Srilanka

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Sri Lanka, Sigiriya Lion Rock fortress
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Colombo

Colombo is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Located on the west coast, it is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern and colonial impressions. Colombo has wildly varying architecture that span centuries and depict various styles. Many colonial buildings influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British exist alongside structures built in Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Indian and Contemporary architectural styles. No other place is this more evident in the heart of the city the Fort area. Colombo also boasts many shopping malls and department stores that offer brand name clothing at highly discounted prices. Therefore, it has become an important shopping destination among tourists.

City Tour: While on your city tour in Colombo you may visit famous places including Galle Face Green, the Viharamahadevi Park, National Museum, Twin World Trade Center towers, Old Parliament Building, Fort district, Independence Hall at Independence Square, and prominent Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian places of worship. (Entrance fees to sites not included). For shopping, you may visit Odel, House of Fashion, Beverly Street, Majestic City, Noritake, etc.

Negombo

Negombo is the well known fishing Village in Sri Lanka. It is a charming town set in the midst of green groves of coconut palms, warmth of golden sand and spirit of the sea. You will be able to taste the best of sea food to your hearts’ desire. Apart from beaches and sea-food Negombo has a unique charm of its own with narrow streets, small boutiques and Catholic Churches dotting the landscape.

City Tour: During the city tour you will explore the old Dutch fort gate built in 1672 now part of the prison, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route to the Dutch administration, old churches and fishing villages. The 100km long canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective. The stretch of road towards Kotchchikade comes to life at dusk (most shops are open at daytime too) with many handicrafts and curio shops, gem shops, restaurants and internet cafes catering for tourists.

Dambulla (incl. Sigiriya and Habarana)

Dambulla is one of the ancient cities of Sri Lanka. The city also boasts to have the largest rose quartz mountain range in South Asia, and the Iron wood forest. Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site near Dambulla cave temple complexes is the latest archaeological site found in Dambulla. Dambulla along with nearby Sigiriya and Habarana form a cluster of tourist area within it.

City tour: Your city tour will commence with the visit to one of the wonders of the ancient world -the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. It is also a UNESCO world Heritage site. Sigiriya Rock was once an ancient Castle used both as a palace and a fortress and was created by the great King Kasyapa. The magnificent rock fortress of Sigiriya is visible for miles from all directions and dominates the surrounding plain. The Sigiriya Complex consists of the central rock, which arises abruptly 200 meters above the surrounding plain with the two rectangular precincts on the east and the west. The rock is surrounded by two wide moats, where crocodiles were introduced in ancient times and three ramparts. The moats and walls that surround the lower palace are still exquisitely beautiful.Your next destination will be the Dambulla Cave Temples. It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple compound in Sri Lanka. There are above 80 chronicle caves around this location. The most prominent allures are advanced over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are depicted to Lord Buddha and his life. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. (Entrance fees to sites not included). Additional tours wildlife tours can be added to the tour. Costs will be extra.

Anuradhapura

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization. The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²). Anuradhapura is also significant in Hindu legend as the fabled capital of the Asura King Ravana in the Ramayana.

City tour: You will be able to explore the tallest brick built stupas of the ancient world. Ruwanweli saya, Abhayagiri and Jetawana Dagabas constituted the central edifices of the monasteries, Mahavihara, Abayagiri Vihara and Jetavanarama respectively. Sri Mahabodhi the sacred tree shrine of the Mahaviharaya, planted in the 3rd Century BC still remains its vitality and receives veneration of the Buddhist world all year around. Visit the Thuparama Dagaba, the historical Stupa built by King Devanampiyatissa. It has been converted in to a circular Chaitya Shrine ( Vatadage). Visit the Twin Ponds and the Isurumuniya. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Kandy

Lying amidst the hills, Kandy is the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka. While being the second largest city in Sri Lanka it is also famous for its immense beauty and is named as one of the seven UNESCO declared World Heritage sites in the country. With its luxuriant prairie, picturesque lake, longest river of the country and misty mountains, Kandy successfully mesmerizes every visitor unsurprisingly.

City Tour: While on your city tour you will visit one of the world heritages as well as a sacred place for the Buddhists all over the world; namely the Temple of tooth Relic known to the Sri Lankans as Dalada Maligawa.Your next visit will be to the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens which is a paradise for nature lovers. This beautiful flower Eden is restored with over 300 different varieties of orchids, other spices, medicinal plants and Palm trees.Every year more than 1.2 million people are enchanted by the beauty of these 147 acre flower gardens.The real evidence of the richness will be affirmed by your visit to the Gem Museum. Sri Lanka produces the finest quality of gems in the world. Semi-precious gems, the sapphires of Sri Lanka, which are very exclusive and comes in shades of blue, red, green, white etc.
In the evening you will witness a traditional cultural dance show. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Enroute to your destination, you can visit one of the most important tourist attraction in Sri Lanka, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. Volunteers and caretakers provide shelter and take care of orphaned, abandoned and injured elephants within the park. You can watch caretakers feed, bathe and help these gentle giants. You want walk with the herd to the nearby river to watch the elephants bathe and play around in water.

