SRI LANKA - Classic Ramayana Tour

7 Day - Classic Ramayana Tour  

From £1175 p.p.

Includes free stopover in India for up to 6 months, accommodation at your own expense

Day 1

On arrival (flight on your own arrangement), our Ranfer Travels guide will meet you at the airport. After warm Sri Lanka style greetings at the airport you will leave to Dambulla, enroute we stop Munneshwaram Temple in Chilaw.

Munneshwaram – Is a temple complex of three shrines. The 1500-year-old inner sanctum of the main Siva temple has Tamil inscriptions and is an important pilgrimage centre. August is the main festival period. The temple is believe to pre-date Ramayana and is a dedicated to Lord Siva. It is believed that a Shiva Lingam was already here when lord Rama visited the place. Lord Rama after his victorious battle against King Ravana left for Ayodhya (India) with Sita Devi in ones of King Ravan’s Vimanas. He believed he was being followed by a demon force, as he was feeling the force having killed King Ravana, who was of Brahmin blood.

When the demon was passing over Munneswaram, Lord Rama felt it vibrating, and realised the "Brahmaasthi Dosham". He asks God Shiva for a remedy. God Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised installing and praying for four lingams at Manavari, Thiru Koneshwaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India, as the only remedy to get rid of the dosham. The first Lingam was installed at Manavari about 5 Km from Munneswaran, near the banks of Deduru Oya.

Today the Munneshwaram kovil is a livly place in the center of a vibrant little township.
Proceed to Dambulla and check in to your hotel.
Overnight stay Dambulla

Day 2

After breakfast enjoy a day trip to Trincomalee
Visit Koneshwaram temple at Swami Rock, Trinco.
Swami Rock and Konesvaram Temple are built on a cliff high above the sea. The modern Hindu Konesvaram Temple, one of the five most sacred saivites sites in Sri Lanka, stands at the farthest end of the Swami Rock in the place of the original. The temple of Koneswaram is believed to be surrounded by the legend on Ramayana as the legendary hero-king Rama. Koneswaram was developed in the post classical era, between 300 CE and 1600 CE by kings of the Tamil Pandyan and Chola empires, and Vannimai chiefs of the Eastern Province, with decorations and structural additions such as its famous thousand pillared hall furnished by kings of the Tamil Pallava dynasty and the Jaffna kingdom.

This culminated in Koneswaram becoming one of the most important surviving buildings of the classical Dravidian architectural period by the early 1600s. In 1624 CE, the Konewaram temple was largely destroyed by the Portuguese colonials who practically bulldozed the entire temple into the sea. Hindus built a successor temple at a nearby site in 1632 CE - the Ati Konanayakar temple in nearby Tampalakamam - to house some of the destroyed temple's idols, where they are now worshipped. In the 1950s, the ruins of the temple were discovered underwater beside Swami Rock by divers and rebuilt. Only a couple of stone pillars from the original temple have survived.
Return back to the hotel in Dambulla.
Overnight stay Dambulla

Day 3

After breakfast visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Built by an obsessed monarch in the 5th century, Sigiriya or Lion Rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction. The most striking portion of Sigiriya, a terracotta and grey core of rock set in the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, rises a sheer 200 metres above a forested plain, its flattened summit sloping gently. A series of moats, ramparts and water gardens — remnants of an ancient city — spread out on two sides of the rock, with the remains of a pair of giant stone lion’s paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace.

Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Sigiriya is Asia’s best preserved city of the first millennium, showing complex urban planning around the base of the rock, combined with sophisticated engineering and irrigation skills in the palace perched on the summit. It is considered it to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world with visitors recording their impressions in some of the earliest-known graffiti.
In the evening we will visit Dabulla Rock Caves which date back to the 1st century BC.

Proceed to Kandy, en route visit the Matale Spice Gardens.

Overnight Stay in Kandy.

Day 4

After breakfast travel towards Mahiyanaganaya to visit Seetha kotuwa – at Hasalaka (this is approximately a 2.5 hours journey)and come back to Kandy in the Evening.
Seetha Kotuwa in Hasalaka is where Queen Mandothri had her beautiful palace surrounded by the waterfalls and streams of Rathna Ella. It was here that Sitadevi was first kept captive until she was believed to have been moved to Asoka Vatika in Hakgala.
The remains that are found in the region now are the remnants of later civilizations. This place is now called Sita Kotuwa.

