Saturday, 30 June 2018

Sri Lanka

"I want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world - from its streams come Rubies, Sapphires, Topaz, Amethyst, and Garnets."
Marco Polo 1292 A.D.
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Many who visit Sri Lanka arrive in Colombo via sea or air, and my advice is to move on as quickly as you can. 
Go to the Cultural Triangle. 
Rankot Vihara in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa - the fourth largest dagoba (stupa) in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a Buddhist commemorative monument usually housing sacred relics associated with Lord Buddha. Its association is similar to that of reliquaries found in Christian churches.
Remains of the Royal Palace
The ruins of Polonnaruwa are considered the highlight of the cultural triangle. The city was the centrepiece of the Sinhalese kingdom established by King Vijayabahu l, who ousted the invading Cholas in AD 1077.

Visit the hill country in Kandy, whose verdant slopes are busy with tea pickers.
Scale mountain tops
    then visit the jungle where Marianne North the intrepid British Victorian Botanical artist came to paint the flora in 1876. If you wish to know more about her then visit a post I wrote about her here. 
 Enjoy the cloud forests,
and the coastline fringed by the Indian Ocean.
Coastal stilt/stick fisherman
Sri Lanka's southern coast was a scene of devastation when it was struck by the Tsunami in 2004 - it is estimated that over 36,000 people lost their lives.
Go to the spice gardens to see the newly cut cinnamon bark air-drying on rope made using the fibre from the local coconut trees. 
 Sri Lanka produces 90% of the worlds cinnamon from the Cinnamomum verum tree which is native to Sri Lanka and considered to yield the finest cinnamon in the world. The rolled bark keeps its scent and flavour for many, many years.
Abutilon (pictum or tigers eye?)
Enjoy seeing exotic flowers


flowers that I nurture with care grow like weeds in Sri Lanka,

Ixora coccinea 


and what about the birds - this little Bee-eater is exquisite.
Then gaze in wonderment at some of the worlds biggest fruit.
These Jack fruit strangely grow straight out of the trunk of the tree, but you need a strong arm just to carry one of these fruits home.
Sri Lanka is smaller than Ireland, but has 26 national parks and 8 UNESCO heritage sites, all of which are representative of Sri Lanka's unique natural and historical diversity.

Next time - animals in Sri Lanka

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for these lovely photos and facts about Sri Lanka. I'm amazed with the photo of Jack fruit and pretty Abutilon. I have not seen that colour pattern before. All very interesting.
    Betty

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    1. Jack fruit were totally unknown to me, and I found them extraordinary. The trees are very big and tall with the fruit growing all of the way up the trunk. When they first begin to ripen they use the fruit in curry, and when they are ripe you eat them just as they are. Inside they are in segments which look similar to a date - stone in the middle which is covered in flesh, but the texture is similar to a lychee.

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  2. Absolutely exotic!The real "depaysement"!How lucky to visit those places so far away from Europe! I'm still afraid of this kind of voyages and I really admire those who can achieve their destination goals.

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    1. I understand how you feel, but it is really extraordinary how quickly you do adapt to being in somewhere so 'foreign'. It is a fear that you have before you leave, but it goes immediately you arrive. Nobody on our trip was ill, and we saw so many interesting things each and every day. However, the older I get the longer it takes me to get over the final return journey home. We have been back now for three whole days, and I am just beginning to feel that my mind has finally met up with my body again.

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  3. What a wonderful looking place. So very different and exotic. The abutilon is fabulous. I look forward to more posts. B x

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    1. We saw things that we have never seen before each and every day.

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  4. Wonderful shots to bring home from an exotic location. I'd always heard it was a fascinating place to visit though my own experience - of a hot, humid hour in the dead of night at Colombo airport en route for Australia - is one I hope never to repeat.

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    1. That is the reason why I said 'haste ye away from Colombo'. It is a very hot and humid place, and when we landed I wondered if I would survive. The British knew what to do, they fled the city and built a town, Nuwara Eliya on Mount Pidurutalagala with its cooler, crisper climate. We were fortunate enough to stay in a hotel that had once been the former residence of Sir Edward Barnes, the British Governor of Sri Lanka from 1830 - 1850 - unbelievably a mock Tudor style mansion.

