refused to stay in Ravana’s magnificent palace she was transferred to Ashoka Vatika or Ashoka Vana where she lived under Ashoka trees. It was here that Ravana’s wife Mandodari visited her and that Hanuman met her for the first time, identifying himself with the finger ring of Rama. Sita is said to have bathed in the nearby stream. There are remarkable holes in the rocks at the river bank believed to be footprints of Lord Hamuman.
Also visit Hakgala Gardens. Hakgala rock surmounts the Hakgala Botanical gardens, only a few kilometres away from the Ashoka Vatika. It is sometimes told that Hakgala rock is one of the pieces of the Himalayas that fell down when Hanuman carried Mount Dronagiri to Lanka. But usually the Ramayana Trail identifies only 5 other places as originating from these events, viz. Rumassala near Galle, Dolukanda in Hiripitiya, Ritigala near Habarana, Thalladi close to Mannar, and Kachchativu island.
Check-in at hotel for overnight stay
Day 7 - Nuwara Eliya/Bandarawela
Breakfast at hotel
Then visit Gayathree Peedam Temple.
Continue to Divurumpola which is said to be the location where Sita underwent the famous fire ordeal Agni Pariksha, in order to prove her chastity. From the flames arose the fire god Agni who was invoked by Sita. He lifted her from the flames unharmed and presented her to Lord Rama who explained this test was only necessary to prove the truth of her purity and innocence to everybody else, as he himself never doubted Sita’s faithfulness. Divurumpola is said to have been the location of this episode, because the Sinhalese name means a ‘marketplace of oath’. Today the temple is respected as a suitable place for oaths that shall be helpful settling disputes between spouses.
Then visit Ravana Ella Falls and the Ravana Ella Cave ( which is not acessable) are located close to the Wellawaya main road in the famous valley called Ella gap, only about 6 kms away from the town of Ella well known for its splendid views to the Ella gap. The cascading waterfall measures about 25 metres. It is believed that Sita bathed in a pool that accumulated the water falling from this waterfall. The nearby Ravana Ella cave is quite small, only 50 metres long. As in the case of Ishthripura Cave in Welimada, legend has it that it was used by King Rawana to hide princess Sita. It is believed to belong to a network of tunnels also connecting it to the Dova temple and to all the palaces and airports and dairy farms of king Ravana. Archaeological findings in the Ravana Ella cave include a human skull dating back to 20,000 BC.
Dinner and overnight stay at Bandarawela Hotel
Day 8 - Bandarawela/Galle/Bentota
Breakfast at hotel
Then leave for Bentota
En-route visit Galle (pronounced gawl in English and ‘gaar-le’ in Sinhala) is the big unmissable destination in the south. It’s at once endlessly exotic, bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds, and yet also, with its wonderful collection of Dutch-colonial buildings, a town of great beauty. Classic architecture melds with a dramatic tropical setting to create a reality that is endlessly interesting.
Commence a sightseeing tour in the city of Galle, which was once the chief port of Ceylon, as Sri Lanka was After named by the British. It is still well known for hand-made lace. You can also visit the Galle Fort (spanning 90 Acres), which was originally built by the Portuguese and later extended by the Dutch in 1635 which is a world heritage site.
Also visit Rumassala mountain. At different points of time during the war both Lord Rama and Lakshmana were hit by powerful arrows, fell unconscious and to bring them back to life Lord Hanuman was instructed to fetch the lifesaving herbs from Himalaya. Hanuman went to the hill, lifted the whole hill and brought it, as he was not able to identify the lifesaving herbs alone. Parts from the hill fell on five places in Sri Lanka and Rumassala in Galle is one of these places.
Then take a river cruise on Madhu River.The estuary of the Madu Ganga River is a complex coastal ecosystem of mangroves and islands. It may be one of the last remaining tracts of pristine mangrove forests in Sri Lanka. A boat trip is a wonderful way of seeing some of the hundreds of species of plants and animals – monkeys eat fruit in the trees, a water monitor lizard glides slowly through the water, and cormorants, egrets and kingfishers wait patiently on the banks, eyeing the water for prey. There are around 64 islands in the river and lagoon, from a tiny speck housing a deserted shrine to one housing 250 families connected to the mainland with a very long footbridge.
You can visit an island with a Buddhist monastery, where the friendly young monks will show you a 150-year-old book made of palm leaves and how they cook on cinnamon wood on an open fire. The main occupations of the local inhabitants are producing cinnamon and prawn fishing
Also visit the Turtle hatchery which is located at Kosgoda. These turtle hatcheries were constructed to rescue and protect turtle eggs because of the rapidly declining numbers of marine turtle in Sri Lankan shores. Marine turtle eggs are purchased from the fisherman and re-buried along the beach and left there for 48 days allowing the eggs ample time to hatch. Thereafter the baby turtles are collected from the beach and kept in tanks for 2-3 days, and released into the ocean to fend off for themselves. The few female turtles that survive will return to their natal shores after ten years to lay their own eggs. Visitors to the hatchery could release baby turtles into the ocean at night; they could also take a glimpse at two very rare albino turtles that are kept at the sea turtle project for conservation.
Check-in at The Palms Beruwela for dinner and overnight stay
Day 9 - Bentota/Colombo
Breakfast at hotel and then leave for Colombo via southern highway.
Visit the famous Buddhist Temple at Kelaniya. Besides the temple is a Vibhishana shrine. After Ravana’s death Rama appointed Vibhishana as the new king of Lanka. Vibhishana is venerated by Sinhalese Buddhists as a god, they believe him to be one of the main protectors of the island, of the western territories in particular.
Take a sightseeing tour of the city, like many capital cities in developing countries is fast changing its face. Almost overnight, skyscrapers arise from where old buildings once stood. Yet in some parts, the old world charm is retained. For example, there is a 100- year-old clock tower and several British built colonial Buildings. Other places of interest are the Pettah bazaar – where one can shop for bargain, Wolfendhal Dutch Church built in 1765 A, D., Hultsdorff Law Courts, a Hindu and a Buddhist temple, Cinnamon Gardens residential areas where you find the stately homes of the affluent, Independence Square and the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.
Also visit Hanuman Temple at Wellawatte which is often called Anjaneyar by Tamils, as his mother’s name is Anjan. This kovil is the first Anjaneyar temple in Sri Lanka and the only one on the island dedicated to Lord Hanuman in his Panchamuga form, this means: with five faces. And it is said to be the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Anjaneyar. Its chariot festival is held annually end of December or begin of January, it is a popular procession in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Visitors are advised to wash hands and feet before entering temple and not to cross hands inside the temple
Dinner and overnight stay at Mirage hotel Colombo
Day 10 - Colombo/ Airport
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to airport to connect with the departure flight