5 nights from R12 897
Day 1 Negombo – Arrival
Meet and greet on arrival in Negombo. Transfer to your selected hotel by private car. Depart for city tour of Negombo (subject to your time of arrival / time permitting). You are leisure to relax, go shopping or explore the city on your own. Dinner and overnight at your hotel. (D)
Located fairly close to Bandaranaike International Airport, Negombo was once the cinnamon hub of the Dutch Colony. It offers some of the most exciting dive sites, a pleasant beach and lagoon where you can sample delectable seafood straight from the sea as some of the best lobsters, prawns and crabs in the country are caught here. Popular with surfers and sun lovers by day Negombo also has a vibrant nightlife scene featuring bars, disco and clubs.
Day 2 Negombo – Chilaw – Kandy
Checkout after breakfast and transfer by car to Chilaw. Visit the Muneeshwaram Temple. Lord Rama, after his victorious battle, left for Ayodhya in one of King Ravana’s vimanas. He felt he was being followed by “Brahmahsthi Dosham” as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin. He stopped the vimana at this juncture because he felt that the “Brahamasthi Dhosham” was not following him. He descended from the vimana and asked God Shiva for a remedy. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised him to install four lingams at Manavari, Thiru Koneswaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India and pray as this was the only remedy to get rid of the “Brahmasathi Dosham”
We continue to Manavari to visit the Manavari Temple. This is the first place where Lord Rama installed the Siva Lingam and prayed after the end of the war with King Ravana. Visit the Manavari Temple. This Lingam is called the Ramalingam because it was made by Lord Rama. Apart from this, the Lingam in Rameshwaram is the only Lingam in the world that is named after Lord Rama
Drive from Chilaw to Kandy. Last ruled by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe before it was brought under British rule in 1815, Kandy was the last royal capital of Sri Lankan Kings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site impresses an array of culture, history and heritage upon visitors from across the globe. Experience an ancient Kandyan legacy engraved around its crown jewel, the temple of the Sacred Tooth relic of Lord Buddha.
A stroll across this small lakeside town – cradled among the misty hills – will feature the Kandy City Centre bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaars, an arts & crafts centre, as well as a gem museum & lapidary. Drive towards Victoria Golf Course, undoubtedly one of the best golf courses in the world or walk in color as you glide through fresh fruits and vegetables in the Kandy market. Fine tune your evening by stepping to the beat of traditional music & drumming amplified by a cultural show enhancing the rich and vibrant culture of Sri Lanka. Dinner and overnight at your selected hotel in Kandy. (B, D)
Day 3 Kandy – Tea Plantation – Ramboda – Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast we leave Kandy for a visit to a Tea Plantation. Tea, Tourism and Ceylon are words that blend together perfectly. Visit the cool, misty hills covered in acres of lush green tea plants that are the pride of an ultimate plantation tour. Or just step into a modern tea factory processing renowned brands of Ceylon Tea to observe a rich, well-rehearsed tradition. Inhale the heady aromas as you observe the hissing machines at work. End the tour in style over a perfectly blended cup of pure Ceylon Tea.
Transfer from Tea Plantation to Ramboda. Visit the Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple and view the imposing 16 feet high granite statue of Lord Hanuman, the presiding deity of this temple. It is believed that Lord Hanuman was searching for Sita Devi from atop the hills of Ramboda.
Continue to Nuwara Eliya. Steep, misty roads winding through lush green tea plantations and the cool climate remind visitors that they are nearing this renowned British colonial retreat. Augmented by an English countryside atmosphere, the city of light, once governed by English and Scottish planters, is still studded with colonial bungalows, hedgerows and one of the finest golf courses in the world. A hike through the lush green grass and red brick walls presents breathtaking views of a buzzing countryside hamlet. Drive through green valleys of the hill country pierced by endless waterfalls and dotted by tea pickers draped in bright-colored saris or rent a bike for a gentle ride along the banks lapped by the waters of Lake Gregory. Dinner and overnight at your selected hotel. (B, D)
Day 4 Nuwara Eliya – Hakgala – Welimada – Nuwara Eliya
Depart on your full day excursion after breakfast. Drive to Hakgala where the pleasure garden of Ravana in the Ramayana epic welcomes all lovers of flowers. Warm jackets and gloves come into play at Hakgala due to its cool temperate climate. Listen to the bells ringing farther uphill from the God Hanuman Temple that underscore the epic tale of Rama & Sita. Whether it is the warmth of April or the cold of December, overall, Hakgala truly is bliss for all ages with an extensive variety of roses, orchids and spices.
Visit the Sita Amman Temple built on the banks of a stream that Sitadevi is believed to have bathed in. Remarkably, footprints both small and large akin to Lord Hanuman’s are to be found on the rocks along the banks of this stream that allude to the immense power of Lord Hanuman, who is said to have been able to transform into any size.
Continue from Hakgala to Welimada to visit Divurumpola. This is the place where Sitadevi, underwent the “Agni” test. Legend has it that Sitadevi was once again connected to Lord Rama here where she was overcome with joy, but Lord Rama appeared to be lost in thought. At length he spoke – “I have killed my enemy and have done my duty as a true king, but you have lived in the enemy’s abode. It is not proper that I should take you back now”.
Sitadevi was shocked. Is it my fault that the monster carried me off by force? All the time, my mind, my heart and soul were fixed on you and you alone my Lord! she said and turned to Lakshman and said with tears streaming down her face – “prepare a fire for me!” that is the only remedy for this sorrow of mine! Lakshman in suppressed anger looked at Lord Rama’s face but saw no sign of softening. He then proceeded to light a big fire and Sitadevi reverently went around her husband and approached the blazing fire, joined her palms in salutation and said “If I am pure, Oh fire protect me”! With those words, she jumped into the fire, to the horror of the monkeys who stood on all sides watching the tragic sight.
Then, Lord Agni the God of Fire whom she had invoked arose from the flames,. He lifted Sitadevi from the flames, unharmed and presented her to Lord Rama. “Don’t I know that she is spotless and pure at heart?” cried Lord Rama standing up to receive her. “It is for the sake of the world that I made her go through this ordeal of fire” so that the truth be known to all. Return to Nuwara Eliya. Dinner and overnight at your hotel. (B, D)
Day 5 Nuwara Eliya – Kitulgala – Avissawella – Colombo
Check out after breakfast and drive to the small town of Kitulgala. Showered by two monsoons each year, Kitulgala is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The movie ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ was filmed on the nearby Kelani River. Many locals and visitors make the excursion from Colombo over weekends to take in the beautiful scenery, bathe in the river, and enjoy the excellent curry and rice lunch at the local restaurants.
Kitulgala is also a base for white-water rafting, which starts a few kilometres upstream. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, grab your gear and go whitewater rafting among the wild rapids as you go thundering downstream; hop from rock to rock upstream for a mind-blowing waterfall or slide down to the darkest depths of caves haunted by millions of bats. If hardcore adventure is not for you, then simply trek along the beaten track, go bird watching or admire the breathtaking natural beauty of the wilderness.
Continue to Avissawella to visit Sitawakka where an interesting and shocking episode of history took place to shatter Lord Rama’s confidence and halt his progress during the war. Indrajith the eldest son of King Ravana played a trick with Sitadevi’s look alike and beheaded the look alike in front of Lord Hanuman, thinking that it will stop the advancing forces of Lord Rama. There is a stone in this area called the “Rampathaga” with one footprint that is believed to be that of Lord Rama.
Drive to Colombo the throbbing metropolis that is not only the country’s commercial capital, but also the engine that drives more than half of the national GDP flanking Colombo’s fancy urban development effort. Drive along the clean streets edging the crystal white Race Course – a horse racing hub since 1893 & World War II airstrip – that today boasts lavish clothing, food & tea boutiques. Ride to Pettah and tune into an offbeat shopping experience at the Floating Market or feel the buzz surrounding the upcoming inspiration, the Colombo Port City – an offshore city – featuring parks, commercial complexes & even an F1 racetrack!
Head along Bauddhaloka Mawatha towards ‘The Arcade’ that faces a historic way post, the Independence Square. Every designer boutique, gourmet food outlet and even the ‘walk-over fish tank’, have revamped this colonial masterpiece into one of the trendiest shopping and hangout zones in Sri Lanka.
Have a chilled beer at the “Dutch Hospital” while gazing through fancy windows showcasing best in fashion, jewellery & handicrafts. Smell the perfume of incense while listening to the chiming bells of Gangarama Temple or sample Colombo’s night life at the many night clubs & casinos that borderline her bustle. Dinner and overnight at your selected hotel in Colombo. (B, D)
Day 6 Colombo – Departure
Breakfast and morning at leisure. Transfer to the airport by private car in time for your onward flight. Itinerary Ends. (B)
(B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
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|08/08/2015||31/10/2015||HISTORICAL JOURNEYS – RAMAYANA TRAILS||12897.0||ZAR|