A journey through Sri Lanka covering the highlights of the cultural triangle visiting Sigiriya, Dambulla, , Kandy along with national parks of Wilpattu & Minneriya with a beach stay at Mirissa.
Highlights: Culture, history, wildlife, temple and old town
On arrival in Colombo: Having cleared immigration, collected your luggage and passed through customs, please make your way towards the exit of the terminal building where you will see a bank of people waiting for you. Amongst them will be Trail Blazer Tours Representative who will be waiting to greet you with a paging board with your name on.
Flight : TBA
Arrive Colombo: TBA Hrs
Fly into Colombo International Airport, where you will be met by your private chauffeur cum guide who will take you to your hotel of stay near the airport in Negombo.
Leave in the morning to Wilpattu (aprpox. 4 hrs) and late in the evening do a jeep safari to Wilpattu National Park.
This is the land haunted by big cats of the island paradise. Recording a vast number of Sri Lankan Leopards – smarter looking than its Indian cousin – Wilpattu National Park has been named due to ‘Willus’ (Natural Lakes) studded throughout the park. Apart from big cats & precious flora, the park is well known for a healthy population of elephant, sloth bear, spotted deer, mongoose and water buffalo. Do not be surprised if the squeal of a helpless wild boar pierce through your ears, just observe closer and you might be presented with a fantastic hunt because it is all action that speaks at Wilpattu.
Morning after a game drive into the park, leave for Sigiriya (approx. 2 hrs)
In the evening climb Sigiriya Rock, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sigiriya is an enormous rock boulder rising 200 meters above the surrounding jungle. Incredibly, the rock fortress was built by King Kassyapa I in the fifth Century and served as a royal citadel for more than 18 years, something that seems more astonishing with every step you climb.
Pause occasionally during your ascent to admire the mirror wall, the sigiri graffiti, the famous Sigiriya frescoes (paintings) and the great lion paws. Upon reaching the summit you’ll immediately see that it was worth the effort. Wander through the ruins and admire the courage and work it must have taken to build this palace all those years ago – you will even find a fully functional swimming pool up there. Aside from the ruins, with the unparalleled 360-degree view of the surrounding jungle and hills, it will not be just be the climb that takes your breath away.
Day to visit the ruins at Polonnaruwa and a jeep ride into Minneriya National Park.
Minneriya National Park
Rising with the decline of Anuradhapura, the city of Polonnaruwa – medieval capital & crown jewel of King Parakramabahu I – remains superior proof of ancient culture & heritage blended with religious beliefs. Walk across its scattered walls of the World Heritage Site – blessed by stupas, resting Buddha statues, irrigation canals and fantastically carved Hindu sculptures – while observing the relic house – Watadage – which boasts of beautiful stone carvings.
Take a close glance and you will realize a subtle Hindu influence on architecture and statues found in Polonnaruwa. Or sit by the side of Galviharaya and observe the absolute beauty gushing out of every bend of its huge Buddhist statues. Nissankamalla Council Chamber is, however, a head-spinning beauty to just sit back and observe with its swaying pillars reminding the aesthetics of a powerful kingdom which rests beside Parakrama Samudraya – sea of Parakramabahu & masterpiece of irrigation!
If you’re up for a serious rumble in the jungle, then Minneriya is your Colosseum! Spreading over 8800 hectares, this is a sanctuary for elephants. Minneriya is home to herds of deer and ample birdlife, but its spotlight remains between swaying trunks & flapping ears. Park your jeep on the bank of the reservoir and switch off its engine. Watch carefully as herds of elephants – one by one – roll on to the grass-covered banks, to feed on tender shoots. In fact, this is the largest elephant gathering in the world – over 300 at a time – which has garnished the park to become a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts across the globe.
A village tour followed by a visit to the magnificent rock cut cave temples at Dambulla.
The scenic village of Hiriwadunna with its unpaved gravel paths and humble village folk. Shaded on either side by dry zone shrub forest, the dusty gravel path and subsequently the red soil of the tank bund will lead the visitors to an indigo reservoir which sets a stunning contrast of colors. A line of cormorants flying in formation will eventually stop to rest on a cormorant tree and the butterflies and dragonflies found at the edge of the shrubs create a kaleidoscope of color that rivals the equally vibrant wild flowers. As you walk further the sight of Sigiriya rock fortress appears in the vicinity against the silent and still waters of the reservoir which is rippled only by a lone fisherman mounted on his catamaran. Soon it’s already time to take a catamaran ride! Across the reservoir awaits a Chena farmer’s modest home; a setting that takes you back a few decades to enjoy a black Ceylonese tea brewed by the farmer’s wife. Experience the simple pleasures of village-life as you walk across the Chena cultivations and through the nearby woods, to board a bullock cart – yet another ancient mode of the humble villagers’ transportation.
