HIGHLIGHTS: COLOMBO l KANDY l NUWARA ELIYA l ELLA l TISSA l USSANGODA l RUMANSALA l UNAWATUNA l KELANIYA l NEGOMBO l MARAWILA l MUNNESWARAM
This special tour brings you to the roots of the ancient great Indian epic The Ramayana – a tale that depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters and explores the tenets of human existence and the concept of Dharma. Sri Lanka's rich Ramayana heritage is the proud custodian of more than 50 Ramayana sites from the place of Seetha Devi's captivity to the battlefields where vast armies clashed, to the groves of exotic herbs dropped by the monkey god Hanuman, to the ultimate theatre of war where Lord Rama slew Ravana, the ten-headed demon-king.
People living in the areas where great events took place, remember to this day the connection of their soil to the great epic. An oath taken at the spot where Seetha Devi undertook 'Agni Pariksha' is still considered valid in village courts or grama sabhas. The colour of the soil of the ancient battlefield is still red today, and is still surrounded by lighter coloured earth. One of the airports of Ravana, torched by Hanuman when he came looking for Seetha Devi, still has a scorched-earth look. A patch of darker soil surrounded by brown earth. Exotic alpine Himalayan species are found suddenly amidst tropical Sri Lankan vegetation, the legacy of Hanuman's heroic voyage carrying a mountain with life-restoring herbs.
Though great social, cultural and religious changes have taken place in Sri Lanka since, incredibly, the names of places have come down to modern times unchanged.
DAY 01 COLOMBO l KANDY
Arrival at Bandaranayke International airport and welcome by a representative of Sri Holidays. Transfer to a hotel in Kandy. Afternoon visit the TEMPLE OF THE SACRED TOOTH RELIC. It was built within the royal palace complexwhich houses the only surviving relic of Buddha, a tooth, which is venerated by Buddhists. The relic has played an important role in the local politics since ancient times; it's believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country, which caused the ancient kings to protect it with great effort. Kandy was the capital of the Sinhalese Kings from 1592 to 1815, fortified by the terrain of the mountains and the difficult approach. The city is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO, in part due to the temple. Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily ritual worship in the innerchamber of the temple, in annual rotation. They conduct these services three times a day: at dawn, at noon and in the evening. after you have had a chance to settle into your hotel in Kandy and have dinner, you can relax and put your feet up whilst watching a CULTURAL PERFORMANCE FEATURING THE TRADITIONAL DANCE AND DRUMMING that Kandy is renowned for.
Dinner & Overnight stay at the Thilanka Hotel / Kandy.
DAY 02 KANDY l NUWARA ELIYA
After breakfast leave for Nuwaraeliya. On the way visit SRI BAKTHA HANUMAN TEMPLE – RAMBODA. Ramboda is an area, where the forces of Rama's gather to fight against King Ravana. The hills of Ramboda are also believed where Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi. The Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka has built an Anjaneyar temple with Hanuman as the presiding deity. This temple is called Sri Baktha Hanuman temple and the image of lord Hanuman here is 16 Feet tall. In the afternoon visit GAYATHRI PEEDAM – NUWARA ELIYA , Gayathri peedam is believed to be the place from where King Ravana's son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and pooja's and in turn was granted super natural powers by Lord Shiva. The Gayathri Cathedral also known as Sri-Lanka Theeswarar Temple which he built is situated in an area where Swamiji fondly identify as Sri-Nagar which means the Metropolis of Prosperity, at Lady McCallum Drive Nuwar-Eliya a Colonial township known as the ‘Little England “ for its breezy atmosphere to the outside world and the Islanders. Nuwara-Eliya is a mountainous town situated above 7000 Ft. above Sea level at the central province in the island built around a chilly lake surrounded by lush tea gardens, abundant vegetable cultivation, stunning water-falls and Virgin woodland.
Dinner and overnightstay at Heaven Seven Hotel / Nuwara Eliya.
