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Friday, January 29, 2010

Edition 9: Srilanka

2009 marked the end of a decade. When we started planning a vacation, we decided to go to an unique place which can mark this occasion. We were suggested Srilanka by one of our friends who had been there. We checked out on costing and we realized that we are onto something. At affordable costs you can have 5 star luxury there thanks to their currency and maybe some other factors.
And the country is very beautiful. We had notions about security issues etc, and we had to take a flight which reached at 2 am. The travel company had sent a driver with car to pick us up. We were to head to Kandy. We got out of airport and we saw the level of security there. Police were everywhere with guns, jeeps. We got out and setup on journey. Unknown country, unknown driver , unearthly hour, and scenes of security posts really made us scared. We reached Kandy by dawn. We saw the greenery around. It was really nice. We had a break at elephant orphanage which takes care of around 300 elephants. Kids were having fun. We visited Herbal garden which claimed to cure almost anything listed in medical science. We then went to hotel for some much needed rest. Hotel was very comfortable. Hotel was overlooking hills and Kandy city. Kandy city is cultural capital of Lanka. There we visited Buddha Tooth relic temple and saw cultural show. Tooth relic temple reflected back to History of Kalinga etc. Cultural show was very great with so much acrobatics involved.
We then moved to Nuwara Eliya: Little England of Lanka. English had taken railways, had many offices and houses to this town. Governor’s house there is converted into a 5 star hotel where we stayed. Simply Royal. The journey from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya is scenic with tea plantations all around. We tasted some good tea. There are also many waterfalls on the way and flowers really made things very colorful.
We then went to Sita Kovil only temple of Sita in the world. Nuwara eliya is linked to mythical Ashok Vatika where Ravan had kept Sita captivated. There are some caves on the adjoining hills which we had no access as it requires 30 km trek. But we went to nearing botanical garden which can pass off as Ashok Vatika for its beauty.
After enjoying palatial stay we started back to Colombo. Colombo is bustling city like Mumbai but much cleaner. We stayed at 5 star hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean and beach. It was 31st Dec time. Entire place was crowded and they upgraded us to suite room as they had some over booking. View from top floor was amazing. Security was unprecedented. First time after war , they had opened beach for public. We had a great party, with great spread and ambience for 31stDec party. Next day we roamed around Colombo, shopped and saw Indian movie 3 idiots at a multiplex.
On the airport, we had opportunity to meet Srilankan Cricket team which was headed for Bangladesh. A great holiday indeed.

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