Costs

Half day : $50

Full day : $100

Kirinda & Tissa

Tissa is one of Sri Lanka's most beautiful towns and forms an important part of its history. It is here that the country's most famous monarch, King Dutugamunu, was born and launched his successful bid to push back the Tamil general Elara in the second century BC.

Our tour begins in Tissa. Here we will visit the three main temples and the town's famous tank (lake), which was constructed in the third century BC by King Yatalatissa. Today is home to many species of birds and large colonies of giant fruit bats hanging from xx trees.

The most important of Tissa's three temples is the great temple, which stands 55 metres high and was not only the tallest stupa in Sri Lanka when it was built in the second century BC, but also one of the tallest man-made buildings in the world at the time. Lord Buddha himself is said to have consecrated it and the shrine is believed to hold one of his teeth and a forehead bone.

From Tissa we will journey about 20 minutes to the small village of Kirinda, which was badly damaged by the 2004 Tsunami. However, the rock temple remained untouched and has stunning views out across the ocean and along the coast.

It is here that Sri Lanka's most famous queen Vihara Maha Devi washed up in the second century BC. Her father had been forced to cast her adrift in boat after the gods became angry, but the local king who found her, King Kawantissa, fell in love and wed her. He built the temple in her honour. Ask any Sri Lankan child who their favourite historical character is and they will nearly always name their son who became King Dutugamunu.

We recommend taking this tour in the afternoon when the heat is less intense. We generally start around 2.30pm to 3pm and will have you back to your hotel at 6.30pm.