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This tour has the distinction of enabling participants to stay in style and experience the contemporary luxury of boutique hotel accommodation. Located in impressive surroundings with service concentrating on the care and attention that enhances a holiday, these properties reflect a refined sophistication with the availability of gourmet-style food, both local and international.
The tour begins with a two-night stay in the centre of the Cultural Triangle before moving on to Kandy for a further two nights with a temple visit and a cultural dance performance. The unhurried nature of the tour enables participants to relish the sights and ambience of the island. Then it’s a leisurely drive through the hills for two nights in tea country before driving to the west coast to be pampered at a beach resort. The last night is spent in the ornate extravagance of a former private home in Colombo.
Galle Fort begun by the Portuguese in the 16th century, expanded by the Dutch in the 17th Century and consolidated by the British in the 19th century, is not a historical ruin but has been transformed into a living, thriving contemporary settlement. Located at the southwest corner of the island the Fort covers 52ha and contains within its broad, grey granite rampart walls, nearly 500 houses.
Entrance to the Fort is through either of two main gates, one of which contains the Dutch Coat of Arms on one side and the British on the other. The Fort is Number 200 on UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is free to enter and explore. The cobbled streets are lined with houses from the Dutch and British periods, with some art deco masterpieces, many of which have been converted into boutique shops and stylish guest houses.
Called by many names including “The Lion Rock” for its initial name of “Sinhagiri”, Sigiriya is near the town of Dambulla and is a colossal column of rock nearly 200m high. It was a royal citadel for 18 years (477-495) when it was fortified by King Kasyapa. The architectural and irrigational technologies of Sigiriya, such as the Water Gardens, still baffle engineers. The climb up steep steps of metal with railings passes a wall decorated with frescoes of bare-breasted women. Art experts consider them unique.
The summit of the rock is a hectare in area and the outer wall of the palace was constructed on the brink of the rock with gardens and ponds softening the harshness of the eerie. Since it was constructed over 1,500 years ago, it is claimed by enthusiast as the Eighth Wonder of the World and is anyway a World Heritage Site.
The ancient kingdom of Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha as well as Edwardian buildings, a king-made lake, a nature reserve and exciting shops.
As the second largest city of the island and the capital of the Central Province, Kandy has grown from being a medieval kingdom to a friendly, busy city set in forested hills and surrounded by tea plantations and close to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. As well as the Temple of the Tooth, there are many Buddhist monasteries and Hindu places of worship to visit, and cultural dance performances to watch.
Kandy is a convenient base to stay for a few days while exploring the Cultural Triangle as there are comfortable hotels to suit every budget. The city is easily accessible from Colombo by rail, road and float plane.
The Dambulla temple has five caves and 157 statues of the Lord Buddha, many paintings on the ceilings and walls that emphasis the artistic talent of ancient days. The history of the caves, rock and temple dates from the first century B.C. The fascination of these caves is not only the statues but also the many intricate and delicate paintings that cover the ceiling and walls, created with indigenous traditional paints.
Because of the history, archaeological and artistic implications, the premises were declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1991. The temple has been in use for over 22 centuries and still holds a sense of benevolence and spirituality. Visitors may climb up steps to the temple and the view from the top of the rock is as inspiring as the temple’s golden interior.
Ella is a small hill country village now much developed with independent guesthouses, bordered by mountains, estates and waterfalls, with spectacular views and a history of dramatic legend. In the great Indian epic, Ramanaya, dating from more than 1,000 years before Christ, it is written that Sita Cave, 2km from Ella, was used by Ravana, king of Lanka, to conceal Sita, the beautiful wife of Rama. This attracts many visitors from India who are following the Ramanaya story. Equally appealing is the view through Ella Gap as well as Ravana Falls.
Ella is also a popular stop on the backpackers’ trail from west to east Sri Lanka and many small cafés and low budget guesthouses have opened up beside the main road through the village to cater for them. The quaint hamlet, at 204km from Colombo, is best reached by train.
|Per person in a double room||Approximately US$ 1,750|
Please note we require 50% of the payment on confirmation and the balance 2 weeks prior to arrival or the full payment can be settled on confirmation.