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Tap that Toddy

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Coconut Water

We had seen toddy tappers at work a few times, high up in the palm trees around Jaffna and Trincomalee, collecting the liquid of coconut flowers into plastic jugs. The toddy can later can be distilled into arrack, but is one of the country’s favorite drinks even in its unprocessed state. And for nearly three months, we had traveled throughout Sri Lanka without ever trying it. We were being derelict!

Toddy

The toddy is non-alcoholic when first tapped, but ferments quickly and must be drunk on the same day (and is at its best in the morning). Plus, you can only find it in local “toddy taverns”. All of this makes landing a bottle a tricky prospect for tourists. We ended up having to talk a local into hunting some down for us.

Our toddy had been poured into an old water bottle, looked like cloudy urine and tasted like cider, but somehow yeasty. Or cheesy. Yes, it tasted like liquidy, yeasty cheese cider. It’s a common sensation to feel the still-active toddy fermenting inside your belly. I’m not sure whether that’s what was happening to me, but I definitely felt something going on down there, hours after we had stopped drinking.

Apparently, the best toddy comes from the north, where it’s culled from the spiky Palmyra palm trees. Maybe that would have been better, but I can’t imagine that any toddy is going to find its way into my list of favorite drinks. It was still fun to try, but anyone with a sensitive stomach will want to stay far away.

Cheap Flights To Sri Lanka

Toddy
Toddy Harvest
Toddy Collector
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April 30, 2012 at 9:41 am Comments (2)

Colombo Short Stay – Your Posh Condo in the City

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With a magnificent setting in the 22nd floor of the Emperor Building, itself part of the five-star Cinnamon Grand’s complex, the luxury condo offered by Colombo Short Stay was an incredible place to spend our last night in Sri Lanka. Out on the balcony, with a bottle of red wine and a view that stretches over the Indian Ocean and most of the city, we couldn’t have found a better spot to wrap up our journey.

Rent Apartment in Colombo

The modern condo has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, sleeps six people, and combines the best aspects of a private apartment and a luxury hotel. Within the condo, you’ll enjoy the comforts of home, like high-speed internet (the fastest we’ve had in Sri Lanka), a huge flat-screen TV, BluRay player, washing machine, giant fridge, cozy furniture, and a well-equipped kitchen. Then you can step outside into the world of a five-star hotel — a swimming pool, incredible (and surprisingly affordable) restaurants, a workout room with ultra-modern machines and great shopping.

The Emperor Building is in one of the best neighborhoods of Colombo, right between the Galle Face Green and Temple Trees, which is where the president lives. And you have one of the city’s best shopping complexes, Crescat Boulevard, mere minutes away.

If you’re staying in Colombo for an extended period of time, definitely take a look at the availability in this condo. It also makes a lot of sense for families or small groups, who might otherwise have to rent multiple hotel rooms. We loved our stay here, and were happy to have such a comfortable final home in Sri Lanka.

See More Photos and Check Availability: Colombo Short Stay – The Emperor
Location on our Sri Lanka Map

Wohnung Mieten Colombo
Rent Flat Colombo
Colombo Lake
Colombo Train
Long Wave
Galle Road Colombo
Colombo Harbor
City Art Sri Lanka
Colombo Tennis
Modern Art Sri Lanka
Ant Pool
Bridge To Heaven
Colombo Moment
Sunset Drive
Colombo Travel Blog
Night Harbor
Good-Night-Colombo
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April 30, 2012 at 7:58 am Comment (1)

The Habaraduwa Turtle Hatchery

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Our Sea Turtle Excursion at Rekawa Beach

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most important breeding spots for the endangered sea turtle, but heavy development of the coast has contributed greatly to their ever-declining number. To combat that trend, a number of hatcheries have opened along the southern coast. We visited one in Habaraduwa.

Super-Cute-Turtle

The small hatchery, which cost 400 rupees per person, was split into a few sections. A curiously tiny patch of sand in the corner contained batches of eggs (or “clutches”). Each was labeled with the date they were laid, the number of eggs in the clutch, and the exact species. We were told that about one set of eggs hatches every day. I was surprised how tightly the clutches were placed next to each other.

The rest of the hatchery was occupied by a bunch of water tanks. In one, dozens of baby turtles swam clumsily about. They were cute, and would stay in captivity until their fourth day of life before being released into the ocean. Our guide explained that when they’re a bit older, their chances of survival increase dramatically.

