GRAND TOUR (7 NIGHTS / 8 DAYS)

DAY 01 (Airport - Sigiriya or Dambulla)

Arrival at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka, the tropical paradise, will be met and assisted by representative of Crystal Holidays and transfer to Sigiriya / Dambulla Lunch at the hotel.

In the evening climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress the world Heritage Site and see the famous decorated its sides with colorful frescoes.

Dinner & overnight stay in Sigiriya / Dambulla

Sigiriya - Home to the 5th century ‘Fortress in the Sky’ which is perhaps the most fantastic single wonder of the Island. It is also known as Lion Rock because of the huge lion that used to stand at the entrance to the fortress. Within its triple-moated defense, the huge rock rises to a sheer height of almost 500 feet. On its summit are the foundations of what was once a great and sumptuous palace and gardens complete with swimming pool. On one of the stairways, the only known ancient work of Sinhala secular painting survives in the form of frescoes of life-sized damsels in all the freshness and delicacy of their original colours.

Dambulla - Dambulla is famous for the five cave temples on a rock. The first three caves are better, older and larger than the other two. Some caves date back to the 1st century BC. All the five cave walls and ceilings are covered with Buddhist murals and there are more than 130 Buddha statues. Statues of gods and kings are also found here.

DAY 02 (Sigiriya or Dambulla - Matale - Kandy)

After breakfast, excursion to World Heritage Site Polonnaruwa, home to some of medieval Sri Lanka’s finest art and architecture, including the giant Buddha statues of the Gal Vihara.

Visit the wonderful ancient relics at Polonnaruwa
Lunch at a restaurant in Polonnaruwa.

Return to Sigiriya / Dambulla. (Optional - Minneriya National Park by Jeep)

Dinner & overnight stay in Sigiriya / Dambulla

Polonnaruwa - Polonnaruwa was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century AD. Great re vival was achieved in the country, politically, economically and socially during the periods of kings Vijayabahu 1, Parakramabahu 1 and Nissankamalla. The monuments here are better preserved than at Anuradhapura - the previous capital. Parakrama statue, royal palaces, audience halls, Vata-da-ge, Thuparama, Rankoth Vehera, Kiri Vehera, Gal Vihara, Lankathilaka and Tivanka Image House are some of the interesting monuments here.

DAY 03 (Sigiriya or Dambulla - Matale - Kandy)

After breakfast, leave for Kandy, the cultural capital of Sri Lanka is a World Heritage Site and has number of tourist attractions.

En route visit Dambulla Rock Cave Temple crammed with Buddhist statues and decorated with Sri Lanka’s finest murals & Spice Garden in Matale to see different Spices for which Sri Lanka is famous

Lunch en-route
Check-in at the hotel
Visit wonderful Buddhist Temple of the Tooth Relic in the evening.

Dinner & overnight stay in Kandy

Kandy - The hill capital; venue of the annual Esala Perahera (Local festival at Kandy); the last stronghold of the Sinhala kings, was finally ceded to the British in 1815. Surrounded by hills, the Mahaweli River and the virgin forest, it is the center of Buddhism, arts, crafts and culture in Sri Lanka. Kandy is an example of Buddhism’s influence in Sri Lanka today. Temples, shrines and monasteries keep Buddhist traditions alive. To 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. One would always return a second time to this beautiful city.

Spice Gardens at Matale - See the luscious cinnamons, cardamoms, pepper plants etc. You can also purchase your requirements of spices. Afterwards visit a Batik factory where you can see the manufacture of beautiful Batik prints and also purchase a wide variety of Batik items.

Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) – According to legend, the tooth was taken from the Buddha as he lay on his funeral pyre. It was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali who fled the Hindu armies besieging her father's kingdom in India. The temple was originally built under Kandyan kings between 1687 and 1707, but later severely damaged during the 18th-century colonial wars against the Portugese and Dutch. After the wars, the original wooden structures were restored in stone.

DAY 04 (Kandy)

After breakfast, visit Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya which is a paradise for nature lovers

Thereafter excursion to Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage en-route to watch baby elephants being fed and over 40 elephants being bathed in the nearby river

Lunch at a restaurant in Pinnawela.
Return to Kandy.
Evening at leisure.

Dinner & overnight stay in Kandy

Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya – Started in 1374 as a pleasure garden of the kings of Kandy, 147 acres in extent, it has more than 4,000 species of rare and endemic trees and plants as well as flora from the tropical world. This is a haven not only for scientists but to every nature lover too. The Spice Garden and Orchid House within the Gardens are popular with tourists.

