The legend of Rama – Prince of Ayodhya unswervingly confronts and overcomes fearsome odds in the form of Ravana the mighty demon king of Lanka, has left behind a rich legacy of sites and temples in the county where the most significant events of this epic took place – Lankapura – Si Lanka.
Sri Lanka is the proud custodian of more that 50 Ramayana sites from the place of Seetha Devi’s captivity to the battle fields where vast enemies clashed, to the groves of exotic herbs dropped by the Monkey God Hanuman, to the ultimate theatre of war where Lord Rama slew King Ravana. People living in the areas where great events took place remember to this day the connection of their soil to the great epic. An oath taken taken at the spot where Seetha Devi undertook “Agni Pariksha” is still considered valid in village courts or Grama Sabhas. the color of the soil in those ancient battlefields are still red today and is still surrounded by lighter colored earth. one of the airports torched by Hanuman when he came looking for Seetha Devi still has a scorched-earth look. Exotic Himalayan species are found suddenly amidst tropical Sri Lankan vegetation – the legacy of Hanuman’s heroic voyage carrying a mountain of life-restoring herbs.
Incredibly the names of places have come down to modern times unchanged, though great social, cultural and religious changes have since taken place in Sri Lanka. anybody wishing to sign-up for this tour which is more a pilgrimage (with self-organized bhajan by the devotees) will see the Sri Lankan Glimpses of this legacy and a glorious age whose events define and guide us to this day.
Arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka and meet your Sylvan Tours representative who will greet you with a Sri Lankan touch.
Thereafter you will travel to Negombo. After checking into hotel visit the fishing village of Waikkal.
Overnight in Waikkal
After Breakfast transfer to the Muneeshwaram Temple in Chilaw
It is believed that Munneswaram predates the Ramayana and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was located here. Munneswaram means the first temple for Shiva (Munnu + Easwaran). A Shiva Lingam was already here when Lord Rama visited this place. After his victorious battle, Lord Rama left for Ayodhya, in one of King Ravana’s vimana (carriages).He felt he was being followed by bramhaasthi dosham as he had killed King Ravana who was a Brahmin. Legend has it that when he came to this place he felt bramhaasthi dosham was not following him and he stopped the vimana and asked God Shiva for remedy. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised him to install four lingams there and pray to get rid of the dosham. Since then many Hindu devotees flock to the Temple.
Thereafter proceed to the Mannavari Temple (approx. 20 minutes’ drive)
Manavari is the first lingam installed and prayed to by Lord Rama and this lingam is also called Ramalinga Shivan. When the Vimana was passing over Munneswaram, he felt the Vimana vibrating, and realized the Brahmaasti Dosham was not following him at this particular point. He stopped the Vimana at this juncture and asked god Lord Shiva for advice. Lord Shiva blessed Lord Rama and advised installing and praying at four lingams located at Manavari, Thiru Koneshwaram, Thiru Ketheshwaram and Rameshwaram in India as the only remedy to get rid of the dosham. The first lingam was installed at Manavari about 5km from here, near the banks of the Deduru Oya
Thereafter proceed to your hotel in Kandy (approx. 3 ½ hours’ drive). After checking into hotel, enjoy a city tour of Kandy including a visit to a Gem museum.
Overnight in Kandy
After Breakfast Day excursion to major Ramayana sites Dunuwila & Laggala, Weragantota, Sitakotuwa, Gurulupota Lankapura
Dunuvila & Laggala
Dunuvila (the site where Ravana died) and Laggala (where Ravana prayed to Lord Shankara). The cartels behind the Dunuvila Lake are called Laggala. Laggala is derived from the Sinhala term Ilakka Gala, which when translated into English gives us the meaning “Target Rock”. Laggala served as an entry point to King Ravana’s army and it was from this rock the first Glimpse of Lord Rama’s army was sighted. This hill is geographically the highest part of the northern region and on a clear day Thiru Koneshwaran and Talai Mannar can been seen. King Ravana is believed to have meditated on this rock and prayed at Thiru Koneshwaran to Lord Shiva. It is here that King Ravana was killed by Lord Rama’s Brahmaastharam. The top of Laggala is flat and believed to have been hit by the Brahmaastharam.
