Sri Lanka is a fascinating island of paradise and a destination where a tourist and traveler will come across rich culture, scenic beauty and a variance of locations to explore with a taste culinary cuisine at its best. Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, the tropical island nation of Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoilt. Few places in the world can offer the traveler such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 kilometers lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 1,330 kilometers of coastline – much of its pristine beach – 15 national parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies, to a culture that extends back to over 2,500 years. This is an island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylon. Discover refreshingly Sri Lanka. We will help unfold the mysteries of Sri Lanka, as we take you through Colombo, the commercial capital and city, ancient archaeological cities, towns, Hill stations and beaches.
It is believed that Munishwaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here. Munishwaram means the first temple for Shiva (Munnu + Easwaran). A Shiva Lingam was already here when Lord Rama visited this place. Lord Rama after his victorious battle left befor Ayodhya with Sita in one of King Ravana’s Vimanas. He felt he was being followed by a Bramhaasthi Dosham (a malevolent black shadow) as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin.
When the Vimana was passing over Munishwaram, he felt the Vimana vibrating, and realized the Brahmaasti Dosham was not following him at this particular point. He stopped the Vimana at this juncture and asked god Lord Shiva for advice. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised installing and praying at four lingams located at Manavari, Thiru Koneshwaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India as the only remedy to get rid of the dosham.The first lingam was installed at Manavari about 5km from here, near the banks of the Deduru Oya. At the Manavari Temple Chilaw Manavari is the first lingam installed and prayed by Rama and till date this lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Rameshwaram is the only other lingam in world named after Lord Rama.
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 harbors. It is one of the main centers of Tamil speaking culture on the island. The Bay of Trincomalee’s harbor 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. These include the famous Seruwila Mangala Raja MahaVihara (Seruwila Temple) which is under consideration to be declared a UNESCO world heritage site dating back to 2nd century B.C. the Sri Gajaba Len Vihara (Sri Gajaba Cave Temple), Tiriyaya temple and the Welgamtemple. 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. (Entrance fees to sites not included) Visiting Shankari Devi Temple.
It is the rock castle known as the “Eighth Wonder” by some. The 200-meter-tall Sigiriya rock rises above the dense vegetation in Sri Lanka’s central lowlands. During the third century, its caverns housed Buddhist monastic monks. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa transformed it into an outstanding castle in order to protect himself from opposing armies. It is the most well-known UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. Only the paws of a giant lion statue stood at the entryway leading up to galleries and staircases. The top of the cliff, scattered with palace remains, offers views of the surrounding foggy forests and hills.
Kandy is the second-largest city in Sri Lanka, as well as the hill country’s capital and a sacred city. It is the location of the fabled Temple of the Tooth, which houses Buddha’s most prized relic. It was Sri Lanka’s last ancient kingdom before the nation was conquered by the British. It’s the first stop before heading deep into the highlands and tea country, to locations like
Nuwara Eliya and Ella. Kandy’s notable architecture and culture continue to be dominant in Sinhala Buddhist culture. Kandy was Sri Lanka’s last stronghold, so it played an important role in British colonialism. Kandy Perehara has been one of the most prominent religious celebrations in the country for generations.
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”.
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.
Hakgala Botanical Gardens:
The Hakgala Botanical Gardens was one of the pleasure gardens of King Ravana. This garden was expanded during the British period and has a wide variety of flowers including an excellent collection of orchids. This is the exotic pleasure garden where King Ravana kept the depressed Sita, insisting that she marries him. It was here where the heartwarming meeting took place between her and Hanuman, who brought her Rama’s ring with the news that Rama was looking for her. He offered to carry her back but she refused saying it would be an insult to Rama’s honor if she did so. Part of this majestic garden still exists. It is also said that Hanuman nearly destroyed it in order to prove to Ravana of the forces against him.
Sita Amman Temple:
The Sita Amman Temple can be seen En route to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens. The prominent temple architecture will not fail to attract your attention. Ancient statues of Rama and Sita can be seen on one side of the temple. The temple today is a modern building with its paintings, statues and pillars decorated with sculptures; all depicting the tale of Rama and Sita. Overnight stay at your hotel in Nuwara Eliya.
Still revered by thousands, this holy haven was the place where Sita performed her Agni Pariksha (proving her chastity) to her husband Rama. Continuing the practice for thousands of years, villagers still pledge their fidelity or take oaths there and even in certain courts, this agreement was binding. This place has been respected and worshiped by people down the ages.
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 breathtaking1080 feet high waterfall that cascades into several falls. The rocky undergoes of the waterfall is Khond alite, 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.
Visit Kataragama Temple:
This is the temple of Lord Karthikeya Subramaniam at Kataragama. Lord Karthikeya was requested to go to the battlefield by Lord Indra on the last day of war. This was done to protect Lord Rama from the wrath of Brahmastra aimed by King Ravana which otherwise would have weakened Lord Rama. The benefit was one of the most powerful weapons Brahma Asthra aimed at Lord Rama for the second time was rendered useless by the presence of Lord Karthikeya.
Panchamuga Anjaneyar at Kalubowila.:
This is the first Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka and also the only Panchamuga (five faced) Anjaneyar Temple inSri Lanka. It’s the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Ajanyear. The chariot festival is held annually and Dec/ beginning of January.
Overnight stay at your hotel in Colombo
Colombo city has a distinct flavor from the other places on our Sri Lanka travel packages. Colombo, Sri Lanka’s main city, is alive at all hours of the day and night, and it exudes a rich culture. The trip around Colombo city: the final destination of your Sri Lanka holiday will astound you since it is the only city in Sri Lanka that has successfully merged European and indigenous Sri Lankan cultures. This Sri Lanka holiday package also includes trips to the Gangaramaya temple and historic colonial structures that have been inspired by British design and will captivate you as you stroll through them. As advised by a friendly local, you try the local favorite: the ‘isso wadey’ while watching the sunset over Galle Face beach in red and orange colors – what a way to conclude a fantastic voyage!
After King Ravana’s death, Vibeeshana was coronated as King of Lanka by Lakshmana at Kelaniya. There are murals enshrined outside the Buddhist temple depicting the crowning of Vibeeshana. Overnight stay at your hotel in Colombo.