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Kandy and Pinnawela

Duration: Full Day

kandy and pinnawela

Situated in the Indian Ocean, the beautiful island of Sri Lanka is renowned for its magnificent cultural and natural treasures. The country has had its fair share of natural disasters over the years, including the devastating 2004 tsunami, but this breathtaking island has gradually been rebuilding itself and tourism is healing the wounds. Diverse landscapes, a rich cultural heritage and spectacular wildlife await you, along with an extremely warm welcome.

Your tour begins with a scenic drive from Colombo to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, which was set up by the Department of Wildlife in 1975 to protect elephants in Sri Lanka from the threat of extinction. Young elephants found orphaned, injured or abandoned are tamed and cared for on the Pinnawela estate, and now the orphanage is home to over 70 baby and adult elephants, the largest captive herd in the world.

These gentle giants roam freely amongst twenty-five acres of parkland, fringed by palm and coconut trees, and are well looked after by their mahouts (keepers). Every effort has been made to allow the elephants to function as they would in the wild, including encouraging them to develop their own herd structure. Highlights of the trip include bottle-feeding the babies and watching the elephants bathing and playing in the river, which is an unforgettable experience not to be missed.

Our next stop is the picturesque hillside city of Kandy, the last capital of the Sri Lankan Kings and the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The city’s proud heritage and beautiful lakeside setting has attracted travellers to this part of the island for centuries. Aside from its natural beauty, Kandy is ultimately famous for its many beautiful shrines and temples. This tour will lead you to the 16th century Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), which allegedly houses Sri Lanka’s most sacred religious relic – the tooth of the Buddha.

After wards we will make our way to one of the most beautiful gardens in Asia, the Peradiniya Botanical Gardens (also known as the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya). Dating back to the 14th century, during the reign of King Vikrama Bahu III, they were used as royal pleasure gardens before colonial times. Stroll along the winding paths at your leisure and marvel at the striking landscapes, adorned with lush vegetation, brightly-coloured ornamental flowers and exotic plants, surrounded by the Mahaweli River.

The rest of the day will be spent exploring the historical city of Kandy, the old capital of the Kandyan kingdom and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kandy was the capital city of Sri Lanka from 1592 until the 19th century when it was conquered by the British. The city still retains influences of its colonial past after being conquered by the Portuguese in the 16th century, the Dutch in the 17th century, and finally the British in 1815.

Kandyans are particularly proud of their heritage, however, and their traditions and Buddhist values still prevail. Kandy is also well known for its traditional, quality handicrafts and souvenirs, so spend time browsing the bustling markets for spices, antiques and batiks, as well as some of the finest gems and jewellery on the island. This fantastic experience will undoubtedly be a highlight of your holiday in Sri Lanka.

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