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A world away in 5 weeks - India to Sri Lanka and back

A world away in 5 weeks - India to Sri Lanka and back

Old Feb 19th, 2021, 01:39 PM
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Wonderful photos to end a terrific trip [report]. You make me even keener to get to India than I ever was - which is saying something.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 01:45 PM
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Around town....

Chinese nets


Fish market


Church of St Francis, one of the oldest European churches in India, and original burial location of Vasco da Gama. His body was moved to Lisbon, but the gravestone remains.


Vasco da Gama's gravestone




Rajasthani dolls

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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 01:49 PM
  #143  
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annhig,
Thanks so much! It's great to have you following this, now that I'm finally trying to get this done after 2 years!! Glad I have my photos, since my memory for details is gone. Fortunately, one picture says, they say, a thousand words - and that helps this report a lot!


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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 05:59 AM
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Progol, your photos of Kochi reminded me of Galle where we spent a few very nice days at the end of our Sri Lanka trip - the same coastal feel, the same fishermen and fish market, even the same sort of buildings. Did you get to Galle? It's very popular with Brits especially when there is a cricket match on. We loved it even though there was no cricket on when we were there. I should love to see Kochi one day. Thanks for whetting my appetite.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 06:36 AM
  #145  
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annhig,
I’m so glad you’re following this - otherwise I’d wonder why I’m posting! Only kidding (I think!).

Yes, we did get to Galle, and there are similarities in the feeling of both places. Certainly, they both had similar roles in the spice trade, and the presence of the British, Dutch and Portuguese is very much there, and so, the colonial architecture is very similar. Lots of diversity of cultures can be found in both places. When we were there, the weather in Galle was stifling so it was harder for me to appreciate it in full, but we did like the town a lot. The old part of Galle is very much a tourist city and more geared to an upscale tourist than Cochin is, though the latter certainly has its high end places, too. The fortifications in Galle remain intact while the actual fort in Cochin is a thing of the past.

That being said, they are different in the ways that the countries are different, and they just feel like different places. I know, I just said the word, “different” 3 times in one sentence! But they feel very different! Cochin doesn’t have beaches like Galle does in its immediate vicinity, so its coast is more geared to the fishing, and shipping. Lots of ferries from the port in town to smaller islands off the coast. The tourist part of Fort Kochi is, I think, more spread out, and not as easily walkable, but it has a wonderful magic to it. We loved it.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 12:26 PM
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Kathakali is a classical Indian theatrical dance form that tells a story. Kathakali originated in the 16th/17th C in Kerala, and is rooted in folk and classical arts. The performers wear elaborate makeup and costume, and relate stories that are generally drawn from Sanskrit texts.

A sample from the evening's performance:


Getting ready - putting on makeup


Actor demonstrating some of the forms and positions representing emotions and actions


The evil Kichaka, brother of the Queen, who desires Malini, a married woman


Kichaka dancing whileMalini, enters the scene


Kichaka has attempted to seduce Malini


Malini's husband Bhima or Ballava (my notes have the former, though Google tells me it's Ballava)


Malini tells her husband about the violent Kichaka, and they make a plan to catch him


Bhima/Ballava kills the evil Kichaka
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 12:46 PM
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Sadly, our time in S. India has come to an end, and we are off to Sri Lanka for another 2 1/2 weeks. We had visited Rajasthan, Varanasi and Delhi, a few years earlier, and though we preferred the sights in the north, the people we met in S. India were warm and welcoming and the connection to the place is intimate. It was very hard to say goodbye. We had worked closely with the people at Indian Panorama, and had come to feel a strong connection. At least, in 2 1/2 weeks, we return to Mumbai and will be back with Indian Panorama, but we are coming to the end of our time with our driver. It's amazing to me, though it's not surprising, how strong that bond becomes when you're in a car with someone for several weeks.

Our wonderful driver, Vijay Kumar, who took great care of us over the last 2 weeks, drove us to the airport in Cochin.


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Old Feb 21st, 2021, 11:45 AM
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Oh thanks for picking this up again. Such memories of Kochi, we had dinner at your hotel one night, one of the few places one could buy a drink ! We were also there during the art festival and loved the street art.
I remember the floor tiles in the synagogue, hand made and every one unique.
I can’t wait to see your Sri Lanka photos and hear your thoughts on the place.
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Old Feb 21st, 2021, 01:19 PM
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So glad you’ve found this and are enjoying it, sartoric! I hope to start on Sri Lanka tomorrow sometime. Sorting through the photos and choosing a select few to post - well, that’s the hard part! But after a year in hibernation, I have no excuse and promise to do my best to finish this!

Thank you for posting!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2021, 08:33 AM
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And on to Sri Lanka...

Formerly Ceylon, Sri Lanka may be a small country but it has an amazing diversity of regions packed into its tiny land mass. I had heard about Sri Lanka for years now, and had been eager to visit - I was intrigued by the comments that it was "India Lite", and wanted to experience it for myself.

What we discovered, though made me appreciate how different it is from India, though, at its closest, it lies just just over 20 km away! India, of course, is primarily a Hindu country while Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. Both have Muslim minorities. But it feels more different than the same, at least to both Michael and me.

