Walk On The Bund


  In Sri Lanka, ‘Tank‘ refers to an ancient irrigation reservoir. The first Tank was built in 4th century BC and over the years, successive kings constructed nearly 2800 of them in the dry zone of the country to retain rain water for paddy cultivation. The bund was built with compressed earth and the inside…

Brunch In The Bush


The oarsman beached the boat. It was painted blue and the man was wearing a blue sarong. Three young women in blue traditional dress stepped out of the dugout canoe. They were wearing white necklaces and had white flowers in their hair. They carried wicker baskets full of hoppers, milk-rice, fish curry and Sri Lankan sweets to…

Kumana Safari


We left Jetwing Surf at dawn and drove to Kumana National Park. The big coach crawled past Arugam Bay, Panama and Okanda on mostly dirt tracks. At the entrance to the park, a fleet of jeeps was waiting to take us on safari. The jeep drivers wore bright coloured cloths, blissfully unaware of the safari…

Weekend At Jetwing Surf


It was already dark when we reached Jetwing Surf. From Pottuvil on the east coast of Sri Lanka, a fleet of Tuk-Tuks ferried us to the little seaside hotel – the coach could not negotiate the narrow roads. With twenty cabanas in a seven acre coconut grove, Jetwing Surf looked pretty. We checked-in, sipped chilled…

Magul Maha Viharaya


  The rough sea tossed the gilded canoe on to the stony beach and the terrified young woman stepped ashore. Devi – the only daughter of King Kelani Tissa who ruled the southern Sri Lankan kingdom of Kelaniya, was sacrificed to appease sea gods during the first recorded tsunami of the island in the second…

Biso Pokuna


  If you are in Sri Lanka and  travelling from Monaragala to Pottuvil, stop at the village of Galabedda to see a small but remarkable archaeological site – Biso Pokuna       The dirt track led uphill through a paddy field. The only noticeable structure was a raised granite bathing pond. Water, probably channeled…

Our Lady Of Matara


  Matara is a quaint seaside town hundred miles south of Colombo. The roadside Shrine of Our Lady of Matara facing the Indian ocean houses a 400 year-old statue of the Virgin which Catholics claim, is miraculous. It was found floating in the sea in a wooden crate by fishermen of Mirissa who handed it…

Road To Pottuvil


  The coach sped along the Southern Expressway. We ate stuffed roti and egg buns from the picnic box and sipped mineral water from glass bottles. It was six thirty in the morning. The motorway service station was packed. The sun was beating down and men and women were eating breakfast in shady corners. There were queues…

Travels In China – 5: Up & Down The Great Wall


Is there anything new to say about the Great Wall of China? You already know that many of the 400,000 – give or take the odd soldier and peasant, that died building the 22,000 kms long wall from the seventh century BC to 1878 are buried within the wall, and in 2007 a British couple…

Travels In China – 4: Hutongs Of Beijing


“A square foot of property in Beijing costs 54,000 Yuan” Kathy said. That is about £6500. The average size of an apartment is 100 square feet and a young couples would struggle most of their life to pay the mortgage     Not everybody in Beijing is keen to live in high-rise apartment blocks. Many…