The Lanka Sojourn : Part 1

*** A long long travelogue up ahead.Tread with caution πŸ˜‰ ***

More than a month has passed since our trip to this beautiful country… yet it brightens my whole being, even now, when I think of our days spent here.

The land where cool breeze of air brushed our cheeks, where the wet muddy smell of earth awakened our senses early in the morning, as soon as we stepped out of the airport, where the grey clouds smiled at us invitingly, where vast spread mountainous greenery mesmerized us with their lushness, was a welcome change from the torrid land we were coming from.

Sri Lanka, with an apt alias of ‘The Resplendent Isle’, an island so rich and resplendent in nature was a joy to explore.

It was after much discussion and pondering that we zeroed in on this destination as our probable holiday spot. Now most of the odds were in favour of us going to SL…

Its close proximity to India, being one. We anyway had plans to go to India for summer, so making a stopever in Sri Lanka on the way would only add to the fun quotient.

The second reason was that the island, we had heard, was very much like India, more specifically Kerala. And Kerala was one place I was yearning to go back to but kept pushing it away, for that would have taken up most of our time shuttling between relatives’ houses back and forth and given us very little time to enjoy the real beauty of the place. Hence Lanka which would give us a very homely feel to our stay and at the same time let us enjoy nature in its own beautiful way.

And the third reason was that I always had a desire to visit this little tear-drop shaped island tucked cozily off the coast of India at some point in my life.

And this year the time seemed just right.

The only thing that held us back, if at all, was the country’s long drawn battle with terrorism and climatic challenges like Tsunami. But a general read through various websites and checking up with some friends and tour operators gave us a clear idea of how the country was well past its turbulent phase and looking up again.

Our fears quashed and we geared ourselves up to plan our vacation further.

The very prospect of planning a holiday, browsing through all possible travel sites, looking up hotels, reading their reviews, chalking out the things we could do, the places we could go to was as exciting to me as the holiday itself πŸ˜€

After some massive research and calls to our travel agent I chose a 6nights 7 days package for us. Although a couple of weather sites had warned about the monsoon season peaking at the time of our travel, we still decided to go ahead with our plans. Whats vacation if not laden with some uncertainties and adventure on the way, isnt it?

So off we set out for our journey ahead…

We arrived at Colombo airport in the early morning of 10 July and one of the first things to appeal to me was the smiling faces of the people of Sri Lanka. From the air-hostesses with their hands folded, welcoming us ‘Ayubowan’, a Sinhalese way of greeting which has a wider meaning roughly translating to “May you live long and healthy” to the immigration staff to the guide who greeted us at the arrival desk to the hotel staff to practically any random stranger we came across through our journey, everyone had a warm smile on their faces. It made us realize how much of a positive difference it can make to your holiday if the people of the country you are trying to explore are warm and courteous and are willing to make you feel welcome.

From the airport we headed towards Kandy, the second largest city in the country after Colombo.

Enroute we visited the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a nursery housing a large herd of orphaned elephants.

A little trivia about this nursery…

***Please feel free to doze off or take a stroll and come back fresh to view the pictures I have shared below πŸ˜€ This is purely to keep a record of this wonderful place we visited :).***

As per Wikipedia, Pinnawala village is known for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. This orphanage, established in 1975, was founded to provide care and protection to these wild elephants found straying in and around the forests of Sri Lanka. The orphanage started off with seven orphaned elephants. Today, however, some of the orphans have the good fortune of seeing their grandchildren being born in the same area. With the help of some local and some foreign elephant experts, the nursery successfully started a captive breeding programme through which the first baby elephant was born in 1984.

After a four hour flight, I was not sure how well Namnam would enjoy the trip to this nursery. But it was endearing to see her elated face as she spotted so many elephants from close quarters.

The oldest Tusker

We had oodles of fun watching these elephants move about freely with no fear or threat, particularly adorable was to see baby elephants run around trumpeting mischievously.

