Sri Lanka is the oldest continually Buddhist country, Theravada Buddhism being the major religion in the island since its official introduction in the 2nd century BC by Venerable Mahinda, the son of the Emperor Ashoka of India during the reign of King Devanampiya- Tissa. Later, the nun Sanghamitta, the daughter of Asoka, was said to have brought the southern branch of the original Bodhi tree, where it was planted at Anuradhapura. From that day up to the present, the Buddhists in Sri Lanka have paid and are paying the utmost reverence to this branch of the Bodhi Tree under the shade of which the Master achieved Enlightenment.
It was in Sri Lanka, in the 1st century AD during the reign of King Vatta Gamini that the Buddhist monks assembled in Aloka-Vihara and wrote down the Tripitaka, the three basket of the Teachings, known as the Pali scriptures for the first time. It was Sri Lankan nuns who introduced the Sangha of nuns into China in 433AD.
According to the Sri Lankan chronicles, the Mahavamsa, one of Ashoka’s sons, the monk Mahinda, supervised construction of monastic buildings near Anuradhapura. Simultaneously, he sent to India for relics. These, say the histories, included the Buddha’s alms bowl and his right collarbone. Later a hair relic, and in the 4th century AD, the Buddha’s tooth would be taken to Sri Lanka. The tooth is still preserved in Kandy where daily rituals venerate the Buddha’s tooth relic in Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy 16th Century.
To house the relics, stupas were built. Standing at 300 feet, Ruwanweliseya, or the “Great Stupa” is regarded as one of the most important stupas at Anuradhapura in north-central Sri Lanka: Much restored, the great dome, circled with old columns, is still to be seen in Anuradhapura.. During major festivals it is crowded with hundreds of thousands of devotees in family groups, who picnic happily among the ruins and offer puja at the Bodhi tree. There are other important monuments nearby at Mihintale, the site of Mahinda’s first sermon to King Devanampiya-Tissa. The ruins of the later capital at Polonnaruwa (9th century AD onwards), showing Hindu and Mahayana cultic influence, are yet more elaborate.
Source – http://www.buddhanet.net/
Dress CodeCasual, comfortable athletic clothing, hat and light jacket, long trousers when visiting religious sites
IncludedPilgrimage TourTransportDeparture Taxes5 Star AccommodationPersonal GuideBreakfast
Not IncludedEntry Fees
Day 1: Arrive & Relax
- Meet our designated tour guide at the arrival hall of Katunayake Bandaranaiyke International Airport and leave for Negombo known to many as “Little Rome” and the fourth largest city.
- Check in at a star class hotel in Negombo
- Relax at the hotel before commencement of your tour in Sri Lanka that will give you an insightful experience specializing in religious and cultural aspects of Sri Lanka
- Visit the Fort Gate which dates back to 1672
- Visit Negombo Fishing Harbour – the second largest harbor in Sri Lanka.
- Experience the beauty sandy beaches located in Negombo.
- Overnight stay in Negombo
Day 2: Negombo - Anuradhapura
- After an early breakfast check out from the hotel and leave for Anuradhapura, the first Royal Kingdom of Sri Lanka
- En-Route, enjoy the sceneries that you pass by
- Enjoy the scenic beauty of Tissa Wewa (a lake constructed between 250-210 BC)Anuradhapura
- Visit Sri Maha Bodhi – The Sacred and Historic Bodhi tree.
- Witness the rich architecure blend with Buddhism by visiting the following (the historic significance of these sites will be explained by our tour guide):
- Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba
- Thuparama Dagoba
- Abhayagiri Dagoba
- Royal palace of Anuradhapura kingdom
- Visit Isurumuniya Viharaya – a rock temple, dating from the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa (247–207 BC)
- Witness the mixed cultural and religious milieu in the city
- Overnight stay in Anuradhapura
Day 3: ANURADHAPURA – MIHINTALÉ - POLONNARUWA
- After an early breakfast at the hotel restaurant check out from the hotel and leave for Mihintalé
- Visit the many historic and religious sites at Mihintalé, from where Buddhism was inaugurated in Sri Lanka
- Proceed to Pollonnaruwa after covering these very significant sites.
- Overnight at Polonnaruwa.
Day 4: City Tour
- After breakfast visit Polonnaruwa- the second Royal Kingdom of Sri Lanka
- Visit the Royal Palace of the King Parakramabahu (12th century) - an impressive seven storied building with palatial rooms, audience halls, and chambers famous for its fine stone carvings and timberwork.
- The statue of Parakramabahu - a rock sculpture built in the 12th century
- Potgul Vihara Monastery
- Visit astonishing giant construction – Kiri Vihara Dagoba
- Vatade , which houses four seated Buddha images.
- Gal Viharaya - the largest sculptural masterpiece of Sri Lanka
- Arrive at Sigiriya to spend the night
Day 5: Return
This tour will explore almost all locations which are prominent attractions and pilgrimage sights for travelers interested in worshiping and learning about Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
EIGHT SACRED PLACES IN SRI LANKA
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