We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cultural Explorer: 4 Days tour in Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Cultural Triangle

Select Date and Travelers
From
$445.00
Date
2 travelers
What to Expect
Itinerary

Day 1: Kandy

Stop At: Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya Road, Peradeniya 20400 Sri Lanka
These stunning gardens were once reserved exclusively for Kandyan royalty. Today, even commoners are allowed in to enjoy the most impressive and largest (60 hectares) botanic gardens in Sri Lanka.

Highlights include a fine collection of orchids, a stately avenue of royal palms, the extraordinary, aptly named cannonball fruit tree and 40m-high Burma bamboo. Another big hit is the giant Javan fig tree on the great lawn, with its colossal central trunk and umbrella-like canopy of branches.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000 Sri Lanka
The golden-roofed Temple of the Sacred Tooth houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic – a tooth of the Buddha. During puja (offerings or prayers), the heavily guarded room housing the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. However, you don’t actually see the tooth. It’s kept in a gold casket shaped like a dagoba (stupa), which contains a series of six dagoba caskets of diminishing size.

As well as the revered main temple, the complex includes a series of smaller temples, shrines and museums.
Duration: 2 hours

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Overnight stay at Earl's Regent, Kandy (or a 4 star hotel with similar standers)



Day 2: Sigiriya

Stop At: Dambulla Cave Temple, Jaffna Hwy, Habarana 50150 Sri Lanka
The beautiful Royal Rock Temple complex sits about 160m above the road in the southern part of Dambulla. Five separate caves contain about 150 absolutely stunning Buddha statues and paintings, some of Sri Lanka's most important and evocative religious art. Buddha images were first created here over 2000 years ago, and over the centuries subsequent kings added to and embellished the cave art.

From the caves there are superb views over the surrounding countryside; Sigiriya is clearly visible some 20km distant.
Duration: 2 hours

Stop At: Sigiriya The Ancient Rock Fortress, Main Road, Sigiriya 21120 Sri Lanka
You'll have to climb a series of vertiginous staircases attached to sheer walls to reach the top. On the way you'll pass a series of quite remarkable frescoes and a pair of colossal lion's paws carved into the bedrock. The surrounding landscape – lily-pad-covered moats, water gardens and cave shrines – only add to Sigiriya's rock-star appeal.
Duration: 3 hours

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight stay in EKHO Sigiriya (or a 4 star hotel with similar standers)

Day 3: Anuradhapura

Stop At: Avukana Buddha Statue, Avukana, Kekirawa 50100 Sri Lanka
The Buddha statue at Avukana (Sinhala: අවුකන බුද්ධ ප්‍රතිමාව) also known as Avukana Pilimaya, is a remarkable rock carving of a standing Buddha. Located about 175 kms away from Colombo in Avukana, near Kekirawa in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, this statue is a masterpiece of man’s artistry and creative skill. Avukana was built during the reign of King Dhatusena in the 5th Century. Standing over 40 feet high, Avukana is the tallest of the ancient Buddha statues in the country.
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Sri Maha Boodhi Temple, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka
Sri Maha Bodhiya, or the Sacred Bodhi Tree was propagated from the original Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha Gautama achieved enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama was the young Indian prince who founded the Buddhist religion. He is also referred to as Gautama Buddha, or known simply as the Buddha.
The Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura was planted in 288 B.C., making it the oldest living tree in the world! It is protected by a wall and revered by thousands of Buddhist pilgrims who come to pay it homage every day of the year. This impressive Bodhi Tree is one of the most sacred Buddhist relics in the world and is constantly being adorned with strings of prayer flags of blessings for protection, peace, and good fortune.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Ruwanweliseya රුවන්වැලි මහා සෑය, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
Known as the “Great Stupa,” the Ruwanwelisaya stupa is an enormous white structure that predates the Jetavanarama stupa by over 100 years. King Dutugemunu, who became ruler after defeating King Elara, commissioned its construction in 161 B.C. Sadly, he did not live long enough to see its completion. The gleaming white monument is quite large, with a height of 91.4 meters and a circumference of 290 meters. It is the second highest stupa in Anuradhapura and continues to be an important place of worship.

The large white dome represents heaven – its design was inspired by a bubble floating on water. Many believe that relics of the Buddha are housed within the dome. The square portion above the dome represents the Four Noble Truths, while the eight rings represent the Noble Eightfold Path – both are touchstone teachings of Buddhism. There is also much to discover around the pavilion.

Rows of carved elephants and layers of exposed brick provide both support and decoration to the structure. Visitors light coconut oil votives along a wall adorned with statues of elephant heads. The Ruwanwelisaya site also has smaller ruins and freestanding pillars that were once part of the sacred complex. Pilgrims leave offerings of flowers and food at small shrines.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Mirisawatiya Sthupa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
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.
Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Lovamahapaya Brazen Palace, End of Trincomalee Rd, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
Lovamahapaya in Sri Lanka, also known as the Brazen Palace or Lohaprasada, is a set of ruins with hundreds and hundreds of stone pillars that lie between the stupa Ruvanvelisaya and the Great Bodhi Tree of Anuradhapura. This is the location of a once mighty nine storied monastic structure built by the King Dutugemmunu in the 2nd century BC.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Dagoba of Thuparama, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka
Built, destroyed, and restored throughout the ages, the Thuparamaya Dagoba is the oldest stupa in Sri Lanka. Though not as impressive as other stupas in Anuradhapura, it is sacred because it holds a collarbone relic of the Buddha. The structure that we see today is a complete reconstruction that was done in 1862, although some of the original pillars still stand around the main building.

