Ramayana trail – Sri Lanka 07 Nights/08 Days

8-4

Day 01:

Airport to Sigiriya  via  Munneswaram temple

Welcome and assistance at the Airport on arrival and proceed to Sigiriya via Munneswaram temple – in Chilaw.

It is believed that Munneswaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here. Munneswaram means 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 passing over Munneswaram, he felt the vimana vibrating, and realised 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. The first Lingam was installed at Manavari about 5 Km from here, near the banks of Deduru Oya.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Sigiriya Village – Sigiriya

Day 02:

Sigiriya / Koneshwaram temple / Sigiriya

After B’fast proceed on a day trip to “Koneshwaram temple” Trincomalee.

Myths surrounding the temple of Koneswaram associate it with the popular Indian epic Ramayana, and its 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. 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.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Sigiriya Village – Sigiriya

Day 03:

 Sigiriya Rock/ Dambulla / matale / Kandy

After Early breakfast climb the 5th century A.D Rock Fortress. See the mural paintings of “Heavenly Maidens” over 1500 years old, which are in a sheltered pocket of the rock. Historians say originally there were close to 500 paintings but today only 19 exist. Also visit the water and rock gardens and the King’s bath on the 600 feet palace fortress.

Later proceed to Kandy. En route visit the famous Rock Cave Temples at Dambulla, the most visited monastery. It is the most impressive cave temple in Sri Lanka, with five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. There are images of the Buddha, and Gods and Goddesses. There are innumerable painted sculptures, including a life size effigy of the last Kandyan king and much older statues of Hindu gods.

After visiting a Batik Factory and a Spice Garden at Matale, Continue to Kandy……. Here you would be shown the different varieties of spices grown and demonstration of their use.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya rock rises 200 meters above lush green jungles, and is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Asia’s oldest landscaped gardens and ponds encircle this rock fortress, and at its summit is the renegade King Kasyapa’s “palace in the sky”. Fifth century ingenuity and skill produced a luxurious royal citadel with ramparts, moats, gateways, and a well laid out city, complete with bathing pools and gardens. On the climb up you could view the Mirror Wall, which still produces a glass-like reflection 1500 years after it was first created. Also on the way up you would see the famous Sigiriya frescoes – exquisite images of bare-breasted maidens painted on the rock face thousands of years ago. Located in the Cultural Triangle, Sigiriya is situated in the district of Matale.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Situated 72 km north of Kandy, Dambulla marks the geographical centre of the island and the Cultural Triangle. It also holds its own treasure – a magnificent temple, which is a series of five caves established as a monastery in the 3rd Century BC. These caves, built at the base of a 150m high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st Century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa times (1073 to 1250), are by far the most impressive of the many cave temples found in Sri Lanka. Access is along the gentle slope of the Dambulla Rock, offering a panoramic view of the surrounding flat lands, which includes the rock fortress Sigiriya, 19kms away. Families of friendly monkeys make the climb even more interesting. Dusk brings hundreds of swooping swallows to the cave entrance.

Kandy

Lying 115 km from Colombo, Kandy is Sri Lanka’s second biggest city and the capital of the central province. The busy town is situated in a valley at an elevation of 600m, inside a wide loop of the Mahaweli River and is surrounded by hills covered with tropical vegetation. Home to the Sri Dalada Maligawa – the beautiful temple that houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha – Kandy is also a popular stop during July/August when the annual Esala Perehera (holy festival) takes to the streets of the city. The cool climate of the hills is a relief after the cloying heat of the lowlands, and the lovely Kandy Lake and the drives around it are set amidst great scenic beauty.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Hotel Serine Garden – Kandy

Day 04:

 Kandy /Pinnawala/Ramboda/N’eliya

After breakfast proceed to N’eliya via Pinnawala elephant orphanage & Ramboda.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village. Pinnawala is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

In Pinnawala you can see the bottle feeding of baby Elephants, see them at play & accompany them to a river close by to see them having their daily bath.

Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple

In the hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sita, the Chinmaya Mission of Sri Lanka built the Sri Bhakta Hanuman Temple which is visited by thousands of devotees every year.

Nuwara Eliya

The hill station of Nuwara Eliya (City of Light) is celebrated for its fresh climate, the wonderful scenery all around, and its “Englishness”. Wonderful mountain panoramas surround the wide valley, into which fall many lovely but icy waterfalls. There are still a few patches of virgin jungle left, with stunted, gnarled trees, primitive tree ferns and strange looking lichen. It is the hub of the tea country, lying 77 km from Kandy and 180 km from Colombo. At an elevation of 1800m, the temperature varies from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius, falling to near zero on winter nights and producing occasional frost. The roads zigzag through the most spectacular mountain scenery to reach this picturesque district.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Galway Forest Lodge – N’eliya

 Day 5:

Nuwaraeliya/Seetha eliya/Divurumpala/Ella/Tissa/Kataragama/Tissa

After breakfast proceed to Kataragama via Sita Amman Temple at Seethaeliya ,Divurumpala & Ella. Check-in at Hotel Chandrika, Tissamaharama.

Later in the evening attend the pooja in Kataragama. After pooja, return to hotel.

Temple Pooja timings

Morning:                 8.00AM
Afternoon:              2.00PM

Evening:                 6.30PM & 8.00PM

Seetha Amman temple, Seetha Eliya

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 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 and some are of small size and some are of large size, which tells us of the immense powers of hanuman transforming himself into any size.

Divurumpola Temple

Still revered by thousands, this holy haven was the place where Sita performed her Agni Pariksha (proving her chastity) to her husband Rama. Continuing the practice for thousands of years, villagers still pledge their fidelity or take oaths there and even in certain courts, this agreement was binding. This place has been respected and worshipped by people down the ages.

Ella

Ella is a small mountain village near Bandarawela and boasts three locations linked to the Ramayana where local legend claims Ravana was hiding Sita. First there is the 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.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Hotel Chandrika – Tissamaharama

Day 6:

Tissa/Ussangoda/Galle Fort/Colombo

After breakfast, travel to Colombo. En-route visit Ussangoda & Galle Fort.

Ussangoda

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.

Dinner & Overnight stay in Best Western Eliyon – Colombo

Day 7:

Colombo/Anjaneyar Temple/Kelaniya Vibeeshana Temple/Colombo

After breakfast visit the first Anjaneyar temple in Sri Lanka and Kelaniya temple and en-short Colombo city tour/Shopping tour.

Anjaneyar Temple

This is the first Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka and also the only Panchamuga (five faced) Anjaneyar Temple in Sri Lanka.

Kelaniya Temple

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 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.

Colombo

Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka.It is the financial centre of the island and a popular tourist destination. It is also the administrative capital of Western Province, Sri Lanka and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins. It was the legislative capital of Sri Lanka until 1982.

The main city is home to a majority of Sri Lanka’s corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include Galle Face Green, Viharamahadevi Park, Beira Lake, Colombo Racecourse, Planetarium as well as the National Museum

Day 08:

Colombo/Airport

After Breakfast at Hotel proceed to Airport for Departure.

**********End of Program**********

 

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