Why go off to far away lands in search of beaches and verdant lands? Sri Lanka in the south of India has been hiding in plain sight. Sri Lanka’s island country can give you the best of beaches, heritage, greenery and wildlife. With two monsoons in the year, the weather can be a little unpredictable. However, September-October seem to be the buffer months where showers aren’t too heavy and the sun not too bright.
Where To Go?
Being an island nation, the best offering of Sri Lanka is its beaches where you can surf or just laze on the hammock reading a book. The Arugam Bay is regarded as the best surfing spot in the country. If conquering waves is not your cup of tea, rejuvenate at the yoga places along the streets. In complete contradiction, Arugam beach also happens to be a favourite party destination. Mambo’s Saturday Night is where the party animals dance till the sun rises!
If you’d rather explore the wilderness than the ocean currents, Sri Lanka’s national parks are where elephants, leopards and many bird species are found in abundance. The gigantic wild Asian elephants can be spotted at Uda Walawe National Park and the Yala National Park draws huge crowds for leopards.
The Hill Country is for the leisure lovers! At Ella, you can get some spectacular views and some of the best guest houses. With a half-day hike, you can reach the summit of Adam’s Peak that attracts pilgrims for more than 1000 years. From being the first place where Adam set foot after being cast out of heaven, to where Buddha left his footprint as he headed to paradise to a place where butterflies come to die – Adam’s peak is also known for a great many legends!
You can also visit the tea plantations in the hill country, the famous one being Mr. Lipton’s estate.
Other than the Kandy Lake found at the heart of Sri Lanka’s central province Kandy, the Kandyan Kingdom and what remains of it is also a striking feature. One can see the grandeur of the empire in its temples and royal parks. You can find signs of Britain in old colonial mansions, Bogambara Prison and Victorian railways. Get a scenic view of the tea plantations and ride through them with a train ride from Nuwara Eliya to Ella. It is known to be one of the most beautiful train routes in the world!
Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth relic houses a relic of Buddha’s tooth and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That’s not it. Sri Lanka has a few other UNESCO sites. The enigmatic rock structure, Sigiriya with almost vertical walls has a summit that houses the ruins of the Kassapa kingdom. This magnanimous structure is spell-binding in all ways! Galle’s Fort, the Dutch buildings, museums and mosques have contributed in making Galle a world heritage site. The Fort is surrounded by ocean on three sides which give it a pretty appeal. The ancient city of Polonnaruwa where kings ruled 800 years ago, till date treasures the tombs, stupas and statues.
What To Eat?
A country is not fully explored unless you treat yourself with its sumptuous cuisine. Sea food definitely plays an important part in Sri Lanka’s food culture. The must try-s are the Fish Ambul Thiyal (fish cut in pieces and sautéed in spices, dried garoka that gives the sour flavor and curry leaves), Lamprais (meat, rice, sambol sauce that is packed in a banana leaf and steamed and is eaten with rice), Hoppers (Sri Lankan pan cake), Gotu kola mallung (tangy salad made of chopped greens, salt, pepper, lime juice, ginger and grated coconut). If you are looking to dine with luxury. Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Crab is where you’ll find gourmet food!
Average Ticket Price from Mumbai to Colombo: ₹ 10,000 – ₹ 20,000 (One Way)
Average Duration: 4-5 hours (Non-stop)