Optional – You can also opt to stay in Kandy and visit the ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDEN of Peradenya which was a pleasure garden of a Kandyan King of the 16th Century and later made in to a Botanical Garden during the British regime. This gardens; one of the best in Asia, is a place of beauty and site for bird watchers. It is bounded on three sides by the Mahaveli River, which snakes around the 60-hectare gardens. Peradeniya is the second largest botanical garden in Asia. It has an orchid house which botanists should visit. In 1905 an avenue of palms were planted and now is one of the most photographed places in the gardens. The oldest tree here is a 150 year old double coconut tree. The Giant Fig tree on the Great Lawn is another notable tree. During World War II, it served as a base for Lord Mountebatten. Today it is a popular haunt for day trippers, botanists and birdwatchers.

In the evening visit KANDY CITY - Today Kandy is not only the second largest city in the island but is one of the most important cities owing to the presence of the Temple of the Sacred tooth of the Buddha. The ancient walk ways and alley are a great way to discover this hill country station and the breathtaking lake in the heart of Kandy city adds to its romantic reputation. The tour will take you to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, a magnificent golden roofed temple, Kandy Museum, Market Place and Gem & Jewellery Museum. Later, enjoy a Traditional Cultural Dance Show.

Overnight Stay in Kandy

Day 5

After breakfast Drive to Ramboda waterfalls, which is 109m high and the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka. Here we will also visit Hanuman’s Temple. According to the ancient stories, Ramboda is the area, where the forces of Rama's gather to fight against King Ravana. This temple was built by the Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka and dedicated to Hanuman. This temple today houses for 16 feel height statue of Hanuman.

We will visit Sita Tear Pond and Chariot Route on the summit of Pussellawa Hills en route. The top of the hill overlooks the place where Lord Hanuman first set his foot on Lanka. These hills stand tall in-between King Ravana's capital city and Ashoka Vatika. The barren land here is believed to be the route in which King Ravana took Sitadevi from his capital city Lankapura to Ashoka Vatika, which was a paradise on earth. Till date no vegetation grows on this passage except grass. King Ravana is believed to have taken this passage on top of these hills to show Sitadevi the beauty of his kingdom.

In Nuwara Eliya, we will visit Sita Eliya which is believed to be the place where Sita Devi was held captive by King Ravana. This is known as the only Sita temple in the world. A new temple was recently built to honor Hanuman and is located opposite the Sita Kovil. There is a rock located nearby which is believed to be where Sita Devi sat and meditated. The Ashoka forest is a clear indication that she came here when she was bought to Lanka.

Visit Ishtripura which in Sinhalese means city of women. Sitadevi was said to have been moved from place to place as a precautionary measure. This was one of the places to which King Ravana had moved sitadevi to. There are lots of intruding tunnels and caves in this area. This seems to be a part of a great ingenious network of paths, which is interconnected to all the major areas of King Ravana's city. Sitadevi had said to have bathed in this very stream and had dried her hair sitting on a rock and put clips to her hair, hence this rock is known as Konda Kattu Gala.

Visit Divurumpola which means a ‘place of oath’ is the location that Sitadevi had said to have taken oats. She came unscathed and proved her innocence and purity. The message of Rama’s victory over Ravana was sent to Sita. After a bath and adorned with jewels she was taken on a palanquin before Rama. Meeting her husband after such a long time she was overcome with emotion, but Rama seemed lost in thought. At length he spoke, “I have killed my enemy. I have done my duty as a true king. But you have lived for a year in the enemy’s abode. It is not proper I take you back now.”Sita was shocked. “You have broken my heart” she said, “only the uncultured speak like this”. Have you forgotten the noble family I come from? Is it my fault Ravana carried me off by force? All the time, my mind, my heart, and soul were fixed on you alone, my lord!” is what she said. Ravana Cave & Tunnel Network are tunnels in this area that prove beyond doubt the architectural brilliance of King Ravana. Many an archeologists have examined these caves and tunnels and are convinced that they are man-made and not natural formations. This Buddhist shrine at Kalutara was where once King Ravana's palace and a tunnel existed. Existing tunnel mouths are situated - Isthripur at Welimada, Ravana cave at Bandarawela, Senapitiya at Halagala, Ramboda, Labookelle, Wariyapola/Matale, and Sitakotuwa/Hasalaka. In addition there are many more tunnels scattered throughout the island. Many still undiscovered and unexplored.

