Friday, June 29, 2012

Whale & Dolphin Watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is becoming a major spot for watching Whales and Dolphins as the island is situated within international whaling commission's protected zone in the Indian Ocean. The coastal areas of the West, South and the East of Sri Lanka are full of whales and dolphin watching sites. There is a high concentration of blue whales and sperm whales in the seas off Dondra Head along the deep southern coast of Sri Lanka during the months of January to April. If you’re interested in Dolphins, then the sea around Kalpitiya is the best especially during months of November to March. Whale and Dolphin watching is also possible during June to September off the eastern shores such as Trincomalee.

The sea around Sri Lanka is pleasantly warm, which the whales love, and during the winter in the northern hemisphere these whales travel through the cold currents to the warm currents close to Sri Lanka.  The Sea around Sri Lanka is also full of small and medium sized fish which the whales loves to feed upon.
Since the war in Sri Lanka finished, the Sri Lanka Navy’s passenger crafts are used for whale watching tours and are fully assisted by the Navy staff and crew for a memorable as well as a safe tour.

Visit Serendib (PVT) Ltd is also providing Whale Watching tours at very low prices. We are a registered tour management company with Government licensed chauffeur guides. For more information please contact –

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Buddhist Cultural Tour


Due to the many requests we received to arrange a special package for the Buddhist pilgrims who wants to visit Sri Lanka to see the many locations that are important to the Buddhist world, we have designed a 7days/6 nights Buddhist Cultural Tour (which can be extended on request).

Initially this package was available only to Japanese clients on our website, but now we have decided to promote this package worldwide via this blog with the same amount of service at a reduced special discounted rate.


This is the official blog operation of the company “Visit Serendib” (PVT) Ltd, a registered tour management company in Sri Lanka.

* The company provides experienced chauffeurs with official Government tour guide License.
* All Accommodations except in the case of camping and special meditation programs that are held in our meditation center will be at 3 Star Hotels. (More information if requested).
* Only 25% of the payment has to be made before arriving and the balance during the tour, or 100% of the cost can be paid directly once arriving at the airport.
*Special discount rates for groups over 5 members.
* The touring party will be given free mobile phones and connections to keep in touch with local services as well the Tour Company till the tour is completed.
* Tour extensions possible at discounted rates.
* Special assistance for educational or research groups.

Chief Excursion officer assigned to the Buddhist Cultural Tours.

History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is the oldest continually Buddhist country in the world, Buddhism being the major religion in the island since its introduction was first introduced into Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BC by Venerable Mahinda the son of the Emperor Asoka during the reign of Sri Lanka's King Devanampiya Tissa. During this time, a sampling of the Boghi Tree was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monasteries were established under the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan king.

Buddha’s Visits to Sri Lanka

First Visit
The Buddha’s first visit was in the ninth month after Buddhahood (1 B.E. or 528 B.C.) That was to Mahiyangana where the Yaksa clan of the entire island was meeting in the Mahanaga garden. On this visit, the Buddha not only won the Yaksas/Raksas to Buddhism but also succeeded in getting the Naga clan King Maniakkhika of Kelaniya, who came to Mahiyangana to meet the Buddha, to embrace Buddhism. It is after this visit that a Stupa with some hair of the Buddha was enshrined. This Stupa, after the Parinibbana or passing away of the Buddha was transformed to be the Mahiyangana Cetiya after a collar bone of the Buddha was enshrined in it.
Second Visit
The second visit was in the fifth year of Buddhahood (5 B.E. or 523 B.C.). The Buddha on seeing an imminent war between two Naga Kings, over a Jeweled Throne, visited Nagadipa (Jaffna), settled the dispute and handed over the custody of the Jeweled Throne to Naga King Maniakkika of Kelaniya.
Third Visit
The Buddha visited Sri Lanka for the third time (His Last time) at the invitation of King Maniakkhika, first arriving in Kelaniya, in 9 B.E. (519/520 B.C.) with 500 of his followers.
It was on this third visit that the Buddha placed an imprint of his left foot on top of Samanala Kanda (Adams Peak).

For More Information on this tour package contact - , +94778882227 (Gihan)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wild/Eco 7Days/6 Nights

Visit Serendib (PVT) Ltd is a Tour/Holiday management company based in Sri Lanka (one of the top travel destinations in 2012). This is the official blog operation of the company to specialize in low budget tours.

The listed package above can also be customized according to the requirements of our customers. The number of dates, locations and even the activities can all be adjusted to suit your needs

For Further information contact -, +94778882227

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Battle of Gannoruwa

Date: 28th March 1638

The Portuguese had attempted three times without success to capture the Kingdom of Kandy, in order to bring the entire country under their rule. In 1635, King Rajasinghe II became the king of Kandy and started negotiations with the Dutch to obtain their help in driving out the Portuguese from the island. The Portuguese hastened their efforts to take Kandy because of this, and Diogo de Melo de Castro, the Portuguese Captain General, tried to provoke the King of Kandy on several occasions.

