Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Ten days in Sri Lanka felt like a dream. I floated in from India and drifted gradually up into the mountains. Nothing travels too fast here, least of all the traffic. In Madulkelle, a village high in the hills of the countries interior, cool wisps of cloud crept through the surrounding tea plantations. There was a sense of deep, forgiving calm shaken only by the occasional shower of rain: loose and without ambition as if the weather had been a mere afterthought on the days agenda.

At night, a different story: Thunderstorms to humble Zeus himself would tumble overhead, occasionally reaching out to fork at the ground. Rooftops provided little comfort in what was a staggering demonstration of the weather system’s grip on the world.

An expensive alternative to India, it was a 5-star departure from what I had become accustomed to. After a month in Indian hostels it’s funny what you begin to appreciate from accommodation: there’s toilet paper, hot water — holy shit they even provide towels! Naturally, it was over too soon and, despite having had a delightful visit, the brevity of it left me fearing I hadn’t really gotten a handle on how things are done in Sri Lanka. Upon returning to India, I swear to god I let out a sigh of relief: this was a place I knew my way around. How things do change.

A gigantic Bhudda rests in the cave temples of Dambulla
The exterior of the cave temples in Dambulla inset into the surrounding cliffs Dawn over the tea planatations of Madulkelle
The imposing, club-house like structure of Madulkelle Tea & Eco Lodge — offering possibly the most wonderful stay I've yet to experience
Torrential rain fuels a waterfall amidst tea plantations in Madulkelle Tea leaves are dried in vented troughs, releasing a pungent aroma of tea into the surrounding neighborhood

On the left: Torrential rain fuels a waterfall admist tea plantations in Madulkelle. On the right: Tea leaves are dried in vented troughs, releasing a pungent aroma of tea into the surrounding neighborhood. This particular factory produced near-on 3 tonnes of tea from 13.5 tonnes of leaves every single day.

Firewood, stacked and drying, used to fuel the boilers at the tea factory The indoor-outdoor flow of Kalundewa Retreat's lobby
Cheerfully colourful scenes dance their way around the walls of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy A couple rest on the train from Kandy to Colombo