A Day At Fort Hammenhiel


  Hammenhiel is a 17 century fort on a tiny island between Kayts and Karaitivu islands off Jaffna Peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka. It was built by the Portuguese with coral rock in 1618 to guard the entrance to the Jaffna sea channel. They called it Fortaleza do Caes (Fort Royal). The Dutch captured the fort in 1658 and…

Quick Look At Nagadeepa


  The sea was rough and the little fishing boat rocked from side to side as it made its way to Nainativu Island from Delft. The historic Nagadeepa Buddhist temple and the Nagapooshani Amman Hindu Kovil on the tiny island close to Jaffna attract vast numbers of Sinhalese and Tamil pilgrims throughout the year. Buddha is…

Delft Island – Wild Horses & Baobabs


  The tiny coral island sits way out in the Palk Strait. Locals know it as Neduntheevu.   The Portuguese called it Ilha das Vacas (“Island of the Cows”). The Dutch named it Delft. The flat 8 x 6 km island is home 5000 hardy souls and herds of wild ponies     We went to Delft Island in northern…

Girihandu Seya


  A stupa is a hemispherical pre-Buddhist Indian burial mound or a commemorative monument housing relics associated with the Buddha. It is said that two seafaring merchants called Trapusa and Bahalika from ancient India brought a few strands of the Buddha’s hair to Sri Lanka and enshrined them on top of a small hillock in the village of Thiriyaya near…

Nilaveli Beach & Pigeon Island


    Nilaveli was already an established beach resort in Trincomalee on the East Coast of Sri Lanka as early as the 1970s with two classy beach-front hotels in operation.  I stayed at one of them in 1980 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The four-kilometre long palm fringed beach was exquisite and the hotel served sumptuous…

Seruwawila – Then & Now


  I peered in to the darkness and saw giant shapes moving slowly. They were prowling wild elephants beyond the perimeter fires I lit that evening. I was lying in my little hut with a thatched roof and no walls. The jungle was all round me     That was then – 1966 to be…

Duwili Ella Falls


  On the final day of our stay at the Blue Magpie Lodge in central Sri Lanka, we visited Duwili Ella Falls     The path down to the stream is steep and a garden lizard with a bright red head watched us trying to negotiate it. Further on, concrete steps and a metal hand…

A Walk In The Rain Forest


  “That’s a Kangaroo Lizard” the guide whispered, pointing at a small brown lizard on a tree trunk. Otocryptis wiegmanni with long hind legs, is a small ground-dwelling lizard of the rain forest. The female is brown in colour and the male has a garland of emerald round its neck. We were in the Sinharaja Rainforest…

Weekend At The Blue Magpie


  We spent a weekend at he Blue Magpie Lodge in Kudawa, Sri Lanka, using it as a base for visiting Sinharaja Forest. We left Colombo at dawn and drove to Ambalama – a roadside cafe in Hanwella, for a fine Sri Lankan breakfast of freshly made hoppers – pancakes made with rice flour and coconut milk…

A Beach Walk In The Morning


  On our final day at Jetwing Surf, Hiran Cooray and Len Porter of Jetwing led a dawn beach walk to Pottuvil Point and back       We took nothing from the beach and left only footprints in the sand.