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  5. Amazing photo's you made of the country, a joy to look at! Looking forward to the sequel.

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    1. Thank you - so pleased that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,

    Your photographs are fabulous. The fisherman on a stick is my favorite. I would love to go to Sri Lanka just to see the flowers.

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    1. Saw so many fabulous new things there Gina, and yes, the flowers are really stunning.

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  7. Another exotic holiday! What wonderful photos! That little bee-eater bird is so sweet. I bet it was hot and humid there.

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    1. I have always wanted to see a bee-eater, and they are prettier than I imagined. It was very hot and humid at times, but it is the same here too - we are having a heatwave and some of my garden plants have died whilst I was away.

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  8. What a beautiful place you visited. I especially enjoyed the beaches with the smooth sand and uniquely coloured ocean. The Bee-eater is a pretty bird; one I've never heard of. Has the island recovered fully from the tsunami? What devastation that wrought.

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    1. As far as we were concerned there was nothing to be seen of the tsunami, but new buildings and homes were pointed out to us as having been built to replace those that had been destroyed.
      Five out of the seven species of turtles visit the sandy beaches of Sri Lanka to lay their eggs, and they were particularly affected by the tsunami, but because of various projects that have been set up their numbers are increasing. Our little party visited a baby rearing turtle centre that was initiated by Sir David Attenborough. You may recall that he lost his neice and her daughter in the tsunami - his brother, Richard Attenborough's daughter and granddaughter.

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  9. Wow! what a wonderful place.
    Amazing photos.
    Have a happy weekend
    Greetings
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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    1. Thank you Maria - each and every day we saw things that surprised and thrilled us on our journey.

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  10. Hello Rosemary,
    I loved reading of your fascinating trip to Sri Lanka and your keen observations. I would love to take a trip of this nature. Did you travel by car or bus? How ingenious of the fishermen. I think the birds were their inspiration!.
    Dd you shop? Were you able to bring home spices?
    Thanks for sharing.

    Helen.xx

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    1. Hello Helen - lovely to hear from you and hope all is well.
      We travelled in a small air-conditioned bus - I would not want to hire a car. There are hundreds of little tuk tuks and scooters on the roads. A young friend of mine travelled around by train, but we are too old for that.
      Spices are an excellent thing to bring home from Sri Lanka, and so are natural medicinal creams and balms. The ancient science of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka's traditional form of medicine uses the local plants, herbs, and oils in its treatments. You can buy the gems and jewellery of course, but I had a housecoat made of fine cotton. It has been made in the style of a long tunic with a mandarine collar with slits at the sides. The man measured me in Kandy one morning, and delivered it the next day at breakfast, but we had moved on three hours drive away up in the mountains. He must have left Kandy at about 5.00am to reach me.

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  11. A cornucopia of wonders. That particular bee eater has the same shape as our kingfisher. Remarkable how animals have adapted world wide as to what they do or eat. As in you can tell a magpie world wide even if different colours and slight changes in shape, thrushes, finches, animal grass eaters etc. The all seem to fit into a certain slot, even if entirely different species, as the UK has an almost identical patterned flower (petal designs on Tigers eye) but a different colour and type.

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    1. They have seven very colourful different types of Kingfisher in Sri Lanka - the birds there are not so bothered by humans as they are here. They are easier to photograph for some reason - they were like that in S. Africa too.

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  12. It is wonderful to see your photos of Sri Lanka and to read about Ms. North, will look forward to the animals.

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    1. I was delighted when I discovered that Marianne North had been there - she painted many of the flowers in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya in Kandy too. I now want to revisit the gallery at Kew Gardens to see them.

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  13. Really interesting, especially about Marian North as we are doing some work on another intrepid flower painter Ellis Rowan. Amazing where these women went. I am in South Australia and I have an Ellis Rowan painting. She was a friend of my husband's family.








