Buddhist Pillgrim's Tour
In all sincerity We admit that one cannot see all that can be offered ,however we have selected the most revered place and destinations that will be memorable and a blessing to the thirsty soul.
For the journey of a person who travels to a shrine or holy place is a pilgrim who has a curious soul who walks beyond unknown boundaries, crosses fields, touches the earth with a destination in mind and a purpose in heart. Having this in mind we have come up with the “Buddhist pilgrim’s tour” of Sri Lanka.
Arrive in Sri Lanka
On disembarkation proceed to the arrival lobby through immigration, baggage collection and customs clearance formalities. Our Airport representative will hold a signboard with your name “???” at the arrival lobby, who will then accompany & introduce to your chauffeur guide.
You will be driven to the Negombo, rest of the day is at leisure to settle into your room and relax. The Journey takes approximately ½ hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
Day 2 3 4
Anuradhapura, Exploring on the way stay 3 nights
Leave for Anuradhapura for 3nights.The Journey takes approximately 05hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
RIDI VIHARA-Ridigama (Kurunegala District) Situated at the 10th mile post on the Kurunegala-Rambodagalla Road, it was originally established by GaminiAbhaya (22-31 CE).
YAPAHUWA RAJA MAHA VIHARA Yapahuwa is located 112 km away from Colombo in the North-western province of Sri Lanka midway between Kurunegala and Anuradhapura
History of Yapahuwa1. Sri MahaBodi (The Sacred Bo-Tree) has grown from a cutting of the Bo tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment is over 2250 years old and is the world’s oldest tree.
Following the decline of Polanaruwa kingdom, the capital of Sri Lanka was shifted to Yapahuwa by King Buwanekabahu the first. The palladium of the Sinhalese Buddhist nation, the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was enshrined within the newly built temple at the Yapahuwa. However Yapahuwa too once again fell to the marauding Dravidian invaders from Southern India. After the death of Buwanekabahu the first, the Pandayan marauders invaded the island once again, pillaged the kingdom of Yapahuwa and carried the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha to the Pandayan Kingdom.
Ruins in Yapahuwa,Stone Stairway in Yapahuwa,Doorway in Yapahuwa,Caves at the top of the rock in Yapahuwa,Caves in Yapahuwa, Anuradahapura ( visit the following next three days)
2. AbhayagiriVihara, the Northern Monastery, Anuradhapura is one of the largest Buddhist Institutions in the world today.
3. Residential complex, the residences as seen through the porter’s lodge. (The monastery had 5000 monks in residence.)
4. PrasadaStupa, stepped stupas of the prasada type are rare in the world.
5. Abhayagiristupa, the tallest brick edifice of the ancient world originally about 350 feet high.
6. Ruined Relic House,Abhayagiri a very elegantly constructed edifice with refined details and delicate sculptures to enhance the design.
7. Bo tree shrine, displays many phases of constructional activities in the earliest being attributed to the formation of the Vihara in the first century B.C.
8. Seated Buddha, the image situated at the site of an ancient bodhi-tree shrine.
9. Residence of a chief monk was also the teaching unit where the pupils were guided their academic and religious teaching.
10. Urinal stone is a elaborately decorated and exceptional piece. The fact that it was used was evident from soakage pots found below the urinal trough.
11. The biggest rice-bowl in the world.
12. The Elephant pond, equivalent in area to 6 modern Olympic swimming pools, is perhaps the largest man-made pond in the world.
13. KuttamPokuna, twin pond, very elegant, beautiful and unusual design of two baths joined to form a single bathing complex.
14. Naga symbol is generally associated with water and often found at water inlets or outlets. Nagaraja, is one of the finest examples of an entrance guards stone.
15. Moonstone,the is one of the most exquisite moonstones found in Sri Lanka.
16. The elegant Samadhi Budda image, this image is counted among the finest Buddha figures sculptured in the world.
17. MagnificantIsurumuni Lovers, 6th Century Gupta style carving.
18. Anuradhapura Thurparamastupa, one of the oldest in the world.
19. Magnificent Jetavan complex and stupa.
20. The Ruwanwelisaya, standing at 300 feet, is the oldest but smallest of the three giant edifies.
Day 5 6 7
Trincomalee-Exploring on the way
Leave for Trincomale for 3nights.The Journey takes approximately 4hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
Mihintale a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures. Triyaya, WeligamVehera and Seruwila Raja MahaVihara are three living Buddhist heritage sites of the Trincomalee district.
VATADAGE TEMPLE, TIRlYAYA. (Trincomalee District) About a mile off a Point between the 27th and 28th mile-post on Trincomalee-Pulmoddai Road, this temple is located on a hill. It is famous for its archeological remains.
VelgamVehera Buddhist monastery Velgam Vehera ancient Buddhist monastery is located 16 km north-west of Trincomalee off the Trincomalee - Horowupothana road. An inscription on a rock halfway up the hill on the summit on which are the remains of a stupa belongs to the reign of Batiya Maharaja or King BhatikaTissa II (circa 149 A.D.). It records the gift of revenue from certain fields to the AbagaraVihare (Abhagiri or AmaragiriVihare) at Velgama by a General named Abaya.
Day 8 9 10
Polanaruwa-Exploring on the way
Leave for Polanaruwa for 3nights.The Journey takes approximately 4hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
SOMAVATI CETIYA, Meenvillu, Polonnaruwa. It is 30 miles from Polonnaruwa, close to Sungavilia.
GAL VIHARA, Polonnaruwa A rock-hewn shrine. Carved on the face of the rock are 3 colossal figures of the Buddha.There is a recumbent Buddha 44 feet in length.
KIRIVEHERA, Polonnaruwa One of the best preserved ancient Dagoba of Sri Lanka, it is said to have been constructed by Subadhra, Consort of King ParakramaBahu 1 (1153-1186 CE). THUPARAMA, Polonivaruwa this is the oldest building in which the ancient brick roof survives.
LANKATHILAKA VIHARA, Polonnaruwa This was constructed by King ParakramaBahu 1 and renovated by Vijayabahu IV (1270-1272 CE). Gal Vihara (Sinhala: stone temple), Buddhist Temple at (UNESCO World Heritage Site) at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka is the most perfect specimen of Buddha statue hewn out of solid stone. Crafted during the reign of King Parakrabahu (1153-1186 A.C), Gal Vihara statues are still in complete preservation with their irresistible charm and sublimity. It is undeniable that the sculptors of Gal Vihara were of greater skill and expertise in the art of stone sculpture in Sri Lanka. The images at Gal Vihara have brought about higher level of awakening in the observers with respect of Buddhist art in Sri Lanka.
Gal Vihara, Polonnaruwa known as “The Northern Temple” in the beginning of its history, is a cave complex, about 27 meters in length and 10 meters in height at the centre and sloping towards the ends, with sculptures carved on the solid rock in four shrines.
Gal Vihara, like numerous other Buddhist shrines of Sri Lanka, is a shrine of Theravada Buddhism. Then again Gal Vihara testifies to the influence of Mahayana Buddhism during the 12th century.
Caves of Gal Vihara
Gal Vihara consists of four cave shrines with sculptures hallowed out of a granite rock. Caves from left to right are
• Cave of Vijjadharas,
• Excavated Cave,
• Cave of Standing Image and
• Cave of Reclining Image.
Between the Excavated Cave and the Cave of Standing Image is an inscription. In front of the Excavated Cave are remains of a pavilion.
Day 11 12
Kandy - Exploring Dambulla, Sigiriya,Matale and Kandy
Leave for Kandy for 4 nights.The Journey takes approximately 5hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a world heritage site (1991) in srilanka, situated in the central part of the country. This site is situated 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy.
It is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life. There are total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include two statues of Hindu gods, the god Vishnu and the god Ganesh. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meters. Depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first Sermon. Prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these cave complexes before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as there are burial sites with human skeletons about 2700 years old in this area, at Ibbankatuwa near the Dambulla cave complexes.
Sigiriya (Lion's rock, Sinhalese - සීගිරිය) is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings Frescos which are reminiscent of the Ajanta caves of India. It is one of the eight world Heritage sites of Sri Lanka. It is also declared by UNESCO as the 8th Wonder of the World.
Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain Monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahawansa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.
The Aluvihara Temple, on the North side of the town, is the historic location where the Pali was first written down completely in text on ola (palm) leaves. Situated near Aluvihara are numerous monastery caves, some of which exhibit fine frescoes. ex:- The Embiliviharaya temple at Hulangamuwa, The Watagoda Temple, TheKawatayamuna temple.
ALOKA VIHARA, ALUVIHARE. (Matale District)
During the reign of King Valagambahu (103 BC and 89-77 BC).the 4th Buddhist Convocation was held here and the Sacred Texts (Tri-Pitaka) and Commentaries were reduced to writing for the first time. At the summit of the rock is a dagoba. It is situated 2 miles north of Matale on the Matale Dambulla road. RANGIRI DAMBULLA RAJA MAHA VIHARA, Dambulla (Matale District) This Vihara known in ancient terms as the Jambukollena Vihara is situated on. top of a rock. Here are cave inscriptions of the 2nd Century BC. Inside several drip edged caved image houses have been constructed. The images are carved out of the living rock.
Kandy is located at the center of Sri Lanka and is generally recognized as the island nation's cultural capital. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This is the last kingdom of the country. Since it was conquered by the British only around 1815 you can still see the living traditions. Kandyans are usually proud of their heritage. Since the western elements has played a comparatively little role in the city most Kandyans are upholding Buddhist values
Temples - The main temple of the tooth is centre of Kandy, situated around Kandy are some other popular tourist attractions. The most famous temples are: Gadaladeniya, Lankathilaka Viharaya, Embekke Devalaya, Dodanwala Devalaya, Degaldoruwa, Hindagala Viharaya, Madawala Viharaya and Galmaduwa Viharaya.
Day 15 16
Bandarawela via Nuwara–Eliya
Leave for Bandarawela for 2nights.The Journey takes approximately 4hrs by Car/Micro Van the most.
