Exploring the Religious Town of Kataragama – A Spiritual Experience…

The small town of Kataragama is one of the most venerated religious sites on the island of Sri Lanka, which people of all ethnicities flock to pay homage to.

Background

Kataragama embodies a sense of spiritual divinity and lays claim to historical relevance dating back to the 2nd century BC. The town’s most popular temple is the one dedicated to the Kataragama deity, a Hindu / Buddhist lord. It is believed that King Dutugamunu built the shrine for the deity to fulfil a vow made to him when he defeated, King Elehara.

Things to Do

While the town is peaceful, it undergoes a dramatic transformation when its time for the evening Pooja. Hundreds of devotees assemble on the site carrying platters of fresh fruits and garlands of scented flowers to seek blessings, and taking part in it would prove to be an unforgettable experience!

Festivities

If you ‘re planning on visiting the sacred town, choosing to do so in the month of July would be ideal as it will enable you to experience the Kataragama Festival. Rituals rooted in ancient traditions along with a colourful parade known as a Perehara which includes dances and acrobatics could be seen in all its glory.

How to Get There

Kataragama can be reached approximately in 5 hours from Colombo via the Southern Expressway. If you wish to stay for a few days, then there are many hotels in Kataragama, Sri Lanka including the likes of Mandara Rosen Kataragama to choose from.

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Safari in Minneriya National Park – A wild adventure in Sri Lanka

Minneriya National Park is located in the north central province of Sri Lanka and was marked as a national park in August 1997, after being designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The park is home to the ancient Minneriya water tank, which provides as the main source of life to its inhabitants. If you’re staying at a hotel in Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, it’ll be easier to get to the Minneriya national park, due to its close proximity. Some hotels such as Fresco Water Villa will be able to organize safari trips to the national park.

The Minneriya National Park is famous and most ideal for spotting elephants. Elephants numbers in the park are known to reach up to 200 or more, and are usually seen grazing near the watering holes for long periods of time before returning back to the thick jungles during the night. The park measures to about 90 square kilometres and attracts visitors, mostly to watch The Gathering – where elephants cluster near the famous watering hole. The ideal season to watch these gentle beasts in their natural habitat would be between the months from May to September, as most animals, including the elephants would be seen grazing and munching on the new grass that has sprung up, following the dry weather. This season is also a great time to watch these friendly giants frolic, socialise and bathe in their natural habitat, and provides for great photo opportunities. Do keep in mind not to pollute or cause any loud disturbances – remember to respect the animals in the wild.
Visitors are advised to keep a keen out for other species that reside in the park such as wild buffalo, deer, birds, crocodiles, sloth bears, sambar and monkeys!

Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+

Minneriya National Park, Sri Lanka – A Wild Adventure!

elephants in sri lanka, minneriya, elephant gathering

Photo Courtesy : Jetwing Travels

Your drive begins along winding roads that go up and down on a relatively wide path through the jungles. The trees act as sentinels on either side, varying in shape, size and height. You hear the cry of birds echoing through the leaves. You suddenly catch a glimpse of movement in the foliage and as your jeep rushes by, you spot a monkey swinging unhurriedly on its way. Soon you reach a clearing that opens out onto wide expansive areas of greenery with patches of blue reflecting the clear skies above. And as you head close to the water you see a gathering of blurry shapes of brown or perhaps gray. With each passing moment, the shapes get larger until you finally reach a point where they come into focus; a gathering of elephants, roaming wild and free, oblivious to these visitors. It is a truly awe-inspiring sight and one that will be etched in your mind, reminding you of your Sri Lanka holidays at Minneriya National Park.

One of the best places for an elephant safari, this popular national park and wildlife sanctuary has much to offer in terms of wildlife. Local tour operators such as Jetwing Travels provide exciting excursions to such parks. The best time to visit Minneriya is between July and October when one can witness the spectacular natural event known as ‘The Gathering’. Seeing close to 300 elephants gathered around the Minneriya Tank is truly an experience of a lifetime.

But the park has more to offer than just these gentle giants. On your safari at Minneriya National Park be on the lookout for some of the park’s other animal inhabitants. Spotted deer, toque macaques, sloth bears and the gray slender loris have all found a home here and if you are really lucky you may even spot one of the resident leopards. The park is also a hotspot for bird watching and has a rich avifauna be it endemic or migratory species. The brown-capped babbler, grey heron, little cormorant, Sri Lanka junglefowl and great white pelican have all been sighted here.

Discovering Sri Lanka’s ‘wild side’ is an experience like no other!

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+

The Kalutara Basket Centre – Products of A Rare Nature

Sri Lanka, an island nation located in South Asia just south of India, is a blissful tropical haven. Also known as the ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination known for its wide variety of attractions. Sri Lanka is best known for its golden sandy beaches, picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, renowned archeological sites, and leisure attractions, making it an ideal destination for a colorful and memorable vacation. One of the most pleasant and attractive beach hotels in Sri Lanka is Citrus Waskaduwa.

Kalutara, a district in the Western Province of Sri Lanka just south of Colombo, has a reputation for being home to one of Sri Lanka’s most innovative weaving and handicraft cultures. Thus, it is no surprise that one of the best places to buy unique baskets, hats, souvenirs and other handicrafts is the Kalutara Basket Centre. Boasting authentic locally manufactured and handmade items, the Kalutara Basket Centre offers a host of unique items for day to day use and collectibles that you will never find anywhere else!

