Sri Lanka Trip – Conclusion

We left Sri Lanka with a lot of good and long lasting memories. I think the impact was very great because we went with not much expectations and with a open mind. We just wanted to absorb, experience and immerse into the culture as much as possible. We didn’t research to a great extent and have a detailed itinerary. We just wanted to take it as it comes. True enough we enjoyed ourselves very much and at the end of the trip wished that we could have stayed longer. This shows that it was really a fruitful trip.

We met fantastic and hospitable people in Sri Lanka who are very happy and contended with their life.  We learned many life lessons in our trip there.

  • Be accommodating to all people.
  • Be happy and contend with what you have. Don’t chase after material wealth. Work hard and you will get what you deserve.
  • Never say no to new opportunity nor chance. You will never know where it will lead to nor the experience you will gain until you have tried it.
  • Be humble and happy. It is infectious and people around you will also be happy.
  • Live and Let Live!!!

In conclusion, life is short. So don’t waste it worrying about the future nor regretting about the past. Don’t think too much! Live the present to the fullest.

Enjoy and savour each moment with your love ones cause you will not get back this moment again.

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Sri Lanka Trip – Day 7 (Dunhinda Falls) & Day 8 (Colombo)

On Day 7 we started out by heading out to the most beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka. It was a short trip from Banderawela. We took train and tut-tut to reach the place. After which we trekked for about 2-3km to reach the waterfall. You could only watch the waterfall from a distance as it has been barricaded. But what a sight it was, look at the picture below. You could literally feel the water droplets as the water is crashing at such a speed into the stones situated that are at the bottom of the waterfall.

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It was truly the most beautiful waterfall. Imagine having a house there and you wake up everyday to enjoy the beauty of the waterfall. That is exactly the type of feeling you get. You do not want to leave the place. After trying our best to absorb as much of the view as possible, we left knowing that we need to make our way back to the capital, Colombo.

In the evening we left Banderawela to Colombo for Day 8 and our final day in Sri Lanka before catching a flight back home. Our flight is at night so we still will have couple of hours in Colombo before flying off.

Day 8 – Colombo

We reached Colombo early morning of Day 8. We were exhausted from the 8+ hours travel from Banderawela. We rested in the morning and in the afternoon we headed out for last minute shopping. What else is the best place to shop other than Pettah Market!!

We bought some cheap shoes from Pettah market and stocked up on tea from the supermarket on our way to the Airport. After checking and clearing customs, we bought more teas for souvenirs.  Seriously, the range of tea in the Airport is really mind boggling.

Finally we boarded the flight bidding goodbye and farewells to Sri Lanka.

Stay tuned for reflections on the Sri Lanka trip in the next scribble!!

Sri Lanka Trip – Day 6 (Yala National Park)

Yala National Park is a large African Safari type park in Sri Lanka. You can read more about the history in it’s wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yala_National_Park

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Apparently it has been only been opened a few years back and thus it is largely untouched by any major human driven developments.

Basically it is a huge wildlife sanctuary where animals just roam around in the wild in their own habitats. Humans like us will hire jeeps and will be driven around by a ranger. On the trip inside the sanctuary, if you are lucky will come across the animals.

Apparently the animal most hard to spot are leopards. According to the ranger there is quite a high concentration of leopards in the park. But they rarely come out in the day and only comes out to hunt at night. We did not spot any leopards during our time there. The second most rarest animal to spot are elephants. We were luck to spot a elephant but only for a brief time while there. Nevertheless, it was still worth the experience.

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Other animals commonly spotted are water buffaloes, deer, crocodiles, peacocks etc. We even managed to take a picture where the peacock have spread it’s beautiful feathers fully (look at the picture below).

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I have not been to the African Safari, so I could not compare the experience between the both. But travelling on a jeep into a wildlife sanctuary where animals roam around in their homes and humans remain away at a safe distance reminds me of the role reversal that has taken place (Gives you the hunter becomes hunted kind of feeling).

At the end of the safari, you will end at a seaside which has a splendid view of the Indian ocean. Apparently tsunami has struck this place and at that time there was a concert taking place. There is a memorial to indicate this there.

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It was a humbling experience to remind us that even though human has achieve great technological advancements, we are still the lesser beings compared to the power of nature.

Another lesson is life is unpredictable. Those who have attended the concert on that day would not have even thought that such an incident would be taking place. Life is short and we should make full use of it. Live every moment fully!!!

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After travelling around Yala National Park which took us till the late afternoon, it was back to Banderawela. We reached Banderawela after sunset. It will be our final day in Banderawela the next day before going back to Colombo to catch flight back home.

On our final day it will be a visit to Dunhinda Falls. Supposedly, the most beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka.

Stay Tuned!!!

Sri Lanka Trip – Day 5 (Kataragama)

We left early from Banderawela to Kataragama. It is a pilgrimage town sacred to world’s major religions. It has history dating back to thousands of years. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kataragama

Our aim is to visit the famous Lord Murugan temple there and spend the night in the town. And the next day visit the Yala National Park.

On our way there we came across a beautiful waterfall. It is called Ravana Falls. Apparently it is one of the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka and a widely visited tourists attraction. It also has a relevance to Hindu mythology based on the legendary Sinhala King Ravana. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravana_Falls

We stopped for lunch there and at the same time appreciate and take in the beauty of the waterfall. See the pictures below and you will understand why!!