DAY 03 NUWARAELIYA l ELLA
After breakfast leave for Ella. Visit HAKGALA BOTANICAL GARDEN. Hakgala garden is the exotic pleasure garden where king Ravana kept the depressed Sita, insisting that she marry him. It was here where the heart-warming meeting took place between her and Hanuman, who brought her Rama’s ring with the news that Rama was looking for her. He offered to carry her back but she refused saying itwould be an insult to Rama’s honour if he did so. Part of this majestic garden still exists. It is also said that Hanuman nearly destroyed it in order to prove to Ravana of the forces against him. Visit SEETHA AMMAN TEMPLE. The stream that runs from the hill, catered to the needs of Sitadevi during her stay at Ashok Vatika. She is said to have bathed in this stream. About a century ago of three idols were discovered in the stream, one of which was that of Sita. It is believed that the idols have been worshipped at this spot for centuries. Now there is a temple for Lord Rama, Sitadevi, Luxshmana, and Hanuman by the side of this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hanuman's are found by this river andsome are of small size and some are of large size, which tells us of the immense powers of hanuman transforming himself into any size. Afternoon visit the DIVURUMPOLA TEMPLE. Divurumpola means a ‘place of oath’. This is the place where Sita underwent the “Agni” test. 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! She turned to Lakshmana and saidwith tears streaming from her eyes, "prepare for me a fire. That is the only remedy for this sorrow of mine." Lakshmana in suppressed anger, looked at Rama’s face, but there was no softening, he lighted a big fire. Sita reverently went round her husband and approached the blazing fire. Joining her palms in salutation, she said, "if I am pure, of fire, protect me."With these words she jumped into the flames. Then arose from out of the flames Agni, the fire-god, whom she had invoked. He lifted Sita from the flames unharmed, and presented her to Rama. "Don’t I know that she is spotless and pure at heart? Cried Rama, standing up to receive her. It’s for the sake of the world that I made her go through this ordeal of fire, so that the truth may be known to all." Today the temple is revered for the oath taken by Sitadevi and even the legal system permits and accepts the swearing done at this temple while settling disputes between parties. Visit RAWANA ELLA CAVES & RAWANA FALLS. Rawana Ella Cave is where Ravana was hiding Sita. Ravana Ella Cave located at the massive Ella Falls; a breathtaking 1080 feet high waterfall that cascades into several falls. The rocky undergoes of the waterfall is Khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes faster decay as hard gneiss or granite. This has resulted in many caves being formed near the falls. King Ravana is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfall. A nearby pool bored out of the rock by the gushing waters is where Sita is said to have bathed Ravana. Late afternoon return to Nuwara Eliya.
Dinner and overnightstay at Heaven Seven Hotel / Nuwara Eliya.
DAY 04 NUWARA ELIYA l USSANGODA l RUMANSALA l UNAWATUNA
After breakfast leave for UNAWATUNA. En – route visit USSANGODA - Legend: According to Ramayana, after meeting Seetha Devi Lord Hanuman decided to test the strength of the mighty King Ravana and his army of Rakshasas. In the event that unfolded Lord Hanuman's tail was set on fire by the Rakshasas, who in turn went on to torch some parts of King Ravana's empire. Ussangoda is one of the torched areas, which is said to have been an airport used by King Ravana. In the afternoon Visit RUMASSALA, known to colonialists as Buona Vista, is the subject of many legends. It features in the Ramayana, as the home of the beautiful queen Sita, hidden in the jungle nearby. Hanuman who was sent to fetch a medicinal plant for a wounded soldier, was unable to find it and brought the Himalayan mountains on which it was said to grow. He dropped a chunk at Unawatuna ('here it fell') to form the present mountain, where many medicinal plants still grow. The Portuguese had a dreadful reputation in Sri Lanka as looters and pirates, and are said to have given false light signals from Rumassala to lure unsuspecting Arab trading ships onto the rocks.
Dinner and overnight stay Joe's Bungalow Hotel / Unawatuna.
DAY 05 UNAWATUNA l KELANIYA l NEGOMBO
After breakfast you will leave to Negombo. En-route Visit KELANIYA. After King Ravana’s death, VIBEESHANA was coroneted as King of Lanka by Lakshmana at Kelaniya. There are murals enshrined outside the Buddhist temple depicting the crowning of Vibeeshana. The Kelani River is mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana and Vibeeshana palace was said to be on the banks of this river. The reason Lakshmana crowned Vibeeshana, was Kelaniya because Rama had to return to India as he had to continue his self-exile of 14 years to honour the commitment to his father, King Dasarath of Ajodhya. King Vibeeshana was considered a fair king, as he supported Rama against his ownbrother’s injustice. Many devotees that visit king Vibeeshana’s shrine pray to him asking his intervention to a fair recourse to their problems. Afternoon free walk around the COLOMBO GALLE FACE GREEN.
Dinner and overnight stay Grand Oriental Hotel / Colombo.
DAY 06 MARAWILA l MUNNESWARAM l NEGOMBO
After breakfast leave for Munneswaram. Visit MUNNESWARAM. It is believed that Munneswaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here. Munneswarammeans the first temple for Shiva (Munnu + Easwaran). A Shiva Lingam was already here when lord Rama visited the place. Lord Rama after his victorious battle left for Ayodhya with Sita in one of King Ravana's vimanas. He felt he was being followed by Bramhaasthi dosham (a malevolent black shadow) as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin. When the Vimana was passingover Munneswaram, he felt the vimana vibrating, and realized the "Brahmaasthi Dosham" was not following him at this particular point. He stops the vimana at this juncture and 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. Visit MANAVARI, Manavari is thefirst place where Lord Rama installed and prayed the Siva lingam after the end of the war with King Ravana. To date this lingam is called as Ramalinga Shivan. Rameshwaram is the only other lingam in the world named after Lord Rama. Late afternoon return to Negombo and relax at the hotel/beach .
Dinner and overnight stay at Camelot Beach Hotel / Negombo.
DAY 07 END OF TOUR
Transfer to the airport for departure from Sri Lanka.
2 pax - 380 US$ p.p.*
4 pax - 310 US$ p.p.*
6 pax - 290 US$ p.p.*
8 pax - 280 US$ p.p.*
*if a winter peak season supplement applies, we'll inform you accordingly
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