Overview

Spiritual Sri Lanka welcomes you on a journey that will rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Visit the beautiful Buddhist Temples of Colombo and Kandy, including the Gangaramaya Temple and the legendary Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Trudge through Udawattakele Sanctuary and Kaudulla National Park where you may spot one elephant or two hundred. Take a walk through the fragrant paths of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kandy. See Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress and visit the Dambulla Cave Temple. Explore the ruins of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mihintale, Yapahuwa and Arankele. Rest and refresh yourself with yoga classes and ayurvedic therapies with a week-long stay at Ulpotha. Please note: as many of the places on this itinerary are religious sites, you are requested to dress modestly and observe local customs, including removal of footwear, where necessary.

14 Nights 15 Days 16 Oct, 17 Oct, 18 Oct, and more Bandaranaike Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Luxury accommodation in hotels and ayurvedic resorts
  • All meals as specified in itinerary
  • Airport transfers and local transport via luxury car or train
  • All local permits
  • Entry to ticketed exhibitions and guided tours mentioned in the itinerary
  • Yoga classes and consultations mentioned in this itinerary

What is NOT included in the tour

  • International air travel
  • Any meal not specified in the itinerary, any meal-extras like soft beverages and alcohol
  • Additional services like spa treatments and ayurvedic therapies
  • Personal purchases of any kind, including medication
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips and fines for contravening local laws
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Experience evening worship at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy
  • Go sightseeing in Colombo and Kandy
  • Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and visit Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Explore the rich history of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms via the Cultural Triangle
  • Visit Udawattakele Sanctuary and see elephants at Kaudulla National Park
  • Attend customised yoga classes and ayurvedic therapy sessions
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, sightseeing in Colombo) (-, L, D)
  • ProVacation welcomes you to Sri Lanka on your arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport. We will convey you to your hotel in Colombo.
  • Your journey begins with a visit to Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple. One of the most important Buddhist temples in the world, Gangaramaya is considered not just a shrine, but also a centre of knowledge. It is involved in Buddhist welfare work and active in propagating the dhamma world over. The temple itself is an interesting architectural mix of Sinhalese, Indian, Thai and Chinese. A number of impressive buildings make up the vihara (temple), cetiya (memorial), library, museum, residential halls, educational halls, etc. The nearby floating Sima Malaka Shrine, on Beira Lake, is of note for not following usual Buddhist temple architectural patterns and for having been funded (in part) by a local Muslim merchant. It is a place for rest and meditation.
  • Spend the afternoon looking around Colombo’s British and Dutch colonial buildings including the Old Parliament House, Wolvendaal Church, and the Colombo National and Dutch museums.
  • The Colombo National Museum houses the crown jewels and throne of the last king of Kandy apart from an impressive collection of Sri Lankan art and artefacts.
  • Peruse Barefoot Bookshop’s comforting shelves and end the evening with high tea at sunset, at one of Colombo’s historic hotels.
Day 2 (Sightseeing in Colombo, transfer to Kandy with a stop at Udawattakele) (B, L, D)
  • In the early morning, visit the oldest and largest Hindu temple in Colombo—Sri Kailawasanathan Swami DevasthanamKovil. This 18th century temple has intricately carved details on the façade, doors, and shikhara (spire). The earlier it is, the less crowded it will be and you will have an opportunity to appreciate the elegant serenity of your surroundings.
  • After breakfast, set out for Kandy with enroute stops at Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara and Udawattakele Sanctuary. The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient Buddhist temple believed to have been hallowed during Lord Buddha’s final visit to Sri Lanka. The temple has seen land seizure and renewed land endowment and refurbishment over the centuries. It features remarkable Buddhist iconography and imagery, as well as an 18-foot statue of Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara.
  • Make a stop for lunch and proceed to the Udawattakele Forest Reserve. These historical forests were once private pleasure gardens of the Kandyan kings. Although surrounded by the busy suburbs of Kandy, this sanctuary is home to a variety of flora and fauna, most notably, birds. Approximately 80 species have been known to live in the sanctuary including endemic species like Layard’s parakeet and rare birds like the three-toed kingfisher.
  • Check in to your hotel in Kandy and spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 3 (Evening worship at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) (B, L, D)
  • Enjoy an early breakfast and visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya. The existing gardens were laid in the early 19th century to grown coffee and cinnamon. Today, it grows over 4000 species of plants, including a vast collection of orchids and is associated with the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka. The beautifully maintained walks of the gardens offer a fragrant and peaceful way to begin the day.
  • Lose yourself in the markets of Kandy for a bit of comfort shopping. Even if you can withstand temptation, the vibrant markets filled with all manner of Sri Lankan spices, antiques, jewels, handicraft and textiles are a feast for the senses.
  • After a late lunch, spend a quiet afternoon by the Kandy Lake (also known as the Kiri Muhuda). It is an artificial lake built in the early 1800s by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Spot cormorants, egrets and cranes and admire the beauty of the Queen’s Bathing Pavilion, now used as a police post.
  • Peep into the nearby National Museum of Kandy, housing a large number of artefacts from the Kandyan kingdom and British colonial era.
  • Also near the lake is Kandy’s iconic Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. The Buddhist temple is located within the former royal palace complex. It is the present resting place of the tooth relic of Lord Buddha, constructed by Vira Narendra Sinha, the last Sinhalese king of Sri Lanka. Visit the temple in time for the magnificent evening pooja (worship) and return to your hotel for the night.
