AIRPORT / ANURADHAPURA (Approx. 04 ½ hours drive – about 180 KM )
Arrive in Sri Lanka. You will be met by a representative of Mac Travels and transferred to Anuradhapura.
Anuradhapura Kingdom lasted one thousand and five hundred years from 380BC. This city is home to many of the earliest grandest monuments of Sri Lanka. A popular destination of Sinhalese Buddhist's pilgrimages because of its many ancient Buddhist monuments.
Anuradhapura has been made royal capital by the king Pandukabhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year 1000 AD when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sampling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha Found enlightenment.There are much to see at Anuradhapura, including the sacred Bodhi tree, eight major palaces, monasteries and monuments.Visit Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruvanvelisaya Dagoda, Thuparama Dagoba.
More than 2100 years old, Mirisawetiya is one of the most ancient Dagabas in Sri Lanka. Built by the great king Dutugemunu, this Maginficant Structure is a must see for any visitor to the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
It is believed that the great king Dutugemunu made many wishes here that have come true during his lifetime.King Dutugemunu built it as a Dagoba of the "Mahavihara" fraternity but as the monks started living there, it sees that Mirisawetiya developed as a separate monastery.
However it is believed that it would have functioned as a monastery belonging to the Mahavihara Fraternity.Several Kings, at different intervals made renovations to the Dagaba. Among them are King Gajabahu 1 (112-134 AC), and King Voharika Tissa (214-236 AC).
Ruwanwelisaya. After defeating the Tamil king Elara, King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka built this magnificant stupa. The stupa is known as Ruwanwelisaya, Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagaba. The compound is supported by stone elephants, and the surrounding wall is decorated with 1,900 figures of elephants - 475 on each side. Successive kings added to the palace over the years.
The Sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is reckoned as the oldest surviving historical tree in the world. Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was brought to Sri Lanka by the Theri Sangamitta, daughter of Emperor Asoka and was planted in the Mahameghavana Park in Anuradhapura in 249 BC by King Devanampiyatissa. Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi is said to be the southern branch of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained bodhi or 'Awakening'.
This is another important Buddhist monument in Anuradhapura. Thuparamaya is considered to be the first Dagaba built in Sri Lanka.
The Dagaba contained relic of the Lord Buddha. That means relic-dhathu. It was built by King Devanampiyatissa back in the 3rd Century BC. also it has built in a paddy shaped structure, but it has changed due to many restorations. In size it is quite small compared to some of the dagabas built by later kings. . In later times a circular wall and a ring shaped roof was built enclosing the structure know as a Vatadageya.
Overnight stay in Anuradhapura Palm garden
ANURADHAPURA / JAFFNA (Approx. 04 ½ hours drive – about 200 KM )
AM leave to visit Abhayagiri Dagoba, Jetavanarama
Abhayagiri Dagoba is situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is one of the most extensive ruins in the world and one of the most Sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Historically it was a great monastic centre as well as a royal capital, with magnificent monasteries rising to many stories, roofed with gilt bronze or tiles of burnt clay glazed in brilliant colours. To the north of the city, encircled by great walls and containing elaborate bathing ponds, carved balustrades and moonstones, stood "Abhayagiri", one of sixteen such religious units in Anuradhapura and the major Viharas.
Jetavanarama. King Mahasen (273-301 AD) built this largest stupa in Ceylon, and possibly the whole world. A part of a sash tied by the Buddha is believed to be enshrined here. Its height is said to be 400 feet (120 m). This is considered as the largest stupa in the whole world. This stupa belongs to the Sagalika sect. The compound of the stupa is 8 acres (3 ha). One side of the stupa is 576 feet (176 m) in depth. The 4 flight of steps at the four sides is 28 feet (8.5 m) in depth. The doorpost to the shrine which is situated at the courtyard is 27 feet (8 m) in height. It is a foot (0.3 m) underground. There are some stone inscriptions in the courtyard with the names of donors inscribed.
Then Leave for visit Sela Catiya. Situated 8 Miles from Anuradhapura, Mihintale is the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It was here that in the 3rd Century BC.
