Hot Spot: Dolphin watching in Mirissa
This coastal town located in the south of Colombo is easily accessible through the southern expressway. Dolphins swim underneath these deep blue waters and synchronize in rhythmic motion. It is a mesmerizing sight. These marvellous swimmers travel in pods and are to sure put up a magnificent show.
Plein Air Heritage
Be it the breezy golden shores of the Island or the verdant greenery cloaked central hills, Ifthikar Cader will set up his easel and paint from dawn to dusk. Despite being in his late 70s, visiting the sites he paints is something he continues to do. To the ‘plein air’ painter, sunrise and sunset are the most important times. “The shadows you find early morning and late afternoon helps make a painting far more interesting,” says Cader who has been exhibiting since 1996. Art had always been a passion for Cader. Yet, it was a dream realised during his retirement, triggered by his eldest daughter’s plea “Daddy why don’t you take up painting again instead of moping around”. From there on, his passion converged with a passion for the outdoors. ‘Traditional Impressionism’ has always been the movement that has inspired Cader’s work. However, in his latest exhibition, which will be held in March, one will witness the emerging influences of post- impressionism. It is a movement to which Vincent Van Gogh belonged to, the artist whose life story was Cader’s motivation to take up the paintbrush as a profession. A more modern stimulus stems from contemporary Russian artists Igor Sakharov. This technique is evident in the painting of a sunset at the beach, where the crimson glow of the setting sun shimmers on the waters. Indeed, most of Ifthikar’s paintings have the ability to transport you to the scene of the painting. As you watch the boats bob off the Weligama coast, you c
Konde Kevum – The Queen of the Table
They don’t resemble each other, save for the sweetness you discover biting into their textures, which tend to vary a lot. Out of this family of Sri Lankan sweetmeats, including mung-kevum, hendi-kevum, mee-wada- kevum and naran-kevum, the undoubted queen is konde-kevum. She rules over the sweetmeats on the festive table, and she is the Sinhala equivalent of ‘hot cakes’ when people want to talk about a sensational sell-out. When piping hot, they are a pleasure to munch onto.Today you find them a bit soft and pliant, but originally, konde kevum were hard. It was the practice to dip the sweet in treacle, when it would become less firm, and enjoy the dripping- delicious wonder. Today this method has become too costly. For housewives and the beginners, the biggest travail in making kevum is to master the conical bit in the middle of the kevum, the ‘konde’. But if you learn the correct (and really very simple) technique, this would be no issue at all.
Major festivals in Sri Lanka
Season of Lent
During this period Christians remember the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and praying in wilderness before beginning his missionary life. They also reflect on Christ’s sacrifice that delivered man from sin. Lent ends on Holy Saturday and Sundays are excluded from the Lenten period as they are feast days. During lent, worshippers fast, pray and repent. The Way of the Cross, or the stages of Christ’s crucifixion, is followed, especially on Fridays in remembrance of Christ’s suffering for man. In an act of penance and repentance, Catholics usually sacrifice food such as sweets and meats and devote their time to prayer. Purple is considered the colour of mourning and royalty. Symbolising the mourning of Jesus’s crucifixion and that Christ is King, the liturgical vestments are purple during this period.
Medin Full Moon Poya Day
March 12 The Buddha had not returned to his home since leaving it on his quest for Nirvana. Repeated missives were sent by the king but the Buddha knew the time was not right. Each messenger sent joined the Buddha and took to robes. The last messenger was the minister Kaludai, who, after having himself taken the robes, urged the Buddha to revisit Kimbulwathpura, reminding him of the beauty of that kingdom during this season. The Buddha’s visit to Kimbulwathpura was to bear much fruit. Not only did he reveal the doctrine to his family, he also managed to help his son Rahula and half-brother Nanda to attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.
What to do in Sri Lanka
More things to do...
Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya
The beaches of Kalpitiya have been luring kite surfers from all corners of the world, its beautiful, rolling sandy stretches adding character to the excellent winds year-round. There are surfing spots tailor-made for anyone and everyone: flat water lagoons for beginners, wave riding spots in the Indian Ocean for the serious kiter, and fun kite surfing excursions to the more- than-a–dozen sandbanks and exciting little islands that sprinkle these lovely blue waters. The scintillating summer season is the best, and opens a window for enthusiasts from May to October. Strong South-West winds buffet the sea daily, with an average of 20-25 knots, reaching a peak of 30. The winter season is from December to mid- March when the North-West monsoon provide about 15 to 20 knots, about 4 to 6 days a week. The kitesurfing spots in Kalpitiya can cater to beginners as well as to advanced kiters. There are two main surfing sites suitable for those who want flat water, freestyle, freeride and need instruction: the Kalpitiya lagoon and the Kappaladi lagoon. The lagoons are shallow, and will be perfect for your introduction to the sport, as well as for freestyle sessions with its ultra flat water even with strong winds. On the other side of the Kalpitiya peninsula is the Indian Ocean which offers an exhilarating 500m long wave that unrolls during the South West monsoon period, perfect for unforgettable wave riding sessions. Available on this site are a large number of internatio
Spot Whales along the Southern Coast
Imagine a meeting with a whale, preferably a Blue Whale: cleaving the vast blue ocean spreading till the distant horizon, the biggest mammal on earth turns a lazy somersault; likely to be the most impressive sight anywhere in the world, the one thing you’ll never forget and recall in dreams. To witness this is possible only a short drive (and then a short cruise) from Colombo. While the Eastern coast season for whale watching has petered out by now, you can still meet them in the south. Sri Lanka is fortunate to be a destination for watching whales all year round. The best Southern destinations are Mirissa and Dondra, while Aluthgama, Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa are catching up fast. Out of the 80 species of whales known, 26 have been recorded up to date in and around the seas of Sri Lanka. These include the Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Killer Whale, Minke Whale, Sperm Whale, Pygmy Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale and Bryde’s Whale. Some of these giants are occasional visitors while some are permanent residents around Sri Lankan waters. Most of them are glimpsed on their way from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. Your best chance would be the coast of Dondra from December to April, when there is a high concentration of Blue Whales and Sperm Whales. An average trip with a boat or tour operator would take up to 4 hours, but they would be made of precious moments you’ll cherish forever: moments of solidarity with these intriguing, intelligent, and highly prepossess
The amazing rhythms of our culture
Namel and Malini Weeramuni broke new ground when they whipped up a delightful and unique theatre that would become an oasis of arts in the commercial hub of Borella. 15 years later they have sprung another fresh surprise. This time they present a very rich slice of our culture on stage. It is a cross section of the most unique, exotic components of Sri Lankan folk culture – compressed into a one-hour show. It was initially Malini’s idea to organise a cultural show that would feature the best of our traditional arts. Coordinating with Professor Ariyarathna Kaluarachchi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Visual and Performing Arts, and Senior Lecturer Mahinda Wimalasiri, Namel and Malini have curated a collection of beautiful jewels. The Weeramunis were propelled in this direction by the vacuum left by the absence of a proper show of this kind. Since Namel was keen to retain as much authenticity as possible, turning to the University of Visual and Performing Arts was natural. The students there are the inheritors of a tradition that strives to live on. Altogether 30 undergraduates and lecturers come together to resuscitate our heritage arts. The cultural show, comprising ten performances of dance and music, starts with a solemn ‘pooja’ dance to evoke the blessings of the Triple Gem and local deities. It is a mix of many dance forms; upcountry, lowcountry and Sabaragamuwa as well as Indian dance. Then there is the ‘Ves’ Dance, an elaborate magical ritual, a pa
Colombo's Coffee: Pick up your brew
Within the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka’s buzzing Capital, are some spots for anyone looking for a quiet place to unwind. Colombo offers a diverse choice of Cafés to visit, whether you are looking to retreat into a corner and finish your favourite book, or to catch up with your friends over cappuccinos or simply to get your daily hose of caffeine. Here, we give you a list of places to go grab that hot cup of coffee or tea and relax after a long day in Colombo.
Places to visit in the east
With its string of hotels and guest houses, the Kuchchaveli Beach is a well sought out spot if you're looking for a beautiful beach to have a relaxing time. As you walk along the serene strip of soft golden sand, you will see sun loungers and umbrellas dotting the landscape with visitors relaxing under the bright sun while others explore their adventurous side with beach activities and water sports. Here at Kuchchaveli Beach, you will find a warm and peaceful environment that is definitely worth a visit.
An ancient temple sacred to Buddhists, the Seruwila Temple stands one with the nature. The still standing monuments were built during the reign of King Kavantissa during the 2nd century BC and to this day, does not cease to amaze onlookers. Neglected and left for the wilderness after the Tamil invasions, it was rediscovered in the 1900s and recognised as a site to be protected and conserved.
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.
One of South Asia’s populous towns The bazaar strip along the road, in one of South Asia’s most densely populated townships, Kattankudy in Baticalao is a bright hive of activity at night. Showing Arabic influence, mosques, town structures and date palms are attractions to marvel during a leisurely stroll. Friendly townsfolk are ever ready to point you in the right direction.
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.