Leave for Kandy with a stop at the spice plantations at Mathale (approx.. 3 hrs)
You will see many spice gardens at Matale and in Mawanella on the Colombo-Kandy road where Cinnamon, Cardamom, Pepper Creepers and all other spice trees, plants and creepers are planted for visitors to see them. Spice products are also available for those who would like to buy them. At all Spice Gardens visitors are taken round explaining each tree and plant and at the end explaining the use of them in food preparations. Afterwards visit a Batik Factory where you can see the manufacture of beautiful Batik prints. These shops contain a wide variety of Batik items.
Upon completion transfer to Kandy.
Kandy, which is 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.
To the Buddhists of Sri Lanka and the World, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” – Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture. Visitors can see these Dance & Music at the daily Cultural Performances held at several places in the city.
Temple of the sacred Tooth Relic
Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe – before it was brought under the British rule in 1815, Kandy – the World Heritage Site & last royal capital of Sri Lankan kings – crafts an array of culture, history and heritage in the minds of visitors across the globe. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha. A stroll across this small lakeside town – cradled among the misty hills – will feature the Kandy City Centre – bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaar, an arts & crafts center, as well as a gem museum & lapidary. Walk in color as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market.
Late evening Witness a cultural dancing show. Fine tube your evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of the Wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka.
After a leisurly morning in Kandy, leave for Ella (approx.. 4 hrs)
Option to do a blue mountain train ride in between.
Ella is a beautiful small sleepy town on the southern edge of Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. It’s situated in the middle of beautiful countryside, with small vegetable plots in the valleys, tea plantations on the hill slopes and forests on the tops.
To visit the town, tea plantations, the beautiful nine arches bridge and option to do short hike/treks.
Hike to Ella Rock (For more of adventure seeking clients, it is possible to arrange a sunrise hike to Ella Rock which starts around 3.30AM in the morning).
Beautiful waterfalls of 1080 feet high (breaks into several falls) close to the road from Ella to Wellawaya about 6 Km south from Ella. The stream, a tributary of Kirindi Oya plunges with a foaming spray over a series of ledges into the valley close to a road bend. The waters rise from Wewatenna highland above the rocks. In general the rocky underground of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka consists of hard gneiss or granite, but here the material is khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes decay faster. Thus there are caves near the falls. King Ravana of Ramayana legend is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfalls.
Hike to Little Adam’s peak. The mega zipline Flying Ravana is available for adventure seekers.
Diyaluma falls is approximately 01 hour away from Ella. The 680-foot high waterfalls of the Poonagala Oya is close to the road between Koslanda and Wellawaya. It is the last of a series of waterfalls of this stream. The Diyaluma Falls is the World’s 6th highest. Above this big fall are several smaller ones to be visited after climbing a steep path to the ridge where the waters flows down. The Poonagala Oya rises from the Mahakande pass. She flows into Kuda Oya, a tributary of the Kirindi Oya.
In Mirissa to enjoy the beach and the surroundings
Leave for Colombo with a tour of Galle enorute.
Galle, the epic Southern capital, is the intersection where classic Dutch architecture meets a tropical setting creating a vivid atmosphere in beauty. Walk the Dutch-haunted streets listening to the creaks of wooden saloon doors and observe how European architecture mingles with South Asian traditions today flooding cultural enthusiasts on a global scale. Its original ramparts and bastions preserved up to date showcase evidences of a heritage preserved for more than 3 ½ centuries. Walk clockwise within the fort to observe the ‘old gate’ carrying the British coat of arms.
Flanking the old gate is the Zwart bastion – the oldest of all – and the lighthouse standing 18 feet in its glory next to the Point Utretcht Bastion. This Dutch bliss is painted with streets that spread in a rectangular grid pattern pierced with houses carrying Dutch colonial style verandas. Hop into the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex to be mesmerized by an array of souvenir selections. However, its hallmark stands a reality where the Dutch fort remains a working community with its usual buzz of administrative offices, court complex, commercial buildings, churches and Southern folks frequenting its streets bracing the air of the Elysium of architecture, Galle!
Morning tour of the city 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 Kayman’s Gate with the Belfry at the original gate to enter the Fort, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhaal dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple dating to 6th C.B.C., 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 in front and the Independence Memorial.
Later at an appropriate time, your Trail Blazer Tours Representative will assist and take you to the international airport.
Flight : TBA
Depart Colombo: TBA Hrs