Secrets of Sri Lanka
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Secrets of Sri Lanka

Places covered : Colombo - Anuradhapura - Mihintale - Aukana - Habarana - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Ritigala - Minneriya - Dambulla - Kandy - Nuwara Eliya - Horton Plains - Ella - Yala - Galle - Colombo

Highlights of Secrets Sri Lanka
Colombo : Heavenly maidens , Bazaars of Pettah , Hindu temple , Old Dutch church , Tarshish of the Bible.
Kandy : spice garden in Matale , Peradeniya Botanical garden , Temple of tooth relic of Buddha , Elephant orphanage .
Habarana : Aukana Buddha statue , Minneriya National park.
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Arrive at Colombo airport, where our representative will meet and assist you. He will then escort you to your hotel.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore the town on your own or just relax at the hotel.

Stay overnight in Colombo.

This morning after breakfast proceed to Anuradhapura.

In the afternoon visit this ancient city, which was founded in the 5th century AD. It has the largest number of ancient monuments of the great Sinhala civilization that flourished, in this region. Visit the Royal Palaces, Shrines, Dagobas and Sri Maha Bodhi. Taking pride of place is the Sri Maha Bodhi, the "Bo tree" grown from a branch of the very tree under which "The Buddha" attained enlightenment - the oldest historically documented tree in the world, over 2200 year old.

Stay overnight in Anuradhapura.

This morning after breakfast visit Mihintale. It 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 5mt. wide, leads to the summit with its splendid view of the surrounding countryside.

Later continue to Habarana, enroute visiting Aukana Buddha statue. This statue is undoubtedly the most magnificent undamaged ancient image on the island. The 5th century statue, ascribed to King Dhatusena, is 42½ ft (13 meters) high, standing beneath a recently constructed brick shelter. Aukana means, 'sun-eating', and the figure is best viewed when the sun rises. It is situated 32 miles southeast of Anuradhapura via the great tank of Kalawewa.

Continue the journey to Habarana.

Stay overnight in Habarana.

After an early breakfast, visit the Sigiriya rock built by King Kassapa in the 5th century AD. It was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. The Lion Rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200m from the scrub jungle. A moat and a rampart and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Later also see the world famous frescoes of the "Heavenly maidens" of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock.

In the afternoon drive on to Polonnaruwa, 42 miles away. It was the island's medieval capital from the 11th to the 13th century AD. The city in its day was fortified with three concentric walls, beautified with parks and sanctified by many shrines. Visit the ruins of the Audience hall, Council chamber, the Royal citadel, the Kumara Pokuna (Pond), Royal pavilion, Siva Dewale, The Thuparama, the Vatadage Relic house, Kiriwehera, Hatadage, Gal Vihare, with some of the most impressive sculptures and reservoirs.

Stay overnight in Habarana.

After breakfast, visit Ritigala monastery in the Ritigala Nature Reserve.

The monastery at Ritigala largely consists of meditation platforms and walkways that are in perfect harmony with the huge boulders, trees and streams of the sylvan surroundings. A British government surveyor by the name of James Martell discovered this hermitage in 1867. The history of the mountain dates back to the period when the sacred Bo Tree was brought to Ceylon. Ritigala Mountain consists of the ruins of a reception hall, bathing pond, Ayurvedic hospital, monastery and the Palace. It is now preserved strictly as a nature reserve. The jungle surroundings consist of very valuable medicinal plants and is home to indigenous animals. Ritigala Mountain has a height of 2512ft and is approx. 138 miles towards the north of Colombo. Archaeologists have discovered 2nd century inscriptions at Ritigala and the ruins of an ancient forest monastery. Visitors can access the hill along the steps leading to the archaeological site. Birds which can be seen include the great songster white rumped Sharma, Himalayan migrant Indian Blue Robin, majestic Raptor, Black Eagle and the brown-capped Babbler.

In the afternoon visit Minneriya National park. It is spread over an area of 8889 hectares and surrounds Minneriya Lake with a feeder area of 249 sq kms. Wild elephants have largely benefited by the increased availability of water in the Lake. Dominant vegetation found in Minneriya is medium canopy secondary forests with scrub, ridge forests with open low canopy species, grasslands, plains and wetlands. Abandoned slashed and burnt cultivated patches (Chenas) are also found within this National Park. Amongst the animals found at the Minneriya National Park are the wild elephants, purple-faced leaf monkey, toque monkey, Sambhar, spotted deer, painted storks, great white pelicans, ruddy turnstones and grey herons. The threatened wild animals found in this park are the leopard and the sloth bear.