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    1. You are very fortunate to have a painting by Ellis Rowan. I do not know her, but will look her up to see her work. Marianne North spent so many years travelling the world and was away for months at a time - it is a wonder that they did not pick up some dreadful disease as Yellow Feaver, Cholera, etc were rampant then.

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  14. Hello Rosemary, What a magical place Sri Lanka is--thank you for the wonderful photos. We sometimes get imported jackfruit in Taiwan, although it is more common in its dried or canned forms. After learning about Taiwan's tea farming, I need to read more about tea culture in Sri Lanka, whose version of tea is the one I grew up with. When I lived in New Haven, there was a tea importing firm, and I was able to taste many varieties of Ceylonese tea.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - Jack fruit were completely new to me - I had never even seen a picture of one before. The Sri Lankans are very proud of their teas, and in fact when the Chinese visit the plantations they have enormous quantities sent back to their homes. Although the country became Sri Lanka in 1972, they still call their tea Ceylonese as you mentioned.
      Most of the Sri Lankan plantations were founded when the British were there - Liptons, Rothchilds, Taylors etc.

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  15. Looks amazing.
    Flowers are beautiful as is the beach and palm trees.

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    1. There is a lot that is very unique to see for such a tiny island.

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  16. Dearest Rosemary,
    Wow, that is nature at its most stunning!
    Sad things that those Tsunamis take that many lives... Harsh conditions at times for the people to survive.
    We worked for years in Tamil Nadu, so their history and culture is interwoven.
    World famous from the time it was still called Ceylon and producing lots of tea.
    Great photos again!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I still tend to think of Sri Lanka as Ceylon. In the same way to me Mumbai is still Calcutta, and Beijing, Peking - those were the names I learnt when still at school.
      Their tea is something that they are still very proud of and still call it Ceylon tea.

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    2. Dearest Rosemary,
      But Mumbai used to be Bombay... That's what we always flew into and we never got used to calling it Mumbai.
      Calcutta is now Kolkata.
      What we learned early on and got used to for decades, that stays in our memory!
      Ready to celebrate our nation's 242th Independence Day tomorrow.
      Hugs,
      Mariette

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    3. How ridiculous - I knew that I was suffering from great fatigued following our extensive travels and long flight back home, but this just confirms to me that my brain has still not caught up with me yet💕 I think that perhaps it would be best if I don't drive the car for a day or two!!!

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    4. Don't worry; that happens to all of us! 💕

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  17. Amazingly beautiful photos of an incredibly beautiful nature and flora in a land that was so ruefully stricken in 2004.

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    1. It made me reflect on the Tsunami and realise again just how awful it must have been.

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  18. I wanted to write to you privately and ask about how you arrange these fascinating trips you take, but you don't have a contact email address on your profile. If you'd like to tell me, you could email me via my webform http://jabberwock.co.uk/feedbackform.php or post it here :)

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  19. Again you share such an amazing photos for us, this time Sri Lanka. The one is even more beautiful than the other, I love photos showing wonderful nature, different flowers and birds. I also love the botanical art of Marianne North. I have visited the gallery at Kew gardens and afterwards on my way back to the hotel I visited a secondhand bookshop and found her book 'A vision of Eden' for only a few pounds. For me a book with a story and one of the treasures in my library.
    Here it's also extremely dry, no rain of any significance for two months. I'm glad I can pump water from the canal in front of the house into the garden, where I have sprinklers, mainly for the grass.
    Wish you a lovely July,
    Janneke

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    1. Dear Janeke - what a delight it is to know that you are already familar with Marianne North - a remarkable women whose name, rather sadly, is not familar to many - more should know about her.
      Glad that you enjoyed seeing the photos of Sri Lanka - we have returned to a very parched garden where several of our special plants have died due to the heatwave.

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  20. All I can say is "Wow". It is not only beautiful, but fascinating.I have never seen anything like the pole or stick fisherman!

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    1. Sri Lanka gave us different fascinations to see and experience every single day of our stay.

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