Polonnaruwa..the Medieval Capital of Sri Lanka, was the second capital of the country after the destruction of the ancient city of Anuradhapura in 993 (from 10th-12th century AD). Observe ancient Sri Lankan architecture from the 12th Century..see Brahmanic monuments built by the Cholas and the monumental ruins of the garden city created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century. Visit the ruins of the King’s Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, the Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House, Kiri Vehera and Gal Vihare; see Art, Architecture and Sculpture at Gal Viharaya,Thuparamaya Image House and Lankatilaka Image House.
Day visit to Anuradhapura from Sigiriya
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Anuradhapura is a sacred city with an over 1,000yr old illustrious history..once the ancient Sri Lankan capital. Explore this secret city portraying an amazing picture of Sri Lanka’s ancient civilization. An important Buddhist pilgrimage centre, it has some of the largest Dagaba’s found in the country. Visit the sacred Bo (Bodhi) Tree, grown from a sapling of the very tree under which lord Buddha found enlightenment over 2500yrs ago (recorded as the oldest tree in history); observe huge bell-shaped Stupas built of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces and, ancient drinking-water reservoirs. Visit Isurumuniya Vihara Temple and the Carving of the Isurumuniya lovers, situated between 2 rocks..a beautiful temple famous among locals and foreigners for the stone carving of a couple located there; see the image house having a reclining Buddha cut from the rock; marvel at surrounding lakes, paddy fields and rocks.
The Medirigiriya Vatadage..considered the best vatadage in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka..is located amid scenic environs, standing alone atop a small hill. Also called the Madalagiri Vihara, it is believed to have been built during Pre- Christian times. The circular building called ‘vatadage’, was built to protect and house a ‘dagoba’, in order to enshrine the sacred relics of the Buddha. The first chronicled reference to this site is of the period of king Kanittha Tissa (192-194) of the Anuradhapura Era..where the ‘brami’ characters found on the bricks and some stone carvings, is an indication of this sites long history.
Village Tour- Harbarana
Experience rural Sri Lankan life during your visit to Habarana, lasting around three hours. Explore the local forest and bush by bullock cart and on foot, followed by a scenic canoe ride on a picturesque lake where you can see farmers working in the fields. After, have authentic lunch at a charming village house for an authentic experience. Your English speaking guide will also point out birds and local flora.
The Aukana/Avukana Buddha statue is a colossus standing statue of the Buddha in north central Sri Lanka. Standing about 46ft//12m high, it was carved out of a large granite rock-face during the 5th century..an architectural marvel of the ancient Sinhalese. Standing tall next to the Kala Wewa water reservoir/tank, it is sculpted in the ‘asisa mudra’ or ‘the blessing position’, considered unconventional for Sri Lanka. The symbolic gesture called Mudra..in the position where Lord Buddha holds his hand up raised at the right shoulder with the palm spread, signifying lack of fear..is in the form of Ashiva Mudra which signifies ‘giving or blessing’. The ‘Aukana’ meaning ‘sun eating’, is best viewed during the break of dawn, and the statue faces eastward..with the low lights capturing the intricate details of the statue.
The ancient monastery of Aluvihara is a sacred Buddhist temple set in a scenic valley. Aluvihara Rock Temple..originally called
City Highlights of Sigiriya
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Sigiriya dates back over 5,000yrs to the Mesolithic period. Sigiriya (Lions Rock), lies on the steep slopes and summit of a granite peak standing 180m high (‘Lion’s Rock’- dominating the jungle on all sides). In the 5th century AD, King Kassapa I left Anuradhapura for Sigiriya to build a palace and city modelled on the mythical abode of ‘Kuvera’- God of Wealth. Visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress..identified uniquely by its shape, recognizable from great distances. See the Sigiriya Rock Paintings or Frescoes of Sigiri Damsels, locally called ‘Sigiri Apsaras’, painted on the western rock face cavity, 100m above the rock base. See the Mirror Wall here, covered in graffiti from the 7th-10th centuries.
Set out to observe wild elephants and birds in their natural habitat at Minneriya Park, ideal for the ‘off season’ safari enthusiast. Situated in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka betwixt four ancient cities, it spans 8,889 hectares and offers visitors the chance to observe animals from a suitable distance without disturbing the natural environment. Spot large herds of over 100 elephants and look out for birds like the Sri Lanka Jungle-fowl, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot; mammals like Sambar, Spotted Deer, Leopard, Sloth Bear. You might also spot endemics like the Toque Macaque and Purple-faced Langur.
Enjoy a a powerful experience on a pachyderm
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple
The Dambulla rock caves are the largest, best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, dating back to the 1st century B.C., converted into residential quarters for monks, thus becoming a Buddhist temple. Be amazed by 5 caves (converted into shrine rooms) under a vast overhanging rock, containing images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses. One of the most important centres of Buddhist pilgrimage in Sri Lanka, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hot Air Ballooning
At sunrise, take a pre-flight briefing from the pilot before taking off..slowly rising about 500-2000ft..drifting effortlessly above tropical forests, wildlife, lakes, rivers, cultural sites, local urban homesteads, landmarks like Sigiriya Rock, Golden Buddha and more; capture aerial views of Kandalama, ancient Dambulla rock temple and Sigiriya Rock Fortress; glide majestically above ruined cities; sail over untouched wilderness and hover, enjoying the beautiful sunrise over the morning’s misty horizon. This area is a reminder of a 2,500yr-old rich civilization. Your Pilot will be delighted to answer any questions you may have..feel free to ask.
Spice Garden Visit w Lunch at Matale
En route from Habarana to Kandy, take the chance to visit these stunning and fragrant spice gardens. On this half day visit, enjoy a cookery demonstration and learn how to prepare local curry dishes using the indigenous spices.