Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
On the way from the Maldives to Thailand, we had a full day layover in Sri Lanka. We made the most of it by visiting an elephant orphanage, a tea plantation and the holy city of Kandy. After a 60-mile drive that indeed took almost 4 hours in traffic and on mountain roads, our first stop for the day was the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Thanks to the delay in our arrival, we missed the morning bottle feeding of the baby elephants but arrived just in time to see the elephants enjoying their late-morning trip down to the river. There were dozens of elephants – young and old – enjoying the cool river on a blazingly hot Sri Lankan day. There were also hundreds of people (mostly locals) who had come out to see them. Since the day of our visit turned out to be Sri Lanka’s national independence holiday, tons of local families were out and about enjoying the day. It was so much fun to watch the baby elephants play in the water and we spent quite a while just taking it all in. Our final stop for the day was one of Sri Lanka’s prime tourist sites, the Royal City of Kandy. Set in the center of lush hills and surrounding a scenic lake, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kandy was the last bastion of resistance to colonial rule. The city is known for distinctive architecture, dance, art and music. Its most famous site is the Dalada Maligawa or the “Temple of the Tooth.” The temple is home to the Buddha’s tooth relic which is an item of great significance to all Buddhists.
Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project
We then went to Kosgada Turtle Conservation Project where we i saw the mighty Olive Ridley Turtles (which is there only at Srilanka and the Eastern Coast of India (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa) for the first time in my life. I have heard about a similar conservation in Chennai around their breeding season but never got a chance to see it. There are so little turtles left and preserving is an absolute necessity. There are Green Turtles, Loggerheads, Hawksbill's and Leatherback to name a few. All of them are endangered species and are at an brink of extinction.After a brief turtle study, we headed to the beach. The sand was pristine and the weather was perfect. It was quite a dream to be in that kind of a location. I was rendered speechless and was quick to settle at one empty portion, with my mind still as a clear water and was so sitting in peace.We then followed it up with a stop to the local market in the middle of the highway to buy souvenirs and to do a bit of shopping. Once again the guide was reminding us for an early check-in and we had to start early to reach the Bandaranaike International Airport.The willingness of the company to sponsor such a high paying trip and to top it all, being as one family irrespective of the position one holds is highly appreciable. The highlight of the tour was that we all went as a group of 190 people and returned as a family of one. We started and returned as INFA GCS.Cheers and happy travelling,Wanderer.This post was originally published on Rajesh Bucket List.
Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park is known across the country as having the highest number of elephants in the wild, it is said that in the dry months of August and September, visitors have seen herds of over 200 elephants gather in the lake at dusk. I considered myself lucky to a) spot a male tusker, usually very shy and hardly seen b) to see an elephant descend into the lake and splash itself with water and c) See two herds of 20 something elephants. Minneriya National Park is known across the country as having the highest number of elephants in the wild, it is said that in the dry months of August and September, visitors have seen herds of over 200 elephants gather in the lake at dusk. I considered myself lucky to a) spot a male tusker, usually very shy and hardly seen b) to see an elephant descend into the lake and splash itself with water and c) See two herds of 20 something elephants.