Other tanks held injured turtles, including one I nicknamed “Stumpy”. A propeller had carved Stumpy’s right flipper clean off, and the poor guy could no longer submerge. Instead he floated around on top of the water, continually rotating his stump. Five other turtles which had been found clinging to life on the beach, including a couple impressively large specimens, swam about their tanks, recovering in the hatchery until they could be re-released.

The Habaraduwa Hatchery is a private enterprise, unaffiliated with any offical conservation organization. And it was impossible to ignore the disquieting possibility, or likelihood even, that it’s more interested in tourist dollars than protecting sea turtles. The cold reality is that private individuals are going out at night, digging up sea turtle eggs from the beach, bringing them to their property, and then charging tourists to see them.

Seaturtle.org has a comprehensive article on the pros and cons of Sri Lanka’s private hatcheries. The truth is, something has to be done to protect these beautiful, endangered creatures. And if the government won’t step in with an official and adequately enforced conservation effort, private hatcheries might be the next best thing. Yes, they might just want our cash, but this might be one of those rare instances when the interests of capitalism and conservation align. Ultimately, we enjoyed our trip here and felt that it was an enterprise worth tentative support.

Location on our Sir Lanka Map
Snorkel Gear

Sea Turtle Hatchery
Hatchery-Turtles-Sri-Lanka
Little Turtles
Turtle Mess
Not Trusting Turtles
Turtle Bubbles
Pissed Turtle
Little Stonkers
Sad Turtle
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April 27, 2012 at 8:47 am Comment (1)

The Martin Wickramasinghe Museum

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Sri Lanka History Books

One of our first mornings in Galle, we took a bus to Alanthgama with the intention of seeing stilt fisherman — one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic images. But whether it was due to the stormy seas, the time of day, or the recently completed New Year’s festivities, the stilts were unoccupied. Foiled! Now what would we do?

“It says here that the Martin Wickramasinghe Museum is nearby.”
“Martin Wickra-what?!”
“No clue. Some author.”

Martin-Wickramasinghe-House

We were only going because there was nothing else to do, and were in solid agreement that house-museum of an author we’d never heard of couldn’t possibly be the slightest bit interesting. But how wrong we were!

The museum is split into a couple sections. The cabin where Mr. Wickramasinghe grew up has been preserved and contains original furniture, pictures of the author receiving awards and a thorough chronicle of his life. Wickramasinghe (May 1890 – July 1976) was one of the cultural lights of colonial Ceylon, and one of the few writers of any prominence who chose Sinhalese as his primary language. He was fascinated by the culture of his island and worked tirelessly to both nurture and promote it.

One of his projects was a Sri Lankan Folk Museum, which we visited after touring the cabin. The museum is deceptively large, with a fascinating collection of the tools, masks, fashions and utensils of Sri Lanka’s past. Nearly every item was described in both English and Sinhalese. My favorites were a set of antiquated board games, and the recreation of an amazing 7th century Monsoon Furnace uncovered near Ratnapura.

I already knew that the early Sinhalese were considered ancient masters of engineering for their irrigation projects, but this really blew my mind. They had set up west-facing iron-smelting furnaces to capture the winds of the yearly monsoons. Modern engineers scoffed at the idea, until recreating it themselves. The monsoon winds are steady and strong enough to produce high-quality iron, and the furnaces generated up to ten tons annually.

The Martin Wickramasinghe Museum was an unexpected highlight. It was crowded with Sri Lankan families, but we were the only foreigners present. That’s a shame — tickets are only 200 rupees per person, and the exhibits provide an unforgettable glimpse into the island’s culture.

Location on our Sri Lanka Map
Galle Hotels

Martin-Wickramasinghe-Desk
Temple-Triacle
Wagon-Sri-Lanka
Very-Old-Sri-Lankan-Kitchen
Cocunut-Sekkuwa
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April 26, 2012 at 3:19 am Comments (3)

The Mulkirigala Rock Temple

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Hotels in Tangalle

Twenty kilometers north of Tangalla lies the large rock of Mulkirigala, reminiscent in shape to Sigiriya. The rock houses an impressive series of cave temples dating from the third century, similar to those of Dambulla. A mix between Sri Lanka’s two most famous sites, Mulkirigala sounded like a winner.

Day Trip Tangalle

It was the sleepy Sunday following the Sri Lankan New Year festivities, and public transport was impossible, so we hired a tuk-tuk to reach the temple. After a flat landscape of fields, forests and ponds, the sudden appearance of Mulkirigala Rock, sticking 200 meters into the air, came as a surprise. We paid our entrance fees, removed our shoes and steeled ourselves for what looked like a long hike to the top. But a lot of Sinhalese families were there, taking advantage of the holiday, and where 70-year-old barefoot grannies can go, so can we!

