Letter From Colombo – Week 4


CRICKET WORLD CUP The 2015 Cricket World Cup started last week and in the first game, New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka. People here are in shock. Cricket is almost a religion in Sri Lanka and this small tropical island has produced some of the top cricketers of the world. The other day I came across…

Valentine’s Day


I spent Valentine’s Day on the beach in Sri Lanka. I drove to Kalutara and checked in to the sprawling Blue Water Hotel, one of my favourite places on the south coast of the island, built in a minimalist style by the late Bevis Bawa – one of the top architects of Sri Lanka. At…

Letter From Colombo – Week 3


A MARSH BECOMES A BIODIVERSITY CENTRE Kotte Marsh, situated just outside Colombo has always been a good spot for an evening walk watching waders and the odd nesting Paradise Flycatcher. At one time, there were plans to drain it and build a housing complex. There was an uproar from nature lovers. It is now being…

Letter From Colombo – Week 2


LUMPRICE Lump rice is a Dutch Burger delicacy popular in Sri Lanka (The Dutch ruled Sri Lanka from 1640 until 1796). The dish consists of rice cooked in meat stock and served with chicken curry, Frikkadels, Brinjal (Egg fruit)) paella, Chilli & Onion sambol, Prawn blachang, Ash Plantain fries and a full boiled egg fried in coconut oil –…

Letter From Colombo – Week 1


CRAB CURRY & PLANTAINS The local fishmonger has fresh sea crabs on Sundays. They make wonderful crab curry to be eaten with red Basmathi rice and washed down with Tanqueray and tonic. Fresh king coconut water is another great thirst quencher, isotonic and rich in potassium. Bananas here are called plantains. They are relatively small…

Northernmost Point Of Sri Lanka


In February I joined a group of Sri Lankans travelling to the northernmost point of Sri Lanka. This has only been possible since the end of the bitter civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government in 2009. From Jaffna, where we were staying, the big blue coach snaked its way north…

Kantharodai & Tamil Buddhists Of Antiquity


“…Few have heard of it and fewer have visited it…”   I heard about Kantharodai only recently. There seemed to be a certain magic about the place and I yearned to visit it. The big coach I was travelling on this February could not negotiate the narrow winding side road from the main Jaffna-KKS road…

A Day In A 400 BC Citadel


Last week I spent a day in Anuradhapura. This bustling city in north-central Sri Lanka started life as an insignificant settlement in 10th century BC. By 400 BC. it had acquired all the trimmings of a proper city – suburbs, cemetery, place of execution, monastery, hospital and houses of worship and sacrifice. It was then…

Barberyn…Where Moors First Landed


I took the scenic coastal road to Colombo from Kadolana last Saturday and stopped at Beruwela for lunch. This predominantly Muslim town is considered to be the place where first Arab traders landed in Sri Lanka in the 8th century. They probably came from the Yemen and called their landfall Barberyn. The Kechchimalai Mosque, one…