Central Province, Sri Lanka
Archaeology

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Our most recommended Central Province, Sri Lanka Archaeology

Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

1. Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

Following early morning pick-up from your hotel in Kandy, travel by chauffeur-driven vehicle to Sigiriya. Upon arrival, climb the rock fortress of golden-hued granite, chosen by King Kasyapa at the site for his new capital. Get stunning views of the surrounding plains, which in the rainy season can turn into a delightful water garden. Continue to the Dambulla cave temple complex, built by the 1st-century King Walagambahu as a site of worship after his exile from Anuradhapura. Enjoy lunch before the drive back to Kandy, and stop at the spice garden in Matale en route. 

Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

2. Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip from Colombo

Depart Colombo and travel by a shared vehicle, in a small group, to the city of Sigiriya, and head directly to Sigiriya Rock on arrival. Gaze in awe at the massive column of rock that, according to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle The Culavamsa, was selected by King Kasyapa as the site of his new capital. Admire numerous paintings of historic queens, princesses, and maids inside the rock fortress before getting a break for lunch at your own expense. Then, explore some of the traditional crafts of the region, such as wood carving and batik textiles, with time to purchase souvenirs before departing. Start the journey back towards Colombo via Dambulla to explore the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Discover the magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and different shapes, painted from around the 2nd century B.C. up to the 18th-century Kandyan era.

From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

3. From Colombo: Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle 2-Day Tour

Begin the tour by meeting your tour leader in Colombo and set off for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. After exploring the history museum of Polonnaruwa, discover the ruins of the ancient city. Later, check in to a 3-star hotel in Sigiriya for your overnight stay.  The next morning, enjoy breakfast at the hotel. Set off for the Dambulla golden cave temple which was the site where a king of Anuradhapura took refuge from the South Induan invasion in the 1st-century BC. Learn about how when the king recaptured the region 13 years later, he converted the caves into a monastery and gifted it to the Buddhist monks. After this, head over to the ancient Sigiriya Rock, where a 5th-century prince who had committed patricide made it his hideout. Also make a stop at the Pidurangala ancient cave temple. At the end of the tour you will be returned to Colombo and dropped off at the start point.

Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

4. Sri Lanka: Five-day Multi-City Sightseeing Tour

Explore the best of Sri Lanka with this tour to the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens, rolling tea tea plantations in Ella, the chance to see wild elephants in the Udawalawe National park. Have your hotels, dinners, and breakfasts arranged for you in this fantastic tour package. Day 1Be welcomed by your guide at the Colombo International Airport where your guide will take you to your hotel in Negombo. Day 2Journey from Colombo to Sigiriya after getting your negative test results and eating a filling breakfast. Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Relax before heading to the ancient rock fortress Sigiriya before having dinner and staying at a 4star hotel in Sigiriya. Day 3Travel to Kandy after a hearty breakfast to visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which holds the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka. Take some time to unwind in your hotel before proceeding to see the amazing flora at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens. Eat dinner and stay overnight at a four star hotel in Kandy. Day 4Next, have a full breakfast before heading to Ella to walk among the lush tea plantations. Learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka and take in the stunning landscape views. Return to your hotel in Ella for dinner and to rest. Day 5After breakfast, drive to Udawalawe National park where you can spot elephants in their natural habitat.

Kandy: All Inclusive City Tour

5. Kandy: All Inclusive City Tour

Be picked up from your accommodation at 8:00 AM. Your first stop will be the Giragama Tea Factory. Here, you will see the sorting, grinding, and drying tools and then the packaging machines. Learn how tea is processed from shiny green leaves to the contents of your tea bag. After enjoying a cup of high grown processed tea, set out to explore the plantation.  Continue your tour and head to the Botanical Garden of Peradeniya, which is renowned for bundles of varieties of plants including orchids, spices, medicinal plants, and palm trees. Then, visit the Bahirawakanda Buddha statue known as big Buddha, which is one of the most scenic places in the city. At 1:00 PM, take a break to enjoy lunch at Oak Ray restaurant. After Lunch, visit the wood carving factory and gem lapidary. Then, be driven to Kandy Lake, which was built by King Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1807. It is one of the major highlights in the city and the drive is a scenic and memorable ride.  At 4:00 PM, witness a cultural show in one of the many theaters available in the Kandy city. Then, visit the Temple of the Tooth. To the Buddhists of Sri Lanka and around the world, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha. You will be returned to your hotel for 7:00 PM.

Sigiriya: Rock Fortress Guided Walking Tour

6. Sigiriya: Rock Fortress Guided Walking Tour

Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the most important attractions on Sri Lanka's cultural triangle. In the company of an experienced guide, explore the fort and its important historical monuments. During the tour, discover the most important areas in the fort complex and enjoy a detailed and informative commentary about each area from your guide. Start your walking tour at a picturesque miniature water garden and finish at the eastern gate of the Sigiriya archaeological site. Along the way, visit miniature water gardens, swimming pools, and boulder gardens. You will also have the opportunity to admire fresco paintings, the 'Lion's Paw' and other ruins at the summit of the rock.