Mercifully, there were a few interludes during the climb — terraces which held small temples, sleeping Buddhas, pools of water, and sweeping views over the surrounding countryside. On the biggest terrace was a set of caves which included the Raja Mahavihara, notable for its Dutch tiles and antique wooden chest. It was here that a British archaeologist discovered the ancient manuscripts of the Mahavamsa: the great chronicle of ancient Sri Lanka.

At the top of the hill, our otherwise pleasant day trip was ruined by two kids who were determined to pester us. We were the only foreigners on the rock, and they would not leave us alone, tugging at our arms and following us everywhere, despite (perhaps because of) our increasing frustration. I am slow to anger, but eventually lost my cool and yelled at them. It didn’t help. “Money? Rupee? Ten Rupee! Bon-Bon!” They continued to follow, grabbing us and pleading for things. When we gave up and decided to leave, they followed us down the stairs! I scolded them, like you would a stubborn dog following you home. “No! Go away! Bad! Bad children!” Nothing worked, not even appealing to other Sri Lankans who were bemusedly watching the drama.

Even though it was a tough ending, we had a good time at Mulkirigala. The site isn’t nearly as impressive as either Sigiriya or Dambulla, but that’s unfair. We don’t compare every movie against Citizen Kane and say, “Not as good, so not gonna watch it!” Mulkirigala is no Sigiriya, but it’s still worth a visit.

Location on our Sri Lanka Map
Budget Rooms in Tangalle

Stairs-Workout-Sri-Lanka
Zig Zag Stairs
Sri Lanka Short Cut
Follow the Stairs
Rock Temple Sri Lanka
Mulkirigala-Tank
Mulkirigala-Pool
One In A Million
Decorated Bo Tree
I want To Eat You
Rock Temple Monster
Mulkirigala-Wall-Paintings
Wood Painting Sri Lanka
Upside Down Painting
Eye Blood
Hungry For Humans
Weird Buddha
Silent Lotus
Stony Temple
Buddhist Moment
Monkey Thief
Cheeky Monkey
Art Sri Lankla
Carved Corners
Broken Buddhism
Buddhist Cemetery
Lilli Pad Pond
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April 23, 2012 at 9:30 am Comments (0)

Tangalla Days

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Dream Beaches

We arrived in Tangalla with mixed emotions. Now on the southern coast, we were undeniably in the final stretch of our tour through Sri Lanka. There was still a lot to see — the attractions of the country’s southern extreme are considerable — but our journey’s approaching end was tangible for the first time. Still, we’d only have a few days in Tangalla, a small town which occupies some of the island’s most beautiful coastline and offers a number of memorable excursions. No time for moping.

Peacock-Rock
Peacocks like to preen atop big rocks. Showoffs.

After unpacking, we set right out into the city. The majority of Tangalla’s hotels and guesthouses are found outside town, toward the east. Which is fine. The town itself isn’t going to win any awards for beauty. A single strip runs through Tangalla, with the usual array of Sri Lankan shops and noisy activity. After our initial exploration, we would venture into town only in search of cheap eats and to get to the bus station.

Tangalla’s harbor is probably the only in-town attraction worth a look. An outrageous number of colorful boats clog the port, all of which were unloading stinking fish when we arrived. The fishermen were boisterous sorts, encouraging us to come aboard their ships (doubtless in search of a few extra bucks).

But though the town is forgettable, our time in Tangalla was anything but. Amazing nature, fascinating culture and interesting day trips are within easy reach. Plus, the beaches are beautiful… if difficult to swim at. Perhaps it was the time of year (early April), but the waters were stormy, and attempting to bathe in the powerful waves was terrifying. I mean, exhilarating. No, wait — actually, I do mean terrifying. Our favorite beach-side game became guessing which tourists might brave the sea, placing bets on whether they would survive, and then debating whether we’d jump in to help save them.

