Central Province, Sri Lanka
Religious & Spiritual Activities

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Our most recommended Central Province, Sri Lanka Religious & Spiritual Activities

Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

1. Kandy: Historical Three Temples All-Inclusive Tour

Visiting three of the most ancient and historically important temples that are within an easy walking distance to one another is a memorable expedition for a heritage lover. The three temples (Embekke, Lankathilaka, Gadaladeniya) have been built in the 14th century before the Kandyan Kingdom was fully established. This tour finished at approximately 12:30 PM, when you are returned to your hotel.  Be picked up at 8:00 AM from your hotel lobby in Kandy. Arrive at your first temple by 9:00 AM. Embekke is a crafted work of wooden dedication. Look at the pillars or drum hall with unique designs on each side. Appreciate the care and effort in shapping swans, peakcocks, wrestlers, dragons and more. Hear about the history of this temple, and the importance it has represented for the culture. Visit Lankatilake Temple by 9:45 AM. Lankatilake is perhaps the finest temple in the district. An impressively solid-looking structure built on a huge rock outcrop and painted a pale blue rather than the usual white.  Then next visit Gadaladeniya Temple, built on a rocky outcrop and covered with small pools, the temple is reached by a series of steps cut into the rock. This Buddhist temple with a Hindu extension is a similar age to the Lankatilake Temple and the Embekka Devale.

Kandy: Sigiriya Fortress & Cave Temple All-Inclusive Tour

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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.

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.

From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

6. From Negombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Day Trip

After being transported in private car with local English speaking tour guide from Negombo, you will reach your first destination: Sri Lanka's largest rock, Dambulla Cave Temple, which is built on a 600-foot high rock at an elevation of 1118 feet from sea level. It is home to the worlds most acclaimed cave complex of magnificent Buddha images and rock paintings of vivid colors and shapes from the 2nd-century BC to the Kandyan era of the 18th-century.  Your second visit is to Sigiriya Rock, a site of historical and archaeological significance dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters (660 feet) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa for his new capital. Finish your day with a tour to see the crafts of the traditional artisans in Sigiriya, including wood carvers and batik makers. Learn about the process of their work and purchase some great souvenirs.  At the end of the trip, your guide will take you back to your hotel in Negombo.

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 Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

8. From Kandy: Sigiriya and Dambulla Private Day Tour

Take a full day excursion out to Sigiriya, where you'll visit two fascinating sites: the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a cave complex full of Buddhist imagery, and Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a massive column of rock turned into a fortress. After pickup at 7:00 AM from your hotel in Kandy, head out of the city towards the first site. On the way, admire Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to this atmospheric cliff side cave complex packed with Buddhist imagery and frescoes.   Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, which dates back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Guatama Buddha. Admire the hundreds of figurines of the Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the 5 main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, the Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery, as well as the giant golden Buddha statue just a little distance outside of the cave complex.   At noon, enjoy lunch at a restaurant of your choice before traveling approximately 45 minutes to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Rising from the central plains, the iconic rocky outcrop of Sigirya is perhaps Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near-vertical walls soar to a flat-topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. Climb the 5th-century rock fortress and walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion (which give the fortress its name, “The Lion Rock”). View the beautiful unfaded murals that brought Sigiriya its fame, climb the steep staircase to the terraced gardens, and walk through the tunnels throughout the palace. You’ll get an eerie feeling of times long past.   Finish your tour at 5:00 PM, at which point you’ll head back to Kandy to be dropped off at around 8:00 PM. Stop en route to have dinner at a restaurant of your choice.

From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

9. From Colombo: Sigiriya and Dambulla Full-Day Private Tour

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. Start with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Colombo. Make your first stop at the Dambulla Cave Temple. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a Cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Enter the historic caves of the Golden Temple of Dambulla, dating back to the 1st century BC. View the ancient murals depicting the life story of Lord Gautama Buddha. Look at the hundreds of figurines of Buddha and other deities scattered throughout the five main caves. Visit the Cave of the Divine King, Cave of the Great King, and the Great New Monastery. See the giant golden Buddha Statue just a little distance outside the cave complex. Go to Sigiriya to visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Climb the 5th century AD rock fortress, Sigiriya, where King Kassapa ruled. Walk through the entrance framed by the paws of a lion that is quite appropriate for its name, the Lion Rock. View the beautiful unfading murals that brought Sigiriya its fame. Climb the steep staircase to see the terraced gardens and still-working cisterns. Go through the tunnels leading to the palace as you get a feel for times long past.

Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

10. Kandy: Temples, Gardens & Cultural Show City Highlights Tour

Enjoy a full day of Kandyan culture that takes you from gardens to temples to a cultural show. Start your day with hotel pickup at 9:00 AM in Kandy and head to your first stop, the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya. These gardens have a long history dating back to the British Era, and were used during WWII as Allied Forces Headquarters for the Asian Region. Now, the garden houses thousands of beautiful plant species, so you’ll want to spend the full 2 hours allocated here wandering the gardens.   Afterwards, continue on to visit the Sri Maha Bodhi Vihara in Bahiravakanda. This monastery on a hill is used as a meeting center for National and International Buddhist Relations, and boasts a giant Buddha statue that can be seen from all over Kandy. Climb up to reach a viewpoint that gives you the ultimate panoramic views of Kandy and take some photos.   Return to Kandy for lunch, where you’ll be given approximately an hour of free time. In the afternoon, visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Temple of the Tooth. This temple has a burgeoning history spanning several centuries and is the home of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. Formerly a palace complex for Kandyan kings, these beautiful buildings show their royal roots through their architecture.  At 4:30, enjoy a spectacular Kandy Cultural Show, which will give you the opportunity to watch various traditional Kandyan dances and acts, such as the demon dance, the fire dance, and much more. Once the show is over, you’ll be returned to your hotel at around 5:30, completing this full day.

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 41 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.

The driver (Kenneth) was very accommodative and managed our tight schedule very well. He even went the extra mile and helped us to see more than what we had initially agreed — with his help we were able to visit the Ranweli spice garden, which was the cherry on top.

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.