I don’t usually take travel decisions on an impulse. My travels are thought out and planned for months in advance. But when I was procrastinating at home for more than a month with major travel plans only happening in late July, I knew I had to go somewhere. As if Bangalore’s summer wasn’t bad enough, it was also excruciatingly bad elsewhere in India. And hence I looked South and there it was, begging to be explored – Sri Lanka, the tear drop island that I have only read so much about but never visited despite its proximity.
I booked my tickets, spoke with dear dear Gokul (whose photography you should check here) who is from Sri Lanka but lives in India and scribbled a rough plan for around three weeks. No other bookings were made, Gokul kindly helped me stay in his and his relatives’ house and I played it by the ear as I travelled.
I have heard people compare Sri Lanka with Kerala, India and as far as generalizations go, it is a good one. The landscape is so much like Kerala and the food much more so. You don’t eat anything that is not made with coconut, coconut oil and coconut milk. But hey, who’s complaining, right.
Here are a few things I did in Sri Lanka.
I watched the sunset at Galle Face, Colombo’s ocean front promenade.
I saw a gentle form of devotion at the Kandy Sacred Tooth temple. So much so that even the pushing and shoving didn’t feel annoying.
I saw hundreds of Buddhas in various postures – sitting, reclining and standing – carved centuries ago with their facial expressions so life like that it became impossible to peel myself away from these places.
I ate plates after plates of rice, roti, wada, curries, dhal curry, various vegetables in delicious forms, stir fried greens, sambal and often washed it down with Lion beer.
I went on short hikes with summits that offered magnificent views in the tea country of Sri Lanka’s central region.
I took a slow train across the tea country that offered sweeping views of tea plantations and passed through quaint little train stations with their impeccably dressed station masters.
I met interesting people, bought an anthology on Sri Lankan literature and wrote postcards at restaurant tables while waiting for my meals to arrive.
That’s not all: I got mistaken for Sinhalese all the time; I met Shyam Selvadurai’s dear friend; I ate a delicious fusion pizza with baby jackfruit for topping; I generally ambled around locations where conversations happened with amazing fluidity and friendships were made. Sri Lanka is lovely and it is only first of the many times I am going to be visiting the country.
Have you been to Sri Lanka? What did you think of it? Leave a comment and let me know.