Well I know that this could probably be the worst one liner to describe Sri Lanka but this was the first thought that crossed my mind when we set about planning for a vacation to Sri Lanka. I was excited about visiting this country because post the war and the elimination of the LTTE it was the first time that the country was truly enjoying freedom. In fact the reason I thought about Ravana in the first place is that earlier Sri Lanka was the abode of King Ravana and several centuries later it became the abode of Mr. Prabahakaran (LTTE).
After going through several travel sites and guides and blogs we finally zeroed in on our itinerary and one of the first decisions we took was to not spend time in Colombo. We barely spent 5hrs in the capital city but have no regrets about it.
Sri Lanka might look like a small island cast away in the vast Indian Ocean but this tiny tear drop shaped island has lots to offer tourists ranging from historical sites in Anuradhapura to the National Parks that are home to a number of animals, the southern part of the island is home to some of the most beautiful pristine beaches where during a particular season whale watching can be done and not to forget Jaffna the hub of the LTTE activities, Kandy which has the famous temple of Buddha with a tooth, NuwaraEliya with its vast tea gardens and Pinnawala which has the Elephant Orphanage – a one of its kind orphanage in the world.
We were planning a vacation for 6 days and there was no way we could squeeze in so many places because we found out that the traveling time from one place to another is around 6hrs which indirectly meant that if we chose to cover all the places we would be spending more time in the car than on seeing the place. So we finally decided to give a few places a miss and the final itinerary looked somewhat like this: 1N in Colombo, 2N Kandy,2N in Galle and finally head back while covering NuwaraEliya and Pinnawala en route.
A drive through the streets of the country and a conversations with the taxi driver threw light on the culture of the island and the war. The war is something that one cannot escape while in Sri Lanka, and though the government is trying really hard to minimize the impact, the images of it have been etched permanently in the hearts of the people for whom it might take a lot of years to overcome it.
More about Kandy and Galle will follow in my posts…