Travelling Around Sri Lanka 2019
Sri Lanka is full of beautiful landscapes, abundant wildlife and friendly people. The journey was over two weeks touching on just some of the amazing areas to visit. I loved Sri Lanka and can’t wait to go back and explore more!
Columbo – A busy metropolitan city with the air of change
Kandy – Next we travelled by train from Columbo up through the hills to Kandy. We rumbled out through the city leaving the packed houses behind. Trundled through villages & train stations passing schools, temples and winding roads. We sipped sweet tea poured precariously in the bouncing train, we sipped sweet tea as we watched the brilliant white egret birds feasting in rice paddies alongside the farmers. As the train slowly meandered up through the hills, climbing higher and higher new landscapes opened up. The air cooled and vistas of mountains, waterfalls and distant lands came and went. The train ambled up steep railway tracks leading through blasted mountain tunnels. We arrived three hours later in the city of Kandy set on a plateau high in the mountains famously home to the Buddest Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
The sacred tooth is believed the be that of Buddha. Unable to take photos ill try to give you a little idea of the place.
The day we visited New Years day is a national holiday. The temple was teaming with worshipers looking to give thanks and offerings! After removing our shoes and wearing appropriate attire we wiggled our way to buy our offering of lotus flowers from the frantic vendors. We lined up to pass by the fabulous gold casket that houses scacred tooth relic of Buddha.
Clutching our lotus leaves ready to throw as an offering we finally got to the casket. Whilst being propelled forward I managed to see a significant amount of gold, the colour red and lastly enormous elephant tusks from the elephants that where chosen to carry the tooth relic in religious festivities. The elephants are chosen for not only their height but that the trunk and penis reaches the floor at the same point – this is a rare physicality we were told that is revered. We reached outside after a whirlwind crushing energising tour of the temple into the cooler and calmer air outside.
Kandy to Kuduruketha, Wellawaya – One of the best parts of this trip and most trips for me is the travelling from one place to another, the drive from Kandy to Kuduruketha was no exception. Driving through villages and busy towns we climbed up through the hills to the cooler and misty heights of the Sri Lanka tea country, Soil is as precious as a vineyards in these mountains and every scrap of land and crevice are used to plant the precious tea bushes.
Kuduruketha, Wellawaya – Nestled in the foothills of the Ella mountains in the subtropical area of Sri Lanka is our next stop Wellawaya providing a rich diversity of plants, animals and birds. In the mornings dew formed atop the blades of the rice grass. The tall rice grass sparkled in the early morning sun through the mist that slowing lifted and showed the dramatic view of the Ella mountains in the distance. Monkeys, peacocks, parrots, birds, formed the medley of the morning sounds that grew quieter as the sun rose and the farmers began tending to the rice.
Udawalwa – After leaving the tranquility of Wallawaya, we travel further south towards Udawalwa National Park. Leaving at 4 am the following morning in near pitch darkness we sped off to join the queue to enter the park. We arrived after a slightly dangerous journey hurtling along hanging on for dear life in an open top jeep to ensure we were one of the jeeps that entered the park at sunrise. We did and entered the park as it was waking up. The Sunrise quickly burnt of the mist and we watched as elephants stretch out after a long night of walking. The bird song reached a crescendo. Still and silent prehistoric crocodiles sat in orange algae lakes overlooked by brilliant white cranes. Water buffalo cooled in rivers as monkeys chatted overhead, we never saw the elusive prowling Leopard but chased the shadow of one for a while. The elephants easy in the company of intruding jeeps munched and tore down tree branches. Elephant calfs sheltered from the heat under the big comforting belly of their mums and male elephant teens roamed around in groups. The park is bustling with wildlife but also has a calm and peaceful feel as the trees rustle and the animals roam
Mirissa – After the park we travelled further south. The landscape became hotter and the smell of the sea road side stops selling watermelon and beer with surfers hanging out. Driving along the road glimpses of the blue sea could be caught through the fluttering colourful sarongs that floated drying in the strong Atlantic sea breeze. We were met with wide open beaches, crashing wild seas that have travelled unhindered by any land since the Antarctic.
Galle – The final stop, the famous fortress town with winding streets telling the history with each building. A mix of reconstruction and faded elegance. Amazing food, and of course Sri Lanka’s famous gems on every corner. The buildings are mass of Spanish cathedrals, British hotels and Hindu temples. In the early evening strolling through small streets dotted with fairly lights a prevailing smell of delicious Sri Lankan food, laughter, music and drinking can be smelt and heard everywhere.