Location of Tangalla on our Map
Great Places to Stay in Tangalle (we chose Nugasewana Eden)

Famous-Mercedes
Tangalle-Bus-Stop
Tangalle-Fisherman
Harbor-Tangalle
Boats-Tangalle
Catch of the Day
Sri Lanka Parrot
Pheonix-Beach-Back
Weird-Fruits
Paradise Beach Cabanas
Sand Stepper
Small Tangalle Island
Stranded Boat
Tangalle Bay
Adventure Couple
Dream Vacation
Paradise-Beach-Tangalle
Storm in Sri Lanka
Rough Sea Tangalle
Sri Lanka Yoga
Palm Sunset
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April 21, 2012 at 6:22 am Comments (4)

Hotels, Rice and Curry

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Sir Lanka Cookbook

After ten weeks spent searching the eateries of Sri Lanka, finally we discovered an establishment that serves up the elusive dish of Rice and Curry. “What might it taste like?”, we wondered, nervously anticipating our first bites of this mysterious meal. “Like a pygmy unicorn?” Yes, it must taste like a pygmy unicorn! A creature almost as rare as rice and curry itself!

Hotel food Sri Lanka

Okay, okay. Rice and curry is somewhat more common than pygmy unicorns. In fact, it’s more common than Sri Lanka’s flea-bitten street dogs. Our daily schedule for the past ten weeks has looked something like this: wake up, rice and curry, work a little, rice and curry, sight-seeing, rice and curry, beer, go to bed. Dream of rice and curry.

Rice and curry is unavoidable. It’s on every menu and, more often than not, it’s the only thing on the menu. Luckily, it’s delicious. A big bowl of rice, served with a variety of curries — dhal, a yellow lentil-based curry, usually makes an appearance, as does a coconut curry. The bowls set down in front of you always include something unexpected, bringing a welcome bit of variety to this daily dietary staple.

You can order rice and curry with chicken, fish or egg, but we normally go for straight-veggie. The curries are usually spicy, and you’re often provided with a small dish of sambol, a potent chili sauce, in case you really want to punish yourself. In most places, even the cheapest neighborhood joints, the staff will continue to refill your bowls, until you’re stuffed.

The best places to order rice and curry are hotels. Now, I don’t mean a “hotel” like the Holiday Inn or Hilton! No, I’m using the Sri Lankan definition of the word. For whatever reason, they’ve decided to call tiny, cheap restaurants “hotels”. It’s an island-wide linguistic phenomenon. Perhaps it makes them feel fancier if they’re jotting off to the hotel for their lunch, rather than admitting that they’ll be at the local hole-in-the-wall stuffing sopping handfuls of rice and curry into their mouths.

Eating With Hands in Sri Lanka

Yep: handfuls. Foreigners will be provided with silverware (usually dripping wet from a dunk in the “cleaning bucket”), but locals eat with their hands. They say it makes the food taste better. I’ve tried it before, carefully watching the technique of an old woman at the table next to me. Push some curry into a pile of rice, then smoosh it all together, over and over again, like you’re kneading a tiny ball of dough with your finger tips, then scoop it into your hand and smash it into your mouth. It’s hard! This isn’t sticky rice, and it’s being further loosened by the curry, so the transfer from fingers to mouth is a sloppy affair. I felt embarrassed on my first attempts but, looking around, realized that even the locals make a mess of it. (I don’t know about tasting better, but it is kind of fun).

We’ve got about eighteen days left in Sri Lanka, which means I’ll be enjoying about thirty-six more plates of rice and curry. I won’t pretend to be overjoyed by the prospect, but it could be worse. At any rate — and I don’t know if this is an unintended benefit of eschewing meat, or a consequence of switching to a rice-based diet — both Juergen and I are dropping pounds like bulimic crack addicts. “The Rice and Curry Diet”… sounds like a best-seller!

Cheap Flights To Sri Lanka

Rice And Curry
Fried Food Sri Lanka
Rotti Sri Lanka
Typical-Sri-Lankan-Hotel
Take-Away-Food-Hotel-Sri-Lanka
Hotel-Rice-Curry-Sri-Lanka
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April 13, 2012 at 6:58 am Comment (1)

Let’s Go Surfin’ Now at Arugam Bay

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Hostels in Sri Lanka

A laid-back village on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, Arugam Bay is one of the best places in the world for surfing, and has been a favorite of the long-term community for decades. Thanks to the steady presence of chilled-out expats, the town has a cool, low-key vibe which we’ve not seen anywhere else on the island. Great restaurants serving a variety of cuisine, comfy beach-side lodging, hip lounges, a happy mix of foreigners and locals… and of course, incredible waves.

Surfing Together

Although we’re not surfers, we enjoyed the way of life here so much that we stayed for five days. The restaurants alone were worth the extended stopover. Our favorite was the Siam Lounge, owned by a Dutch guy who’s been here since 1977 (and looks exactly like a Dutch guy who’s lived in a Sri Lankan surf town for 34 years) and his Thai wife. The upper-floor lounge area serves potent German-style brews and delicious Thai cuisine, while a 60s-heavy soundtrack accompanies surf-dude highlights playing in a loop on a projection screen. After so many nights spent scarfing down rice and curry in dingy restaurants while Sinhalese pop squealed from cheap speakers, the Siam Lounge was paradise.

