Kandy, Sri Lanka

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It’s set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. Kandy is one of the most sacred places of worship for the Buddhists due to The Temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa) which is situated here in the heart of the city and on the banks of the Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake).

The festival of the Tooth

Kandy celebrates one of its kind of festival in the month of July/August each year during the full moon dates known as the Kandy Esala Perahera or The Festival of the Tooth, is a grand festival celebrated with elegant costumes followed by a historical procession to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

The procession consists of many traditional local dances such as fire-dances, whip-dances, Kandyan dances and various other cultural dances. The elephants in the procession are adorned with luxurious garments and the festival ends with the traditional diya-kepeema ritual, a water cutting ceremony which is held at the Mahaweli River in Kandy.

The month of Esala (July/August), during which period this annual pageant is usually held, had been considered a month of celebrations and festivity, both among Indians and Sri Lankans. Even from the lifetime of Lord Buddha in the 6th century BC, the Esala festival was held to commemorate Lord Buddha’s Conception, his Renunciation and the First Sermon. Esala is also considered to be the beginning of the raining season (Vassana) when the monks commence their Retreat. Also, this month is considered to be the period when ritual performances to the protective divinities are held, (e.g. Paththini puja) as recorded in the text ‘Paththini-Halla’.  Being considered a ‘chaste’ month, the period is held sacred for the availability of water.
Major attractions
-The Temple of the Tooth Relic which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
– Peradeniya Botanical Gardens.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (Ashok Vatika)

Nuwara Eliya was previously known as Seetha Eliya and Hakgala Gardens is the place where Ashoka Vatika used to be located ( Ashoka Vatika is the place where Ravana had kept Sita Devi in Lanka according to the Ramayana epic).

Hakgala Botanical Gardens

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns. It shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby, is the Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, decorated with religious figures.

Little England

Nuwara Eliya is a hill station unlike Kandy and the temperature here is cool and cold in the night. It is also called 'Little England'.

One of the distinctive features of Nuwara Eliya's countryside is the widespread growing of vegetables, fruit and flowers usually associated with Europe. This "Little England" is covered with terraces growing potatoes, carrots, leeks, and roses interspersed with tea bushes on the steeper slopes.

The slow-growing tea bushes of this highland region produce some of the world's finest orange pekoe tea. Several tea factories around Nuwara Eliya offer guided tours along with an opportunity of tea tasting as well as to purchase their products.

The main attractions here are:

  • The Golf course
  • Victoria Park
  • boating/fishing on Lake Gregory.

Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon)

Colombo is the commercial capital and the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the Island. It was successively ruled by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. Colombo is a busy and vibrant place with a mixture of colonial era buildings, modern high rise structures, shopping malls, galleries, museums, churches, mosques, temples etc.

The name ‘Colombo’ was first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505 A.D. The name is believed to be derived from the Sinhalese name of ‘Kolon thotha’ which means port on the River Kelani or ‘Kola-amba-thota’ which means harbor with leafy mango trees.

Gangaramaya Temple is one of the oldest Buddhist Temples in Colombo which demonstrates a mixture of various architectural styles.

The other places to visit in Colombo are the National Museum, Old Parliament, Colombo Fort, Old Dutch Hospital, Pettah Market, Independence Memorial Hall and Galle Face Greens.

The city of Colombo attracts a lot of tourists in the month of February to attend the Annual Pageant called the Navam Maha Perahera which is celebrated during the Full Moon days. The first Perahera was held in 1979 with few traditional artists and today it one of the most important cultural pageants in Colombo, with many visitors attending from across the globe.

It is a fascinating show with whip crackers, fire dancers, flag bearers, hundreds of beautifully decorated elephants, traditional Uda Rata, Pahatha Rata and Sabaragamuwa dancers, drummers, flutists and the procession of Buddhist Monks.

The Karni Mata Rat Temple

Karni Mata Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Karni Devi and it is popularly known as the Rat Temple.

It is located at Deshnok,Rajasthan, India. Deshnok is approximately 30 kms away from Bikaner and enroute to Jodhpur.

There are thousands of black rats in the temple along with a few white ones; which are considered to be holy and sighting them is a special blessing.

 

Tehla, Rajasthan

Tehla is a small village near Alwar, Rajasthan . It is tucked between the foothills of the Aravalli mountain ranges.

 

Aravalli mountain range
Aravalli mountain range

The authentic village has a lot of experiences to offer and is within easy access from Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore), Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.

Start your experience with a stay at Vanaashrya Resort which offers Cottages as well as Deluxe Tents.

Experiences while staying at Vanaashrya – Hiking, Cycling, Camel Cart Ride, Plantation, Cultural Evening, Kitchen Garden, Yoga and Meditation and Bathing in Open Air.

Experiences while exploring Tehla –

  • Village Walk,
  • Dam Visit,
  • Bhangarh Fort,
  • Visit to a Local School,
  • Mansarovar Lake,
  • Neelkant Temple,
  • Pandupol Temple and
  • Jeep Safari through the Sariska National Park.

Enroute to Jaipur visit to Abhaneri Stepwell – Chand Baori.

Abhaneri Step well
Abhaneri Step well

Above all experience staying in a rustic rural settings.

Most interesting is to visit the Pandupol Hanuman Temple (Monkey God) situated inside the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan.

According to legend, this ancient temple is related to the period of the epic. Continue reading “Tehla, Rajasthan”