SOMETHING TO TACO ‘BOUT!
TACO BELL in Horton Place has become one of the hottest places to grab a snack, dine or hangout with friends. The exposed brick interior and modern furniture create a rustic urban setting that makes for a youthful ambience and a cool hangout spot in the city. The atmosphere is lively, a mix of toe-tapping music, conversation and giggles. Mouth-watering aromas and sizzling sounds from the kitchen add to the experience. Those in need of a quick bite can also stop by the drive-thru. Taco Bell offers a delightful array of Mexican inspired cuisine such as, tacos, burritos, quesadilla and chalupas. There is a range of fillings to choose from too. Mexican Chicken and Crispy Chicken are the most “taco-ed” about, while Fajita Chicken, Crispy Fish and Pinto Beans are the other scrumptious fillings available at Taco Bell. Cool Ranch, Smoky Chipotle and Hot Ghost Pepper are their signature sauces, which you can select from. Order a side to munch on while you wait for a friend. Delightful Nachos with Salsa, Cheesy Nachos, Mexican Fries and Cheesy Fries are all excellent choices to satisfy the minor hunger pangs. They are great for sharing too. Refresh yourself with a mojito or try the California Tan, a fizzling beverage that’s sure to perk up your mood. Sweet dreams are made of these...Finally, to complete your meal, try their Chocodilla, a heavenly combination of tortilla and chocolate chips or Chocolate Caramel Tostadas with Vanilla Ice Cream, a dish you will never stop dreaming abou
Come April, Nuwara Eliya's Seasonal Cheer Dawns
Nuwara Eliya, once the British retreat in the hills to beat the April heat, has now become the Lankans’ getaway to chill out in cooler climes during April’s festive Sinhala and Hindu New Year season. Plan early to avoid the rush (see hotels) and decide on the places to visit. But the rush to the mounts is not merely to admire its beautiful scenery and watch the clouds roll by. There is definitely a whole lot more in the cup than Nuwara Eliya’s world famous tea that this town fondly called ‘Little England’ has to offer to the throng of visitors. It’s the time when the hills come alive with the buzz of activity. For starters, it’s the horse racing season when Lanka’s Ascot is held and the racing calendar is full throughout April, giving horse racers not only the chance to have a flutter on the horses but also to dress up in the style and manner of lords and ladies in Ascot’s royal enclosure with a chance of winning a prize if adjudged the best dressed. Lake Gregory is a man-made lake commissioned by Governor Gregory in 1873. Trout was introduced to the lake in 1889. It was once famed for trout fishing but now only common carps remain to be fished. The entire area has now been developed and an entrance fee is charged to enter the premises which provide a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy; and the children will love it. Here you can ride the ponies, go on a boat ride round the lake or ski the lake waters on your own jet ski available for hire. Paddle your sw
Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel and Grotto at Tewatte
The National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka or Tewatte Basilica in Ragama lies just 18 kilometres from Colombo. It had its early origins over a 100 years ago when a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes was first built in 1911 and a grotto six years later. But this Roman Catholic Church was elevated to the status of the National Basilica only in 1942 when the then Archbishop Jean Marie Masson went down on his knees at the grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes chapel and prayed for a miracle. The miracle was that this island be spared of the horrors of World War II. The vow he made: to build a Basilica in Mother Mary’s name. In 1947, when his prayers had been answered – though he did not live to witness it - his successor, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Thomas Cooray had fulfilled the vow by embarking on a sacred mission that took nearly 27 years to achieve. Now, 44 years later, a new grotto and a chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes has been built and was blessed on February 3, 2018, a day before the Feast of Our Lady of Lanka coinciding with the 70th Independence Day of Sri Lanka. Both the chapel and grotto have been modelled on the Our Lady of Lourdes’ grotto in France. Set in the vicinity of a stream, with confessionals for devotees to make their confessions as well as cross the stream in symbolic act of cleansing, it also resembles the Rosa Mystica Church in Lucas do Rio Verde, Brazil which was also built with a stream nearby for the faithful to cross after confession. Upon the request of the
Salty Karawala and Umbalakada in Hikkaduwa
Take a drive along the Southern coastal belt and, as you journey through Hikkaduwa you are bound to see a curious site; rows and rows of fish laid out to dry. A cottage industry, the prepara- tion of karawala (dry fish) and umbalakada (also known as Maldive fish) are methods of preserving fish. Hikkaduwa is well known for this industry with families having perfected their techniques over time. What’s more you could also purchase some karawala and umbalakada to take home and prepare flavoursome Sri Lankan dishes. The initial steps of the preparation are similar for both. The fish is first cut and cleaned. In terms of karawala, generous amounts of salt are applied on the cut fish so that it is covered entirely. Then the salted fish are kept in a large container overnight so that the saltiness is absorbed. The next day, mats are spread across the ground and the fish are laid out in rows to dry in the hot sun for about three days. Thereafter the karawala are ready for sale and buyers come from near and far to purchase this salty delicacy. Umbalakada is prepared in a slightly different way. Once cleaned the fish is boiled in hot water and salt is added to the fish at this stage. The fish are cooked well and then the steaming hot fish are placed on a mesh, and smoked over an oven. The smokiness and the heat, provides flavour as well as removes any moisture from the fish. Thereafter the fish are laid out in the sun to dry for about 12 days. This ensures that umbalakada is complete
