Day 1: Negombo - Anuradhapura
Stop At: Ruwanwelisaya, Abhayawewa Rd, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
The Ruwanwelisaya is a stupa in Sri Lanka, considered a marvel for its architectural qualities and sacred to many Buddhists all over the world. It was built by King Dutugemunu c. 140 B.C., who became lord of all Sri Lanka after a war in which the Chola King Elara, was defeated. It is also known as Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya, Suvarnamali Mahaceti (in Pali) and Rathnamali Dagaba.This is one of the Solosmasthana (the 16 places of veneration) and the Atamasthana (the 8 places of veneration in the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura). The stupa is one of the world's tallest monuments, standing at 103 m (338 ft) and with a circumference of 290 m (951 ft). The Kaunghmudaw Pagoda in Sagaing, Myanmar is modeled after this stupa.The stupa was an ancient ruin in the 19th century. After fundraising efforts by Sinhalese bhikkhu, the stupa was renovated in the early 20th century. The Ruwanveli Seya Restoration Society was founded in 1902 and the final crowning of the stupa took place on 17 June 1940.The largest Stupa after Ruwanwelisaya was build in was the Kotmale Mahaweli Maha Seya. This stupa took 33 years and 3 months to complete.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Abhayagiri Dagaba, Watawandana Rd, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
Abhayagiriya is one of the prominent stupas of the Ancient Anuradhapura kingdom and also one of the places of Solosmassthana (the list of 16 prominent worship places of a Buddhist). This famous world stupa was built by the Kind Valagamba, who is also known as the King Vatta Gamini Abaya was constructed in the 1st century BC. As per the Chinese monk Fa – Hien, who visited Sri Lanka in the 5th Century BC, Abayagiriya was 122 meters in height decorated with gold and silver and studded with precious jewels. Furthermore, as per the records of this monk, there was a 20ft tall Buddha statue which was sculptured from Jade. Abhayagiriya is said to have been a monastery for Theravada Mahayana and Vajrayana sects of Buddhism. The bhikkhu’s Abhayagiriya, later became the main rivals of the Mahavihara bhikku sect, who practice, pure Theravada Buddhism, while the priests who are at abayagiriya were open to both the ideas of Theravada and Mahayana. The visit to Abayagiriya stupa could take you back to a thousand years, due to its rough nature.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Isurumuniya Temple, At Royal Pleasure Gardens, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
The Isurumuniya Viharaya was constructed during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa who governed in Anuradhapura, the country’s capital. During his reign 500 high caste children were ordained, and Isurumuniya was built as a monastic complex to house all of them. Thereafter it was renovated by King Kasyapa (473 – 491 AD) who renamed it “Boupulvan Kasubgiri Radmaha Vehera” – a combination of his name along with his two daughters’. Connected to the Temple is a cave with a cliff above it. A small Dagoba was built on this cliff during a later period. At the picturesque entrance to Isurumuniya a rock can be seen either side of a crevice, and this rock seems to rise out of a pond. The carving of the “Isurumuniya Lovers” has sparked many legends over the centuries. But each one seems to have a happy ending and the legends live on. To the north of Isurumuniya lies the Ranmasu Uyana or Royal Pleasure Garden. This is a significant location as it is believed that Prince Saliya met Asokamala, his future bride, in this very garden all those centuries ago. The sculpture known as the “Isurumuniya Lovers” is a Gupta style carving of the 6th Century. It shows a woman seated on a man’s lap, lifting a finger in what some people interpret as a manifestation of her coyness. A certain mystery surrounds the carving as no record exists of exactly whom the two images portray. Locals believe the couple depicted in the carving are that of Prince Saliya and Asokamala.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Jethawanaramaya Stupa, Watawandana Road B341, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
Jethawanaramaya Stupa is one of the tallest stupa of Sri Lanka. The stupa was constructed by the King Mahasen, between the years 273 – 301. The Jethawanaramaya stupa holds the relic of the Lord Buddha’s sash or the waist tie. The Stupa is also considered to be one of the prominent destinations listed under the sixteen places (solosmassthanaas the locals say), that a devoted Buddhist should visit at least once in their lifetime. Visiting this stupa is not only limited to Buddhists, but any person who has a common understanding and love for ancient irrigations and cultural heritage of Sri Lanka should also visit the Jethawanaramaya Sthupa.
