Yoga Sri Lanka

Yoga Sri Lanka

Yoga Sri Lanka

Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind becomes a dynamic center of direct perception no longer dependent upon the fallible senses but capable of actually experiencing Truth. By practicing the step-by-step methods of Yoga taking nothing for granted on emotional grounds or through blind faith we come to know our oneness with the Infinite Intelligence, Power, and Joy which gives life to all and which is the essence of our own Self.

In past centuries many of the higher techniques of Yoga were little understood or practiced, owing to mankind’s limited knowledge of the forces that run the universe. But today scientific investigation is rapidly changing the way we view ourselves and the world. The traditional materialistic conception of life has vanished with the discovery that matter and energy are essentially one: every existing substance can be reduced to a pattern or form of energy, which interacts and interconnects with other forms. Some of today’s most celebrated physicists go a step further, identifying consciousness as the fundamental ground of all being. Thus modern science is confirming the ancient principles of Yoga, which proclaim that unity pervades the universe.

A number of guesthouses and hotels across the Sri Lanka offer Yoga sessions. However those seeking private yoga teachers can check out Amangalla Resort within the Galle Fort or Maya Villain Tangalle. In Unawatuna the Secret Garden Villa offers daily lessons to group of 14 in a beautiful setting; visitors can also organize a private session. Set amid paddy fields Ulpotha, near Anuradhapura, has yoga programmers that are presided over by international yoga teachers and complemented by a largely vegan and wheat-free menu. Another option is the tranquil Talalla Retreat, which organizes lessons year round and also provides two intensive yoga retreats every month; personalized retreats can be arranged as well.

There are also a number of resorts on the island that provide Ayurvedic cures for various ailments and many of these centers offer Yoga and guided Meditation as part of their treatment plan. Visitors can stay at these places for two weeks or more and can take up a treatment plan based on the various therapies available.

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Whale and Dolphin Watching Sri Lanka

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sri Lanka

Whale and Dolphin Watching Sri Lanka

Over the last few years, whale and dolphin watching has really taken off in Sri Lanka. The country sits alongside one of the world’s great cetacean migratory routes, and sightings are guaranteed for large parts of the year. Mirissa and Dondra Head on the South Coast are perfectly placed for some excellent whale watching, with the former being the hub for expeditions and accommodation. While the migratory season lasts from December to April, the first and the last months are the best time to spot blue and sperm whales, as well as dolphins.

Trincomalee on the East Coast has also been renowned for whale sightings since the 1980s and continues to attract large numbers of visitors. Blue whales can be seen here from February through August as they continue their migration around the island from the South Coast. Over on the West Coast, the Kalpitiya Peninsula is best known for its pods of spinner dolphins and sperm whales, spotted on a regular basis between November and March. As a result, Sri Lanka offers around 10 months of whale watching every year at different destinations along the coast.

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Western Music in Sri Lanka

Western Music in Sri Lanka

Western Music in Sri Lanka

Baila is a popular form of Western music in Sri Lanka. It originated among African slaves who were brought to the Sri Lanka in the 16th century. It entered the mainstream in the 1960s and is still a popular form of entertainment. Concerts are regularly held in towns such as Chillaw and Negombo.

Rock music, hip hop, electronic and house all have quite a following on the Sri Lanka among the younger generation, while fans of soul and blues will also find the occasional gig or concert. The Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club organizes Sunday Jazz in the afternoon, and Barefoot Café hosts live jazz most Sunday lunchtimes. Rhythm & Blues has regular live music performances from a range of genres, and the Big Ears Music Series, which takes place at the Musicmatters institute every other Friday, is known for electric performances by students.

Colombo also has a thriving Western classical music scene, with performances mainly by Sri Lankan artists. The Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and the Chamber Music Society of Colombo are among the prominent music companies. Detailed schedules are listed on their websites.

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Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project

Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project

Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project

Turtles in Kosgoda, is one of Sri Lanka’s prime tourism attraction. Several endangered species of turtles nest along the coastline of Kosgoda. In fact, the stretch of sand near Kosgoda is the most important site for turtle nesting on the West Coast. The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) has set up a watch scheme to safeguard the eggs laid on the Kosgoda beach. There are also many turtle hatcheries on the coast near the town. These are frequented by tourists who come to watch the baby turtles being incubated.

Kosgoda also offers a decent beach and accommodation options, while Induruwa boasts a beautiful stretch of coast and the sea here is safe for swimming.