Nuwaraeliya

Nuwara Eliya (City of Lights), blessed with salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; Surrounded by hills and tea plantations, the town of Nuwara Eliya enjoys spring-like weather throughout the year. It is also known as “Little England”, which was the favorite hill station of the British who tried to create Nuwara Eliya into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club with its hunting pictures, trophies and strict formal dinner attire; the 18 hole golf course, horse race course, etc., all remind you of “England”.

City tour: During the city tour in Nuwara Eliya you will visit the main attractions of the town which include the golf course, trout streams, Victoria Park, and boating or fishing on Lake Gregory. You can also visit a working tea factory where the slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world’s finest Orange Pekoe tea. You can also add Seetha Eliya and Haggala Gardens. Seetha Eliya is a temple which was mentioned in the famous epic Ramayana. Haggala is a temperate hill-country garden where languid low-country lotus and water lily float in their serene loveliness. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Kataragama:

Kataragama a popular pilgrimage destination frequented by all three religious groups Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims in Sri Lanka. The main shrine devoted to Skanda popularly described in eulogies as God having six faces and twelve arms whose assistance is sought for worldly gain. The history of the shrine dates back to 2 century BC. The annual procession held in July or August is the main event of the shrine with fire walkers and Kawadi dancers.

Galle

Galle is a beautiful city to witness the sun and sand. Galle Harbor was frequented by Chinese and Arabians sailors before the Portuguese occupied Galle in the 16th century. The Dutch captured Galle in 1640 and handed it over to the British in 1796.

History reveals that the Chinese Admiral Zheng He, who commanded seven great voyages through the South China Seas and the Indian Ocean between 1405 and 1433, erected a tablet in 1409 in Galle in commemoration of his second visit to Sri Lanka.

The trilingual tablet discovered in 1911 has inscriptions in Chinese, Tamil and Arabic languages, suggesting that the Chinese were dealing with a cosmopolitan trading community at that time.

City tour: During your city tour you will visit the Galle Dutch Fort which is among the most popular sites in Galle where it attracts those who value archaeological reserves and heritage. It is known as the oldest fort in Asia, named as a world heritage by UNESCO.

Inside the fort, travelers can find other attractions such as the Dutch Museum, which contains paintings, pictures and furniture of the Dutch Reformed Church. The fort is built on small peninsula that can be easily accessed from the Galle town. It is the best place to visit during an evening as the picturesque scenery of the sunset can be witnessed at its best. The trilingual inscription is in the National Museum in Colombo and a copy can be found in the Maritime Museum in Galle.

Bentota

Bentota is the city of the Golden Beaches. You will be able to relax and feel the spirit of the sea and the warmth of the soft sand.

The day is divided in between swimming in the water and bathing in the sun. Bentota provides the perfect turf for unfurled vacation at the beach. While enjoying the sun, sea and sand the water sports lovers can enroll themselves in various water sports bringing in the unique pleasure of this locale.

City tour: On your city tour you will enjoy a boat ride along the Madhu River. It is a scenic tour relaxing and interesting while passing many islets forested with mangroves and experience the natural rhythms as well. If you are looking for more exclusive experience visit the turtle hatchery too. The Turtle Hatchery is the prime turtle nesting site which was open by the Wild life Protection Society in 1981.

Visitors can see huge tanks filled with new born turtle hatchlings. After being fed, the baby turtles are taken to the sea and released when they are 2-4 days old, usually during the safer hours of darkness. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Kalpitiya

The Kalpitiya peninsular is one of the most beautiful coastal areas of Sri Lanka. This is the place to go for an off the beaten track beach stay in Sri Lanka. This is one of the most beautiful and least developed coastal stretches. This narrow strip of land is separated from the mainland by the Puttalam Lagoon on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other and is home to natural habitats of diverse fauna and flora.

City tour: Your city tour will consist of watching Whales and Dolphins. For keen scuba divers and snorkellers, the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka “’Bar Reef” is only an hour’s boat trip from Kalpitiya. This beautiful reef is home to an incredible variety of tropical fish as well as offering sighting of Manta Rays, Reef Sharks and the occasional Turtles. Adventure watersports such as Kitesurfing are also very popular. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Trincomalee

Trincomalee is a port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. The city is built on a peninsula, which divides the inner and outer harbours. It is one of the main centers of Tamil speaking culture on the island. The Bay of Trincomalee’s harbour is renowned for its large size and security; unlike every other in the Indian Sea, it is accessible to all types of craft in all weathers. The beaches are used for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching.