King Devanampiyatissa originally built Thuparama Dagoba in the 4th century to house the collarbone relic. Other remnants from the original dagoba include pillar bases, stone carvings, temple ruins, and a beautiful moonstone.
Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Twin Baths (Kuttam Pokuna), Watawandana Road, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
The “twin ponds,” as they are referred to, were constructed sometime between the 8th and 10th centuries B.C. Although their design might look simple enough, their plumbing is anything but. The Anuradhapurans were master engineers, as evidenced by their elaborate irrigation systems. The twin ponds feature underground ducts used to filter, fill, and empty the pools of water. In addition to their impressive plumbing, the design of the pools shows an eye for elegance.
Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Samadhi Statue, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka
The Samadhi Statue is a statue situated at Mahamevnāwa Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Buddha is depicted in the position of the Dhyana Mudra, the posture of meditation associated with his first Enlightenment, also called Nirvana. Whether the Buddha’s Enlightenment was the experience technically called Samadhi, or some other phenomenon, may depend upon the philosophical allegiance of the believer. In the Dhyana Mudra the Buddha sits cross – legged with his upturned palms placed one over the other on his lap. This position is universally known throughout the Buddhist world, and this statue is therefore one of the most typical pieces of Buddhist sculpture. It is not to be confused with the very similar “Earth-Touching Mudra,” which depicts the simple action the Buddha took to fend off the illusions projected by Mara, who was desperate to prevent the Buddha from realizing that his, Mara’s, projections, and with them the entire world, are an illusion. This statue is 8 feet in height and carved from granite.
Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Anuradhapura Moonstone සදකඩපහණ, Watawandana Rd, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Sandakada Pahana, or Moonstone, is a distinctive Sri Lankan architectural element developed during the later years of the Anuradhapura Kingdom. A moonstone is a semi-circular carved slab of stone traditionally placed at the entrance of a Buddhist temple. The Sandakada Pahana at Abhayagiri Monastery dates back to 1st century B.C. A lotus blossom leaf is depicted in the center and is surrounded by rows of animals, each of which represents a stage of life.

The elephants represent birth, bulls represent aging, lions represent disease, and the horses signify death. The swans, on the other hand, are believed to represent the forces of good and evil at play during one’s lifetime. The moonstone, then, is interpreted as a depiction of transcending worldly temptations and reaching the ultimate goal of Nirvana, which is symbolized by the lotus flower. The image of the lotus flower is found in architecture throughout Asia and is considered a sacred figure in Buddhism.
Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Abayagiriya Stupa, Anuradhapura Sri Lanka
Abhayagiriya is one of the prominent stupas of the Ancient Anuradhapura kingdom and also one of the places of Solosmassthana (the list of 16 prominent worship places of a Buddhist). This famous world stupa was built by the Kind Valagamba, who is also known as the King Vatta Gamini Abaya was constructed in the 1st century BC.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Isurumuniya Temple, At Royal Pleasure Gardens, Anuradhapura 50000 Sri Lanka
The Isurumuniya Vihara is a monastic complex carved out of solid rock. Built by King Devanampiyatissa, it was used to house 500 ordained Buddhist monks, or issira. Typically, issira were children from noble families in high castes willing to dedicate their lives to the teachings of Buddha and the path to enlightenment. Once they were ordained, they lived apart from the rest of Anuradhapuran society.

Pilgrims bring flower offerings to a statue of a reclining Buddha, who is dressed in a bright crimson robe and housed within one of the shrines. The statue is surrounded with vibrant paintings depicting the Buddha’s life and legends of the Anuradhapurans’ ancient world. Giant boulders, some of which feature carvings of elephants and other figures, are scattered throughout the complex. There are also several shrines, pillars, statues, and a stupa.

A museum inside the monastery displays carved stone fragments that once adorned the Isurumuniya complex. These include stone benches and carved portraits of the royal family dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. Visitors can climb the stairs to the top of the highest boulder for a fantastic view of the property.

Near the Isurumuniya Vihara is the Magul Uyana, a complex of ancient bathing ponds said to be the place where Prince Saliya, son of King Dutugamunu, became enamored with a maiden girl named Asokamala. According to legend, the prince married his love despite her not being of noble blood, thus forfeiting the throne to his uncle. Their love is immortalized in a 6th century stone carving, which is housed in the museum.
Duration: 1 hour

Meals included:
• Breakfast
Accommodation included: Overnight stay in EKHO Lake House (or a 4 star hotel with similar standers)

Day 4: Polonnaruwa

Stop At: Royal Palace of King Maha Parakramabahu 23, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
The first group of ruins you meet after entering the ground of the Ancient City is the Royal Palace Group. This group of buildings dates from the period of King Parakramabahu I (1153 – 1186). The King`s Royal Palace is a massive structure, measuring 31 m by 13 m, once including 50 rooms supported by 30 columns. Even today it is quite an impressive building, but picture it being seven floors tall with 3 m thick walls, as the archaeologists claim it once was!

