Sri Lanka – Pearl of the Indian Ocean

When my flight landed at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo at dawn, I was clearly able to see the lush greenery emerging from the dark.

Sri Lanka is an island country situated in South Asia and can be reached by air or sea. History of Sri Lanka dates back to approximately 35,000 years evidenced from the human remain found on the island. The island is blessed with wonderful beaches, dense forests, mountain peaks, vast plains, natural beauty and rich culture. In the ancient Indian epic “Ramayana” Sri Lanka was represented as made of gold and was ruled by “Ravana” depicted as ‘Raksha'(demon)

I was excited to begin my 4 night – 5 day road journey through most exciting areas of Sri Lanka. Immigration and custom formalities completed quicker than expected, and I met my driver at the arrival hall. Being a tea enthusiastic first thing I wanted to have was Ceylon tea. Nice cuppa at the tea stall outside airport refreshed and awakened by senses and soon we were on our way for the wonderful journey on this amazing island.

5 day Itinerary

Day 1 Colombo to Kandy City
  • Pinnawala elephant orphanage
  • Ayurveda Village and Farm trip
  • Kendy City Tour
  • Gem, Bathik and Wood Carving Factory Tour
  • Sri Lankan Cultural Show
  • Temple of Tooth and Prayer ceremony
  • Royal Palace
Day 2 Kandy City Nuwara Eliya
  • Waterfalls in Hill country
  • Storefield and Bluefield Tea Factory and Museum
  • Strawberry Farms
Day 3 Nuwara Eliya – Local
  • Nuwara Eliya City tour
  • Sita Kotuwa
  • Ashoka Vathika
  • Nuwara Eliya Lake
Day 4 Nuwara Eliya to Colombo
  • Worlds End
  • Mount Lavinia Beach
Day 5 Colombo – Flight at night
  • Colombo City Tour
  • Gangaramya Temple
  • Independence Square

Must visit places during the visit

  • Temple of Tooth – Kandy: Houses the Sacred tooth of Buddha, this temple is Sri Tooth TempleLanka’s most visited and important Buddhist temple. Legend has it that when Buddha was cremated, one of his disciple retrieved the tooth from the funeral pyre.  The temple compound houses several other small temples, shrines and museums. The best time to visit is the morning or evening to attend prayer ceremony.
  • Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – Pinnawala: Located at Pinnawala village and established by department of wildlife conservation, is the best place for people who love to get close and personal with elephants. You can get a chance to feed, play and bathe with baby elephants abandoned by their mothers.
  • GangaRamaya Temple – Colombo: Situated in the inner-city Colombo, the GangaRamaya temple attracts huge tourist population along with local worshipers. The temple isIMG_4581[1] spread over various small buildings and courtyards within a compound and houses Lord Buddha’s statue made of Jade. The interesting feature of this temple is museum which showcases random items from coins to antique decorative items and from personal grooming items to cars. There are 1000’s of Buddha statues along with other terracotta/clay dolls. If you are lucky, you might get blessings from Galboda Gnanissara Thera who is the head priest and chief incumbent of GangaRamaya temple.
  • Tea Factory and Museum – Nuwara Eliya and Surroundings: Trip to Sri Lanka can IMG_4585[1]never be complete without visiting tea factory. There are few to name, I personally liked Somerfield and Bluefield tea factory on the way from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. The tea tour contains a guided walk to factory, and the process of making and grading tea and end with tea tasting at the cafe. Having the fresh tea at Somerfield was absolute divine.
  • Ashoka Vatika – Nuwara Eliya: As per Indian epic “Ramayana”, ‘Sita’ preferred to stay under the Ashoka tree in the garden, rather being housed at ‘Ravana’s’ palace after the kidnapping. The name of garden came from the Ashoka tree. ‘Sita’ stayed at the vatika till the epic battle between ‘Rama’ and ‘Ravana’ finished, and capital of demon king was ashed down along with gold and other treasures.
  • World’s End/Horton Plains Plateau – Nuwara Eliya: Approximate 9.5km to and froimg_4587-1 walk from the entrance, must be done early morning. It’s called world’s end because the plateau comes to the sudden end. The views from the top are spectacular. If you don’t reach there early in the morning, the view gets obscured by mist and clouds.

Places which can be missed

  • Isiwaya Ayurveda Village : First stop we made was on roadside Hindu temple and an Ayurveda farm. The farm was good, I got to see many plants for spices which we use in daily life, but had no idea where they came from. The pharmacy at the Ayurveda Village was over priced and sales team would constantly pester you to buy the products.
  • Gem, Woodcarving and Bathik Factories: They are okay to visit and see how the woodcarvings or gem cleaning is done. These kind of places are made to sell over priced goods to tourists. If you don’t get the time to visit such places, don’t get disappointed.
  • Train Ride To Nuwara Eliya: However exciting it sounds, apart from couple of view points the ride itself is time consuming and the tickets are not guaranteed. I had my guide book the tickets in advance.

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