Love at first slice
Pizza Hut has always been a cherished family experience. Every outlet has a laidback atmosphere, with the staff always ready to welcome each family and individuals who walk in with a smile as they open the doors to the wonderful scent of freshly baked pizza. Pizza Hut has always had a soft spot for kids, with a special menu crafted for your little ones. Certain outlets even boast a play area that promises adventures for your kids while you enjoy a meal. Convenience is just an order away, as Pizza Hut always has delivery ready to go. It’s the home of pan pizza With an array of ranges to delight every mood, situation and thought, Pizza Hut aims to please. From Classic to Signature, and from Favourite to Supreme, Pizza Hut has it all, and to make things more interesting, there’s the Italiano range, along with the Thin Crust range. Satisfy your appetite for the more exotic flavours with toppings like Butter Chicken Masala, Szechuan Chicken Blaze and more! The variety never ceases to amaze. It’s not just about the pizza! Take a break from the pizza and dig into the creamy and delicious pastas and the Calzones that promise you a wonderful meal. You could even opt in for the flavourful range of rice, made with Pizza Hut’s own unique touch. Don’t forget to start off your meal with their var- ied range of appetizers, ranging from Cheesy Garlic Bread Supreme to a timeless classic, the Baked Chicken Wings in BBQ Sauce! They have just the right amount of wow to
Major festivals in Sri Lanka
A selection of eight festivals and a sacred pilgrimage are featured in February 2018. Independence day; Ash Wednesday; Feast of our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte; Season of Lent; Festival of Sri Muthumariaman kovil, Matale; Navam Perahera; Maha Shivarathri; and Sri Pada (Adam's Peak) pilgrimage season.
What to do in Sri Lanka
More things to do...
A village craft
In a tranquil village in the west coast, not far from the Gelenigama inter-change of the southern expressway, a simple craft is of great significance. Making bata palali or bamboo tats is the livelihood of the entire hamlet of Kimmanthudawa. Hands moved skillfully and fast as the weavers spun the thread around the bamboo strips. After decades of practice, these weavers are efficient and well-versed in the making of bamboo tats. It is the traditional livelihood of this village and many families have been weaving bamboo tats for over a century. In some families, three generations – father, son and grandson – are involved in the home-based weaving operation. Bamboo used for making the tats come from the far corners of the country, especially from the Bulathsinhala, Ingiriya and Ratnapura areas. Bamboo tats are completely hand-made. First the dried bamboo or bata is split into even quarters. Next the pith and heartwood are removed – it is the glossy bark that is of value to these craftsmen. Then the cleaned bamboo strips are woven together in a contraption made at their homes using stones and nylon string. The stones are flung back and forth on the makeshift loom, binding the bamboo together with the thread. It is fascinating to watch and to listen to the rhythmic tapping of the stones going “clink-clunk, clink- clunk”. The tempo only breaks when the weaver stops to slice off an even part in the bamboo strip. Although they have tried to mechanise at lease some part
Along the waters of Benthara
The Benthara or Bentota river has many great surprises in store. At first glance you may assume it is merely a ride through serene natural beauty, but this river also makes for an exciting adventure. Fresh breeze with a hint of saltiness will sweep through your hair as you hop onto the boat from the pier near the Bentota bridge. Bouncy thrills as the boat clefts the water are sure to create an atmosphere of cheerfulness. The banks of the river are densely filled with freshwater mangroves. While drifting on the waters, amidst these emerald green flanks keep your eyes peeled to spot bird life, especially the flying foxes – bats that will be hanging lopsided off tree branches. Watch out for glimpses of rural village life through the greens. Bentota river is after all the border between the Western and Southern Provinces of the island. The fascinating mangroves are the magical element of the river. As the boat glides through the enchanting enclave, you feel as if you are being transported to the fairytales of your childhood. The wild sightings within will only add to your delight within the spooky calm of this mangrove cave. As the you journey onwards, keep an eye on the long creeping branches and be ready to bend your head out of the way! Many boats glide past each other along the mangrove lanes with passengers shrieking with delight and waving at each other. Bentota in the south west of the island is a coastal getaway with many thrills to offer. Take time off the rollicki
Places to visit in the east
Built in the 1600s, Ford Frederick is a colonial fort by the Portuguese in the Trincomalee Town. The Fort is well known to house within it, the Koneswaram Temple, yet another attraction in this area. Captured by a Dutch fleet, the Fort was re-created, to defend against any threats from the British and the French. Currently, it is manned by the Sri Lankan Army and is an alluring tourist destination depicting the footprints left behind by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. Inside, you will also stumble across the Gokana Temple and the Wellesley Lodge, among other historical imprints. The remarkable landmark offers an unparalleled experience, taking you on a journey back in time.
