The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
Explore the influences of Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka's most influential architect in this specially-created island tour. Bawa's deep understanding of the country’s cultural heritage ensured the stylish, vibrant tourist sector that exists today and he remains revered by Sri Lanka's finest architects. This specialist holiday celebrates the works of Bawa, as well as the heritage and landscapes that influenced his creations where the natural world becomes an integral part of designs based upon courtyards, walkways, and open verandas.
A visit to Number 11, Geoffrey Bawa’s Colombo residence, will set you up nicely for the tour to follow. Bawa first bought this bungalow in 1958 and it now houses art and artefacts from the Bawa collection. Several tours are run daily. We also recommend visiting the public buildings in Colombo that were designed by Bawa, which include: Sri Lanka’s striking parliament building in Kotte; the Seema Malaka, a Buddhist temple which appears to float on the edge of Beria Lake, and The Gallery Café, once Bawa’s studio and now a wonderfully atmospheric restaurant which also serves as an art gallery to promote the creative talents of young artists. Books on Bawa can be purchased from the Paradise Road Studio.
During the next two days, you will experience Sri Lanka's ancient architectural heritage – ruins of cities, palaces and temples built by kings of the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa periods dating back to the 3rd century BC. In Dambulla, visit the ancient Buddhist cave temples and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. You also have the option of visiting Yapahuwa, an ancient temple and palace built on a rock described by the Insight Guide to Sri Lanka as "one of the great architectural wonders of the island”, and Aukana, where the Buddha stands 42 feet high, the best-preserved statue in Sri Lanka. If you wish, climb 1,840 steps to the summit of Mihintale rock. Mihintale is the cradle of Buddhism. Thereafter, visit the fabulous Mahakanadarawa stone bridge, which dates back to the 7th century and is situated in the midst of the forest.
The journey from the Cultural Triangle to Sri Lanka's hill capital, the small lakeside city of Kandy, will occupy most of the morning. Join a Kandy walking tour to understand the fascinating history of the hill country capital. We also recommend visits to the fabulous Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya and the Temple of the Tooth where a sacred tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is enshrined since 4th Century AD. The temple has decorative walls, a golden roof and fine woodwork. Religious services (pooja) with traditional music and drumming are held daily at dawn, midday and in the evening where guests can participate.
Travel from Kandy to the west coast resort of Bentota, where Bawa’s influence is strong. Spend two nights at one of several beach hotels, big or small boutique, all of which carry the unmistakeable Bawa stamp. The Ariyapala Mask Museum in Ambalangoda is an excellent way of learning and understanding the mask-making that is unique to Sri Lankan culture.
Head south along the coast to Tangalle. En route, we recommend a visit to Galle’s 17C Fort. Experience the Portuguese- and Dutch-period architecture as you wander along narrow streets, the well-preserved ramparts and lighthouse. Break for lunch at the Jetwing Lighthouse hotel, designed by Geoffrey Bawa in 1994. This elegant boutique hotel is located on a rocky headland overlooking the Indian Ocean. Jetwing Lighthouse, like Kandalama, demonstrates Bawa’s skill at 'integrating architecture and landscape, and his scenographic manipulation of space’. Tangalle offers beautiful beaches and a host of coastal activities, and you can also visit the ancient Mulgirigala Temple which is perched on an enormous boulder more than 200m high with magnificent coastal views.
Back to Bentota for a night slightly inland at Bawa’s celebrated garden idyll. Lunuganga offers guests a rare opportunity to step inside the private life of one of the world’s most celebrated architects. Bawa bought this former rubber estate in 1948 to craft into his garden idyll. After decades of careful, exquisite, creative thought and design, the home and grounds have become his legacy, a wondrous, inspiring place. To stay here is to gain a more enriching experience.
Transfer to your final Bawa-designed hotel, close to the international airport, in preparation for your flight.
Maniumpathy is a luxurious eight-bedroom colonial villa located in a residential hub of Colombo surrounded by cafes and shops. Tastefully furnished with antiques and modern amenities, Maniumpathy is a great place to start or even wind down a well-deserved holiday.
Heritance Kandalama is a minimalist contemporary hotel cleverly designed by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s famous architecture guru.
The Kandy House is a brilliant boutique hotel offering stylish and private accommodation, personal service, and delicious food - all in a stunningly beautiful natural setting. The manor house, has been refurbished to blend the old with the new- light white interiors, polished hardwood floorboards, Jack wood staircase, Dutch style antique furniture and careful injections of colour.
Club Villa is an enchanting holiday retreat on a broad and peaceful stretch of beach on the southern outskirts of Bentota. This much-loved property, originally built by Geoffrey Bawa, is cherished by a loyal clientele for a peaceful atmosphere in a pretty coconut grove, immaculate service and good-quality food.
The Last House, so called because it was Geoffrey Bawa's architectural swansong, is positioned on an idyllic strip of land - lagoon on one side, beach on the other - on the outskirts of Tangalle. It has long been one of best villas in the south coast and also operates as a small boutique hotel. Few villas have a better beach.
Lunuganga offers guests a rare opportunity to step inside the private life of one of the world’s most celebrated architects. Geoffrey Bawa bought this former rubber estate in 1948 to craft into his garden idyll. After decades of careful, exquisite, creative thought and design, the home and grounds have become his legacy, a wondrous, inspiring place.
Jetwing Lagoon, 20 minutes' drive from the international airport, spreads across seven acres of tropical gardens edged by Negombo Lagoon. Originally known as the Blue Lagoon, one of Geoffrey Bawa’s first architectural creations.
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