City tour: You will be able to visit the famous Konesvaram temple which attracts many pilgrims from all parts of India. It is also known as the Temple of a Thousand Columns. There are several Buddhist historical sites around the Trincomalee. The entrance to the roadway leading to Koneswaram is actually the entrance to what used to be Fort Fredrick. The fort was built in 1623 by the Portuguese.The city has the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka. Also visit the seven hot water wells (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa, which became the capital of Sri Lanka following the decline of Anuradhapura, was to witness the Sinhalese Buddhist civilization reaching to its greater heights. The vast irrigation network with reservoirs that look like natural in-land seas provided opportunities for sustained epic scales in rice cultivation, during the reign of king Parakramabahu the Great (1153-1186 A.D). At this time, Sri Lanka became known as the Granary of the Orient. As if the ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura (437BC-845AD), didn’t quench your thirst for other side of the world, here we are in Polonnaruwa, the second capital (846 AD-1302 AD) of Sri Lanka, which in its prime was protected by 6 km of strong encircling walls. Strategically it commanded all the crossings over the longest & largest river of the island, River Mahaweli. Polonnaruwa’s extensive & well-preserved ruins offer a fascinating snapshot of ancient Sri Lanka, including some of the finest monuments.

City Tour:While on your city tour you will visit many Ruins of royal castles and Buddhist temples: Royal Palace Group, The Quadrangle, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, (circular relic house), Shiva Devale (Hindu temple), The Alahana Pirivena, Rankot Vihara, Lankatilake, Kiri Vihara, Gal Vihara, Potugal Vihara. (Entrance fees to sites not included)

Pasikudah

Pasikudah, the marvelous beaches in the world, is a bay protected from the ocean. The significance of Pasikudah is that its bed is flat and sandy and has a pleasant effect on the feet. This can be experienced up to 200 – 300 metres from the shore. This amazing place has become a popular tourist destination amongst locals and foreigners, because it is known to have one of the longest stretches of shallow coastline in the world and for its Coral reef. People walk kilometers into the sea because the water is only a few inches deep, therefore it resembles a baby pool.

Ratnapura

Ratnapura is the name of the provincial capital of Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the Ratnapura District in which the town is situated. Some say the modern name is derived from the Portuguese name Rapadura for jaggery, the palm candy produced traditionally in this region, but the more common explanation in Sri Lanka is that it comes from the Sinhala “Ratna” meaning gems and “Pura” meaning city. Located some 101 km south east of Colombo, it is the centre of a long-established industry of precious stone mining including rubies, sapphires, and other gems. Apart from gem mining, the town is known for rice and fruit cultivations.

Arugam Bay

Arugam Bay is a bay situated on the Indian Ocean in the dry zone of Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. The bay is located 320 km due east of Colombo. It is a popular surfing and tourist destination. Due to its popularity among low budget tourists, the area has managed a slow recovery. The town is famous for its annual surf competition where some of the top surfers come to ride the large perfect tubes found in very places in the world.

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is located in the most northern region of the island of Sri Lanka. The Jaffna peninsula is almost an island itself connected to the main island over a causeway at a Place called “Ali Mankada” or Elephant Pass in English. This was so named since this was indeed the route used by elephants to travel between the peninsula and the main island in the ancient past. The peninsula itself is a number of islands connected though causeways.
City Tour: During the city tour you will visit the Jaffna Fort, the famous Library and the many temples of the peninsula. You can also take a driving tour around places which reminds people of the tumulous past of Jaffna.

Yala

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. With monkeys crashing through the trees, peacocks in their finest frocks, elephants ambling about and cunning leopards sliding like shadows through the undergrowth, Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu) is the Jungle Book brought to glorious life. This vast region of dry woodland and open patches of grasslands is the big draw of this corner of Sri Lanka. A safari here is well worth all the time, effort, crowds and cost.

Udawalawe

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq. mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation (Chena farming). The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometers (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.

Hikkaduwa

Hikkaduwa is located 100km south of the country’s capital, Colombo. The area is well-known for its coral sanctuary and the proximity of wonderful scuba diving sites to explore. With its unique beach culture, Hikkaduwa has long been the most popular diving and surfing area in Sri Lanka. In the centre of Hikkaduwa, a lagoon also creates a beautiful and safe snorkelling area. Further south, where the currents are stronger, surfing is the dominant water activity. The impressive coral reef runs just offshore and is populated by exotic fish and sea turtles that come ashore on this beach to lay their eggs.

Minneriya

Minneriya National Park is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938.[1] The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephantpopulation dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts. The park earned revenue of Rs. 10.7 millions in the six months ending in August 2009.[2] Along with Kaudulla and Girithale, Minneriya forms one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of Sri Lanka.[3] The park is situated 182 kilometres (113 mi) from Colombo.

Mirissa

Mirissa is a small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka, located in the Matara District of the Southern Province. It is approximately 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of Colombo and is situated at an elevation of 4 metres (13 ft) above the sea level. Mirissa’s beach and night life make it a popular tourist destination. It is also a fishing port and one of the island’s main whale and dolphin watching locations.

Ella is a small mountain village near Bandarawela and boasts three locations linked to the Ramayana where local legend claims Ravana was hiding Sita. First there is the Ravana Ella Cave, located at the massive Ella Falls; a breathtaking 1080 feet high waterfall that cascades into several falls. The rocky undergoes of the waterfall is Khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes faster decay as hard gneiss or granite. This has resulted in many caves being formed near the falls. King Ravana is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfall. A nearby pool bored out of the rock by the gushing waters is where Sita is said to have bathed Ravana.

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