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage - Off Colombo-Kandy road is Pinnawela, where an orphanage was started in 1975 to house abandoned and wounded elephants. The number of elephants has increased to more than 65 now, including baby elephants brought from various parts of the Island as well as those born as a result of the captive breeding programme. The best times to visit is the feeding time and bathing time - when all the elephants are taken to the river close by.

DAY 05 (Kandy - Nuwaraeliya)

After breakfast, leave for Nuwara Eliya, visiting a tea plantation en-route.

Lunch at the hotel.
Sightseeing at Nuwara Eliya in the evening.
Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya

Tea Plantations – Tea was first planted in Sri Lanka in 1824 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, when a few plants were brought from China. More were introduced from Assam in 1839. In 1867, a Scottish planter named James Taylor planted tea seedlings in 8 hectares of forestland in the Loolkondura Estate. In 1873, the tea export industry of Sri Lanka began with a modest 23 lbs. being shipped to London. Today more than 200,000 hectares in highlands and other areas are under tea and around 300 million kilograms (25% of world tea exports) are exported by Sri Lanka as the world’s largest tea exporter. Tea grows only on rolling terrain and is classified by elevation into Low Grown, Medium Grown & High Grown.

Nuwara Eliya - The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of mountains, valleys, waterfalls and tea plantations and is 6,200 feet above sea level. In 1826 some British Officers out on shooting, chanced on Nuwara Eliya plains, and Sir Edward Barnes investigated on it. In 1828 a road was constructed over the ridge at Ramboda Pass and a station for convalescent soldiers was established. It was Sir Samuel Baker who fell under the spell of Nuwara Eliya, brought hounds, horses, cattle, sheep etc. and started a typical English farm here. Flowers and vegetable were brought from England and planted. It is supposed to be one of the coldest places on the Island, but is really just like an England spring day although the temperature does drop at night. The Victoria Park, in the middle of the town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic. Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom during spring (March to May) and the fall (August and September).

DAY 06 (Nuwaraeliya - Tissamaharama)

After breakfast, leave for Tissamaharama.
Lunch at a restaurant/hotel.
After lunch, jeep safari at Yala National Park.
Thereafter proceed to Hambantota.
Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight stay in Tissamaharama

Tissamaharama – The ancient capital of the province of Ruhuna, to which Sinhalese patriots rallying support against Indian invaders fled. No systematic excavation of the known (and unknown) archaeological sites of Ruhuna has yet been undertaken. The exposed monuments consists of Menik, Yatala, Tissamaharama and Sandagiriya dagobas and the large-pillared hall close to Yatala Dagoba supposed to be the temple where the Sacred Forehead Relics of the Buddha was kept until it was enshrined at the Tissamaharama Dagoba.

Yala National Park - Yala National Park is famous for big herds of elephants, large number of leopards, spotted deer, sambar, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boars, wild buffaloes and many other animals. More than 130 bird species have been recorded which include the resident birds and winter visitors. The common birds found here are spot-billed pelicans, cormorants, egrets, spoonbills, herons, storks, ibises, bitterns, Indian moorhens, white-breasted water hens.

DAY 07 (Tissamaharama - Galle - Mount Lavinia)

After breakfast, leave for Mount Lavinia, having lunch and visiting the Dutch Fort in Galle and the Dutch fort in Galle en-route. Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight stay in Mount Lavinia

Galle – The south coast’s major city is Galle, whose oldest landmark is the massive Dutch Fort which is a ‘World Heritage Site’ in which the central city is contained. But the city may be much older. Some scholars believe it to be the ‘Tarshish’ of the Old Testament, to which King Solomon sent his merchant vessels and to which Jonah fled from the Lord. Today, the 90-acre Galle Dutch Fort shows no evidence of its Portuguese founders. The Dutch incorporated the Portuguese northern wall in a great rampart in 1663. A second, taller wall was built inside of it. Between the two walls, a covered passage connected the central bastion with the fort’s two half bastions overlooking the sea. The Dutch also installed a sophisticated drainage system, complete with brick-lined underground sewers that were flushed twice a day by the high and low tides. The original gate to the fort was by the harbour.

Mount Lavinia - A peaceful yet lively beach resort just 12 kilometres south of Colombo with a maze of narrow lanes, small beachside restaurants and wayside boutiques. This township will also appeal to an adventurous spirit.

DAY 08 (Mount Lavinia - Airport)

After breakfast, proceed for beach extension or to the airport for departure flight.

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