We got a chance to feed one of the elephants too. Namnam was a bit hesitant to feed the tusker herself, so she chose to stand by me and watch instead πŸ™‚

From one elephant to another πŸ˜€

What made our experience even better was the amazing view of the mountains surrounding the park majestically

God how I can never have enough of greenery!

Our next halt was the spice garden where we got to see some of the plantations like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper, etc. that Sri Lanka was famous for.

Pepper
Cocoa
Cocoa
Bay leaves/ Tej-patta

We were greeted by the garden-representative who, very enthusiastically, took us around for a tour of the garden. So charged up was he to make us buy all the spices and herbs that he ensured to show us every possible corner. And finally succeeded in convincing us to buy a bottle of mosquito repellent made with citronella grass produced there! Must say that the repellent was quite effective though.

We were also greeted by a bunch of touch-me-nots who particularly amused Namnam :).

Watching her playfully fiddling with them made me reminisce about my own childhood when I used to have a field fingering touch me nots grown in my grand-parents’ garden in Kerala :).

While R & Namnam were giving a bored patient hearing to the representative’s briefing, I meandered away to indulge myself in a far more interesting activity- click some photos..

No I am not going ask you to guess the fruit! I know you all are smart enough to know it to be a red pineapple!! I clicked this because it was the first time I had spotted one raw in a garden! Now go ahead laugh all you want! πŸ˜› πŸ˜›
Yep that’s lime! And you get 100 points πŸ˜€
The rep engaging his young client by giving her some of the garden-produced cinnamon powder to smell. Hmmm what aroma!

So..after a lot of photo clicks and an energy-sapping garden tour we finally rode our way up to Kandy, a beautiful city situated in the midst of hills.

Journey continued..

**I heard your squeal of dread**

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39 thoughts on “The Lanka Sojourn : Part 1

  1. WOW!! Those pictures are amazing…loved the one with the elephant..and oh the pepper and cocoa plants…they are amazing looking na!! I have never seen a pepper plant earlier….they look so cute πŸ™‚

    Waiting for the next part

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  2. wow!!! I liked the fact that you have taken an effort to write the names of the plants πŸ™‚

    And so much greenery wow!!!

    PS I took ur adivce and skipped that para πŸ˜€

    And now waiting for part 2 πŸ™‚

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  3. please, please share in as many posts as you want! What a wonderful place to visit! Looking the elephats itself convinced me!! Just love all your photos and looking forward to the next installment!! (I used to love the touch-me-nots too!!)

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  4. You’ve made me nostalgic, Deeps! This looks exactly like a tour through my grandmother’s yard. We had all these and more at home….even the cocoa plants. My mother used to make chocolates from the seeds.
    Glad all of you had a lovely time πŸ™‚

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  5. Wowwwww I LOOOOOOUVE Travelogues. And totally with you on the idea of blogging it for the memories itself. You will be so thrilled re-visiting these pages.
    And I somehow feel people from Kerala love green and rains πŸ˜› πŸ˜› I hate that color except on trees πŸ˜€
    And yep, smiling faces and warm reception are something that endear a place to us from the word go. I could go on and on about the bliss of planning a vacation. Its just as much fun as the vacation itself… many times more πŸ˜€
    I simply loved the post!!!!
    Awaiting the subsequent episodes πŸ™‚

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  6. Awesome time , and I bet the little one was all in awe of the big elephant.. the pictures are beautiful deeps ..

    Reminds me when i was completely taken by the touch me not’s me and my sister would run around touching almost every plant ..

    beautifulllll

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  7. Naaa u heard me squeal of excitement there πŸ˜›
    Lovely tour Deeps and so nice to know about that orphanage too – Ya I read it all, did not take a stroll hehe πŸ˜‰

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  8. Loved the travelogue and the fantastic pictures with detailed captions πŸ˜€
    I too saw the pineapple growing on a plant for the first time in your picture πŸ™‚
    Eagerly waiting for the second part πŸ™‚

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  9. Beautiful pics all ! Those elephant calves are soo cute! And it must have been thrilling to feed an elephant like that!