Melo seized an elephant presented to a merchant by the king, to which the king responded by seizing two of Melo's own horses. Following this incident, on March 19th 1638, Melo assembled a large army and set out for Kandy to destroy the Kingdom.
Rajasinghe sent a letter to Melo through a Portuguese friar seeking negotiations, but this call was rejected by Melo, who replied, saying "The little black is frightened. We shall drag him by the ears".

Instead of facing the Portuguese army head on directly, King Rajasinghe II and his generals planned a trap.  The entire city was evacuated and everything of value was taken to the jungles.
The Portuguese force advanced through Atapitiya to Balana, a fort and observation post of the king's army.
When the Portuguese army finally reached Kandy, they found the city deserted. They sacked and burned the city, including the royal palace and temples, and then having thought they won this battle easily, started to withdraw back to Colombo.

 As they were returning their path was blocked by huge trees and suddenly without any warning they were attacked by the Kandyan army who were hiding deep in the thick jungles.

The object of the Portuguese was to entrench themselves on the slopes of Kiriwaththalawa (present day Kiribathkumbura), but before they reached high ground they found themselves surrounded by the Kandyan forces. The King's army in full force awaited the return of the Portuguese at Gannoruwa. 

When they reached Gannoruwa they found that crossing the river was made impossible by the Kandyans as they had cut down trees and obstructed the Portuguese path. The road back to Kandy was also blocked and all escape routes were effectively cut off.

Since there was no way of crossing the river or heading back to the city , the Portuguese army camped on top of a hill for the night.

Having had an exhausting day, the Portuguese army was tired and thirsty. Since the Kandyan army took guard of the River there was no way of drinking water without risking being killed by the skilled shooters camped at the base of the hill.

To make matters worse, the gun powder of the Portuguese were targeted by the King's army from a nearby mountain. It is said that "balls of fire" were hurled at the hill where the Portuguese army had camped, and throughout the night the Portuguese gun powder got burnt.

On the following day, the Portuguese force tried to resume their retreat but the Kandyan army at once attacked the Portuguese army and numbers of the Portuguese force were rapidly reduced as the Kandyan army charged up the hill and attacked them. 

With the Portuguese force suffering heavy damages, Melo requested an armistice. Rajasinghe did not reply to this, but ordered his drummers to proclaim that all Sinhalese that were with the Portuguese force were to leave them. They were told that those who remained would be put to the sword the next day.

The entire Portuguese army was resolutely crushed and annihilated, and their heads were gathered to a ghastly pile like coconuts at the feet of the warrior King, who skilfully led his powerful armies to a thrilling triumph and saved the Sinhalese Kingdom from the subjugation to a alien European Power.

The main reason why the colonial forces couldn't fight with the Kandyans was their guerrilla warfare battle tactics.

 Unlike the Portuguese, the Kandyans were familiar with leeches, monsoon rain and the terrain. They knew the land and the secret footpaths and successfully engaged in guerrilla warfare. They set up road blocks on the narrow winding paths; usually at a bend. They placed their guns between rocks and trees and launched surprise attacks. They regularly ambushed the Portuguese as they climbed the hills. They dropped felled trees and boulders on them and attacked the trapped soldiers.

The Portuguese did not make any other attempts to take Kandy after this.The Battle of Gannoruwa was the last battle fought between the Portuguese and the Kandyans. Rajasinghe eventually made an agreement with the Dutch and eventually the Portuguese were driven out of the country in 1658.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Dālada Māligāwa)




A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Temple of the Tooth Relic which houses the tooth relic of the Buddha is part of the Royal Palace Complex of the Kingdom of Kandy founded by King Vikramabahu III in the14th century on the advice of a Brahmin who selected the site as a lucky ground for a Capital.

The Tooth Relic
The sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is the most venerated object of worship in the Buddhist world, and its present house is the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy which was also the last Kingdom of Sri Lanka.

The Casket on which the Tooth relic is kept.

The Royal Palace
The royal palace of kandy is the last royal residence of the Kingdom of Kandy and also in Sri Lanka. The last king to reside in it was Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. Once part of a large palace complex that included the royal court, the Magul Maduwa and the Temple of the Tooth that held the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha. 

History of the Tooth Relic
After the “Parinirvana” (Final Nirvana, the final passing beyond suffering) of Gautama Buddha, the tooth relic was preserved in the state of Kalinga, in India. During the reign of King Guhasiva a war broke out, and the King instructed his daughter, Princess Hemamali, and son in law, Prince Dantha to take the tooth relic to Sri Lanka. 

The tooth relic was smuggled to Sri Lanka in 313 AD, hidden in the hair of Princess Hemamali who fled with her husband away from the Hindu armies besieging her fathere;s Kingdom in India.

They landed in the island during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavarna (301-328) and handed over the tooth relic which was first enshrined at Isuruminiya, in Anuradhapura, the first Kingdom of Sri Lanka.

It soon became the responsibility of the monarch to safeguard the Relic, and the custodianship of the relic became a symbol of the right to rule the country. Therefore the Tooth relic changed its location from Kingdom to Kingdom to finally end up in Kandy, the last kingdom of the Island.

