4 Fun-Filled Activities to Enjoy during Sri Lanka Holidays

Located amidst the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is known for its sandy beaches and rich wildlife. This island nation is home to a number of intriguing flora and fauna species, therefore also a dream destination for every nature lover. Tourists from all around the globe come here in search of beauty and serenity. Sri Lanka holidays offer a chance to look into the lives of one of the most ancient civilisations in the world as well. Given below are four such activities that you should undertake to make the best of your vacation in this breathtaking realm.

Take a Tour of Nuwara Eliya

Known as Little England of Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya is where the world-famous Ceylon tea is grown. This erstwhile hill retreat of the colonisers resembles the picturesque sceneries of rural England. Take a tour through the lush plantations on the misty hills to experience one of the best feelings of holidaying in this island nation. You can also enjoy a steaming cup of flavoursome tea while marvelling at the surreal surroundings.

Explore the Marvellous Cave Temples of Dambulla

The splendid Royal Rock Temple complex is located in the southern region of Dambulla. When availing a tour package to Sri Lanka, make sure to visit this extraordinary site. The complex is made of five caves that contain over a hundred spectacular statues and paintings of Lord Buddha, dating back as far as around 2000 years. This historical site is also a great vantage point to enjoy the surrounding countryside vistas.

Try Snorkelling at Pigeon Island National Park

Located around one kilometre offshore in Nilaveli region, Pigeon Island is home to rock pigeons. Its velvety sand, clear-blue pools and shimmering corals make it a sight to behold. The area is suitable for snorkelling with shallow reefs that make it possible for you to explore the awe-striking underwater world and all its wonders. It is a must-do activity as Sri Lanka holidays are incomplete without enjoying a few water sports.

Revel in the English Charm of Adisham Monastery

A Benedictine Monastery, Adisham once belonged to an English planter who had settled in Sri Lanka. In order to recreate his own lifestyle in a foreign land, the planter developed some enchanting country cottage gardens, frequently seen in the villages of England. Visitors can see the library and living room inside the idyllic monument and also buy fresh produce of the gardens maintained around the monastery.

2 Major Places to Explore on Sri Lanka Holiday

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is a tiny island nation to the south of India, surrounded by the Indian Ocean. This rugged land of rainforests, endless beaches and diverse wildlife has been attracting a multitude of tourists from around the world. Travellers for a change can visit its historic places on their Sri Lanka holidays. Famed for its Buddhist ruins, royal palaces and intricate frescoes, this country offers a lot for visitors to enjoy. Tourists would get to discover a lot on their tour to Sri Lanka, where reflections of its history can be experienced in various parts. Here are the major two attractions, which are different from the usually visited ones, making the trip more memorable:

Sigiriya

Sigiriya-in-Sri-Lanka

Sigiriya-in-Sri-Lanka

Sigiriya, situated in the heart of the Matale district, is a small ancient city that attracts a huge number of globetrotters on tour to Sri Lanka. Known for its 200-meter high massive rocky plateau, which was formed from the magma of an extinct volcano, it holds one of the most treasured historical monuments of the country, the Sigiriya Fortress. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also has remnants of ruined palace, surrounded by vast gardens, canals, ponds and fountains. The main entrance to the fortress is from a magnificent brick lion that emerges in a series of staircases and galleries. This is how it got the name – Sigiriya, which literally translates into Lion Rock. Walls on the western side of this cave fort is entirely covered by elegant frescoes that have withstood the ravages of time.

Adams Peak

Located in Ratnapura, 94 km from Colombo, Adams Peak is one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the country. The devotees of distinct religions, climb to the cliff, to invoke blessings. Buddhists believe that the impression found on the peak is the footprint of Lord Buddha, Hindus take it as for Lord Shiva and Islamic as of Adam. Also known as Sri Pada, it is considered among the highest peaks of the country and takes around 4-5 hours for pilgrims to reach there. The pilgrimage season here starts from December to April.

These two major points of interest are a must visit on Sri Lanka holidays that tourists would cherish for long.

2 Vibrant Festivals to Witness during Sri Lanka Holidays

Sri Lanka is an amazing tourist destination that continues to pull tourists from all over the world. This gem of the Indian Ocean is dotted with numerous places that can be thronged to make Sri Lanka Holidays perfect. It is influenced heavily by the heritage of Theravada Buddhism, the main religion followed in this country. Apart from it, the nation also houses a sizable population that follows Hinduism. Sri Lanka has a rich cultural diversity, and this is the reason there are a large number of colourful festivals celebrated with pomp and show.

Vesak

One of the most prominent festivals that are celebrated in Sri Lanka is Vesak. It is observed on the full moon day in the month of May. Travellers, availing Sri Lanka tour packages, can witness this weeklong cultural and religious festival, commemorating the important life events of Lord Buddha. During this occasion, devotees give alms to bring happiness to sick and aged people.

