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Sri Lanka Religious Studies Tour

Starting in the capital Colombo you travel to the ancient city of Anuradhapura to discover its ancient Buddhist Statues, before heading south to Sigiriya and famous Lions Rock. You continue Dambulla and then to the historic town of Galle before finishing at one of the golden sand beaches on the Indian Ocean

Here are more details of an example tour itinerary as a starting point, but at Kipling Tours, we can tailor-make any itinerary just for you.

Call or email us to start planning your trip

  • Day 1

    Fly to Colombo

    You depart today on your overnight flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka, the country which used to be called Ceylon during the period of British colonial rule which ended in 1948.

  • Day 2


    You arrive into Colombo this morning and are met by your guide and private transport. You then travel north by private coach to the Ceylonese political and religious capital and holy city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the central part of the Island. The city lies at the centre of the island's Buddhist civilisation and was undoubtedly the grandest city of ancient Sri Lanka.

  • Day 3


    Today you can explore the ancient holy city of Anuradhapura. There are many fascinating sights to see including Lovamahapaya, also known as the Brazen Palace which dates from the 2nd century BC with its 1600 stone columns each representing a Monk. You continue to the great statues of Buddha in Aukana and Sasseruva.

  • Day 4


    You leave early this morning for a village trek. The amazing birdlife & butterflies add to the charm of seeing the villagers as they go about their early morning tasks of fishing, or washing clothes at the edge of the lake. Your vehicle will pick you up at the end of the walk and return you to your hotel in time for lunch. After lunch you go on a jeep safari to explore Minneriya National Park, one of the most famous national parks in the country, to see the Asian Elephants. You then continue to the Primate Research Camp of Wolfgang Dittus, a German research scientist who carries out detailed studies on the primate population in the area. This evening there will be a talk and film about the camp and the project.

  • Day 5


    This morning you make an exciting primate-watching excursion to Polonnaruwa, the site of an ancient ruined city. Polonnaruwa has been used as a location for the recent Disney nature film Monkey Kingdom. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It rose to fame as the Sinhalese capital after the decline of Anuradhapura. The landscape is punctuated by ancient monuments which evidence the glory of Sri Lanka's past. Highlights include the Royal Palace complex and the spectacular Gal Vihare complex of four massive images of the Buddha cut from a single slab of granite. There are also examples of the Hindu influence including the Temple of Shiva. In the afternoon you transfer to your hotel in Sigiriya.

  • Day 6

    Lions Rock

    In the morning you visit the Lions Rock, a spectacular rock fortress and one of Sri Lanka’s major attractions. Built by King Kashyapa (477-495 AD), the Lions Rock is a citadel built on a granite rock which rises 200 metres above the surrounding jungle. On the top of the rock there are water gardens, cultivated fields and beautiful frescoes. The rock is ringed by a moat, ramparts, and extensive gardens. The world-renowned frescoes are approached by a spiral stairway are painted with natural pigments on plaster. The afternoon is free to relax by the swimming pool at your hotel.

  • Day 7

    Dambulla & Kandy

    This morning you travel to the famous city of Kandy, the hill capital of the island where you visit the ancient cave temples in Dambulla and the garden of spices in Matale. Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which dates back to the 1st century BC and is an amazing complex of caves containing over 150 images of the Buddha of which the largest is a colossal figure spanning 15 metres. Inscriptions from the 2nd Century BC can be found on the walls and the temple is the perfect place to view the evolution of ancient Sri Lankan art. You continue to Kandy and visit the much revered Temple of the Tooth, the most holy place of worship for Buddhists as it reputedly contains the sacred Tooth relic of Lord Buddha himself.

  • Day 8

    Galle & Unawatuna

    Today you drive towards Galle, the southern capital and your last stop of the tour. Galle is said to be the famous Tarshish of the Bible where King Solomon obtained gems and spices. It is also the port where the Portuguese first landed in Sri Lanka in 1505. Captured and fortified by the Dutch who ruled maritime Sri Lanka in the 17th and 18th centuries, the city still retains the air of old Holland. Within the well preserved 90-acre fort and ramparts built in 1663 are old Dutch churches and monuments with armorial bearings, an imposing crested and monogrammed gateway dated 1669, many well preserved old Dutch houses and narrow alleys still bearing Dutch names. You take a city tour to see the many colonial and historical sites and also make a visit to a turtle hatchery. Turtles are kept here for the first few days of their lives before being released into the sea and the project does much to help safeguard the welfare of these endangered animals. You finish the day driving to Unawatuna, described by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

  • Day 9


    Today is spent at leisure on the beach at Unawatuna and the warm waters of the India Ocean. In the evening you can visit the Ketchimalei mosque in Beruwala, Sri Lanka’s oldest mosque which was initially built nearly 1800 years ago by the Arab traders.

  • Day 10


    This morning you travel to Colombo where you have a city tour including a visit to the St. Lucia’s Cathedral, the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka and the Red Mosque. St. Lucia's Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. It traces its origins to a small structure for worship built during Dutch occupation. St. Lucia's is considered the oldest and largest parish cathedral in Sri Lanka. The facade rests on massive ionic columns and is adorned with seven statues. The colourful white and red candy striped Jami UI Alfar Mosque can be found in Pettah, north of the Colombo Fort Railway station. It is architecturally very distinctive with red and white contrasting bricks.

  • Day 11

    Fly Home

    Today you travel the airport in Colombo and depart on your flight home.

Prices start from

£1895 for the 11 day tour shown.  Shorter tours start from £1495

Half board basis based on flights with Sri Lankan Airlines.  We include local guides, all admission and all local transfers by private coach

includes flights

Direct flights are available with Sri Lankan Airlines but we also use Emirates via Dubai

  • Palm Garden Village

    Relaxing resort hotel with swimming pool in Anuradhapura

    The Palm Garden Resort is one of the best properties in Anuradhapura and is the perfect base from which to explore its Buddhist statues and temples.

talk to our experts today: 01935 816920 Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

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