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Trekking and Hiking in Sri Lanka

Trekking and Hiking in Sri Lanka

Trekking and Hiking in Sri Lanka

With picturesque scenery and a temperate climate, the Hill Country of Sri Lanka offers excellent opportunities for Trekking and Hiking. In Nuwara Eliya, it is possible to go for short treks to Single Tree Hill or for a day-long hike to the village of Shantipura. Knuckles Range is also popular among hikers for its diverse terrain of grasslands, mountain peaks and streams. In addition, the town of Ella makes a superb base for scenic walks.

Horton Plains National Park, with trails looping through forests and past waterfalls, is a paradise for hikers. There is plenty of good hiking in the ridges and valleys of Sinharaja Forest Reserve as well visitors can hire knowledgeable guides at the Sinharaja Rest. Those seeking a more challenging hike can attempt Adam’s Peak.

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Shopping in Colombo

Shopping in Colombo

Shopping in Colombo

The sheer range of clothing coupled with outrageously low prices has made a holiday in Sri Lanka synonymous with clothes shopping in Colombo. From small boutiques selling hand-made clothes, batik fabrics to shopping malls dedicated only to clothes to brand names like Mango, Kelly Felder, Giordano and Nike among others. Places like Odel, House of Fashion and Majestic City mall are part of a city tour and tourists and locals alike rub shoulders in looking for the quality clothes at a fraction of the price. Gem and jewellery plays a major role in the socio-economic history of the island a myriad of precious and semi- precious stones can be found adorning the windows of numerous jewelers and lapidarists.

Some of the better known shopping malls are:

  • Barefoot Gallery offers bright hand-loomed textiles fashioned into bedspreads, cushions, serviettes, textile-covered notebooks, lampshades and albums as well as a large selection of stylish, simple clothing.
  • Crescat Boulevard offers high-end retail shops for the discerning buyer. It is is in close proximity to the Galle Face beach and the exclusive range of retail stores feature designer jewellery, designer wear, watches, cosmetics, mobile phones, internet cafe, tea leaves and shoes along with a range of shops catering to locally produced handicrafts and batik shops. It houses a food court holding an array of diverse cuisine and also provides a conveniently placed and spacious parking area.
  • House of Fashion is a very popular choice of mall for both Sri Lankans and foreign visitors alike. It offers an enormous selection of quality products at extremely affordable prices. Clothes for infants, toddlers, children, teenagers as well as adults can be found hghere. Other products like toys, sports goods, baby items, bath towels and mats, fashion accessories, magazines, books, home decorations etc can also be purchased at affordable prices. They are expanding and are currently in the process of opening one of the largest malls in Sri Lanka and will house designer wear at very affordable prices along with a host of other merchandise.
  • Kandyan Art Association and Cultural Centre offers a selection of Sri Lankan lacquer work, brassware, terracotta and many more. 
  • Laksala, Lakpahana and Lanka Hands are stores that offer a wide range of Sri Lankan handicrafts ranging from products made out of coconut to terracotta figurines, batik fabrics and many more.
  • Liberty Plaza is conveniently located in the heart of Colombo 3 making it highly accessible from all part of the city. It is a multi-storey shopping complex with stores that offer a multitude of merchandise like clothes, bags, shoes, cosmetics, accessories, toy shops, a range of DVD’s and other formats for music and movie lovers, electronic equipment, tea leaves as well as jewellery at affordable prices. With ample parking space and a large size supermarket offering a comprehensive range of imported as well as local goods is located in the basement of the complex.
  • Majestic City houses retail stores offering a comprehensive range of clothes, electronic items, various handicrafts and furniture items, shoes, books, watches, cosmetics, accessories, locally produced handicrafts and batik shops as well as a range of DVD’s and other formats for music and movie lovers. There is a pool hall, a multi – movie theatre complex and numerous internet cafes. The food court offers a variety of food of different cuisines like the Sri Lankan cuisine, Malaysian cuisine, Thai cuisine, Chinise cuisine, Mongolian cuisine to the more contemporary burgers, fried Chicken and pizzas.
  • Odel houses the latest and most fashionable trends and is the premier shopping destination when it comes to clothes. Odel blends the best of sophistication and style offering an unrivalled choice of fashion and lifestyle products like clothes, accessories, bags, watches, perfumes, cosmetics, handicrafts, a book and CD corner, a candy and chocolate store, a home-ware section, pet corner, tea, florist, toys, bath products in an ambience that is elegant, cosy, casual and definitely stylish. There are an extensive range of dining options, a hair salon, sushi bar and an Italian ice cream parlor. 

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Village Life in Sri Lanka

Village Life in Sri Lanka

Village Life in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is blessed with a countryside which can soothe even the most savage and restless heart. Picturesque views of the hill country, canopies of green trees proving cover to the many forests and jungles and beaches of every kind of which one is in the heart of the city, Colombo.