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After lunch we left the falls and proceeded towards Kataragama temple. There are 2 main parts to the temple. On the way there is the small Kataragama which house some Hindu and Buddhist shrines.

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After visiting the shrines there we proceeded to the big Kataragama temple which is the main temple. We reached there around 5pm, just nice to see the evening pooja which starts around 6pm. The temple was very quiet and serene even though there was quite alot of people.

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We participated in the pooja. It was a very unique experience. Apparently the traditions and culture they follow is untouched. Meaning some of the customs that have been followed is being around for centuries!!!

It was truly a unique cultural immersion we had. The pooja ended around 8-9pm. We left and spent the night at Niro Resorts. It has decent rooms (unfortunately no hot water….haha) and basic amenities.

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The next day we are visiting the Yala National park. It is the closest we have to the African Safari. Stay tuned for more scribbles soon!!!

Sri Lanka Trip – Day 4 (Badulla)

After a tiring Day 3 in Horton Plains, we wanted to take it light on Day 4. So we woke up late and had a late breakfast. We didn’t wanted to take the van. Our plan is to take train, tut-tut and travel by foot to explore some of the places around Banderawela. Our plan is to visit a popular place there called Adisham Bungalow. We took a train from Banderawela to Badulla (around 30 minutes). Below is the pic of the train we took.

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Then we took a tut-tut to Adisam Bungalow. It is actually a monastary. The bungalow is preserved like a musuem showing how the founder lived many years back. You can read more about the place and history here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adisham_Hall

http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2008/09/07/spe03.asp

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There is also a shop there selling fresh jams and pickles apparently made from fresh fruits grown there. I bought the lemon pickles and to my surprise, it was very good.

Basically our aim is to have relaxing day where we could have some local experience and also at the same time prepare ourselves for the next day.

The trip to Adisham Bungalow was perfect, we experienced travelling on a local train, we took the tut-tuts, tried locally made jam/pickles and also at the same time explored a very scenic place.

The next day, we will be going on a long trip to Kataragama. A place steeped in centuries old traditions and culture.

Stay Tuned!!!

Sri Lanka Trip – Day 3 (Horton Plains National Park)

The place which surprised me most was Horton Plains National Park. We have planned to visit the place but without knowing much about it. We went in without much expectation, but was blown away by the beauty of the plains. Take a look at the Wikipedia article here for the history of the place:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horton_Plains_National_Park

It is located in Ohiya and it has been announced as a natural world heritage site by UNESCO in 2010.

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IMG_2560Basically the main attraction is the World’s End cliff from which you can have a breathtaking view. The only issue is that sometimes it will be very foggy and the visitors may not be able to see the view. During the time we went it was foggy too, thus we could not see the view fully. Below is the picture from Wikipedia on how it will look like.

Worldsend

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Worldsend.jpg

To get to the World’s End, we need to trek about 7-9 km. The path is rocky and is not smooth sailing. But it was worth it as on the way, we could catch many beautiful views of the plains. We went in with no expectations and came out with maximum satisfaction. As shown in the picture below, kill only time and leave only footprints.

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We spoke to one of the forest officer there and found out that apparently there are some leopards in the plains but they will usually come only at night (Luckily we never come across any!!).

In short if you like to be close to nature and experience the beauty, Horton Plains should be on your top of the list if you visit Sri Lanka!

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It took us the whole day to cover Horton Plains. We went back to our rooms in Banderawela tired but satisfied. We have no plans for next day. Well we thought being impromptu will give the best experiences.

Stay Tuned!

Sri Lanka Trip – Day 2 (Kandy)

We woke up to a scenic view of Kandy. It looked really peaceful and serene in the morning. Far away on the top of the mountain you can actually see a huge Buddha statue. We can also hear Buddhist chanting from the Buddha Tooth Relic temple nearby. We got ready and left Holiday Inn to go to the Buddha Tooth Relic temple. See the pic below on how the view from our hotel room looked like. It was truly magical!

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Some other sceneries while approaching the temple. See pics below.

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As we reached the temple quite early, it was quiet and the atmosphere was very calm and serene. We couldn’t take much photos inside the temple and the museum (it was prohibited). The museum is called The Museum of World Buddhism and contains the artefacts and writeups of influence/spread of Buddhism through the different countries in the world.

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After spending some time exploring the temple (there are many prayer halls where people just seat down and meditate quietly) and the museum we left the temple to a nearby Botanical Garden which is supposedly a tourists’ attraction in Kandy. It is called the Royal Botanical Garden (Peradeniya, Sri Lanka). True to the name the whole park is huge and majestic. You can see alot of couples around. It is ideal for long walks in the park.

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After the visit to the park, we continued our road trip to Nurweliya. It is supposedly to be at the highest peak in Sri Lanka. The plan is travel through Nurweliya to Banderawela and spend the night there. And to continue our trip to nearby places of attraction in subsequent days. True enough on our way to Nurweliya, it became colder and colder. And of course the sceneries became more gorgeous too! Look at some of the pics taken from the roads.

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We reached Banderawela at around 1am. We spent the night there. We were all tired from the long ride (~7 hours) from Kandy to Banderwela. But we were all excited for the next day where we will be exploring some places around Banderawela.

Stay Tuned!