Arhant Mahinda met King Devanam Piyatissa who was out hunting, and converted him to Buddhism.Mihintale became the abode of Arhant Mahinda and 3,000monks. The Mihintate rock is honeycombed with shrines and caves where the monks lived. A stairway of 1840 wide steps leads from the bottom of the rock to the summit. The Sela Catiya, The Kantahka Cetiya, Ambasthale Dagoba, Maha Seya endikatu Dagoba are all in this temple complex. The Urna Lome, the sacred hair relic between the eyebrows, is said to be enshrined in Sela Cetiya.
After lunch Proceed to Jaffna.
JAFFNA / NAGADEEPAYA / DAMBULLA (Approx. 05 ½ hours drive – about 260 KM )
Nainativ is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Gulf of Mannar and is only about 35 miles from India.
Merchants have long come here and the surrounding islands to buy the conch shells that are harvested in the warm shallow waters in the Gulf.
The conch shell is of course essential for certain Hindu and Buddhist rituals and a particularly perfect specimen of one spiralling to the right can fetch an enormous price. Pilgrims have also been coming to Nainativ since about the 1st century CE to worship at its famous stupa. In the Mahawamsa the island is one of the sixteen sacred places and the Tamil Buddhist epic, Manimekalai, mentions a gem studded throne and a stone with the Buddha’s footprints at Nagadvipa which pilgrims from India used to come and worship. The heroine of the epic is described as wandering amongst the island’s 'long sandy dunes and lagoons.
After lunch proceed to Dambulla
Overnight stay in Dambulla.Thilanka Resort
DAMBULLA / MAHIYANGANAYA / BADULLA/ ELLA (Approx. 06 ½ hours drive – about 235 KM )
AM Leave to visit Mahiyanganaya & Muthiyangana via Kandy
Mahiyanganaya Raja Maha Vihara.
Historical sources, including the ancient chronicle Mahawamsa,record that the Buddha visited the Mahiyangana area in the ninth month after he attained enlightenment, which was his first visit to the country. According to the Mahawamsa, Sri Lanka was inhabited by Yakshas at the time.It says that the Buddha subdued the Yakshas there and held a discourse on Dhamma with them. They were then sent to an island named Giri so that the country would be "purified" and Buddhism could be established there later on, where it would prevail "in all its glory".
Muthiyangana Raja Maha Vihara
Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya lies in the midst of the city of Badulla in the Uva province. The History of this temple goes back to the time of Buddha but this area around Badulla (especially Uva Province) goes way back in to the time of 19th - 18th century BCE. It is believed that a mighty king called Rawana was ruling this country with Badulla as the capital. It is also believed that the War of Rama and Rawana in Ramayana also happened in this area
Overnight stay in Ella Heavens Edge
ELLA / DEEGAVAPIYA (Approx. 04 ½ hours drive – about 170 KM )
AM Leave to visit Deegavapi
A region in the Uva and Eastern Provinces has suddenly become the subject of controversy in both electronic and print media. Buddhist clergy supported by laymen joined protest campaigns and marched on the streets carrying posters demanding that the Government intervene to protect this area; the subject was Dighavapi.
Many people think Dighavapi is only a Buddhist Dagoba in the Ampara District built during the Second Century BCE. It is true that an enormous Dagoba was built by King Saddatissa, brother of Dutugemunu. According to the Mahawamsa, the Buddha on his third visit to Sri Lanka, after spending the day at the foot of Samanthakuta (Adam's Peak) set out for Dighavapi and seated himself with the brotherhood at the place where the Chetiya (afterwards) stood. He gave himself up to meditation to consecrate the spot.
Overnight stay in Tissa Kithala Resort
KIRI VEHERA/ TISSAMAHARAMAYA/ RATNAPURA (152kms – 3.5 hours)
AM Leave to Visit Kiri Vehera
Many Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka believe that Katharagama Deviyo is a guardian deity of Buddhism and he is the presiding deity of Katharagama temple. Katharagama is also one of the 16 principal places of Buddhist pilgrimage to be visited in Sri Lanka. According to the chronicle of Sri Lankan history the Mahawamsa, when the Bo sapling of Bodhi Tree, under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in North India was brought to the city of Anuradhapura 2,300 years ago, the warriors or Kshatriyas from Katharagama were present on the occasion to pay homage and respect. Kiri Vehera is an ancient stupa built by King Mahasena and situated in Kataragama, Sri Lanka. It is 95 ft. in height with a circumference of 280 ft. This structure probably dates back to the 3rd century BC.
