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Home Sub-Continental Tours Enchanting Sri Lanka
Enchanting Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a land of misty highlands and tea plantations, dense jungles and National Parks that are ideally suited for trekking and day walks. Our journey leads deep into the rainforest of central Sri Lanka where monks conduct prayers in harmony with the forest, before continuing to the ancient Buddhist capital of Anuradhapura and the world heritage site of Polonnaruwa. This adventure is highlighted by a peaceful canoeing trip down the Kalu Ganga where we can savour the village life and nature that abound along the rivers edge.

The recent history of Sri Lanka has been turbulent, stemming from its ethnic intolerance and militant readings of religious philosophy. The Sinhalese are predominantly Buddhist, the Tamils mainly Hindus, and there are sizeable Muslim and Christian Burgher (descendants of Dutch colonists) minorities. The Sinhalese speak Sinhalese, the Tamils and most Muslims speak Tamil and the Burghers often speak English. The Muslims are scattered all over the island and are thought to be descendants of early Arab or Indian traders. They have largely steered clear of the recently ended civil conflict, though there have been clashes between Muslims and Tamils in the east. The Tamils in the hill country are recent low caste arrivals brought in by the British to work on the plantations. They share little in common with the Tamils of the north who have been in Sri Lanka for over 1000 years. The hill country Tamils have generally managed to avoid being drawn into the current ethnic conflict. Fortunately, the Norwegian led peace talks have resulted in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) agreeing to renew a ceasefire agreement in January 2002, resulting in 6 rounds of Peace Talks with the Government, and agreement for a federal system, thereby giving up the demand for a separate state.

Sri Lanka's classical architecture, sculpture and painting is predominantly Buddhist. Stupas sprinkle the countryside, and there are several extravagantly large Buddhas sculptures, notably at Aukana and Buduruvagala. Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa have the most impressive archaeological legacy, but Kandy is the most thriving cultural centre today. Colonial remnants include Dutch forts, canal and churches and British residences, clubs and courthouses. Galle is the finest colonial city on the island. Sinhalese dancing is similar to Indian dance but relies on acrobatics, nimbleness and symbolism to unfold its narratives. Kandy is a good place to see `up-country dancing', but Colombo or Ambalangoda are the places to witness the ritualistic exorcism of `devil dancing'. Folk theatre combines dance, masked drama, drumming and exorcism rituals to vividly recreate Sri Lankan folklore. Woodcarving, weaving, pottery and metalwork are all highly developed crafts, and Sri Lanka is especially renowned for its gems. Ambalangoda is the best place to see Sri Lankan masks; Ratnapura is the centre of Sri Lanka's gem trade, and Sri Lanka's best shopping can be found in Kandy.

Rice and curry - often fiery hot (toned down for Western Taste buds) - dominate meal times and usually include small side dishes of vegetables, meat and fish. Indian curris such as vegetarian thali, delicately flavoured biriyani and kool, a boiled, fried and dried-in-the-sun vegetable combo, are also available. Hoppers are a unique Sri Lankan snack, similar to a pancake, served with egg or honey and yoghurt. Coastal towns have excellent fish.. There's plenty of tropical fruits to choose from and the tea is terrific. European food is not recommended as this is not their specialty.

DAY 01 ARRIVE COLOMBO
Arrival and transfer to Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 02 IN COLOMBO
Afternoon, a city of Colombo observing the old Parliament, the residential areas and the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall) and visit Fort.Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 03 COLOMBO-DAMBULLA
Morning depart by surface to Dambulla en route visiting the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela, which is a home to about 60 elephants found abandoned or orphaned in the wild. Also, accompany the elephants to a river close by to see them having their daily baths. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Dambulla. Dating back to the 1st century BC, it is the most impressive cave temple in Sri Lanka, with five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images, following the contours of the rock. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 04 DAMBULLA-SIGIRIYA
After breakfast proceed to Sigiriya and on arrival check-in at the hotel. Afternoon excursion to Polonnaruwa. This was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka from the 10th Century AD. In its time the city was protected by 6 km (3 miles) of encircling wall, and strategically commanded all the crossings over the Mahaveli River guarding the Southern Province. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 05 SIGIRIYA-KANDY
After breakfast, climb Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, built by King Kasiappa (473 - 491 AD). The lion rock is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 meters from the scrub jungle. See the world famous frescoes of the "Heavenly Maidens" of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock. Thereafter continue journey to visit a Spice Garden in Matale. Afternoon at leisure. In the late evening visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 06 IN KANDY
After breakfast, a city tour of Kandy - the last capital of the Sri Lankan Kings. The name Kandy conjures visions of a storied past, splendour, legend, folklore, mystery and traditions lovingly kept alive for countless years. Visit a Gem lapidary. Also, visit the Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, which was originally the pleasure gardens of the Royalty. Nearly 4000 species of plants are found in this garden and the Mahaweli River encircles it. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 07 KANDY-NUWARA ELIYA
After breakfast, proceed to Nuwara Eliya, enroute visiting a Tea Plantation and a Factory. Nuwara Eliya is the location for one of the finest 18 hole Golf Courses in Asia. Sri Lanka's highest mountain Pidurutalagala (8282 ft) is located here. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 08 NUWARA ELIYA-BENTOTA
After breakfast proceed to Bentota via Kitulgala where the famous "Bridge on the River Kwai" film was made.. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 09 IN BENTOTA
Breakfast and rest of day at leisure on the beach. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 10 IN BENTOTA
Breakfast and rest of day at leisure on the beach. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 11 BENTOTA-COLOMBO-DEPARTURE
After breakfast transfer to Airport to board flight back home.

END OF THE TOUR

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