Sera Ella Falls


We were tucking into a rice & curry lunch at Sir John’s Bungalow and the large photograph of a spectacular waterfall on the dinning room wall caught my eye. “It is Sera Ella Falls, about an hours drive from here” the waiter said. I had never heard of Sera Ella. It looked gorgeous and I…

Birds, Leeches and the Riverston Gap


“It’s a four kilometre hike up the mountain” Padmini warned us.   I got ready with walking boots, back pack and hiking poles. We drove downhill along the B274 to the turn off to the VHF station. There is a good road to the communications towers at the top of the Knuckles Range hill but…

Pitawala Pathana & Mini World’s End


From Sir John’s Bungalow, it is only a short drive to Pitawala Pathana. The road is good, there is ample parking, and the ranger’s office has benches and a public toilet in front of it. A short distance away, new visitor centre with all mod cons is under construction. I have visited Knuckles – a…

A Day At Sir John’s


The bungalow in the Knuckles Range sits in splendid isolation. The view across the valley to the distant mist shrouded mountains is magnificent. It was once the holiday home of Sir John Kotalawala, the third Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The five bedroom bungalow was built during the British colonial era as a residence for…

Road to Riverston


I am on a road trip again, this time on the A1 from Colombo to Riverston near Matale in central Sri Lanka, to hike in the Knuckles range of mountains I take a taxi to Borella and board the Flamingo Tours coach at six in the morning. “I will reserve the front double seat for…

Giant’s Tank


  Giant’s Tank is a marvel of ancient irrigation engineering in Sri Lanka and is a great place to see rare waders   Giant’s Tank (Yodha Vewa in Sinhalese) situated 25 km south-east of Mannar in north-western Sri Lanka is one of the largest ancient irrigation reservoirs of the Island, built by a Sinhalese king in…

Adam’s Bridge Revisited


The ancient Indian epic Ramayana documents a 30 km bridge over the Palk Strait connecting Rameswaram Island off the southeastern coast of India, and Mannar Island, off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka. The epic attributes the building of the bridge to the ape army of Hanuman aiding Rama in his war against Ravana, the…

Mannar Fort


Mannar Fort is a square fortified structure with four bastions on Mannar Island in north-western Sri Lanka built by the Portuguese in 1560     In the early 16th century, trade in the Indian Ocean was dominated by Arab, Indian, Malay, and Chinese merchants, who used various seafaring craft for their trade in spices to elephants.…

Birding At Vankalai


433 bird species have been recorded in Sri Lanka of which 26 are endemic. Mannar in the north-west is one of the top birding destination of the island and with a large numbers of migrants seldom seen elsewhere in the country, Vankalai wetland is the prime site of the region     Millions of migrant…

The Doric of Arippu


    The ruins of Doric House stand neglected on a hillock in Arippu, its thick walls of red brick glistening in the sun. The sea in front is like a millpond and blue and the curving beach is magnificent. There is nobody in sight.   In the Gulf of Mannar in north western Sri…