    The spice garden pics reminded me of the one we’d seen in Munnar–the sights and smells were truly out of the world.

    Part 2 is eagerly awaited πŸ™‚

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  10. We can see that it was an awesome trip for you all. And I had a good laugh at “from one elephant to another”. πŸ˜€

    Your posts will come handy when I travel to that beautiful country.

    Keep writing.

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  11. Hi Deeps, Vow! such a beautiful place , you have captured it so well through your narration and photographs. The place reminds me so much of Munnar, the spice garden looks almost like a copy of the one there…:)

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  12. Sounds and looks beautiful. I especially loved the pictures with elephants in them. Can’t wait for the second post and I am hoping there are more animals in them :). I am back to blogging Deeps. Missed it and you guys so badly.

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  13. My God! If I didn’t know where you were, I’d have thought you are trying to fool me with pics of kerala/south-Indian instead πŸ˜›

    LOL @ caption one elephant to another! :mrgreen:

    Yes true, the warmth you experience in a country, particularly shown towards tourists, can make a huge difference.

    That was LIME?? I thought it was a mini-jack fruit! πŸ˜› No seriously! 😐

    Ah! touch-me-nots! Brought back some fond memories of childhood in Kerala πŸ™‚

    Ok now where’s the next part, now that I’ve finally read this part! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›

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  14. Thank you, people for reading through the looong post and leaving your comments! I am sorry to be responding late. Been a crazy past few days what with heading back home, the school re-opening, getting back to the grinding routine, and such. Give me a few days more and I shall be back to the blog world reading and commenting with a renewed gusto! Bye till then πŸ™‚

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  15. Where was I when you posted all this? Or my reader is acting up. I get a reader with no new items everyday these days, unless I exit and try again.

    Sri Lanka seems truly magical, Deeps. I need to plan a visit there -hopefully once Husband is back.

    The elephant nursery is so cute! Those frolicking baby elephants! I can imagine Namnam enjoying it all. You also got to feed one! What fun!

    I love the way they’ve paved the area with coconut covering – or whatever it is called πŸ™‚ I shoul show this to my parents, they could do this at home. And I love touch-me-nots too πŸ™‚ Thotta vadis πŸ™‚

    The spices are so similar to the ones you get in Kerala – similar weather conditions, I suppose.

    Off to read the rest of the story πŸ™‚

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    1. I know! Thottavadis! How excited I used to be whenever I used to spot them :).

      Sri Lanka is worth experiencing, Smits! Do plan a trip, like I said this time of the year, up until mar-april is an excellent time to go πŸ™‚

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  16. Loved the travelogue, and the pics! πŸ™‚ Sri Lanka has always been on our must-visit-places list, and your pics only strengthens my desire to go there. πŸ™‚

    The elephant sanctuary reminds me of the one we saw in Guruvayoor, Kerala.

    I have never seen a pineapple growing on a plant too, so I won’t laugh at you. πŸ˜€ Neither have I seen cocoa beans. πŸ™‚

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    1. Hey I’m sorry, TGND, for some odd reason your comment was in my spam folder, hence the delay in publishing it :(. You’ve been to Guruvayoor? Thats very close to my native place in Kerala. Have you done a travelogue on it? If so, do share the link, would love to read πŸ™‚

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      1. @Deeps

        I don’t know why, but my comments on a lot of blogs have been going into Spam. People have had to rescue them. 😦

        Yes, I have been to Guruvayoor. We went for a week’s holiday to Kerala in 2010, and loved the experience. Sadly, I don’t have a travelogue on this blog. 😦

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  17. This is lovely, reading about the same holiday form someone else’s perspective πŸ™‚ Ours was in August, and the prediction was for rain all week. Yet we didn’t have to contend with rain, only once. πŸ™‚
    Let me check the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We too enjoyed the elephant orphanage. We too were saying that the country resembled Kerala a lot, nearly everyday! The people always had a smiling face and we loved their welcoming greetings! I bought some cinnamon powder there! Loved the pictures you have posted here, Deeps!

    Now, to the next post!

    Liked by 1 person

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