From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

7. From Colombo: Anuradhapura Day Tour

Following hotel pick-up by your driver and guide at 06:00 in the morning from Colombo City area, you'll start for Anuradhapura. On arrival at Anuradhapura your first stop will be the Anuradhapura World Heritage Site and ruins. Anuradhapura, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its well-preserved ruins depicting the illustrious ancient Lankan civilization. There are several interesting locations one can visit, namely, the majestic Ruwanweliseya Stupa, one of the largest structures of the ancient world, Brazen Palace with its 1,600 stone columns showing the remnants of a multi-storied residence for monks, Isurumuniya rock carving of ‘The Two Lovers’, the twin ponds used by Buddhist monks as a bathing pool and Thuparama Dagoba, the oldest Dagoba in the country believed to enshrine the collarbone of the Buddha himself and several other dagobas. Next you'll head to explore Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. The Sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura is reckoned as the oldest surviving historical tree in the world. It 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. It is said to be the southern branch of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi at Buddha Gaya in India under which Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. Then start for Jethawanaramaya Stupa. The Jethawana stupa, the central ritual monument of the Jethawana monastery, had a diameter of 370 feet. Established in the 3rd century A.D., the monastery was the residence of 3,000 monks. Recent excavations confirm that the foundation of the stupa was 28 feet deep and rested on bedrock. This stupa, the tallest brick structure in the world, was built in keeping with engineering principles which are fol­lowed even today.  You'll explore Abhayagiri Dagoba. The Abhayagiri Dagoba is the second biggest brick structure in the world after the Jetavana Dagoba. It was built by King Gajabahu (114-136 AD) and reaches a height of 370 feet (115m). After lunch at local restaurant by your own cost proceed to Moonstone or Sandakada pahana. Sandakada pahana, also known as Moon-stone, is a unique feature of the Sri Lankan Buddhist architecture of ancient Sri Lanka.It is an elaborately carved semi-circular stone slab, usually placed at the bottom of staircases and entrances. First seen in the latter stage of the Anuradhapura period, the sandakada pahana evolved through the Polonnaruwa, Gampola and Kandy period. Later visit Mihintale. Mihintale hill is the spot where King Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura met Mahinda, a Buddhist monk and son of the Indian Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka. Mahinda asked the king a riddle and when the king was able to solve it, Mahinda deemed him to be a worthy disciple and converted him to Buddhism. There are religious monuments all over the hill, and the ruins of a monastery and a hospital. At approximately 20:00, you'll arrive back at your hotel in Colombo where the tour will end.

From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

8. From Colombo: All Inclusive Sigiriya and Dambulla Tour

Begin your 14-hour tour with an early-morning drive to Sigiriya. When you arrive, climb the Sigiriya Rock fortress, considered to be the 8th Wonder of the World. In the 5th century, King Kashyapa built a palace atop the rock. Sigiriya commemorates some of the turbulence of Sri Lanka’s history. Stop to enjoy a restaurant lunch before heading to Dambulla. Visit the UNESCO-listed cave temple built by King Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. It is the most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples. The complex of 5 caves features more than 2,000 square meters of painted walls and ceilings. See 150 images of the Buddha, of which the largest is a 14-meter-high image carved out of the rock.

From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

9. From Bentota: Day Trip to Sigiriya and Dambulla Temple

After getting picked up from your hotel in Bentota or Kalutara, begin the 3-hour journey to the Sigirya rock fortress. Here you will discover the historical and cultural values of ancient Sri Lanka and get to witness the engineering skills and artistic capabilities of Sri Lankan artisans and engineers. Wander through this vast complex and admire the various palaces, pools, gardens, and paintings. Later, head to the Dambulla Royal Cave Temple, which is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world. Marvel at the beautiful Buddhist paintings and statues housed in this cave and see for yourself why it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Finally, visit a spice garden where you can soak up the aromas of the various traditional spices grown here such as cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Head back to your hotel in the evening, just in time for dinner.

From Dambulla: Trincomalee Sightseeing Tour

10. From Dambulla: Trincomalee Sightseeing Tour

Take a full day trip from Dambulla to visit the area of Trincomalee, a port city on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Immerse yourself in the nature and ancient religious architecture of the area with an English-speaking guide.   You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Dambulla at around 7:00 AM for the 1.5-hour drive to reach Trincomalee. Your first destination will be the beautiful islet off the coast, Pigeon Island. This has been the nesting ground for local rock pigeons for centuries. Continue on to the hot wells of Kinniya. Learn about the legends behind these protected archaeological monuments and feel their different temperatures. Then, admire the ruins of the old Shiva Temple nearby that was destroyed during the recent civil wars.   After the hot wells, you’ll visit Thirukoneswaram Temple, which may be as old as 5,000 years. View its fascinating architecture, both ancient and more modern, due to it being rebuilt in part during the Portuguese era. Follow the rock path to a secret cave where you can see the primitive and ancient shrine where the temple was born.   After lunch at your own expense in a local eatery and a relaxing break, restart the tour at 2:00 PM. Visit Fort Frederick, constructed by the Portuguese using stones from the original Koneswaram Temple that they destroyed. To this day, parts of the fort bear markings from the original temple walls.   Your final destination is Marble Beach, known for its smooth white sands and clear waters. Sunbathe and relax until 5:30 PM, at which point you’ll head back to Dambulla for approximately 7:00 PM.

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 37 reviews

I booked the tour very last minute but they still showed up on time. I enjoyed the visit to all the locations, they were great places to visit. I was offered the Elephant safari cause there was still some time left before having to go back to Colombo but declined. Driver was very polite and spoke good English - even helped me getting money exchanged. I definitely enjoyed my day.

We had a very good experience. Everything went smooth - driver arrived on time and our tour to Dambulla Temple, Sigiriya Rock and a Spice Garden was successful and fun. We were also taken to breakfast and lunch and our special requests regarding places to eat were welcomed and accepted. Definitely recommended.

Great day spent with Buddika, on time with a very comfortable vehicle! Always very caring, good explanations of what he shows us. With adaptation of the day according to our desires, it was brilliant! Thanks again !

Amazing tour my guide and driver were brilliant very knowledgeable would highly recommend this. It is tiring so many steps,but worth it the views are really amazing.

Roads are safe, easy to reach from Colombo. Must seen place. Dont miss out spice gardens and wear long sleeves for the temples. Strongly recommend it.