A hill-station was up next in Nuwara Eliya. The only thing of interest in Nuwara Eliya is the Sita temple that is supposed to indicate the exact location where Ravana held Sita. The location, referred to as Ashokavanam; houses a decrepit temple that is infested with moneys and their poo. Some one at the temple was kind enough to point out the ‘footprint’ of Hanuman (conveniently colored with a yellow paint). The temple itself was infested with monkeys, and the priests had a hard time getting them off the premises. Their reasons to get the monkeys off was pretty justified – the apes pretty much emptied their bowels anywhere the pleased!! Apart from the temple, we did a brief tour of the (small) town and got an idea of how people live in such hilly regions.
The roads in Eliya were abysmal – but to give the government credit, they were laying them as we toured. Plus, there was this huge man-made lake; the areas surrounding which were being re-conditioned. Believe you me, if they do a good job of the reconditioning (and it looks as though they are going to) – this lake and its surroundings will rival any Swiss town! Really. The mountains around the lake house small cottages, not too different from the Swiss Chalets. The temperature there is perfect for a nice cosy evening walk or for an afternoon boat-ride and the lake itself is huge and beautiful! What else do they need? Maybe some well-fed cows 😉
We moved from Nuwara Eliya to what was possibly the highlight of the trip – Bentota! Bentota is an extremely small town around 5 hours from Colombo. Now, when I say small, I mean REALLY small. The town is essentially a street, on one side of which are housed 4-5 hotels and on the other side are shops. Some houses are scattered around and we are done! The beauty of the place is obviously the hotels. The reason this is a popular tourist spot is because all of the hotels have access to their own private beaches! These beaches are situated at the footsteps of the mighty Indian Ocean and the resorts/hotels have been built taking into account the human fascination for the sun, the sand, the surf and alcohol.
The resort we stayed in was beautifully designed and we got a room that had a patio, leading straight up to the beach. Essentially, if you sat in the patio, you looked through palm trees onto the ocean! Now, it does not get any better than this. I spent LOADS of time simply putting my leg up and reading as the waves and the wind created a beautiful symphony. We managed to take walks along the beach in the evening and early in the morning the next day and I assure you, there was nothing more satisfying in the whole trip than this! All of us felt that the 24 hours we spent there were not enough to fully enjoy ourselves (yes, sans alcohol!). I am sure that if I visit SL again, I am going to allocate MUCH more time at Bentota!
The rest of the next day was spent in a boring boat-ride, a visit to a turtle preservation centre (ok-ok) and then a LONG drive back to Colombo. We reached the airport well in time and then spent the rest of the time drinking tea and putting our legs up! Our flight back to mum was uneventful and we returned home; weary, tired and thoroughly happy.
SL was a beautiful country which I thoroughly enjoyed. My opinions on SL in general follow!
(Lack of Photos => I am too lazy to transfer data from camera to laptop! – Thre are a couple of nice long exposures in that though…maybe an update at a later time!)