Exploring Sri Lanka had been a long pending wish, and it finally happened this month. A strange coincidence that I landed in Sri Lanka on Dussehra day, a day so closely associated with Sri Lanka. There are various facets of Sri Lanka that I observed and felt.
Just before landing from the Window, I could see this island, with dark grey-green colored, thick and dense forests. I do not remember seeing such thick forests anywhere else. Forests and environment have been well preserved. And they are a part and parcel of the Sri Lankan life is what got re-enforced during the rest of the trip.
Exploring Sri Lanka – Travel Insights
Just a day before going, during a conversation with a friend, he mentioned that the People of Sri Lanka have the same consciousness as Ravana, and I must meet people and observe that. I did not get to meet too many people except our guide who was this elderly gentleman called Oscar. But I could see a certain peace on the faces everywhere, a laid-back attitude, no hurry, no rush, and contentment of being happy with what they have. I am told that most of the islanders are that way, cut off from the world and contained in themselves, just like the islands that they live in.
There was a lot of Indian influence, the ubiquitous being the ‘Bajaj Autos’, they are called ‘Trishaws’ there. Autos almost look like the lifeline of Sri Lanka, you can actually commute between cities using them. They are not cheap and the Autowallas seem to have inherited all traits of Bangalore auto drivers. So you need to haggle and haggle to come to the right price. If they realize you are a foreigner, they try to sell you an auto ride around the place. The next was Maruti Cars, there was this whole range of Maruti vehicles there with the exception of Wagon R. The last and biggest influence is the Indian movies and Hindi songs. The FM channels seem to survive on Hindi film music.
Our guide actually made us speak to an RJ and had a song played for us. Going by the number of attempts he made to connect us to the RJ, it almost looked like that it was a part of our itinerary.
Anuradhapura is the most important city in Sri Lanka’s history, but it was not there on our itinerary, so I missed going there. If I ever make another trip to Sri Lanka, this would be the first place I would visit.
Sigiriya – Exploring Sri Lanka
The first place for us was Sigiriya, which is also the cultural capital of Lanka. There is a fort on top of a rock, and to climb there you have to climb 1200 steps, and believe me they are really steep. Once you are on the top, you can see the whole of ancient Sri Lanka from there. Our next stop was Kandy, a small hill station, and the place where Buddha’s tooth is kept. And is kept in so much of security that you can not even see it.
Sita Eliya Temple
From Kandy, we proceeded to Nuwara Eliya, which is a renowned hill station. But this was one place we felt we could have avoided, as there was nothing to be seen. The advantage of having it on the itinerary was that we could visit the ‘Sita Eliya’ temple. As per the legend, there is the place where Ravana had hidden Sita or the place that we from ‘Ramayana’ know as ‘Ashok Vatika’. There were a lot of Hanuman temples around the country. When I tried to find out how is Ramayana perceived there, I got an interesting point of view. Our guide told us that they believe that while Sita was here nothing good was happening in our country and after she left, everything was good again.
Bentota – The Beach Town
Our fourth stop was in Bentota, which is a beach town. The beach at the place where we stayed was absolutely neat and clean and hence very inviting. The day was the two days before the full moon day, it was amazing to see the sun setting in the sea and the moon rising in the sky, something I thought I would be able to see only in Kanyakumari.
The final halt was at Colombo, and we were repeatedly told that Colombo is a shopper’s delight and we must shop for lots of clothes there. But incidentally, we reached there on Sunday. Monday a full moon day was a holiday. So all the markets were closed and we could manage to save a lot of money by not shopping. We loved the hotel that we stayed in. It was the first hotel in Colombo, having a harbor on one side and the president’s house on the other. Dinner at Harbor room, with a live band playing, was a total ‘Paisa Vasool’, especially with not many people around.
During our road travel across Sri Lanka, we saw various places like the Wood Carving workshops where the famous Sri Lankan masks are carved and painted with natural colors. A batik factory that was awfully expensive, a gems/stone cutting factory with a model showing the mines, and a video on the mining of precious stones. A ceramics factory, a tea garden, and a tea factory. Bought some high-grown tea. Spice garden nicely displayed all the spices and sold them at atrocious prices.
Overall Exploring Sri Lanka, the island nation was an interesting trip. Now, need to zero down on the next country that I want to see sometime next year…
Recommend you to read the following Travel Blogs.
Top Kanyakumari Tourist Places for you to visit
Exploring the Red Fort at Old Delhi
Exploring the Street Art in Bandra, Mumbai
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sri lanka.. hmmm,looks like a whirlwind tour. How many days did u do it in, was it a package tour.
guee u had a nice time. 🙂
i’d really wish that you’d write more but from a more personal point of view. I can barely sense the person behind the posts.
wanting to discover you perhaps.
I got the same impression from my three visits to colombo and Kandy in the last one year… People there are really very calm and serene. Also they don’t seem to be unduly perturbed by the ethnic violence.
I also think that Colombo is the best city to visit in South asia.
interesting stuff on your blog! keep posting! i enjoyed reading here.. 🙂
Aloha Anuradha, I’m in Hawaiian mood as I’m listening to Ki ho’alu music (If you’ve not heard this type of guitar music then you are in for a treat!) so I’m not really concentrating very hard but I came across ##TITlE## looking up gen on interbank currency trading. Anything to do with interbank currency trading I always look at, though I do have a tendency to wander about in blogs just reading generally.
Hi Anuradha, oh dear, I’m getting sqaure eyed here – must have been spending too much time reading blogs and currency trading tutorial information. I’m supposed to be looking for currency trading tutorial items but I find it all too easy just to click ‘Next’ and just see anything which is how I came to Exploring Sri Lanka. Some blogs I just skip through but I spent a while here. Ciao.
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Very nicez!!!.. i enjoyd readng
Impressive blog. You must promote it more.
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Good to see you are bringing up your old posts for us to read 🙂 and very recently I was watching a cuisine feature on Fox channel centered around Sri Lanka your photos reminded me of similar scenes 🙂
Yep Richa, I also re-live my travels when I read old posts.
Did you go to the turtle hatcheries in Bentota. They are so amazing.
No Ami, I did not. This trip was a 10 years back, need to do another trip to Sri Lanka.
Which season did you happen to visit ? We are planning a family trip to Sri Lanka, not sure which season would be clear of the monsoons and not too hot for our 2 years old.
Abhishek, I went in October. I guess Oct -Dec is a good time to go, only time when heat would be manageable.
How exciting! Sri Lanka’s wildlife is truly stunning and the jungles are perfect for safaris.
Sri Lanka has some of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen. You don’t find anything like it anywhere else in the world.