Located in the heart of the Kalutara city, the Kalutara Basket Centre has served as a platform to showcase the skills and talents of the local craftsmen. Almost all the items at the basket centre are made of natural materials. As the name itself suggests, the Kalutara Basket Centre is best known for its woven baskets. Using palm fronds from which there is no yield, the craftsman are able to weave thin strips of the palm frond to create a rather sturdy and durable material from which baskets can be made. You will find all manner of baskets at the Kalutara Basket Centre, as well as many locally manufactured hats, bags, and kitchenware, all with unique designs. Thus, the Kalutara Basket Centre is a great place to visit to appreciate the craftsmanship of local craftsman, and to buy some great souvenirs to take back home.

 

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.

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Dehiwala Zoo- One of the Oldest Zoological Gardens in Asia

The capital city of Colombo is a metropolitan city, and is the economic and business hub of the country. Given this perception, tourists travelling to the country may be reluctant to explore Colombo as they may feel that there is not much to see in the city. This perception is grossly unfounded for Colombo, though being the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, boasts of a location close to the ocean, and hosts a number of attractions that tourists will be thrilled to visit. While those who wish to reside in a resort close to the ocean can do so at the Mount Lavinia Hotel without having to make their way down south, tourists looking for places of interest will find the National Museum, Galle Face Green, Independence Square, the Old Parliament and the Colombo Zoo within remarkably close vicinity to one another.
Those who wish to explore the endemic wildlife of Sri Lanka, and do not have the time to make a visit to one of the National Parks such as Wilpattu or Yala, which are located several hours outside the capital, the Colombo Zoo can provide a glimpse of insight. This Zoo located in Dehiwala is home to over three thousand animals and marine species and is open to the public and tourists.
The National Zoological Gardens were opened in 1936 and is geared towards conservation and research, while enabling and enhancing the knowledge of the public of various animals. While travellers may be surprised to learn that this particular zoo is one of the oldest of its kind in Asia, the Zoo consists of a Butterfly Garden, a Bird Park and a number of species such as jaguars, lions, elephants and bears. The Zoo also has an array of performances such as elephant and sea lion performances in addition to several educational programmes.

 

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+

Surfing in Uluwatu – The Thunderous Waves Will Be Your Guide!

When the coast is a glorious sight and the waves differ between fierce and timid, you know that you ought to be in one of the best surfing destinations in the world. Uluwatu is located on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali, Indonesia and is on the bucket list of many experienced surfers. After all, Uluwatu is among the top five surf destinations in the world. While surfing is a major attraction in the area, so are the luxuries afforded by some of the region’s world class accommodation options such as Alila Villas Uluwatu. Waking up in these Uluwatu villas is a privilege in itself. Situated precariously on a cliff top plateau, these villas ensure a delightful view of the sea and also hypnotize visitors to such an extent that they walk to the coast, surfboard in hand!

In case you take baggage on your surfing expeditions, the ideal solution would be to leave them in the safe hands of those in charge of one of the restaurants along the coast. Your belongings will be neatly packed into a basket, while you surf away. Of course, you must consider having a delicious meal in the restaurant of your choice when you return.

Ascertaining if the conditions of the sea suit your skill-level is crucial. If you are an intermediate surfer, on days when there is a low tide and the waves are big, you must certainly reconsider surfing. Instead you can stay on the shore and relax while nibbling a snack. Don’t be disheartened, your day is sure to come soon. Make the tide chart your constant friend, and also talk to those around you about the conditions of the sea. If the chart indicates that the tide is more than a metre, you can joyfully head down to the cave and paddle out to sea. It is sure to be an exciting day for you.

Always aim to reach the cave once you are fatigued, however if you don’t manage to do this, fear not! The currents will take you to safe shores. You will only have to endure an adventurous walk back to the charming villas.

 

Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+

Things to do in Yala – The Land of Leopards and Many Wonders

Wildlife is undoubtedly one of the biggest assets that the paradise island nation of Sri Lanka flaunts. From the many wildlife parks and reserves spread throughout the country there is none other that is as acclaimed as the Yala National Park. Best known for its wide variety of animals and also for having one of the highest leopard densities in the world, Yala presents a range of activities for those ardent explorers.

Now before you set out to quench your wanderlust in Yala, its imperative that you find a comfortable accommodation among the plethora of hotels in Yala Sri Lanka. Almost hidden in the verdant jungle land, is The Secret Yala by The Secret Hotels, a premier hotel that’s conveniently just 10 minutes away from the park.

After settling down, it’s time to set off and explore! The Yala Safari undoubtedly tops the list of the many things to do in Yala. Parked near the entrance to the park are many safari jeeps you can hire. The best time to enter the park is when the park opens just after 6:00am or after 4:00pm when animals resurface after taking cover from the sun. During your safari you will get to see a wide range of truly remarkable creatures such as elephants, sloth bears, colourful peacocks, wild boar, massive crocodiles, endemic and migratory bird species and of course Yala’s crowning glory, the magnificent Sri Lankan Leopard.

Pay a visit to ‘the hill of the quiet mind’- Chiththala Pabbatha or the Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya that’s situated deep within the Yala National Park. This ancient Buddhist monastery houses number of rock caves, pagodas, chapter houses and ponds. The walls of these caves are adorned with many beautiful paintings.

Take a stroll along pristine sands to relax and stretch your legs. The primary beach spot in Yala that’s open for public was once the location of a bungalow that was tragically wiped out by the 2004 Tsunami along with its occupants. Today, as you stroll through the beach you can see the remnants of the devastation the monument built to honour them.

 

 

Filled with wanderlust that seeks to explore distant shores and captivated by the colors and vibrancy of exotic cultures, Melissa Somawardana, concealed under the name of Kanya Mae, writes on the beautiful, exciting, and enchanting wonders of the world. She is a writer who not only has a passion for travel, but also has a background in fashion, art and media. Google+