The main heritage sites in and around Badulla are ancient Muthiyangana (Buddhist) temple, Dhowa Temple, Bogoda ancient wooded bridge and Buddhist temple. The Muthiyangana temple is located in one end of the Badulla town, Dhowa ancient temple is located by Badulla-Bandarawela road whereas Bogoda wooden bridge and temple is close to Hali-ela town.
Ancient Rawana buddhist temple also famous among the tourists who visit Rawana water fall in Ella.
Dhowa rock Temple is one of the heritage sites in Sri Lanka, situated in central mountain of Uva province. Dhowa is small ancient village which is situated on Badulla, Bandarawela main road. This Temple is situated 210 km east of Colombo and 120 km south of Kandy. It is 8 km from the town of Bandarawela.
The Dowa rock temple could be considered as a Mahayana Sculpture with a huge unfinished Buddha image carved into the rock face. The temple dates back to Before Christ times. It has been built safely inside a ring of mountains. A beautiful river is flown across the plateau. Hence, It is believed, the area had earned the name, Dowa.
The temple bears a history dating back to about 2,000 years. In the olden days the Dowa Temple was known as the Kumbaltissa Ariyagala Vehera. It had been named after its Chief Priest who had served as a sanctuary for King Walagamba and thus he turned the cave into a temple.
The work of the temple had not been completed during the reign of King Walagamba. But the work had been fully completed during the Kandyan Kingdom. It looks too good for a temple built in a hurry. Nestled among the scenic mountains, lush vegetation and the BaduluOya, Dhowa Raja Maha Viharaya, a cave temple built by King Walagamba holds many historic secrets.
The legend holds that the cave temple was built by King Walagamba while he was in hiding from Indian invaders who were ruling the country at the time. Explaining the unfinished stone statue of the Buddha, villagers say that the king left the temple in a hurry using a secret tunnel, which connects Dhowa Cave temple to Rawana Maha Viharaya in Ella.
Day 17 18
Leave for Tissa for 02 nights. The Journey takes approximately 5hrs by Car/Micro Van the most Tissa Maha Dagoba - The Tissa Maha Dagoba, which means the Great Stupa of Tissa, was built during the 3rd century BC by King Kavantissa. It is found near the town center. During that time, this was the largest stupa on the island. It measures more than 55 meters high and 165 meters in circumference.
Today, the Tissa Maha Dagoba is considered as one of the sixteen Solosmasthana or most sacred sites for Buddhist Pilgrims. It houses a forehead bone as well as a sacred tooth relic of Buddha.
Sandagiri Dagoba -Connected to the remains of an old temple complex, the Sandagiri Dagoba provides visitors an insight of how these structures were built during the first few centuries. This stupa was originally built during the 2nd century by King Kavantissa. However, it failed the test of time and the power of nature. Today, the current stupa standing is a restored version of the original stupa.
Day 19 20
Leave for Tangalle for 02nights.The Journey takes approximately 2hrs by Car/Micro Van the most Mulkirigala Buddhist temples- An exhausting climb up hundreds of steps is not everybody’s idea of a relaxing day out nonetheless; your effort will be well rewarded, as you take in the large reclining Buddha and smaller statues taking shelter in a series of caves. Mulkirigala’s wall paintings which depict sinners paying for their sins with a tortuous afterlife provide a fascinating insight to Lord Buddha’s teachings. Upon reaching the rock summit there is a small Dagoba, and, what little breath you have left after your climb will be taken away by magnificent views of surrounding scenery.
Leave for Galle for 01 nights.The Journey takes approximately 2hrs by Car/Micro Van the most Weduwa Monastery Kogalla The Weduwa cloister is a monastery of the Theravada tradition on the south coast of Sri Lanka, only few minutes away from the beach and the sea. The clean compound is built around the Kogalla lake. With the view on bluish gray lake you can meditate fantastically.
There is very peaceful atmosphere in the air. Approx. 20 monks - from young to old - live in this monastery.
Here the possibility is offered to experience a very authentic stay in a Buddhist monastery with the forest monks of Sri Lanka. The Weduwa monastery is suited for people who have been already engaged with Buddhism and meditation and to whom heat and mosquitoes do not matter!
Rumasala Japanese Peace Pagoda – Rumasala Galle - An immense pagoda built and occupied by Japanese monks. It has panoramic views of the Fort and Indian Ocean.
Yatagala Temple – Yatagala Galle - Possibly the finest Buddhist temple in the area, built among massive boulders on the crest of a hill overlooking the rice paddies and tropical rainforest. Ancient rock carvings.
Day 22 23
Leave for Colombo for 02 nights.The Journey takes approximately 3hrs by Car/Micro Van the most Kotte Kotavehara• The King's palace, with walls of quartz that sparkle in the moonlight (candrakantapasana) and a golden spire, with beautiful flower gardens and springs of water.
• The 'Kotavehara' at Baddagana, the only Buddhist temple of the city outside the moat and rampart.
• The Royal cemetery at Beddagana (Veherakanda memorial)
• The 'Angampitiya', the military parade and training ground just inside the inner moat.