This Stupa, which was a monastery at one point, was said to have been the home for the Sangika sect of the Buddhism. The difference of its denominations could be seen through its architecture.
The most prominent key feature of this temple is about the statue of reclining Buddha, which was painted in vibrant colors. As Jethawanaramaya is a sacred area of Buddhist, many come here to offer flowers, oil the lamps and burn incense sticks and offer their prayers to get some tranquil and peace to their mind.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Sri Maha Boodhi Temple, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka
The Sacred Bo tree; Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is the oldest living tree in documented history of the world. It is a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which Buddha enlightened. It was planted in 288 BCF and is the oldest living human-planted tree in the world with a known planting date. It was brought from Buddhagaya India by the Ven. Sanghamitta Therini, a sister of Arhant Mahinda – who introduced the Teachings of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. The area around the Sri Maha Bodhi, the Brazen • Palace and Ruwanweliseya Dagoba were once probably part of the Great Temple. The Sacred Bodhi tree is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world, It has been tended by an continuous succession of guardians for over 2000 years, even during the periods of Indian occupation.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Twin Baths (Kuttam Pokuna), Watawandana Road, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
Sinhala translation of Twin Ponds is known as Kuttam Pokuna. It is located in Anuradhapura and an evidence for the best ancient hydro-logical architecture. The ponds were built during the era of King Aggabodhi for monks. Abhayagiri monastery monks used these twin ponds for bathing purpose and to relax along the steps. Although these ponds named as “Twin ponds” they are not physically identical. The two ponds differ in their lengths such that Southern pond is greater than Northern pond nearly by 41 feet and depth differs nearly by 3 feet. By using the steps or staircase, one can reach the bottom of the ponds. The water supply to the ponds were transferred from three reservoirs or water tanks named Tissawewa Basawakkulama, and Nuwarawewa along pipelines connected under the ground. First, the water filled to a tank which was built above the ground level of twin ponds. Then the smaller pond was filled by water through “makara kata”, mouth of dragon from that tank. Now finally the larger pond filled with water from the smaller pond through a small opening which located below the ground level. This is nearly equal to present underground pipeline system. It is clearly seen that the ancient architect handled a good way to filter the water. The statue which considered as the guardian of water (Statue naga – a snake with 5 heads) located at the entrance of ponds’ staircase.
Duration: 30 minutes
Accommodation included: Overnight stay at a 3-star Hotel
Day 2: Dambulla - Sigiriya - Negombo
Stop At: Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla 21100 Sri Lanka
The Dambulla Cave Temple is located in Sri Lanka. It is one of the important historical monuments in Sri Lanka. In other words, the place is known as the “Golden Temple”. In Sinhalese, the Royal Cave Temple of Dambulla temple is known as “Dambulla Raja Maha Viharaya”. Since the temple was built in ancient times and was maintained by the Kings, they have a significant historical value. For the Buddhists, the cave temple is a very important place for the Buddhists. Anyone exploring the central parts of Sri Lanka should explore this wonderful place. It is situated 30 km southwest from one of the eighth wonders of the world, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. The Cave Temple of Dambulla is an important place to check out when visiting Sri Lanka. It is the Largest and best-preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. Due to its importance, the temple is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since past times, Dambulla Cave Temple is occupied by Buddhist hermits and monks. For a person who is looking to study the history of Buddhism, Dambulla Cave Temple is an ideal place. It’s murals, statues provide interesting facts to study the history of Sri Lanka, it’s artistic skills and Buddhism.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Sigiriya The Ancient Rock Fortress, Sigiriya 21120 Sri Lanka
Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sīhāgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning
Duration: 3 hours
No accommodation included on this day.