The Esala Perahera(Randholi Perahera) - is the grand festival of Esala held in Sri Lanka. It is very grand with elegant costumes. Happening in July or August in Kandy, it has become a unique symbol of Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist festival consisting of dances and richly-decorated elephants.
The significance of this great event is to invoke blessings of the gods to give the farmers rain to cultivate their crops. This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the city streets which is done with great ceremony.
Besides the festival, you will also be visiting the most important places in Sri Lanka.
Day 01 Arrive Colombo, transfer to Negombo.
Upon arrival in Colombe, you will be met and transferred to hotel in Negombo.
Day 02 Overland Negombo - Kandy (3 hours)
Breakfast at hotel, and then transfer to Kandy. En route, visit the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela. Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage - App. 55 miles from Colombo, off the Colombo - Kandy road , is an orphanage was started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded elephants. The number of elephants has increased to more than 70 now; including Baby Elephants brought from various parts, as well as the 23 babies born, as a result of the captive breeding programme.
The best time to visit is the feeding time from 0930-1000 hrs and 1330-1400 hrs and the bathing time from 1000-1030 hrs and 1400-1430 hrs when all the elephants are taken to the river close by.
Proceed to Kandy. Check into hotel and relax. In the evening, enjoy the elegant Kandy Perahera.
Kandy Esala Perahera – The Kandy Esala Perahera is an annual event that is held during the mid-summer nights during the months of July / August every year for 10 days ending with the day perahera with the Water-cutting ceremony held at Getembe near Peradeniya. This gorgeous cultural pageant has history, religion and a nation's culture mingled in it. This traditional rehearsal of Kandy's past glory carries a spiritual message too and it also shows the harmonious blending of Buddhism and Hinduism. For a long time a traditional procession was held in honour of the four Hindu Gods, Natha, Vishnu, Skanda and Pattini and during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic was also added and prominence was given to it by leading the Devala processions.
This colourful Kandy Perahera consists of a Kap Planting Ceremony (planting the holy stick), followed by 5 days of Kumbal Perahera increasing the splendor by changing the distance and routes, increasing the number of Dancers, Drummers, Elephants everyday and succeeded by the Randoli Perahera which will increase its splendor daily and on the last 3 day more than 100 elephants will take part in the procession.
On the last day the Perahera will be held during the Day ending up with the visit to Getembe near Peradeniya where Water Cutting Ceremony will take place. The chiefs in silver and gold ceremonial dress with world famed Kandyan dancers and drummers are notable attractions. However, the highlight of the procession is the richly caparisoned Maligawa Tusker. During the perahera set against the background of a starry tropic night, the ancient city of Kandy echoes and re-echoes, as it certainly did centuries ago, to the tunes of massed drums and flutes, the cracking of whips and the clang of elephants' bells while the solemn cheers of worship from the enthusiastic spectators are enchanting indeed.
Day 03 Tour Kandy & Festival
After your breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Kandy, including a visit to the Temple of Tooth Relic and the Kandyan dance show. Kandy – the hill capital is another “World Heritage Sites”. It was the last stronghold of the Sinhalese Kings during the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule and finally ceded to the British in 1815 after an agreement. To the Buddhist of Sri Lanka and the World, Kandy is one of the most sacred sites as it is the home of the “Dalada Maligawa” - Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.
Close by are the remains of the Royal Palace (Maha Wasala), Palle Wasala- where the Queens stayed-now used for the National Museum, Meda Wasala where other close relatives lived, Audience Hall, Natha Devala and Vishnu Devala are situated. The Bathing Pavilion (Ulpenge) is by the Lake and in the Center of the lake is the Island called “Kiri samudraya” (Milk white ocean) used by the kings as the summerhouse. Today it is the center of Buddhism, Arts, Crafts, Dancing, Music and Culture. Visitors can see these Dance & Music at the daily Cultural Performances held at several places in the city.
In the evening, enjoy the Kandy Esala Perahera.
Day 04 Overland kandy - Nuwara Eliya
After your breakfast, transfer to Nuwara Eliya and enjoy a city tour including a visit to a local tea plantation and tea factory. Nuwara Eliya - The ‘Little England’ of Sri Lanka, is set against beautiful backdrops of Mountains, Valleys, Waterfalls and Tea Plantations. It is supposed to be one of the coolest places in the Island, but it is really just like an English spring day, although the temperature does drop at night. All around Nuwara Eliya you will see evidence of the British influence, houses like country cottages or Queen Ann style mansions.
The Victoria Park, in the middle of the town, is a lovely place for a stroll or a picnic and is also good for Birding as you get some rare birds in this Park. Seasons may be absent elsewhere in Sri Lanka, but here you can read them by the flowers, which bloom in the spring (March to May) and the fall (August and September). These are the “seasons” when low-country folk flock to Nuwara Eliya to escape the sea level heat and humidity.
Overnight Nuwara Eliya.
Day 05 Overland Nuwara Eliya - Yala
After your breakfast, transfer to Yala. Check into your hotel and relax. In the evening, enjoy a jeep safari in the Yala National Park. Yala (Ruhuna) National Park- the Ruhunu National Park covers 126,786 hectares Including the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II). The most familiar is Block I (14,101 hectares) and this block was established in 1938.
Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of Elephants, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Crocodiles, Mongoose, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, and many other animals. More than 130 bird species are recorded which includes the resident and winter visitors. There are 7 Bungalows inside the Park with few Camp Sites Return back to your hotel and relax.
Day 06 Yala - Bentota
After your breakfast, transfer to Bentota and enjoy your day at leisure by the beach. Bentota – is the first National Holiday Resort developed by the Ceylon Tourist Board as a planned resort.
There are 6 tourist hotels in the beach span of 5 miles with all the facilities a resort would require. Water sports facilities are available as in the Beruwela Resort. Many interesting sightseeing tours are possible from here, such as the Turtle Hatchery, Mask factory, Galle Fort, Mini Zoo, Garden brief, Boat trips on Bentota River etc. Check into your hotel and relax.
Day 07 Bentota - Colombo
After breakfast, drive to Colombo. Tour of Colombo.
Your chauffeur guide will introduce you to some of Colombo’s curious sites, the vibrant markets of Pettah and other important places in Colombo.
Overnight in Colombo
Day 08 Colombo - U.S. or an extension
Trasnfer to airport and fly back home, or extend your trip to South India.