Lastly drive to the Hakgala Gardens. This is today the second largest botanical gardens of Sri Lanka and was recorded in the legend of Sri Lanka, Many thousands years ago, a famous king of Ceylon Ravana whose name is remembered in connection with the epic love story with Sita, a beautiful queen of India, made a pleasure gardens in the region where the Hakgala garden spreads today. The king Ravana brought queen Sita, a famous female character descried in eastern here and kept hidden in the area vicinity to the botanic. We will visit the site of the Ashok Vatika while there

Depending on you the time available to you we will visit a Tea Factory en route to have a glimpse of the fascinating process that goes into making a simple cup of pure Ceylon tea. Proceed to Nuwara Eliya sightseeing the city and Lake Area of this picturesque hill town.

Overnight stay in Bandarawela

Day 6

After breakfast drive to the South East Coast to Yala. We drive via the Ella Gap. Ella is blessed with some of the most beautiful and breathtaking views, you could find in the already stunning landscape of Sri Lanka. Located 230km from Sri Lanka’s Capital city, Colombo, this small town is used as a base for plenty of trekking expeditions to the surrounding countryside. At the Ella Gap we will not also enjoy the views from this cliff but will also visit the legendary Ravana Falls, and site visit of Little Adams Peak. We will visit the Ravana Caves, which were another site used to hide Seetha Devi.

Check into your hotel in Yala. Enjoy an evening 4x4 Jeep Safari excursion in Yala national Park. Yala National Park, is one of Sri Lanka’s premier eco tourism destination, lies 24km northeast of Tissamaharama and 290km from Colombo on the Southeast coast of Sri Lanka, spanning a vast 27,878 hectares over the Southernmost part of Sri Lanka. The park is renowned for the variety of its wildlife (most notably its many elephants) and its fine coastline (with association of coral reefs). It boasts the highest density of Leopard population found anywhere in the world and offers and range of some of the rarest endemic and migratory birds found in the region.

Overnight at in Yala

Enjoy the evening at leisure with dinner and overnight stay in Hill Club Nuwara Eliya or similar.

Day 7

Visit Yala National Park for an early morning 4x4 jeep safari ride. We will set out before dawn and will be back in the hotel for a late breakfast.

Travel to Galle and enjoy a City Tour of Galle Fort Galle City Built by the Dutch beginning in 1663, the 36-hectare Fort occupies most of the promontory that forms the older part of Galle. Described by the notoriously hard-to-please Paul Theroux as being ‘garlanded with red hibiscus and smelling of the palm-scented ocean,’ the Fort is an amazing collection of structures and culture dating back through the centuries. Just wandering the streets at random yields one architectural surprise after another. And be sure to take in the dramatic views of town and ocean from the encircling walls. UNESCO has recognized Fort as a World Heritage Site

If time permits visit the Talwatta Bird Sanctuary.

Overnight stay in Galle

In the evening enjoy a Traditional Cultural Dance show featuring the exotic traditional dances of Sri Lanka. Dinner and Overnight stay at Albatross Golfing Resort & Holiday Villa or similar.

Day 8

After breakfast enjoy the morning at leisure. Transfer to the airport. En route visit the Moonstone Mines and Ambalangoda Mask Factory.

Airport authorities recommend passengers to check-in at the airport counters 3 hour prior to departure. Your tour with Ranfer Travels Sri Lanka end here. Have a nice flight and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Note: Hotel stipulates checkout is before 12:00hrs noon time. Late Checkout between 12:00-18:00 requires half of the room rate. Any checkout after 18:00 will cost one extra night room rate.