Weragantota was the capital city of King Ravana and means “a place of flying chariot (aircraft) landing” in Sinhala language. It is believed to be the first place where Sita was brought into Sri Lanka in King Ravana’s Vimana. These jungles are the place where the city of Lankapura once stood. The city had a beautiful palace for Queen Mandodari surrounded by waterfalls, streams and varieties of flora and fauna.
Sita was kept at Queen Mandodari‘s Palace and later moved first to Sita Kotuwa (translated “Sita’s Fort”) and finally to Ashoka Vatika. The ruins found here are the remnants of later civilizations.
Here was a flying chariot (aircraft) repair center known as Gurulupotha. In Valmiki’s depiction King Ravana’s Vimana resembled a huge peacock. The Vimana in Sinhala language means Dhandu Monara which is known as which is known as “flying peacock”; hence the name Gurulupotha.
Overnight in Mahiyanganaya
After breakfast you will proceed to Nuwara Eliya. Enroute you will visit the Sri Baktha Hanuman Temple in Ramboda. On these hills of Ramboda where Hanuman was searching for Sitadevi, the Chinmaya mission of Sri Lanka built a temple with Hanuman as the presiding deity. On every full moon day special pooja”s are conducted and witnessed by thousands of devotees.
Thereafter proceed to Nuwara Eliya to check in to your hotel. Enroute to Nuwara Eliya, you will also have the chance to visit a Tea Plantation and a factory.
In the afternoon visit the Gayathri Pe(e)dam in Nuwara Eliya. It is believed to be the place from where King Ravana”s son Meghanath propitiated Lord Shiva with penance and poojas and in turn was granted super natural powers by lord Shiva.
Overnight in Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast depart to Bandarawela, en route visiting the Seetha Amman Temple in Seetha Eliya. This temple can be seen close to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens. The prominent temple architecture will not fail to attract your attention The stream that runs from the hill, catered to the needs of Sitadevi during her stay at Ashoka Vatika. She is said to have bathed in this stream. Now there is a temple erected for Lord Rama, Sitadevi, Luxshmana and Hanuman by the side of this stream. It is interesting to note that foot prints akin to Lord Hamunams are found by this river -some small and some large.
Thereafter proceed to Divurumpola situated in Nuwara Eliya Welimada road. Divurmpola means a place where one takes an oath. Sitadevi, after being liberated from King Ravana was subjected to a test to prove here chastity by offering herself to the fire. However she came unscathed and proved her holiness during this ritual at this place. Still revered by thousands, this practice is performed by villagers in certain parts of India who still pledge their fidelity or take oaths there and even in certain courts, this agreement was binding. This place has been respected and worshipped by people down the ages
Afterwards, visit the Ravana Ella & Ravana Cave via the Ella Gap.
Ravana Ella Falls is a breathtaking waterfall, 1080 feet high (cascades into several falls). The stream, a tributary of Kirindi Oya plunges with a foaming spray over a series of ledges into the valley close to a bend in the road. The waters rise from Wewatenna highland above the rocks. In general the rocky underground of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka consists of hard gneiss or granite, but here the material is khondalite, a kind of limestone which undergoes decay faster. This has resulted in many caves being formed near the falls. King Ravana of Ramayana legend is said to have lived in one of the caves above the waterfalls.
The Ravana Cave tunnels prove beyond doubt the architectural brilliance of King Ravana. These tunnels served as a quick means of transport through the hills and also as a secret passage. These tunnels networked all the important cities, airport and dairy farms. A close look at these tunnels indicates that they are man-made and not natural formations.
After spending some quality time at the Ravana falls you will proceed to Kataragama.
