SRI LANKA-PEARL OF INDIAN OCEAN

Availability : 5th to 14th August 2024
9 Days 8 Nights
Country : Sri Lanka
Max People : Maximum 20 pax

Tour Details

NEGOMBO 

Negombo is known for its long sandy beaches and centuries old fishing industry. Negombo has a large bilingual (Sinhala/Tamil) population with a clear Roman Catholic majority. Explore this famous fishing village North of Colombo, with a Dutch built Canal. The canal itself is a hive of activity with fishermen traveling up and down in their gaily painted boats. On the shores of the canal you find many homes and churches and many species of birds including spectacular Kingfishers.

DAMBULLA – EXCURSION POLONNARUWA & MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK

 Stop at a view point to admire the Sigiriya Fortress, known also as Lion Rock, a private 5th century fortress and place of immense stature with a remarkably impressive design. This monument was created as a result of a rivalry between two brothers.

Polonnaruwa – a “UNESCO World Heritage Site” was the Capital of Sri Lanka from 11th - 13th Centuries. It contains some splendid and spectacular statues such as Lankatilake, Tivanka and Thuparama, being the most beautiful and largest Image Houses and Tivanka with the best example of frescoes of the Polonnaruwa period. Rankoth Vehera and Kirivehera are well preserved large stupas, and Gal Vihara - a rock shrine, has four Buddha statues, two seated, one standing and one reclining and Parakrama Bahu statue are examples of Sinhalese stone carver. The Vata-da-ge is a unique creation of the Sri Lankan artists.  

The Minneriya National Park.   Being part of the elephant corridor, which joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks, Minneriya National Park gives the opportunity to see herds of Elephants throughout the year on a jeep safari. Capture the golden opportunity to witness Asia’s largest gathering of mighty elephants, wandering in the green grassland overlooking the beautiful Minneriya reservoir.

MATALE / KANDY

A stop at the Spice Gardens at Matale. Enjoy a Cooking Demonstration where you learn and cook famous local dishes followed by lunch at the Spice Gardens.

Matale, this midsize regional city at the heart of the island lies in a broad, fertile valley at an elevation of 300m. Matale  is a featureless urban sprawl with a congested one-way system, so you're unlikely to want to linger long. However, the road north of town is lined with dozens of visitor-friendly spice plantations where vanilla, rubber, cinchona, jackfruit, cocoa and cardamom thrive. The area is also famous for kohila (a type of watercress) and small, mild chilies. (Excursion Duration 01 hrs). 

Kandy – the hill capital is another “World Heritage Site”. It was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule and finally ceded to the British in 1815 after an agreement. Close by are the remains of the Royal Palace (Maha Wasala), Palle Wasala- where the Queens stayed - now used for the National Museum, Meda Wasala where other close relatives lived, Audience Hall, Natha Devala and Vishnu Devala are situated. The Bathing Pavilion (Ulpenge) is by the Lake and in the Center of the lake is the Island called “Kiri Samudraya” (Milk white ocean) used by the kings as the summerhouse.  Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture.  

A visit to the Gem Shop with its diverse range of Sapphires, Star Sapphires, Cat's Eyes, Rubies, Star Rubies, Alexandrite and many other semi-precious stones, Silk Gardens & Wood Carving handicrafts where you learn how the world renown marvels are produced in Sri Lanka. 

NUWARA ELIYA  

 Visit Ambuluwawa Tower-  A biodiversity complex multi-religious sanctuary situated in the central highlands of the country, the Ambuluwawa Trigonometrical Station, in Gampola, consists of large winding tower resembling a stylized Buddhist stupa, a Hindu temple, a Muslim mosque and a Christian Church.  Leaving lunch, we make a stop at Ramboda Falls for a photo stop and also make a stop at the Tea Plantation and Tea Factory. 

Sri Lanka is one of the highest producers of tea in the world and if you are traveling in Sri Lanka, visiting a tea plantation is a must. The best place to go is the hill country and you are about to witness it. The tea plantation spreads across many hectares. While visiting the plantation and learning the process of making the Tea to the finest quality drop in also purchase tea at your wish. (Excursion visit – 45 mins) 

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 coolest places in the Island, but it is really just like an English spring day, although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you see evidence of the British influence, houses like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions. 

Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom in the spring (March to May) and the fall (August and September). These are the “seasons” when low-country folk flock to Nuwara Eliya to escape the sea level heat and humidity.

Housed within a beautiful Tudor mansion, complete with spires and a clock tower, the popular Post Office constructed in 1894, with bright orange roofs and red bricked walls that forms a colorful contrast with the manicured lawns and perfectly pruned hedges. 

Jetwing St Andrews 5* Jetwing St. Andrew’s sits 1 884 metres above sea level cradled amidst the mist covered mountains of Sri Lanka. This stately Georgian style mansion, which was converted into a Scots Club in 1875, still preserves the charm of the colonial era with its distinctive English country ambiance. Steeped in charm and history Jetwing St. Andrew’s stands an icon of the Sri Lankan highlands.

 TRAIN EXCURSION TO ELLA 

Leave for the Railway Station to embark on a Train Journey to Ella (2nd class).  Upon arrival to Ella, we make a visit to the 09 Arches Bridge 

Located in Demodara, between Ella and Demodara railway stations, the surrounding area has seen a steady increase of tourism due to the bridge's architectural ingenuity and the profuse greenery in the nearby hillsides.  

The construction of the bridge is generally attributed to a local Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhami, in consultation with British engineers. The chief designer and project

manager of the 'upcountry railway line of Ceylon' project was D. J. Wimalasurendra, a distinguished Ceylonese engineer and inventor. The designer of the viaduct was Harold Cuthbert Marwood of Railway Construction Department of Ceylon Government Railway. The 1923 report titled "Construction of a Concrete Railway Viaduct in Ceylon" published by the Engineering Association of Ceylon has details of all the records including the plans and drawings.

Also make a stop at the Ravana Waterfalls where it was said that Ravana (who was the king of Lanka at the time) had kidnapped princess Sita, and had hidden her in the caves behind this waterfall, now simply known as the Ravana Ella Cave.

HIKKADUWA 

Hikkaduwa is a seaside resort town in southwestern Sri Lanka. It’s known for its strong surf and beaches, including palm-dotted Hikkaduwa Beach, lined with restaurants and bars. The shallow waters opposite Hikkaduwa Beach shelter the Hikkaduwa National Park, which is a coral sanctuary and home to marine turtles and exotic fish.

Stop at Weligama to view the Stilt Fishermen.  This unique sight is seen only in this part of Sri Lanka. No-one knows where, or even when this form of fishing originated, but it is an old tradition which lives on in this modern world. This centuries old traditional method of fishing is one of the best sustainable practices to catch fish.

At Hikkaduwa, time permitting, we spend some time at a Sea Turtle Hatchery and Rescue Centre, and learn about the conservation efforts to preserve the turtles which are falling fast due to predators, poachers, litter, and rising ocean temperatures.  Perhaps a chance to see turtle hatchlings being released.

GALLE 

The Dutch Fort - Galle - The South Coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Portuguese and Dutch Fort which is a “World Heritage Site” 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 vessels, and to which Jonah fled from the Lord. 

Today, the 90-acre Galle Fort shows no evidence of the Portuguese founders. The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was built 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 high and low tides. The original gate to the fort was by the harbour. It is still there, marked by the British Coat-of-arms on the front and the Dutch V.O.C. (Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie) with the Coat-of-arms with a rooster crest, is on the inner side of the Fort. (Excursion - 2 hrs). 

 COLOMBO 

Colombo – is the business and commercial center  and  the  new  capital   is  Sri Jayawardhanapura Kotte, which is only a few miles away. Colombo was only a small seaport, which came into prominence in the 16th Century with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 and the development of it as a major harbour during the British period and became the capital in 1815 after Kandy was ceded to the British.

The remains of the buildings during the period and the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule are found in every area of the city. None of the Portuguese & Dutch fortifications are found today but some of their buildings and churches could be seen in the Fort & Pettah areas. Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street - the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area where there is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Kaymans Gate with the Belfry at the original gate to enter the Fort, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhaal dating back to 1749, Davatagaha Mosque, Colombo Museum and the Natural History Museum are some of the sites to be visited. Also visit the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall), see the replica of Avukana Buddha and the Independence Square. (Excursion – Approx. 02 – 03 hrs).  

 

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