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On to Sri Lanka (24th – 27th June 2010)
As I pick up the pen to write again, I wonder if I can really do justice to the places that I’ve been to, to all my experiences. But here’s my shot.
My trip began when I woke up hapless, scratching my dishevelled hair at 4 AM in Delhi, and swiftly departed for the airport. There, I caught up with RM and my to-be companions for the trip. They’re a nice bunch, although I’m youngest by a significant margin. Anyhow, after switching flights at Chennai airport, I was on this glorious trip!
                From the moment the plane took off, my eyes delightedly absorbed the lush green landscape of the Southern reaches of India, and then of Sri Lanka, complemented by the deep blue stretch of sea, with the occasional white-out as the plane poked its nose into cloud territory.
                From Colombo, we hitched onto a tiny bus named LSR (Lanka Sportsreizen) and promptly departed for Kandy, a popular hill-station of Lanka. On the way, we paused for a bite. The egg-Kotthu (a dish created seemingly by chopping omelette, veggies + spices and roti into one glorious dish) and the tea were superb.
Ps. If any of you readers get a chance, don’t miss the roadside food of SL. It’s brilliant!
25 June
                Reaching the hotel on 24th night, I spread open the curtains and my jaw dropped. A town nestled in the mountain, brilliantly green, brimming with trees and the tips of the mountains enveloped by pure white clouds. In the morning, the town was shimmering like a hazy dream of heaven due to the light fog.
                Equally beautiful was the Kandy lake, which we sauntered off to in the morning. There was a cool wind, and a light spray of water on our faces from a frothing fountain in the lake. In the morning, we went to the ‘Tooth Relic’ temple. Here, they had preserved a tooth of the Buddha. It was a colourful, cheerful business with a huge crowd bustling about the magnificent temple. In the temple, traditional music was being performed. As we exited, we encountered Mahouts showing off their elephants. We also saw the Batik factory and the gem museum today.
                The route from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya was divine, a graceful, beautiful drive through mountains so enchanting it would perhaps require a Dylan or Byron to do them justice. The water dripping gently off elegantly shaped tea leaves in green step-farm landscape stretching as far as the eye could see was an incredible sight.
                As we moved further, the landscape was adorned with beautiful waterfalls of various shapes and sizes (just like us :p). And we stopped at the most magnificent of these – the Rambola falls, which were a sheer cascade thundering in its resplendent beauty. Here we had another great dose of Sri Lankan cuisine (delicious chicken curry I remember, other dishes were even better, but I don’t remember their names).
From the falls we proceeded to the tree factory. The moment we disembarked, a strong, arrogant but deliciously heady smell hit our noses, as well as the gentle drizzle, along with some women working in the garden with baskets laden over their back. They told us the process (plucking, withering, rolling, drying etc). Here one of my more technology-minded companions asked – ‘why not use robots to pluck tea leaves?’ to our much-baffled and bemused lady guide.
26th and 27th June
                It was another glorious day. In the morning we went to the Seethalamman temple, a temple to Ma Sita, nestled by a corner in the hill-side with a flowing river below it and Ashoka trees in the adjacent mountain. From there, we proceeded to the ‘event’, a program to initiate building of a temple to Sita Mata at the site of her Agni Pariksha. This place was named Divrumpola (sounded like some polar bear rolling on some divine rum, if you ask me). I won’t dwell on the strong political undertones and religious overtones that were obvious, but rather, on the decorated Sri Lankan dancers and traditional musicians who were playing a tune to a strange beat.
                27th did not have much Masala, just the general bustling hurry to reach the Airport in time for our flight (we still managed to freak out shopping at Odel, where they have superb clothes).
Well, I’m not great at conclusions, but I’d say that Sri Lanka is a must-visit place – alive, colourful, beautiful with the nicest people you can find.

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