Our last couple nights were spent in a beach-side cabin, complete with hammock and deck mattress. We should have tried surfing, but this was our vacation. After two months spent running around Sri Lanka, we didn’t want to do anything except turn our brains off and lounge around.

But although we couldn’t be bothered to get on boards, we did take a trip to Whiskey Point to watch surfers ply their trade. This was during the off-season, but the waves were still decent — they come all the way from Antarctica to crash on Arugam Bay’s shores, with no other landmass to impede them. We had fun watching the guys and girls catch the waves, and I felt a pinch of envy. Next time I’m at Arugam Bay, I’ll try it out.

Location of Arugam Bay on our Map
Learn To Surf

Arugam Bay Happy Place
Dream Beach
How To Surf
Surfing in Arugam Bay
Camel Toe
Beach Hut Sri Lanka
Beach Arugam Bay
Dog Beach
Dream Beach Sri Lanka
Green Sand Banks
Dead Coral Sri Lanka
Over Fishing Sri Lanka
I love Arugam Bay
Happy Panda Arugam Bay
Tropicana Beach Hotel Arugam Bay
Tsunami Hotel Arugam Bay
Rock View Arugam Bay
Rock-View-Cabanas
Arugam Bay Blog
Shell Shop Sri Lanka
Hippie Beach Sri Lanka
Samanthas-Arugam-Bay-Sri-Lanka
Alternative-Lifestyle-Sri-Lanka
Beach Hut Sri Lanka
Wild Wild West Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Breakfast we had in Arugam Bay:

Sri Lanka Breakfast
Sri Lankan Breakfast
Sri Lankan Surfer
Surf Design
Surf Culture Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Art
Sunset Watch Dog
Siam-Lounge-Arugam-Bay
Smoking Weed Arugam Bay
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April 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm Comments (3)

The Ruins of Polonnaruwa, Part I

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Travel Insurance For Sri Lanka

You’ll want to get an early start when you visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, for a few reasons. Mornings are cooler. The later the day gets, the more tourists arrive. And the archaeological site is so large that, even with a bike, you’ll need an entire day to see everything. But the chief reason is that you’ve just paid $25 to enter. And damned if you’re not going to get every single rupee’s worth.

Lankatikale
Lankatikale

You might assume that tickets would be sold at site’s entrance gate, but then… you might have forgotten what country you’re in. No, you have to make your way to the Archaeological Museum, which isn’t anywhere near the entrance. At 8am sharp, we stepped up to the desk and, with big grins plastered on our faces, plopped down $50 for two day passes. “Any chance we could get a map?” No map. “Or some information about the ruins?” No info. “How about a hug?”

Our plan was to bike to the northern end of the site (nearly 2.5 miles in length), and work our way back towards the south. This turned out to be a good idea; we were completely alone for the first part of the day, and had a good sense of the park’s layout before checking out specific sights.

Tivanka Image House

First up was the amazing Tivanka-patamaghara image house. The exterior, under a heavy layer of scaffolding, was difficult to appreciate but the interior was breathtaking. Tivanka means “thrice-bent”, referring to the sassy pose of the giant Buddha housed within (bent at shoulder, knee and waist). There was also an impressive collection of original paintings on the walls.

Lotus Pond Polonnaruwa

One of our favorite sights in Polonnaruwa was the modest and graceful lotus-shaped pond, near the image house. Still in a remarkable state of conservation, this was thought to be used for ritual baths. It would make an awesome hot tub.

Polonnaruwa-Travel-Blog

Probably the most famous of Polonnaruwa’s ancient monuments are the four Buddhas of Gal Vihara. Carved from a single rock, these statues are beautifully upheld; the massive reclining Buddha is especially revered. Unfortunately, these amazing relics of the past have been shielded from the sun by an enormous roof of concrete and steel: a modern monstrosity which ruins the magic of the place, and ensures that the statues can never be properly photographed.

Pollonaruwa

Further south, we found the remains of the Alahana Pirivena monastery. These included the Kiri Vihara, a nice-looking white stupa, and the awesome Lankatikale which is a temple that protects a giant headless Buddha statue between its narrow walls (seen in the top pic). A bit further south is the Buddha Seema Pasada chapter house.

The ruins of Polonnaruwa are nicely preserved and the light forest setting is quite beautiful. After we had explored the Buddha Seema Pasada, though, the crowds began to appear. Whereas we were always able to find pockets of solitude in the extensive grounds of Anuradhapura, there was no escape in Polonnaruwa. Weary, we sat down at a canteen near a large pond, for coconut and rotti. This bit of rest and relaxation was vital — we weren’t yet halfway through the ruins, and still had a long day in front of us.

Buy Curry Here

More from the Tivanka Image House
Image House Sri Lanka
TIVANKA-Paintings
Old Paintings Sri Lanka
Image House Smoke
Sri Lanka Blog
More from the Gal Vihara
GAL-VIHARA
Gal-Vihara-Sleeping-Buddha
Meditating-Buddha
Lotus Stool
Stone Statue Buddha
More Polonnaruwa Photos
Lion-Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa-Guide
Dragon Sri Lanka
Elephant Moon Store
Kettle Sri Lanka
Dogobas-Polonnaruwa
Green Wall Polonnaruwa
Indiana Jones Sri Lanka
Lankatikale-Sri-Lanka
Lion Web
Lotus Lake Sri Lanka
Ruins Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Script
Stone Boobs
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April 8, 2012 at 11:19 am Comments (7)

The Kanniyai Hot Wells and Velgam Vihara

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Hotels in Trincomalee

After a few days spent recharging our batteries on Uppuveli Beach, we were ready for some sight-seeing. Luckily, we didn’t have to go far. A tuk-tuk driver agreed to take us on a 500 rupee round-trip tour of two great spots near Trincomalee: the Kanniyai Hot Wells and the Velgam Vihara, which is an ancient monastery set near a picturesque lake.

Hot Springs Sri Lanka

Tha Kanniyai Hot Wells are likely to disappoint any pleasure-seekers hoping to submerge themselves in a large spring. This isn’t Iceland. Kanniyai is a place of Buddhist worship where the faithful come to buy trinkets, venerate Buddha and douse themselves with buckets of naturally warm spring water.

The wells are exactly that: wells. You grab a bucket, dunk it in the water, and drench yourself. It’s a lot of fun, especially with the presence of locals urging you on. We had a blast, engaging people in conversation and taking impromptu lessons in proper dousing by a couple of concerned ladies. I had made a major faux-pax at first, washing my head over the well, which allowed the water to run off my face back into the pool. Uncool, and it got me reprimanded.

A bit further north is the beautiful Periya Kulam, a large artificial lake set in a forest, with small islands and vestiges of Hindu worship spotted around it. Just to the west of the lake, we found the Velgam Vihara — the remains of a Buddhist monastery from the 2nd century. The ruins here are gorgeous, especially given their off-the-beaten-track location.

Velgam-Vihara

Monks are still active at Velgam Vihara in an adjacent modern temple. One of them ushered us into a makeshift museum dedicated to a brutal 2000 LTTE bomb attack. After having admired such ancient beauty, this was an unexpected and sickening jolt back to reality. Photos of dead children and piles of mutilated corpses lined the walls, and brought me close to vomiting. We pushed a little donation money into the monk’s outstretched hands and left.

Together, Velgam Vihara and the hot springs make for a great day trip away from the beaches of Trinco. Find a tuk-tuk and agree on a price. The 500 rupees ($4) which our guy charged us was way too little, and we gave him a nice tip once we got back. A small price to pay for such a surprisingly fun excursion.

Location of the Kanniyai Hot Wells
Location of Velgam Vihara
Sri Lanka History Books

More Pics from Kanniyai
Party Time Sri Lanka
Heisse-Quellen-Trincomalee
Hot Spring Corner
Bucket Boy
Trincomalee Hot Springs
Sacred-Water-Sri-Lanka
Washing Face Sri Lanka
More Pics from Velgam Vihara
Velgam-Vihara-Tank
Velgam-Vihara-Buddha
Things To Do Trincomalee
Swing Stairs
Buddha Bomb
Buddhist Heart
Sinhala Waffle Maker
Trincomalee-Ruins
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April 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm Comments (2)

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Tap that Toddy We had seen toddy tappers at work a few times, high up in the palm trees around Jaffna and Trincomalee, collecting the liquid of coconut flowers into plastic jugs. The toddy can later can be distilled into arrack, but is one of the country's favorite drinks even in its unprocessed state. And for nearly three months, we had traveled throughout Sri Lanka without ever trying it. We were being derelict!
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