Adapted from my notes from from my review on Trip Advisor:
"We traveled to a range of places, seeing the beautiful countryside, the hill country, and the seaside - a wonderful range of experiences. We loved seeing the elephants in Eco Park, by Habarana, and our driver made sure we visited early enough to avoid the crowds of jeeps. We also fell in love with the area around Ella and absolutely enjoyed our train ride there, even with the deep mist that fell for half the trip. We loved our visit to the tea factory in the hill country, Glen Loch. While we enjoyed the Dambulla Caves, we also visited the Silver Temple, a fascinating temple that is also built into rock and is far more visited by locals than tourists."

I'm reposting the Sri Lanka itinerary (in my initial post):

Feb 3 – Negombo/Villa Kupuru (1 night)
Feb 4/5 - Matale - Jim’s Farm Villa (2 nights)
Feb 6/7/8 Habanara - Cinnamon Lodge (3 nights)
Feb 9/10 - Kandy - Theva residency (2 nights)
Feb 14/15/16 - Galle - Mango House (3 nights)
Feb 17 - Colombo - Taru Villas (1 night)

We arrived in the late afternoon so we stayed one night in Negombo because I didn't want to have a long drive after the flight. It was an adequate stop though we didn't spend much time here to really get a feel for the location.

Our first stop, on our way to Jim's Farm Villa, was the Silver Temple (Ride Vihara) a 2nd century temple, into a cave where a vein of silver had been discovered, allowing the reigning king to build his planned temple complex. This is located in a small village and, unlike the Dambulla cave temple complex, it is not a tourist site at all. We loved this visit and in many ways enjoyed it more than the visit to Dambulla.


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Old Feb 22nd, 2021, 08:44 AM
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The Silver Temple (Ride Vihara)




























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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 02:05 AM
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oh now I want to go back even more than I did before I saw your lovely photos. Never even heard of the Silver Temple and I thought that I'd done pretty thorough research so I suspect you are right when you say that it is far more visited by locals than tourists. Lucky you!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by annhig View Post
oh now I want to go back even more than I did before I saw your lovely photos. Never even heard of the Silver Temple and I thought that I'd done pretty thorough research so I suspect you are right when you say that it is far more visited by locals than tourists. Lucky you!
annhig, I don't think we saw another tourist there! It was recommended by the agent at Boutique Sri Lanka as I wouldn't have known about it, either. On the other hand, there was another small temple we visited at the end that I discovered that I suggested to her! But the Silver Temple was definitely a standout.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 10:40 AM
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Jim’s Farm Villas

We spent 2 nights at Jim’s Farm Villas, in Matale. I had read about it on someone’s trip report and it just sounded heavenly – a lush, boutique-style eco farm in a beautiful location, with swimming pool, lots of activities to choose from and well-situated for touring. And it is all of the above – except it rained pretty heavily on and off during the time we were there. We did take advantage of the a farm walk on the property and had a chance to milk a cow (!) as well as learn about the many plants and spices grown on the property and how they are used. WE also attended a cooking classe, which was more of a show and tell, but fun to watch the chef prepare a meal, which we ate later on. The swimming pool looks very inviting, though we didn’t get a chance to use it because of the rain.

Our room was in one of several small villas, and the space is beautifully done, lots of woodwork and lovely weaving – and it shares a large balcony with another room. I loved the balcony – a perfect place to curl up and read on a rainy afternoon.

As the small villas were spread out on a large, hilly property, there were tuk-tuks available to take us to and from the main house, where we had meals. That was a treat – but sometimes a bit hair-raising in the rainy, muddy paths, and the drivers, I think, were just a bit too gleeful when they showed off their driving skills!

It’s a lovely place, though for some reason, I didn’t love it, I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the weather, but I just felt too far removed culturally. It is gorgeous, and a good base for many of the sights in the region. It's a little bit off the beaten track so not the most logical routing to start there, but I made it work.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 10:45 AM
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Jim’s Farm Villas


Looking out to the porch from inside


A very spacious bedroom!




Note the tuk-tuk!


VERY misty & rainy


Sitting on the porch during the rainy days








Cooking demo


Cooking demo






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Old Feb 23rd, 2021, 10:48 AM
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Artsy pix!










Someone likes to play with his food!
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 12:51 AM
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Love the artsy photos !
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sartoric View Post
Love the artsy photos !
Glad you enjoyed them! More to come!
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 02:36 PM
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What a lovely place, progol! And great photos. But perhaps it was just too remote? Bill eventually rebelled when we got to the nth remote place that we were booked into and that was how we ended up staying in the centre of Galle which wasn't on the original itinerary at all. It turned out to be one of or favourite places to stay.
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Old Feb 24th, 2021, 05:49 PM
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annhig,
I think it was more removed than remote, as everything was within driving distance if one was touring but we had planned on staying on the property that day and taking advantage of the activities offered.

it is a lovely place, though, and I don’t want to put people off from considering it if they are looking for a lush eco-style property. And of course the sogginess wasn’t the best way to experience the place!


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