Today only some of the walls are left, with holes to hold floor beams for two higher levels. If the building had four more levels above these stone walls, the archaeologists speculate that they must have been made of wood. Impressive building such a big palace in those days without machines!
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: watadagaya, スリランカ, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka
The Sacred Quadrangle is a compact group of beautiful and impressive ruins within a raised up platform bounded by a wall. This is the most concentrated collection of buildings in the whole Ancient City
In the middle of the Quadrangle is The Vatadage, a circular relic house typical of its kind. The outermost terrace is an impressive 18m in diameter and has four entrances all flanked by large guard stones in beautiful condition.

The Vatadage, 18 m in diameter. has four entrances, each guarded by a beautiful stone figure.The four entrances all lead to a central dagaba with four Buddhas.
Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Pabalu Vehera, Gal Vihara Road, Polonnaruwa 51000 Sri Lanka
Pabalu Vehera, is another typical dagaba, dating back to King Parakramabahu I (1153-1186). This is the third largest dagaba in Polonnaruwa, and in excellent condition.
Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Rankoth Vehera, Ancient Bhikku Hospital, Polonnaruwa 51000 Sri Lanka
Rankot Vihara is a huge dagaba in excellent condition, of impressive 54 meters tall! It is the largest dagaba in Polonnaruwa, the fourth largest in Sri Lanka, and dates back to King Nissanka Malla (1187 – 1196).

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Kiri Vehera, Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka
The beautiful dagaba Kiri Vihara (meaning “milk-white”) was built in honour of the King`s Queen. When the archaeologists came to the area and cleared it from the overgrown jungle, they found the original lime plaster still in white perfect condition after 700 years! This is the best-preserved unrestored dagaba in Polonnaruwa.
Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Lankathilaka Image House, Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka
The huge Lankatilaka is impressive with its 17 m high walls! Although the roof is gone, it still has a cathedral-like feeling about it, and the aisle leads to a huge standing headless Buddha.
Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Gal Vihara, 440/225 Palm Grove State Minuwangoda road, Polonnaruwa 51000 Sri Lanka
Gal Vihara is a group of four beautiful Buddhas in perfect condition, cut from one long slab of granite.

The standing Buddha is 7 m tall and is said to be the finest of the series, with its unusual position of the arms and sad facial expression.

The reclining Buddha is 14 m long, picturing Buddha entering Nirvana.

Duration: 30 minutes

Meals included:
• Breakfast
No accommodation included on this day.
Show More
Important Information
Departure Point
Traveler pickup is offered
We Pick-up Guest from Bandaranayake International Airport, any hotel in Colombo or From a hotel located in other areas upon guest's request (subject to charges)

Airports

  • Bandaranayake Intl Airport, Colombo Sri Lanka
Departure Time
Suppliers and travelers coordinate start times within the given time periods.

9/17/2019 - 10/31/2019Monday - Sunday:07:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Duration
4 days
Inclusions
  • 3x Breakfast
  • Accommodation included: 3 nights
  • Goody Bags With Mineral Water Bottle, Chocolate, Mentos, Packet of cashew nuts
  • Entry/Admission - Royal Botanical Gardens
  • Entry/Admission - Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic
  • Entry/Admission - Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Entry/Admission - Sigiriya The Ancient Rock Fortress
  • Entry/Admission - Avukana Buddha Statue
  • Entry/Admission - Sri Maha Boodhi Temple
  • Entry/Admission - Ruwanweliseya රුවන්වැලි මහා සෑය
  • Entry/Admission - Mirisawatiya Sthupa
  • Entry/Admission - Lovamahapaya Brazen Palace
  • Entry/Admission - Dagoba of Thuparama
  • Entry/Admission - Twin Baths (Kuttam Pokuna)
  • Entry/Admission - Samadhi Statue
  • Entry/Admission - Anuradhapura Moonstone සදකඩපහණ
  • Entry/Admission - Abayagiriya Stupa
  • Entry/Admission - Isurumuniya Temple
  • Entry/Admission - Royal Palace of King Maha Parakramabahu 23
  • Entry/Admission - watadagaya
  • Entry/Admission - Pabalu Vehera
  • Entry/Admission - Rankoth Vehera
  • Entry/Admission - Kiri Vehera
  • Entry/Admission - Lankathilaka Image House
  • Entry/Admission - Gal Vihara
Exclusions
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Cost of beverage throughout the tour
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Tips or Portage
Show More
Additional Info
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Be the first to write a review
Updating list...
Questions & Answers
Get quick answers from Cultural Explorer: 4 Days tour in Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Cultural Triangle staff and past visitors.
Note: your question will be posted publicly on the Questions & Answers page.
Submit
Posting guidelines
Key Details
Why Book on TripAdvisor?
  • Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Low Price Guarantee
  • No Booking Fees
  • Secure Payments
  • 24/7 SupportCall: