Ceylan Culture - Extended Tour

With a history spanning over 3000 years, Sri Lanka holds some of world’s oldest cities including Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa; their once glorious townships, palaces, temples, monasteries, hospitals and theaters intricately carved and modeled out of stone lay abandoned and forgotten with time amidst the soaring jungles.

The most famed and most exquisite is the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Sri Lanka’s third and the longest serving capital and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is also one of the most sacred cities of World Buddhists. It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the Fourth Century BC up to the turn of the Eleventh Century and was one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.

This fifth century AD fortress and a water garden displays some of the most futuristic elements of landscaping with some of the oldest murals recorded in the country.

The second most ancient kingdom of the country boasts of irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the and they still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa.

The second most ancient kingdom of the country boasts of irrigation systems that are far superior to those of the and they still provide irrigation water to the farmers in and around Polonnaruwa.

Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo Sri Lanka will undergo daily maintenance work between the hours of 08:30 to 16:30 (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.) from the 5th of January to the 5th of April 2017. All flights scheduled to arrive or depart during these times will be affected and will be subjected to a schedule change. Please consult your airline or travel agent with regards to the changes and advise Ceylan Vacations as soon as possible so that we rebook arrival and/or departure transfers. Please note that during this time, your flight may change several times. So make sure to recheck your flight details several days prior to travel.


  • Elephant Orphanage
  • Yapahuwa & Aukana Buddha statue
  • Anuradhapura city tour
  • Mihintale
  • Ritigala
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Elephant Ride
  • Polonnaruwa city tour
  • 4x4 Jeep safari at Minneriya National Park
  • Hiriwaduna Village Trek
  • Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Aku Vihar Temple
  • Technical visit to a Spice Garden and Batik Factory
  • 3 Temple in Kandy
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Cultural Dance Show
  • A religious ceremony in Katarama
  • Galle sightseeing
  • Kaleniya temple & Gangaramaya Temple


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You will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport and be met and warmly greeted by your chauffeur guide. Proceed to Negombo. Negombo is a characteristic fishing town north of Colombo and is a mere 6 km from the international airport. Set amidst lush groves of coconut palms, it breathes the spirit of the sea and is naturally a sea food paradise. Old - world fishing craft, like the outrigger canoe and the catamaran, bring seer, skipjack, herring, mullet, pomfret and amber jack, whilst lobster and prawn are caught in the lagoon. PM – If you’re not too tired, you could do some sightseeing.

After a hearty breakfast, you will leave for Anuradhapura. You will visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage en-route. The Elephant Orphanage is the home for Elephants who have been displaced or lost from their natural habitat. This is the only such sanctuary in the world. You could watch the beasts gamboling in the water and the young ones being fed their quota of milk from handheld bottles. Thereafter proceed to Anuradhapura visiting Yapahuwa & Aukana Buddha Statue. Yapahuwa is located a little way off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura road, in the Wayamba province of Sri Lanka. Of all the ancient ruins in the country the Rock Fortress Complex of Yapahuwa is considered to be quite remarkable despite the fact that it isn't famous among most visitors. However, it is renowned as one of the best archeological site in the country. In the early 13th century Yapahuwa was the capital of the country and it housed the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha for 11 Years. King Bhuvanekabhu I, the son of the King Parakramabahu who at that time ruled Dambadeniya, was stationed at Yapahuwa in order to protect the Country from Invaders; built the palace and the temple. After the Fortress was abandoned monks converted it into a monastery and monks still reside among the ancient ruins. Even today signs of early defense mechanisms can still be seen among the ruins. Thereafter proceed to Aukana. What may be called one of the wonders of the world is the tall, standing statue of the Buddha at Aukana, another architectural marvel of the ancient Sinhalese. The rock cut statue which stands 39 feet above its decorated lotus plinth and 10 feet across the shoulders, belongs to the period of King Dhatusena (459-477 AD), the builder of the great reservoir Kalawewa. It has been very well preserved over the years and is a joy for anyone to see and appreciate. It is a unique creation by an unknown sculptor Continue to Anuradhapura

After breakfast visit the ruins of the first capital founded in the 05th century BC here is found the largest number of ancient monuments of a great civilization. Buddhism found its first real home in Sri Lanka at Anuradhapura, and it thus contains some of Sri Lankan Buddhism’s most secret sights. The “Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, planted from a cutting from the original “Bo Tree” under which the Buddha received enlightenment, continue to draw thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. The pillars of the brazen palace which once had nine stories, the image of the Samadhi Buddha which is one of the finest pieces of Buddhists sculpture, the twin ponds, guard-stones and the moon-stones are amazing remains of a great civilization. There are also monuments such as Ruwanveli Seya Dagoba with its famous elephant wall from the 2nd Century B.C. and the Thuparama Dagoba from the 3rd Century B.C.

After breakfast visit Mihintale. The over 1080 feet high Mihintale rock is situated about 13 kilometres east of Anuradhapura.It is on this rock that the historic meeting between King Devanampiyatissa and Arahath Mahinda, the son of Emperor Asoka of India, is said to have taken place in 247BC. This meeting led to the King converting to Buddhism and the establishment and growth of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The link between Buddhism and the environment in Sri Lanka grew even stronger with the arrival of Arahat Mahinda Thera. There after proceed to Ritigala is a range of mountains which is near to Anuradhapura in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. It is about 42 km from Anuradhapura and can be reached passing Maradankadawala and turning off at Ganewelpola along Anuradhapura-Habarana highway. This one of the three strict nature reserves in Sri Lanka and is about 5 Sq. km in land extent. This mountain range rises abruptly 2000 feet from the surrounding terrain which is about 500 feet above sea level .There are several peaks in the range and the highest peak is the Ritigala. Kodigala or the Flag Rock is the highest point (of Ritigala Peak) in this mountain range and is of a height of 2514 feet. It is also the highest elevation between the Central Hills of sri Lanka and the South Indian mountain ranges. This mountain range comprises three types of forests.The bottom part of the mountain range is Dry Mixed Evergreen Forest type,the middle part of the range is Tropical Montane Forest type and the highest terrain of Upper Montane Forest type. The mountain summits attract more rainfall than the surrounding areas and amidst dry weather at lower plains, the peaks get cladded with clouds and mist lowering the temperature at the summits. Continue to Sigiriya / Dambulla

After early breakfast proceed to Polonnaruwa for city tour in Polonnaruwa. This architect of this lovely city is known to be King Parakrama Bahu - The Great. The remains of the Royal Citadel council chamber, prince’s bathing pool and the Gal Vihare, a stone temple with its colossal sculptures of the Buddha in a quiet grove of trees as well as the still functioning Parakrama Samudra, a man made reservoir, large than our Colombo harbor, are on easy distance from each other. The new museum has an excellent scale model of the ancient city as it was. Thereafter you will be given the chance to do an Elephant Ride on the back of a majestic elephant. You will ride through the jungle and also cross a river on an Elephant's back. This is truly an experience of a lifetime!! In the evening you will climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is known as the 8th wonder of the world. This rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered a pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace and the outer wall was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya 5th century water gardens to their former glory.

After breakfast proceed to Habarana. proceed on Hiriwaduna Village Trek Just a 10 minute drive away from Habarana lies 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 colours. 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 colour 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. Afternoon safari at Minneriya National Park Minneriya National Park consists of 8890 hectares and consists of mixed evergreen forest, scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka's favorites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena) and a significant feature is the “Elephant Gathering” which happens between July & August when the tanks and other water sources around the area dry out. When this happens the elephants living in the surrounding areas gather at the Minneriya Tank that never runs dry. During this period you could witness around 300 wild elephants at a glance which is a truly amazing sight.

After breakfast visit Dambulla cave temple. Dambulla Cave Temple is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that king Valagambahu took refuge in the 01st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Dambulla is a world heritage site and is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. meters of painted walls and ceiling found here are over 2000 years old and is the largest area of painting found in the world. The caves contain over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is the colossal figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 meters. Leave for Kandy, visiting Alu Vihara Temple en-route. The Aloka Vihara became Aluvihara. Folklore has many meanings to the name Aluvihara. One is that the Pali word Aloka was Alu (light) in ancient Sinhala and as it was the abode of Theras, it was a Viharaya. Hence the two words have been coined to make it Aluvihara. Another view is that although there is a huge rock, east of the main rock cave, it has not cut off the light. Therefore it was known as the Aloka lena (cave with light. Surrounded by hills, the famous Aluvihara cave temple 30 km south of Kandy on the Matale-Dambulla road is of great historic importance. The history of Aluvihara is traced back to the 3rd Century B.C in the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. It is believed that the King built the dagoba and planted the Bo sapling. Thereafter proceed to Kandy On the way you will be able to visit a Spice garden and batik factory. The Sacred City of Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful towns. This cool weathered hill station is Sri Lanka’s most visited place after Colombo. The main attraction of the town is the golden-roofed ‘Dalada Maligawa’. This is where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined. There are also many numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy where you could see rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings.