Tissamaharama is one of the most pleasant towns in the southern coast. The beautiful man-made tank (reservoir) in Tissa, Tissa Wewa with its remarkable bird life provides the scenic backdrop to the town. Tissa was the sanctuary in the Deep South, where Sinhalese patriots fled to rally support against marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India. Known by the name of Mahagama (great town), it was one of theprincipal settlements of the southern province of Ruhuna. Mahagama was founded in the third century BC by a brother of the King Devanapiyatissa of Anuradhapura, and later raised to prominence under King Kavantissa, father of the hero of the nation, King Dutugemunu.
The Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is a Buddhist temple in Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka. It was built in the 2nd century BC by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna (Southern Sri Lanka). The site was consecrated by Lord Buddha himself, who spent some time in meditation there with 500 arhats . The Tissamaharama Dagoba which is situated in the premises of Tissamaharama Raja Maha Vihara is one of the largest stupas in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a Buddhist dome-shaped religious monument found largely on the Indian subcontinent and also called a dagoba in Sri Lanka.
Leave For visit Divaguhawa
This is another ancient cave situated in Rathnapura district not far from Batadombalena. This cave is known as Batathotalena and Bagawalena too. This is a sacred place where devotees coming all across the country to worship and get blessings. It is also one of the sixteen most sacred places (solosmasthana) in Sri Lanka. If you are going in a vehicle, you have to park it on the vehicle park at the bottom of the mountain in which the cave located. You will have to take a steep path to go up and it is not so difficult as the steps are built on most of the journey up. There are various types of vendors on either side of the path begging you to buy something from them. You don't have to worry about them as you can buy anything you want on the way back. Why carry an extra weight on an uphill journey?? At the time when we visit there, a construction was on progress to build up a resting house for the monks. As a contribution, you can take a can of concrete stones up. We suggest you to take one up.
Overnight stay in Ratnapura. Ratnaloka hotel
RATNAPUTRA /HATTON/ NALLATANNIYA (Approx. 04 hours drive – about 135 KM )
AM Leave to visit Adam’s peak
The most famous physical feature of Ceylon is Adam's Peak, which is situated in the Ratnapura district. It is on the edge of the central massif but its surrounding group of mountains called the Wilderness of the Peak, is so extensive in comparison to the bulk of the other mountain groups that it appears to form a nucleus of its own, separate from the others. It is about 7500 ft high and, though it is the second highest peak in the land, its position in relation to the topography is so dominant that it stands out above all others.
The physical features of a land are often spoken of first, by a foreign visitor. Physical descriptions compare it to a pearl and a teardrop. Lying at the southern point of India its pendant shape appears like a drop of water as it falls. South of it there is nothing but the Antarctic. It is on the major sea route between West and East Asia and therefore was a trading station for the Arabs and a trading station and a colony for the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.
Overnight stay in Nallatanniya Punsisi rest
NALLATANNIYA /KELANIYA/ NEGOMBO (Approx. 04 ½ hours drive – about 170 KM )
After breakfast leave for Negombo , Visit Kelaniya en route
The chronicles, Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa, record in detail the story of the Buddha's visit to Kelaniya on the eighth year after his Enlightenment, on a Wesak day, on the invitation of the Naga King Maniakkhika. Following the expounding of the Dhamma (Buddhism) by Buddha, Kelaniya Royal Temple was build by the king. The jewelled throne, on which the Buddha sat while preaching, Buddha's hair, the utensils used in the past are said to have been enshrined in the stupa at the Kelaniya temple.
Kelaniya Vihara however, received its hallowed status and became a place of Buddhist worship after Arhath (supremely enlightened) Mahinda brought the Dhamma to the island
Spend the evening leisure at Negombo Paradise beach hotel
NEGOMBO / AIRPORT (Approx. 25 minutes drive – about 15 KM )
After breakfast leave to katunayaka for departure