A little distance away from the South of Arugam Bay, you will come to an endearing little village called Panama. Unspoilt and remote, Panama is host to a charmed way of life and century-old traditions unheard of in modern Sri Lanka. Spiritual beliefs and faith intertwine irrevocably with the quiet everyday life in the village. The community of 5000 families harbours much faith in the blessings of the Pattini Deity and is venerated at the Angpiti Devale. Villagers are filled with tales of the past that weave the colourful history of the village. Amidst natural beauty and attractions, such as the Panama Lake and Panama Beach, the village is interspersed with farming lands, paddy fields and greenery.
The stupa, shaped like a droplet, was said to have been built by Kind Abhaya for his wife, Queen Somawathie as a place of worship. It is located in the Somawathiya wildlife sanctuary and is said to have enshrined the right tooth relic of Lord Buddha. It has been renovated over the years, but you will observe a deep cleft left visible in the stupa, displaying the ancient bricks of the original stupa structure. Interestingly, the altars are within the stupa itself, and devotees are to climb the steps in a single file into the enclosure which accommodates about four people.
Passekudah Bay and Kalkudah Beach
Located in the East Coast of Sri Lanka, a visit to the shores of Passekudah is an experience in itself. Passekudah Bay is to the north of Batticaloa nestled on one side of Kalkudah beach. A perfect spot for sea-bathing, Passekudah Bay’s flat bed is a great opportunity to take advantage of a good and safe wade or swim to as far as 200 metres from the shoreline. The shared shores of Passekudah and Kalkudah are reef secured and thus the ocean waves are a lot calmer in this part of the Eastern Coast. Around dawn, and if you’re lucky enough to be up that early, sights of deep sea fisherman bringing back the previous night’s catch on to the beach can be seen, where many vendors from the island over await their best buys. The Kalkudah beach is ideal for surfing and wind surfing during the month of September, which is also considered the best month to visit the East Coast.
Surf’s up at Whisky Point
Situated in Urani, a bit away from the surfer’s haven of Arugam Bay, Whisky Point is an ‘off-the-beaten-track’ spot for novice surfers. But don’t be discouraged if you are a pro, as the waves here provide ultimate fun for any surfer. And also, don’t lose hope if you are not a surfer, because there are much to see and do here such as wallowing in the cool waters and exploring the surrounding terrain. Surfing is definitely the highlight of Whisky Point, and as mentioned it is great for beginners of the sport. The waves break off a rocky outcrop near the beach, creating perfect surfing conditions. It is also said that the swell can vary from 1–4 metres depending on the direction. This is where surfers can test their skills, as the waves take you towards the beach and you feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins. What’s more, if you are an expert and seek the thrill of a much more challenging wave, Pottuvil Point or the longest point break in Sri Lanka is just a short distance away. Not a surfer? Not to worry. It is also a decent place for sea bathing and especially long walks along the sandy beach. The sunrises here are absolutely amazing and the entire area wakes up, embracing the warmth of the golden sunrays. You can even opt to explore the village through which the road to Whisky Point falls. The villagers are friendly and will be obliged to help out and recommend places to see around Arugam Bay or close by. As dusk sets in, party lovers can unwind and dance