Stay overnight in Habarana.

After an early breakfast, we begin the day with a drive to the Dambulla Rock Cave temple, a vast isolated rock mass where King Velagambhahu took refuge in the 1st century BC. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. The temple consists of a series of five caves containing many statues and paintings including a 47ft long statue of the Buddha.

Later we drive on to Kandy, enroute visiting a spice garden in Matale. Upon arrival in Kandy, drive past the picturesque University Campus and also visit the local market and an arts & crafts show room. Then drive along the upper lake road to get a panoramic view of Kandy Lake and its surroundings.

Stay overnight in Kandy.

kandy Day 07. IN KANDY
After an early breakfast proceed to Pinnawala. This now famous elephant orphanage was set up by the Sri Lankan government to rescue and rehabilitate elephants maimed or orphaned at the hands of poachers in the jungle. At the orphanage witness the feeding of elephants, which takes place daily from 915 to 945 AM. The highlight of this event is the feeding of baby elephants using bottles of milk. After feeding, the elephants are taken to a nearby river for their daily bath, which normally takes place between 10 AM to12 noon.

Afterwards visit the Peradeniya Botanical garden, where you will get to see a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora and the famous Orchid House. Later witness a cultural program and a fire walking display. Thereafter visit the Temple of tooth relic of the Buddha.

Stay overnight in Kandy.


Afterwards leave for Nuwara Eliya, enroute visiting a tea factory where you will witness the process of manufacturing tea from the plucking of the green leaves to the packaging of the processed tea, which is mainly meant for export markets.

In the afternoon visit the Nuwara Eliya town, market place, golf course, the hill club and Lake Gregory.

Stay overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

Early this morning we proceed for an excursion to Horton Plains with packed breakfast. Horton Plains is a strict nature reserve, the highest plateau in Sri Lanka. Nature lovers love this wide, Patna-grass covered plain, the haunt of several wild yet harmless animals and the home for many species of birds. 'Bride' path through the plains will take you to the precipice, popularly referred to as World's End, a sheer drop of 1050mts. The view is magnificent on a clear day.

Stay overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

This morning after breakfast, leave for Ella. On arrival in Ella, visit the Grand Ella Motel and view the Ella Gap from its front garden. The terrain falls away some 3000ft to the south coastal plain. Framed by towering Ella Rock on the right and a wooded ridge on the left, the spectacle of Ella Gap is one that invites visitors to laze and gaze.

Continue the journey to Yala. After checking in at the hotel, relax for the balance day.

Stay overnight in Yala.

Day 11. IN YALA
This morning after breakfast enjoy a jeep safari to Yala National Park. Yala is located in the southeastern corner of the Island. The terrain is varied; flat plain alternating with rocky outcrops. The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle, a must for any wildlife enthusiast. The most common sightings are that of elephants, deer, wild boar and sambhar.

In the afternoon enjoy another safari.

Stay overnight in Yala.

GalleDay 12. YALA - GALLE - COLOMBO (191 MILES)
After an early breakfast on this day, proceed for Galle. It is an old town situated to the south of Colombo. This town with an old world charm is believed to be Tarshish of the Bible. The natural harbour was a famous port in days gone by, taken from the Sinhala Kings in 1587 by the Portuguese, who erected the first fortifications. Galle was laid siege to by the Dutch in 1640. It is famous for lace making, ebony carving and gem polishing.

Visit the Dutch museum and fort. The Dutch fort faces the sea on three sides and its ramparts, over a mile long, are today a favorite promenade for Galle's citizens.

After the visit proceed to Colombo.

Rest of the day is free for you to relax.

Stay overnight in Colombo.

This morning after breakfast, drive through the commercial area and the city centre, known as the 'Fort', built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. See the busy markets and bazaars of Pettah, visit a Buddhist and a Hindu temple, an Old Dutch church and continue to the Cinnamon Gardens residential area. Drive past the Town Hall, Independence Square and the International Convention Centre.

Afternoon is free for you to do last minute shopping.

Stay overnight in Colombo.

After breakfast, proceed to the airport to connect to your flight for onward destination.

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