After breakfast at the hotel visit The Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya where you could treat your eyes to an amazing, wide and rare collection of tropical and temperate, exotic and indigenous flora, and an orchid house with the largest collection in Asia. Afternoon sightseeing & shopping in Kandy. Also if time permits, you could witness a very interesting Cultural Dance Show

After breakfast visit Three Temples. Embekke Devalaya is the best place in Sri lanka, may be in the world to see the finest wood carving work. This Devalaya is dedicated to the the god Kataragama. Gadaladeniaya Temple was build by king Wickramabahu in 1344 during the Gampola Kingdom time. The Lankatilaka temple history runs back to the Gampola Kingdom era. King Buwanekabahu IV has built this temple in 1344 AD. Late afternoon visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple.

Thereafter Leave for Nuwara Eliya visiting the famous waterfall called “Ramboda Falls” and a Tea Plantation. Also you would visit a Tea Factory and Plantation where you would see where the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” is manufactured. Thereafter proceed to Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya is set in the heart of tea-country and is a beautiful town where the British succeeded in creating a replica of the English countryside, with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church, a famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Situated 6,200 feet above sea level, the air is cool and fresh – a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Evening sightseeing in Nuwara Eliya.

After breakfast proceed Kataragama via Ella. PM – Visit the spectacular evening Pooja Ceremony in the Kataragama Temple. This is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama deviyo. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the majority Sinhala Buddhists, minority Hindu Tamils, Muslims and the Vedda people. It is a collection of modest shrines, of which the one dedicated to Skanda-Murukan, also known as Kataragama deviyo, is the most important. For most of the past millennia, it was a jungle shrine very difficult to access but today it is accessible by an all-weather road.

After breakfast proceed to Galle. Afternoon sightseeing in Galle. Galle is a coastal town where the Dutch presence is still visible. Galle was an ancient port (said to be the legendary Tarshish of the Bible), and our first international commerce and trade centre. Today, Galle is the bustling provincial capital and administrative centre of the south. It is famous for its lovely Unawatuna Bay, where the sea is reef protected and therefore safe for swimming. The old Dutch “Star Fort” (a World Heritages Site) covering 36 hectares, the well-preserved Groote Kerk (Dutch Church), Dutch Government House, the New Oriental Hotel (built in 1684) old bell tower and a tide-based Sewage-System, also introduced by the Dutch. In Galle they still make the Dutch ‘pillow-lace’ and do fine ebony carving and gem polishing. Also if you’re lucky, you could see the world famous Galle Cliff Jumpers.. These little boys would take a leap off the cliff about a 15 – 20 meters high into the ocean below and then expect a little pocket money from the photographer.. This is actually a breathtaking sight!

After breakfast proceed to Colombo. Visit the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya (Kelaniya Temple) Being just seven miles from Colombo, Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya is the most sought after Temple for the Buddhists in and around Colombo. On the Eighth year after the Enlightenment, the Lord Buddha has visited this sacred site, which had been the Third and the last visit to Sri Lanka by the Gauthama Buddha. Later visit the Gangaramaya Temple is a Buddhist temple inclusive of several imposing buildings and is located nearby the placid water of Beira Lake on a plot of land that use to be the hermitage on a small piece of marshy land. The design of the temple is inspired by the ancient forest monasteries such as Anuradhapura and Ritigala. The temple has a museum, a library, a residential hall, a tree storied Pirivena, educational halls and alms hall in its premises. It is designed by Geoffrey Bawa, one of the foremost architects of Asia, with a calm elegance.

After breakfast proceed to the airport OR drop at your selected beach resort for extended stay.

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