Tear drop-shaped Sri Lanka, cast away off the tip of India, hasn’t escaped the cliches. Writers often refer to it as ‘India in miniature’, failing to grasp the so-called Land of Serendipity has a fervent personality all of its own. From tea plantations, to ‘rice and curry’, Ayurveda and spice gardens, Buddhist monks and more, Sri Lanka is emerging as a gem in the rough.
Highlighting 21 must-see places, the magazine features the Indian Ocean island in a 36-page supplement to the April 2013 issue.
Our group had left Kandy very early that morning, piling sleepily into the back of the jeep after meeting Ravi, our guide. The road we took wound its way through tea plantations and past Hindu temples until it arrived at the lowland village where we left our vehicle and picked up some helpers. Weighed down with water, carrying all we hoped we’d need for the day, we started walking, climbing gradually upwards.
Our lunch of rice and curry wrapped in a banana leaf was a distant memory; it felt like we’d been walking for days. Ravi’s pace quickened and he raced ahead, clambering with such ease over the stones that I began to wonder if I too should try and trek barefoot. We clumped up behind him, branches lashing at our legs and arms, occasionally slipping on the wet ground that threatened to send a straggler hurtling back down the path.
The place feels deserted, but bowls of offerings in front of the Buddha and orange robes fluttering on a nearby washing line tell us we’re not alone. No one comes out to greet us — they probably don’t want to encourage visitors to come up here. And as I look out over the perfect curve of the bay, hearing nothing but the sound of the wind, I can understand why.