On this auspicious day, electrically lit tents are erected in Colombo, Galle and Kandy. Lanterns, also called Vesak Koodu, are lit in front of houses that signify the light of Lord Buddha and Dharma. Dansalas or food stalls are organised by Buddhists to provide free beverages and eatables to people. Religious ceremonies include offering flowers, burning incense sticks and singing devotional songs. During these ceremonies, devotees reaffirm their faith in the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Kandy Esala Perahera

Sri Lanka tour packages can be best availed by witnessing Esala Perahera, which is celebrated for ten days with grandeur in Kandy city. The festival is held during the month of Esala, when Lord Buddha is said to have given his first teaching after his enlightenment. On this occasion, the sacred tooth relic is taken out from Dalada Maligawa and carried through the city streets. This festival is observed to pay homage to the relic and four guardian deities. The term Perahera means a parade of dancers, musicians and other performers, accompanied with elephants, parading in the streets. The reason for celebrating this festival is to receive blessings from the gods in order to get sufficient rains for the cultivation of crops.

Vacationers, who are planning their Sri Lanka holidays, can witness the celebrations of these two amazing festivals to have an unforgettable experience.

Explore 3 Incredible Attractions with Cheap Sri Lanka Holidays

Life has become so fast these days that people do not get enough time to spend with their loved ones. For this very reason, they need an escape from the daily routine, but heavy expenditures stop most of us. Cheap Sri Lanka holidays packages solve both the problems as many online travel portals offer special deals and discounts on most of these. Endowed with verdant mountains, lush vegetation, rich wildlife and serene beaches, this South Asian country has much more than natural bounties. Here is the list of 3 major cultural centres to discover in Sri Lanka:

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic

Globetrotters on Sri Lanka holidays can visit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, also known as Sri Dalada Maligawa. Located in the serene city of Kandy, this golden-roofed Buddhist temple features the holy tooth of Lord Buddha that is kept in a gold casket. Owing to its popularity and uniqueness, this cultural heritage site is frequented by a large number of tourists every year.

Galle Fort

Being one of the best preserved sea forts in Asia, Galle Fort still bears the unique blend of Portugal, Dutch and British charm. This rare historical jewel of Sri Lanka is protected with thick stone walls and offers seamless oceanic views. The eventful history of this UNESCO-listed site fascinates many travellers from across the world, thus are a part of most of the cheap Sri Lanka holidays packages.

Dambulla Cave Temple

Situated at a distance of around 161 km from the capital city of Colombo, Dambula Cave Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Sri Lanka. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is home to some of the most magnificent Buddha images. It also has vivid rock paintings dating from around the 2nd century BC to the 18th century. The site covers over 2,100 sq. m of area and over 157 exquisite statues.

To make holidays in Sri Lanka a memorable experience, many online travel portals help tourists to customise their vacation package in a way that all the above three amazing attractions are covered under it.

Get best resources @ http://www.holidayindia.com/sri-lanka-packages

Seeking the Wild with Sri Lanka Holidays

At least once in their lives, people should go on Sri Lanka holidays. While the arched palm trees caressing the waves that lap against the expansive waterfront, the sunlight dances on the grounds of its exotic forests and the sight is enchanting. What makes for Sri Lanka holiday package, is a trip in the dense and enticing wild. Without further ado, check out the amazing natural bounty available in the pristine land of Ceylon.

Kumana National Park

Kumana National Park Sri Lanka

Kumana National Park Sri Lanka

A must visit with Sri Lanka holidays, the Kumana National Park is a natural habitat with several water pools in its enclosure that are favourite spots of wildlife. At Kumana National Park, there are a large number of rare wetland species, including the Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Indian Flap-shelled Turtle, and the Indian Black Turtle. The park is also the home of the globally vulnerable Mugger Crocodile.

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The aim of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is to simulate the natural habitat of the mighty descendants of Mammoths. For maintaining their well-being, the elephants are taken to the river twice in a day for a bath, and all their calves are bottle fed by their caretakers and volunteers. Maintaining a healthy diet, elephants are also provided with about 76 kg of green matter and around 2 kg food of rice bran and maize every day. The orphanage is very popular and consequently receives an amazing footfall every year.

Dehiwala Zoological Garden

One of the oldest Zoos in Asia and often included in the cheap Sri Lanka holidays, the Dehiwala Zoological Garden is home for aboriginal as well as exotic wildlife. The Zoo exchanges a particular section of its animals with other animals from international Zoos in order to diversify its animals and acquaint visitors with the wildlife of the world. In the zoo premises, there is an aquarium walk through aviary, reptile house and a small, yet beautiful butterfly garden, complete with small shrubs, trees and climbers.