Overnight in Tissamaharama
After breakfast, visit the Kataragama shrine, dedicated to God Skanda (Murugan) the God of Love and War. It is believed that this Devala was started in the 2nd Century B.C. by King Dutugemunu (167 –137 B.C.). Today Kataragama is a place of worship for Buddhists, Hindus and some Muslims.
This is a very popular place of pilgrimage for south Indian Hindus as it is said that God Kataragama came from India, married a Jungle Girl from Sri Lanka and lived here. When his Indian wife came in search of him he refused to go back. The legend has it that all of them lived here happily thereafter. There are separate shrines for the two wives, Tevani Amman Kovil for the Indian wife and Valli Amman Kovil for the Sri Lankan wife.
Thereafter visit Ussanggoda. Ussangoda is a strange coastal area because of its lack of trees. Its serpentine rock contains toxic heavy metals. Only specific smaller plants were able to adapt to this soil. But according to the Ramayana legends there are two more explanation for the baldness of Ussangoda. After meeting Sitadevi Lord Hanuman provoked the mighty King Ravana and his army of Rakshasas. It resulted in Lord Hanuman's tail being set on fire by Rakshasas. Hanuman in turn went on to torch parts of King Ravana's empire with his burning tail. Ussangoda is said to be one of these burnt areas. Besides the Ramyana Trail legend has it that earlier on the Ussangoda plateau was used an airport by King Ravana for his Dandumonara peacock chariot, before Hanuman devastated the landing site.
There after you will be taken to Colombo, enroute visiting the Rumasela in Galle. At various times during the war, both Lords Rama and Lakshmana were hit by powerful arrows, and had fallen unconscious. At these times, Lord Hanuman had been instructed to fetch the lifesaving herbs from the jungles of Himalaya to bring them back to life. Mighty Hanuman had gone to the Himalayan hills and lifted the whole hill and brought it back, as he was unable to identify the lifesaving herbs by himself. Parts of the hill is said to have fallen in five places in Sri Lanka, namely, Rumasala in Galle, Dolukanda near Heripitiya, Ritigala near Habarana , Thalladi in Mannar and Kachchativu in the north. Here you will also see the Old Dutch fort in Galle.
Also visit the Seenigama Temple in Hikkaduwa. This is said to be the place from where Sugreeva, king of the Vanara’s (monkeys) started his onslaught on King Ravana’s forces.
Once you arrive in Colombo, visit the Panchamuga Anjaneyar Temple which is a temple dedicated to Anjaneyar in Sri Lanka. This is the only temple in the world to have a chariot of Anjaneyar.
Then check in to your hotel.
Overnight in Colombo
After Breakfast commence Colombo sightseeing Tour including Kelaniya Vibeeshana Temple and Panchamuga Anjaneyar Temple.
Panchamuga Anjaneyar Kovil is the first Anjaneyar temple in Sri Lanka and the only one on the island dedicated to Lord Hanuman in his Panchamuga form – this means with five faces. And it is said to be the only temple in the world to have a chariot for Anjaneyar. Its chariot festival is held annually at the end of December or at the beginning of January. It is one of the most popular processions in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. Visitors are advised to wash hands and feet before entering the temple and not to cross hands inside the temple
Kelaniya Vibeeshana Temple is a Buddhist sanctuary in the first place, because it is believed to be visited by the Buddha himself. Within the temple premises there is a Hindu shrine, too. It is dedicated to Lord Vibhishana who was the younger brother of Ravana but during the legendary war on Lanka he became a supporter of Lord Rama, because he disapproved Ravana's tresspass of Sita's abduction. After Ravana's death Rama appointed Vibhishana as the new king of Lanka. Vibhishana is venerated by Sinhalese Buddhists as a God, they believe him to be one of the main protectors of the island, especially in its western territories.
There after shopping in Colombo Shopping centers and malls.
Overnight in Colombo
Enjoy your morning meals at the hotel. If time permits enjoy a city tour of Colombo where you will enjoy shopping, before you proceed to the Colombo Airport to board your flight back home with sweet memories of your visit to Sri Lanka…