Ailsa’s travel theme
How many more cups or cup-shaped things are out there?
Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category
Ailsa’s travel theme
Helga’s Folly overlooking the lake in Kandy, Sri Lanka, must be one of the most exotic hotels we’ve visited. At the time we didn’t know it was a hotel or we might have been tempted to stay there. It was created by Helga Desilva Blow Perera, a woman with very eclectic tastes inspired by the 1920’s.
I love the colour and the exuberance of these rooms. Which one would you choose?
Visit some other interiors.
We visited the Mackwoods Labookellie tea museum and plantation in Sri Lanka and learned how the tea is dried and packed after picking. Afterwards we sampled one of their teas accompanied by the best chocolate cake we’d ever tasted and enjoyed looking at the views over the plantation
what’s your favourite cuppa? tea or coffee? do you have a special mug or cup from which to drink it?
Ailsa’s theme this week is Birds.
Singapore has a wonderful bird park
Take out your telescope to see other people’s distant images here
Ailsa’s travel photography theme this week is “play”
Give yourself plenty of time to join in the game on Ailsa’s blog
We arrived in Pinnewala at 9am, just in time to watch the 9.15am feeding of the elephants in the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. We watched a couple of young elephants being bottle-fed. For a few extra rupees you could feed a bottle of milk to one of them. The youngsters knew what was coming and almost swallowed the bottle in their eagerness to get at the bottle’s contents. In a nearby pen there were two new arrivals in the shape of 2 babies, which had been rescued from irrigation wells. Sadly, babies falling into irrigation wells happens quite often and often too, they are not found in time to be rescued.
Then we watched the herd of elephants feeding – with lots of babies – before they were taken down to the river to bathe. For another small fee you could have your photo taken with an elephant and I couldn’t believe the stupidity of some people who seemed to think they could just go wandering around amongst the elephants, they are after all wild animals!. There are some 80 elephants there although we didn’t see anything like that many, but it was an impressive sight all the same. They were then led down by the mahouts to the river to bathe. Watching them in the river was a fantastic sight.
There is some dispute about the elephant orphanage’s status as orphanages aren’t supposed to encourage breeding but with so many elephants I can’t see how this can be avoided!
We left mid-morning to drive to Kandy which is situated up in the hills. We stopped off to visit the botanical gardens at Peradeniya, which were somewhat disappointing after visiting similar gardens in Singapore and Chiang Mai. I thought there was a very poor selection of orchids on show in the orchid house and the cactus house was locked up.
However, I was interested to see this
tree with clumps of pinkish flowers that opened straight off the branch looking like pompoms
and a tree called Napoleon’s Crown which had rosette-like flowers growing directly on the trunk.
After a couple of hours we had seen more than half the garden and were beginning to feel tired but the few seats that there were in the grounds seemed to be occupied by courting couples taking their lunch break from the nearby college. I don’t think January is the best month for seeing these gardens at their best.
We arrived in Kandy at 1.30 just as the schools were disgorging their pupils into the pavement-less narrow roads. I don’t think I’ve seen so many schoolgirls gathered together in such a small area, there must have been thousands of them.
It transpired that the boys’ schools are in another part of town but the girls definitely outnumbered the boys. It took quite a long time to get to the hotel, the Queen’s Hotel, a colonial style building on the edge of the lake and close to the tooth relic shrine.
The hotel is a popular place for weddings and several took place during the couple of days that we were there.
We didn’t see the bride on this occasion.
Sharing this post with other avid travel photographers on Noel’s blog.
We discovered quite accidentally that the largest rose quartz mountain in Asia was not far from where we were staying in Dambulla in Sri Lanka so we decided we couldn’t miss seeing this.
We parked the car and headed towards the shack marked ticket office where a man attached himself to us for ‘security’ (one way of getting money off foreigners) and we walked through the ironwood (Na) forest, which covers a very large area. In the forest clearing where there was a gold plated Thai-style Buddha statue we met the monk whose dream had called him there from Galle (in the south of the country) to find the rose quartz mountain.
Apparently he lived in a tree house for 2 years before finding it and it is reputed to be Asia’s largest rose quartz mountain.
It looks black from the effects of weather on it but you don’t have to chip very far to find the pink quartz underneath.
Chandana our driver, the self-appointed guide and I climbed to the top where there was a Buddha figure and a wonderful view of the surrounding countryside. Our ‘guide’ chipped off a piece for me at the end of our walk.
Our guide then offered to show us another fantastic Budhha figure cut into the rock for which he wanted more money (we’d already given him extra for taking us to the end of the track). We finally agreed to this and drove on another few km to the Aukuna temple where we were charged 750 rps each to enter and take photos.
This statue was fantastic indeed but the morning was somewhat spoiled by the guide trying to beg still more money off us. Unfortunately this seemed to happen wherever we went.
In the early afternoon we drove to Habarana to meet up with our safari guide and then drove to the Hurulu eco centre where we went off-road in search of elephants. Originally we were supposed to go for a safari in the Minneriya or Kaudulla reserves but the recent heavy rains had rendered all the tracks impassable and this was the only reserve in the vicinity that had passable tracks. Even so, there was one tricky moment crossing a stream which required all our driver’s skills.
We saw a bull-necked stork in a tree and then several family groups of elephants with a couple of babies. We also saw brightly coloured finches? I saw a peacock, and 2 jackals ran across the track in front of us.
Each time a group of elephants was spotted all the jeeps in the vicinity converged on the group so that there were as many as 15 jeeps surrounding them at any one point. I dread to think what this must do to their digestion. We saw more elephants later in the afternoon. As we were driving along the main road back to base we passed one bull elephant right at the road side. I fumbled to remove my lens cap (which of course was already removed) and so missed being able to take a photo as he quickly disappeared into the jungle.
Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.
In Kandy, Sri Lanka, in the temple of the sacred tooth relic, the doors to the inner part of the shrine are opened for about 20 mins twice a day to allow people to file past and catch a glimpse of the relic