Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Path Tips by josephescu
Sri Lanka Off The Beaten Path: 114 reviews and 152 photos
dense vegetation Sinharaja Rainforest, Sri Lanka
At the heart of the island’s wet zone, an undisturbed rainforest. Sinharaja means Kingdom of Lion though there aren’t lions here. The hilly virgin rainforest has a rich canopy reaching heights of nearly 50m and which is almost entirely endemic to Sri Lanka. At the edges of the reserve, there are small villages allowing nice insights into rural Sri Lanka a few decades ago.
Because of the dense vegetation, there is little light and the atmosphere is very, very humid; wildlife is not as easily seen as in dry-zone national parks in other parts of the island. There are no elephants here, and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur, while you’ll encounter dozens of birds, snakes and small reptiles.
Think of leeches, rub your feet and filll you socks with plenty of salt from time to time. Walking in sandals is not such a bad idea as it seems, since leeches are easier to spot and salt is easier to apply directly on skin.
Enlisted as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The rainforest can be visited without a guide, but using one has many more advantages. We were guided by Mr. Palitha Rathnayaka (see contact details below), a very experienced and funny guide in his mid 50’s, never tired to walk and showing a catching enthousiasm on plants, birds, snakes and evertying alive. He overwhelmed us with stories and details on local customs in the rainforest, on plants and animals we came across.
The rainforest reserve may be small (20.000 hectares), but allow one full day to get the best of it.
If you plan a visit, it is better to call him and make arrangements a few days in advance, since he might be out of village or booked. the f irst car he used to drive in the muddy roads around the rainforest 2 decades ago was..an Aro made in Romania, which he ultimately sold for scrap metal.
Mr. Palitha Rathnayaka can be found at Sinharaja Rest in Deniyaya, tel 041 2273368, email@example.com. He also built a small quiet queshouse in his large couryard.
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 041 2273368
reclining Buddha in Mulkirigala
Mulkirigala is an imposing rock with remarkable cave temples located 21km north from Tangalle on the southern coast. This enormous boulder with a little of Dambulla and Sigiriya about it rises almost perpendicularly for over 200 metres out of the surrounding palm forest. Mulkirigala consists of a series of rock temples carved out of the face of a huge rock outcrop built in the 2nd Century. B.C. and a Buddhist temple complex that ascends and crowns the rock.
The climb to the summit begins near a small Buddhist school of young monks. A stone path gives way to a flight of steps leading up the flank of the rock. Immediately beyond the ticket office lies the first terrace, home to two rock temples and a small dagoba. The temple nearest to the entrance contains a reclining Buddha with murals of Vishnu, Kataragama, Vibbishana and paintings of Jataka stories. Just past the ticket office there is a steep flight of steps that lead up to the second terrace. The rock temple on this terrace houses a reclining Buddha with two disciples. The path rises steeply thereafter and turns into a flight of steps and leads to the next terrace, the location of four cave temples with a small rock pool. Immediately behind the pool is the smallest of the four temples the Naga Viharaya. The Aluth Viharaya, Raja Maha Viharaya, and Piriven Viharaya are the other three temples on this terrace. Next to the Raja Maha Viharaya a narrow flight of steps leads to the summit of the fourth terrace. Inspiring views over the surrounding lands from this terrace, especially at sunrise and sunset.
The Mulkirigala caves have a mixture of religious and secular paintings and sculptures with several reclining Buddhas, including the 15 metre long sculptures of the sleeping, dying Buddha. Fierce animals and demons guard the entrance to the sacred caves, keeping the evil out. Inside the caves, many interesting wall paintings, based on Jataka stories of Wessanthra and Telepaththa.
16km nortwest of Tangalla, pass by paddy fields and dense forests
idyllic beach in Tangalla
This small town hides some of the most gorgeous bays and beaches on the southern coast.
Relaxed and easy-going atmosphere, with few tourists (at the time of visit), many fishermen, and without large hotels and noisy restaurants or bars, Tangalle/Tangalla seems an idyllic place to spend some days of splurge.
At a closer look however, tsunami stories bring about another reality – dense vegetation near the beaches hide scores of oceanfront guesthouses which remain in ruin, with rebuilding taking a slow pace.
Tangalle also serves as a starting point for visits to the rock temple of Mulkirigala.
The name of the town means "projected rock" in Sinhala and this refers to the rocks, which form the coastline in the town area, as opposed to the sandy beach of the surrounding areas.
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