Day 4 (Visit to Dambulla Cave Rock Temple and Kaudulla National Park) (B, L, D)
  • Leave Kandy after breakfast and drive to your next stop, Habarana. On the way, stop at Dambulla Cave Temple. Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, this is the largest an d most well-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Of the scores of documented caves in the complex, 5 are of significant attraction with Buddhist murals and statues. The caves were inhabited even before the arrival of Buddhismas evidenced by the almost 3000-year-old burial sites with human skeletons in the area.
  • This UNESCO World Heritage site is still a functional monastery.
  • Another interesting stop on the road to Habarana is at any of the spice gardens in the area. Walk through the shady pathways and see how peppercorns, cinnamon, cashew, ginger, cloves, aloe vera, jasmine, cocoa, vanilla, etc are grown. While most of these tours are free, you will likely be expected to make a purchase at the attached shop and tip the guide.
  • Check in to your hotel in Habaranaand make a trip to Kaudulla National Park in the early evening. This is a good time to see the herds of elephants this area is famous for, especially in the dry season. Apart from elephants, you can spot a variety of deer, the Sri Lankan leopard, sloth bear, freshwater turtles and flocks of birds. This park is also an Important Bird Area of Sri Lanka. Return to your hotel in Habarana for the night.
Day 5 (Sightseeing in Polonnaruwa) (B, L, D)
  • One of the highlights of this tour is the trip to the medieval ruined capital of Polonnaruwa. Strategically superior to Anuradhapura, it was declared the capital of the Sinhalese kingdom by Vijaybahu I after defeating Chola invaders from south India in the 11th century. Under Parakramabahu I, Polonnaruwa flourished in culture, trade and agriculture. Ingenious irrigation systems are a hallmark of this period, and one major remnant is the massive reservoir of Parakrama Samudra. Explore the ruins of one of the greatest periods of the Sinhalese kingdom and return to Habarana for the evening. Take a stroll by Habarana Lake to soak in the wonders of the day. Dinner will be at the hotel.
Day 6 (Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, see the Avukana Buddha Statue) (B, L, D)
  • After breakfast, leave Habarana for the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. This UNESCO World Heritage site sits atop a 660-foot column of rock and was built in approximately the 5th century by Kasyapa. A lion-shaped gateway gives the name Sigiriya or ‘Lion Rock’ to the site. It is an extraordinary feat of ancient engineering and urban planning. After Sigiriya was lost to his brother in battle, it was returned to Buddhist monks who had lived in the caves at the base of the rock for centuries before the creation of the citadel. The view from the top of the fort is magnificent and the climb is best made early in the day.
  • The next stop is to see the Avukana Buddha statue near Kekirawa. This standing statue of Lord Buddha holding his hands in abhaya mudra, is more than 40 feet high and was carved out of a granite rock face in the 5th century. It is still connected to the larger rock for support and has long been a holy spot for Buddhists around the world.
  • In the late afternoon, drive to Anuradhapura, where you will be staying for the next couple of days. Spend the evening at your leisure.
Day 7 (Sightseeing in Mihintale and Anuradhapura) (B, L, D)
  • Mihintaleis a peak near Anuradhapura that is popularly considered to be the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was over here that Mahinda, the son of King Asoka and a Buddhist monk, met King Devanampiyatissa, giving birth to Buddhism’s presence in Sri Lanka. It is, therefore, a site of great significance and popular among pilgrims. A number of structures including the ruins of a hospital, stupas and a refectory populate this area. It is quite a climb to the peak and ideally accomplished before the midday sun makes the ground too hot.
  • After lunch, explore the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Perhaps the most well-known of the ancient capitals of the Sinhalese kingdom, this UNESCO World Heritage site was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for centuries. Tour the structures of Ruwanwelisaya, Isurumuniya, Abhaygiri Vihara and Vessagiri. These stupas and temples are in various states of repair and maintenance and are some of the most sacred Buddhist spots in the world. Return to your hotel in Anuradhapura for the night.
Day 8 (Visit to Hatthikuchchi Viharaya, Yapahuwa, Arankele) (B, L, D)
  • Dedicate the day to visiting several spots of interest between Kurunegala and Anuradhapura in the Cultural Triangle. First on the list, the Hatthikuchchi Viharaya is a ruined Buddhist temple complex, one of the oldest in Sri Lanka, built by King Devanampiyatissa in the 4th century. Valuable rock inscriptions decorate the vihara rock.
  • Proceed to the abandoned medieval capital of Yapahuwa. It succeeded Polonnaruwa as capital of the Sinhalese kingdom in the 13th century. As a military stronghold, the rock fortress is very like Sigiriya in style and has clear remains of battle defences visible even today. A large ornamental stairway is one of its glories and the caves at the base of the rock have Buddhist murals and inscriptions.
  • Finally, discover a hidden-away gem in Arankele. One of the lesser-known tourist spots, the forests of Arankele hold a ruined monastery dating back to the 3rd century. The neat lines of Arankele’s main monastery, meditation walkway and cave shrine form a striking contrast to the unruly forest that surrounds it. A modern monastery at the back still sees practicing monks who reside here.Return to Anuradhapura for the night.
Day 9 to Day 14 (Yoga classes and Ayurvedic therapy at Ulpotha) (B, L, D)
  • The final week of your tour is given to rest and rejuvenation of the body and mind. Ulpotha is an ayurvedic retreat fringed by green hills, paddy fields and a lake. It is an eco-friendly working village and therefore open as a retreat for only part of the year. Your days here will pass by quicker than you can count between yoga classes, consultations for diet and ayurvedic therapy and meditation. You may also avail the recommended therapies at a surcharge. Ulpotha requests minimum booking of one week (preferably two) and upon request, ProVacation can organise a longer stay.
Day 15 (Departure from Bandaranaike International Airport) (B, -, -)
  • After an early breakfast, we will convey you from Ulpothato Bandaranaike International Airport. ProVacation hopes you have found your centre of peace on this journey into Spiritual Sri Lanka.
Pickup point
Directions.
Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB), Canada Friendship Rd, Katunayake, Sri Lanka View on Map