Visitors looking for every type of holiday-lazing along the beach, watching the amazing sunrises, sunsets and incredible ocean views, vigorous adventure-filled forays into the wilderness, absorbing the cultural background of a 2500 year old history or immersing into the lifestyle of a rural country life – can find them in this tiny isle known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

Rural life in the countryside is fascinating and the villagers are extremely sociable. Each village tends to be inhabited by entire family generations and spending time in a Sri Lankan village can be rejuvenating. Most of the villagers are curious about visitors from foreign lands and will take the time to chat about themselves. It is possible to receive open invitations for tea or dinner and the simple village food in rustic surroundings has its own enjoyable taste. Their lifestyle can include bakery, coconut tree climbing fishing, farming and wood carving along with many other aspects of livelihood.

From the cultural belt to the hill country and the coastal regions of Sri Lanka, village life forms the backbone of the country. Many villages have their own form of governance and follow the traditional way of Sri Lankan life as it was practiced in the past.

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Moonstone Mine Hikkaduawa

Moonstone Mine in Meetiyagoda

Moonstone Mine in Meetiyagoda

Moonstone’s are in the semi-precious category and are an important component of the Sri Lankan gem industry. The finest are bluish in color and are found in high concentrations in heading inland 7 km to Mitiyagoda, between Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa.

Moonstone has been mined in these sweltering forests forever and the moonstone mines, little more than muddy rabbit holes, 6 m or 7 m long, are fascinating as is the process of filtering out the precious stones, cutting them up and polishing them up ready for sale. At the Moonstone Factory you can see or even go down into a narrow shaft where the stones are mined.

The miners climb down a 10-meter-deep shaft on a frame made of strong coconut wood. A machine pumps out water, but all the digging is done by hand. The buckets of soil that are wound regularly to the surface yield around 50-100 rough moonstones a day, though not all of them are saleable quality. It is believed by the villagers that this piece of land, around an acre in extent, is blessed by the moon.

The visitor center will provide information relative to the stones while the gift shop on the premises sells moonstones along with other gems like topaz, garnets, tiger eye and tourmaline.

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Meditation Sri Lanka

Meditation Sri Lanka

Meditation Sri Lanka

Meditation means to think, contemplate, ponder, devise and to become familiar with one’s self. It has the strong implication of training the mind to be familiar with states that are beneficial. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind towards a specific purpose or as an end in itself. It is a practice that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. It may be done sitting, or in an active way and prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of the training.

Meditation is a conscious effort to change how the mind works. The Pali word for meditation is ‘bhavana’ which means ‘to make grow’ or ‘to develop’. The definition of meditation is the exercise of psychological discipline in order to transcend from the automatic, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or consciousness. It has been practiced for centuries and varied meditative disciplines include a wide range of spiritual and psycho physical practices that emphasize different goals such as increasing focus, creativity or self-awareness, relaxation and tranquility.

Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana and Buddhist meditation techniques have become increasingly popular in the wider world, with many non-Buddhists taking them up for a variety of reasons. Meditation in Sri Lanka meditation is an ancient practice and is quite popular among modern Sri Lankans, too. There are many meditation centers located in various parts of the island and some of the centers are:

  • Siyane Samatha Wipassana Meditation Center located in Kanduboda, Delgoda.
  • Sumathipala Nahimi Aranya Senasena located in Kaduboda, Delgoda.
  • Viveka Nikethan Rawathawaththa located in Moratuwa.
  • Paramitha international Buddhist Centre located in Kadugannawa, Kandy.
  • Nilambe Meditation Center located in Galaha, Peradeniya.

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Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Sri Lanka

Wind and Kite Surfing Sri Lanka

Windsurfing and Kitesurfing Sri Lanka

Bentota and Negombo are popular places for windsurfing on the West Coast Sri Lanka. The windsurfing season lasts from November to April on this coastal belt, after which the East Coast takes over from April to September. Uppuveli and Nilaveli beaches offer ample opportunities for windsurfing with their great surf. Sunshine Water Sports Center in Bentota is a VDWS certified company that provides internationally recognized windsurfing courses.

Kite surfing is a relatively new sport in the Sri Lanka. The best time for kitesurfing on the West Coast is from May to October, when the wind conditions are suitable for the sport. While most kite surfers head for the Kalpitiya Peninsula, it is also possible to enjoy the sport in Negombo, Hikkaduwa and Bentota. Kitesurfing Lanka is a reputed operator that runs lessons for kitesurfers of varying levels of expertise, hires out equipment and arranges kiteboarding trips. The instructors here are IKO certified.

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