The tooth relic was enshrined at many locations including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa ,Kurunegala, Kotte, and even hidden in a Grinding stone in Ratnapura before finally reaching the Kingdom of Kandy.

Kingdom of Kandy
The Kingdom of Kandy founded in the 14th century and endured until the early 19th century was an important independent monarchy of Sri Lanka, located in the central and eastern portion of the island.
From the 1590s, it was the sole independent native polity on the island of Sri Lanka, and through a combination of hit-and-run tactics and diplomacy kept European colonial forces at bay. The Battle of Gannoruwa on March 28th 1638 is a good example where a highly trained and an advanced Portuguese army was completely annihilated by the Kandyan Army.

Even today the people of Kandy are very proud to talk about its history and its many military achievements that won countless battles against colonial forces till the kingdom was absorbed into the British Empire as a protectorate following the Kandyan Convention of 1815.

Today the custody of the sacred tooth is handled by three custodians, the Venerable Mahanayaka Thero of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters and the Diyawadana Nilame (Chief lay custodian).
16th Diyawadana Nilame (lay custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic) in 1964


Friday, April 20, 2012

Classic (7 Days/6 Nights) Tour Package

7Days/6 Nights Classic Package

Visit Serendib (PVT) Ltd is a Tour/Holiday management company based in Sri Lanka (one of the top travel destinations in 2012). This is the official blog operation of the company to specialize in low budget tours.

The listed package above can also be customized according to the requirements of our customers. The number of dates, locations and even the activities can all be adjusted to suit your needs

For Further information contact -, +94778882227

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sigiriya (Lion's Rock)

Sigiriya (Lion’s Rock), the rock fortress which has mystified visitors all over the world throughout her long, colorful history is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must visit if anyone comes to Sri Lanka.

Different scholars, historians and journalists have expressed various views in order to unveil the many mysteries shrouding the famous historical site. Some distinguished scholars are of the view that the ruins of Sigiriya are those of a Buddhist meditation center, while others stand by the “Culavasma” (sequel to the “Mahavamsa” (Great Chronicle).

Referring to King Kashyapa I (A.D. 478- A.D. 496), the “Mahavamsa” (Great Chronicle) states: “He betook himself through fear to Sihagiri (now Sigiri) which is difficult to ascent for human beings.... thence he built a fine palace, worthy to behold, like another “Alakamanda”, ( A city of the gods) and dwelt there like (the god) “Kuvera.”

Entrance to the Castle
Parts of the castle ruins

In 477 CE, Prince Kashyapa seized the throne from his father, King Dhatusena following a coup assisted by the King's army commander Migara, and usurped the throne from the rightful here, Moggallana, who fled to South India. He imprisoned and later executed his father. After this incident he was known as “Pithru Ghathaka Kashyapa”, meaning Kashyapa the Patricide.

Fearing an attack from Moggallana, King Kashyapa moved the capital and his residence from the traditional capital of Anuradhapura to the more secure Sigiriya and built his “Palace in the Sky”. During King Kashyapa's reign (477 to 495), Sigiriya was developed into a complex city and a magnificent fortress.

Moggallana returned to the country with an army and defeated Kashyapa and regained the throne in 495CE and moved the capital again back to Anuradhapura. Sigiriya was then turned back into a Buddhist monastery, which lasted until the 13th or 14th century. After this period, no records are found on Sigiriya until the 16th and 17th centuries, when it was used as an outpost of the Kingdom of Kandy.

The story of Sigiriya is full of legend, love, courage, power and betrayal. But one story remains, the story of King Kashyapa (477 – 495 A.D.) It’s creator, with an artist’s soul.

The famous frescoes at Sigiriya

In a sheltered pocket on the western face of the Sigiriya rock, approached by a Spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes of what many believe are “Apsaras” (Heavenly Maidens).

"Mirror Wall"

On the western Northern side of the steep rock face runs a gallery which provides access to the summit. Shielding this pathway is a 9 ½ ft plaster wall, so highly polished, that even today, one can see one’s reflection in it, and hence it is known as the name “Mirror Wall”. On the polished surface are the famous Sigiriya Graffiti recorded by visitors to the rock in the past dating back to the 7th centuries.


The summit of the rock is nearly three acres in extent. The outer wall of the Palace, which is the main building, was constructed on the very brink of the precipice. There were Gardens, cisterns, and ponds which were laid out attractively.

Other than the Palace ruins at the top of the summit,  other attractions of Sigiriya includes the wonderfully  laid out Gardens which according to the latest excavations are one of the oldest in the world. The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: water gardens, cave and boulder gardens, and terraced gardens.

Sigiriya can be visited throughout the year, and the best time to climb is in the morning as the temperature is more comfortable compared to the afternoon. There are many Hotels and places of accommodation, and also a lot of infrastructural developments in the region allowing easy access the and links to other historical sites in Sri Lanka's "cultural triangle."

Visit Serendib (Pvt) Ltd has a variety of tour packages that covers Sigiriya as well as the many other sites around Sri Lanka, One such package that I can recommend is the Classic 7Days/6 Nights package

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons