Sri Lanka: The Path of the Buddha 2.0

Departures: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka—The Path of the Buddha

Join Two Dog Yoga owner, Annie Stocker and Ponte Travels co-founder, Marta Rabins for a very special journey of discovery. Together, we’ll explore Buddhist temples, pilgrimage sites, ancient cities, modern-day villages, highland tea plantations and coastal beaches with daily opportunities for yoga, meditation, and reflection.

Beneficiary

We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit the communities we visit. This trip we will donate to Room to Read, an NGO that believes all children have a right to education. Their program in Sri Lanka has established 1,694 libraries, 402 schools, and published 163 book titles in both Sinhala and Tamil languages.

Itinerary

Jan. 21 – Feb. 6, 2016

Day 1-2

Depart for Sri Lanka

Depart U.S and fly to Colombo via Dubai, with an optional layover and tour of this ultra-modern city. In the morning continue on to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

Day 3

Colombo – Negombo

On arrival in Colombo this afternoon we transfer to a lovely beachfront hotel north of the city. Enjoy a welcome dinner as the sun sets over the Indian ocean.

Day 4

Negombo – Anuradhapura

Late morning departure for the ‘Cultural Triangle’ which contains seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These ancient sites are not just historical monuments but represent a devout living Buddhist culture which make them all the more fascinating. Our hotel is modeled after the ancient city of Anuradhapura, with pools, rock gardens, and Buddhist statuary.

Day 5

Anuradhapura & Mihintale

After morning yoga and breakfast, we’ll have the day to explore the sprawling temple complex that ruled Sri Lanka for over a thousand years. The site was first build over 2,200 years ago, when a branch of the original ‘Bodhi tree’, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment was planted. Also visit the nearby mountain peak of Mihintale where Buddhism was first brought to Sri Lanka. Overnight Anuradhapura.

IMG_0221_1a

Day 6

Anuradhapura – Dambullla

Depart Anuradhapura for the Rock Cave Temple of Dambulla. The temple complex is a series of 5 caves that have been in use as a Buddhist monastery for over 2,000 years. They contain hundreds of statues and frescoes—all related to the Buddha’s life, including a 47 foot-long reclining Buddha—which are all considered among the finest examples of Sinhalese art. Overnight Amaya Lake.

Day 7

Sigirya

Morning visit to the 5th-century World Heritage site of Sigiriya Rock, which rises an impressive 660 feet from the jungle below. View the frescoes of heavenly maidens and climb 1,200 steps to the top for an incredible view. Afterwards we’ll visit the nearby village for lunch, a canoe journey, and walk through rice paddy fields. Optional late afternoon elephant safari to Minnerya National Park. Overnight Amaya Lake.

Day 8

Polonnaruwa

After breakfast, to the former kingdom and temple complex of Polonnaruwa — capital of Sinhalese kings dating back to the 11th & 12th centuries. You may choose to explore this extensive site on bicycles to view the Royal Palace, the lake and take time for reflection at lovely Gal Hihara—the rock sculptures of the Buddha. Return to Amaya Lake for overnight.

Day 9

Damula – Madulkele

After breakfast depart Amaya Lake for a visit to the Spice Gardens at Matale. Learn about the Ayurvedic and culinary uses of the herbs and spices we’ll see and then enjoy a lunch prepared with them. Continue on to our home for the next three nights, a very special eco-lodge in the midst of a tea plantation.

Day 10

Madulkelle

Morning yoga practice overlooks the spectacular Knuckles Range. The day is free to relax and enjoy this beautiful place, where meals are a culinary adventure prepared with fresh produce from the organic garden on the premises. Take in a cooking demonstration in the chef’s kitchen, go for a walk, have a massage, or swim in the infinity pool with a view to the valley below.

Day 11

Madulkelle

Morning yoga practice and another day at leisure. You may choose to take an optional guided hike with a packed lunch on trails in and around the plantation, hills and nearby village. Tonight you’ll be treated to a special outdoor performance of Kandyan dancers and drummers at the lodge.

Day 12

Kandy

After breakfast depart for Kandy, considered the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. Visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, located in the Royal Palace complex. Since ancient times, this relic of the Buddha has played an important role in the city’s life and politics. We’ll have lunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya, home to more than 4,000 species — a haven for quiet contemplation. Overnight at a riverfront hotel.

Day 13

Ahungalla

After breakfast, we depart from the highlands to the coastal area around Ahungalla Beach, in the southwest part of the island. We’ll stay the next three nights at a beautiful beachfront resort designed by renown Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Day 14

Madu Ganga River

This morning venture up the Madu Ganga river by boat to see life in this complex ecosystem of mangroves and islands, where most residents live on prawn fishing and cinnamon harvesting. We’ll visit an island monastery and receive blessings from the head monk, as well as visit the friendly village of Ganga.

Day 15

Galle

Morning visit to Galle stopping at the Tsunami Memorial enroute. We’ll have a walking tour of this ancient port city that was ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British prior to independence. Galle is renowned for lace making, ebony carvings and gemstones and is a great place for shopping.

Day 16

Ahungalla – Negombo

A final morning to enjoy the beach before journeying up the coast to Negombo, stopping at a beachfront restaurant for fresh grilled lobster. Our hotel is a great place to view the sunset over a peaceful lagoon and have a farewell dinner.

Day 17

Homeward Bound

Transfer to the airport for an early morning departure, arriving the same day.

Optional Extension: Highlands, Parks & Pilgrims

This 7-day extension includes a luxury train to the English colonial hill station of Nuwara Elyia, wildlife safaris in Udawalawe and Yala National parks, and the evening Puja in the pilgrimage city of Kataragama. Ask for a detailed itinerary.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at HOW TO BOOK. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.