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park a natural reserve nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka. The area was originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938, and later declared as a national park in 1997. The reason for declaring the area as protected was the drainage basement of Minneriya Tank, which is of historical importance, since it was built by King Mahasen in 3rd century AD.

Exploring One of the Homes of the Tooth Relic during Sri Lanka Holidays

Tooth Relic Temple in Sri Lanka

Tooth Relic Temple in Sri Lanka

The Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy is a religiously important site as it contains a tooth of Lord Buddha. Throughout its stay in Sri Lanka, the relic has been housed in different places and often a shrine was constructed for it. Among the homes of the tooth that tourists may visit during their Sri Lanka holidays is Hatadage. This sacred place is in Polonnaruwa, a city in the North-Central Province of the nation. Nissanka Malla, the king of Sri Lanka, built the shrine during his rule in 12th century AD.

The Site

It was originally built of wood, brick and stone, but now only the latter two structures survive. The temple is surrounded by a wall with dimensions of 120 by 90 feet. Its entrance faces the south direction and in front of it, on the ground is a semi-circular flat relief. This feature, called sandakada pahana, has relief of various patterns and animals like horses and elephants. On its eastern side is another gateway, which is a lot smaller than the primary entrance. Analysing its design has led architects to maintain that the roof of the structure was inlaid with tiles. Travellers, coming here during their holidays in Sri Lanka, will see that the temple walls are built with bricks, while the boundary walls are covered with plates of stones.

Through the primary entrance, people enter a chamber measuring 27 by 21 feet. On its walls are depictions of various designs, including those of lotus flowers and lions. Ruins of 6 columns and the staircase, leading up to the upper storey, where the relic was housed can be seen inside this chamber. To the right of this room is a square-shaped hall with each of its side measuring 35 feet in length. Four windows can be seen on its walls and inside, tourists can see 3 of the 16 pillars that supported its roof. The biggest attractions within the site are the three Buddha statues that are partially destroyed. All statues have been carved out of granite, with the central sculpture being of 9 feet height and the other two of 7.5 feet.

Being a Part of the Esala Perahera Fanfare during Sri Lanka Holidays

Temple of the Tooth Relic

Temple of the Tooth Relic

Esala Perahera is among the grandest Buddhist festivals that can be witnessed during Sri Lanka holidays. It is celebrated in the Temple of the Tooth Relic, which houses a tooth of Lord Buddha. Most theologians believe it to be a combination of two distinct events. The first is known as Esala Perahera, from where the modern festival gets its name. It dates back to 3rd century BC and is thought to be performed as a request to the gods to bring rain. Dalada Parehera, the other component, is related to the relic and began to be observed after the tooth was brought to the country in 4th century AD. The modern form of this festival took shape in the second-half of the 18th century under Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, the Kandyan king. He broke the centuries-old custom, where the tooth was the private property of the royalty and was not for the eyes of the masses. After the arrival of the British, a religious clergy, known as Maha Sangha, was given the charge of the artefact. Since then, the tooth has been under the watch and administrative authority of Diyawadana Nilame or the chief custodian of the temple.

Beginning

All the proceedings are conducted and overseen by monks from the national Buddhist clergy. The custodian of the temple is in charge of organising the festivals, who summons other monks and officials of the institution as well. The first step in the process of organisation is consulting the authoritative astrologer for the auspicious date and time. After this is accomplished, the fanfare begins with the Kap Situveema ceremony, where a jackfruit is made holy by worshipping, cutting and its pieces being planted in four shrines. These shrines are dedicated to lords Vishnu and Kartikeya, Goddess Paththini and the deity Natha.

Processions

During the next five nights, processions are carried out in the premises of the four shrines, accompanied by music, revellers, holding flags and the distinct insignia of the gods. All these monks then assemble in the main shrine in Kandy on the sixth night, accompanied by their custodians. A casket, substituting for the divine artefact, is fixed on the back of an elephant that leads the parade. The elephant is lead by fire-breathing acrobats and flag-bearers and is followed by the chief custodian, dancers, drummers and more elephants and flag-bearers. Afterwards, four similar ceremonies take place, one each, in the premises of the four guardian shrines. Dancer, carrying peacock-feathers and women perform at the rituals of shrines of Kartikeya and Paththini, respectively. Firing of cannons is used to announce important junctures in the proceedings like beginning of the parades, placing of the casket on the elephant and the culmination of the Perahera.

After these parades, on the seventh night, palanquins, similar to those, in which kings and queens of yore travelled are carried around the city. This parade continues for five days, after which, the celebrations end with the Diya Kepeema ritual. Travellers, attending this festival with their tour package, can also see this ritual, where devotees travel to the town of Getambe, near Kandy. A priest steps into the Mahaweli River and slashes his sword in the water. This water-cutting is symbolic of the separation of the pure from the impure and after this the water is carried by devotees with them.