Beach Holidays

Bask in the rays of the sun and bathe in the clean blue waters of the sea. Feel the cool breezes and the hot sun simultaneously at the golden beaches of Bentota and throughout the island. Visit the tiny islets and lagoons scattered all over the country to get a taste of fishing lifestyle of the coastal belt of Sri Lanka and watch the unique eco system flourish. Bask in the rays of the sun and bathe in the clean blue waters of the sea. Feel the cool breezes and the hot sun simultaneously at the golden beaches of Bentota and throughout the island. Visit the tiny islets and lagoons scattered all over the country to get a taste of fishing lifestyle of the coastal belt of Sri Lanka and watch the unique eco system flourish.



Culture and Heritage

Discover the intricacies of a 2500 year old culture resplendent of a superior irrigation system, sculpture and art. You are welcomed into the ancient kingdoms of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy to feast your eyes on the architecture of the dagobas of the ancient kings and the craftsmanship of the frescoes at Sigirya rock fortress.



Nature and Wildlife

Enjoy the unspoilt fauna and flora of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is blessed with evergreen tropical rainforests, cool scenic plains and wildlife teeming with elephants, leopards and deer. You will be taken into the deep dark and mysterious forest of Sinharaja which is replete with medicinal cures and the sanctuaries of Yala and Udawalawe, where the wildlife roams free.



The Victoria Dam

The Victoria Dam is located across the Mahaweli ganga immediately upstream of the Victoria falls rapids at about 130 miles from the river mouth. The site is about 72 aerial miles east of Colombo. 4 miles from Teldeniya. There is a good road from Colombo to Teldeniya distance about 84 miles. The present access from Teldeniya to the site is along the jungle track 4 miles long. The nearest railway station is Kandy.
Construction work was ceremonially inaugurated on this Project by President Jayawardana on August 14, 1978. It was ceremonially commissioned on April 12th 1985.
Main contractors for the Dam and Tunnel were the Joint British Venture, Balfour Beatty Nuttal and the Power Station was contracted to Costan International.
Victoria dam is the highest dam in Sri Lanka and has the largest Power Station in the country. It consists of a double curvature arch dam of maximum height 122m (400ft), a circular concrete-lined tunnel of 6 meters diameter (19.7ft) leading to 3 Francis turbines, each of 70 MW capacity and generating 780 GIGA Watt hours, housed in a reinforced concrete power station 52 m (170ft) long and 30m (98ft) wide. The dam which is located between the Hulu ganga confluence and the Mahaweli ganga rapids called “Victoria Falls” measures 507m (1663ft) along the crest. The catchment area at this dam site is 1869 sq km(730sq miles) and the gross capacity of the reservoir is 728 M cu.m.(500,800 acre feet) at a full supply level of 438 m(1437 ft). there is a 21 meter (69ft.)diameter concrete-lined chamber to protect the tunnel from surge, effects.
Eight radial gates 12.5 meters (41 ft)wide and 6.5meters (21 ft) high are provided for the dam so designed as to open automatically when pre-determined water levels are reached. The design of these radial gates which require power only for closing, won an award for innovation in Civil Engineering from the Institute of Civil engineering (UK) for the consultants who designed them. The effective width of the over spill is 100 meters (328ft) and allows a maximum discharge capacity of 8,200 cu.m.per second (289,542 cusecs) under a head of 11 meters (36 ft). Two low level sluices are provided in the dam for drawing down the reservoir at initial filling or any subsequent time and also to pass silt which may accumulate immediately above the dam.
The Consultants for the civil engineering works are Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners of U.K. and for the electro-mechanical part, M/s

The Victoria Dam is located across the Mahaweli ganga immediately upstream of the Victoria falls rapids at about 130 miles from the river mouth. The site is about 72 aerial miles east of Colombo. 4 miles from Teldeniya. There is a good road from Colombo to Teldeniya distance about 84 miles. The present access from Teldeniya to the site is along the jungle track 4 miles long. The nearest railway station is Kandy.
Construction work was ceremonially inaugurated on this Project by President Jayawardana on August 14, 1978. It was ceremonially commissioned on April 12th 1985.
Main contractors for the Dam and Tunnel were the Joint British Venture, Balfour Beatty Nuttal and the Power Station was contracted to Costan International.
Victoria dam is the highest dam in Sri Lanka and has the largest Power Station in the country. It consists of a double curvature arch dam of maximum height 122m (400ft), a circular concrete-lined tunnel of 6 meters diameter (19.7ft) leading to 3 Francis turbines, each of 70 MW capacity and generating 780 GIGA Watt hours, housed in a reinforced concrete power station 52 m (170ft) long and 30m (98ft) wide. The dam which is located between the Hulu ganga confluence and the Mahaweli ganga rapids called “Victoria Falls” measures 507m (1663ft) along the crest. The catchment area at this dam site is 1869 sq km(730sq miles) and the gross capacity of the reservoir is 728 M cu.m.(500,800 acre feet) at a full supply level of 438 m(1437 ft). there is a 21 meter (69ft.)diameter concrete-lined chamber to protect the tunnel from surge, effects.
Eight radial gates 12.5 meters (41 ft)wide and 6.5meters (21 ft) high are provided for the dam so designed as to open automatically when pre-determined water levels are reached. The design of these radial gates which require power only for closing, won an award for innovation in Civil Engineering from the Institute of Civil engineering (UK) for the consultants who designed them. The effective width of the over spill is 100 meters (328ft) and allows a maximum discharge capacity of 8,200 cu.m.per second (289,542 cusecs) under a head of 11 meters (36 ft). Two low level sluices are provided in the dam for drawing down the reservoir at initial filling or any subsequent time and also to pass silt which may accumulate immediately above the dam.
The Consultants for the civil engineering works are Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners of U.K. and for the electro-mechanical part, M/s

Basic Features

The catchment area of the river above the dam site is 730 sq.miles. up stream of this site, the Polgolla dam for the diversion of a maximum flow of 2,000 cusecs has been constructed and is in operation. Detailed investigations and feasibility studies for the construction of a dam acroos the Kotmale Oya. A major upper right bank tributary of the Mahaweli Ganga are being prepared and are in its final stages of completion.

The drainage area of the reservoir is situated in the central hills ranging up to about 8,000 ft.

The long term mean annual runoff at the dam site is 2,430 thousand acre feet of which 1.100 thousand ax.ft is presently being diverted at Polgolla.

Dam and Reservoir

The dam is located in the deep valley of the Mahaweli ganga just above the Victoria Falls rapids. The engineering geologic conditions of the dam site are favourable. The foundation will be of hard slightly fractured granulated gneiss deposited at depths 8 to 17 ft in fragmented and weathered rock. The shape of the valley and the geologic conditions are favourable for the construction of an arch will have a maximum height of 338 feet and the length along the crest will be 1400ft. the middle part of the dam from the spillway, which will be furnished with 4 radial gates 50 ft. wide and 30 ft. high. The spillway will reduce flood peak of 0.1% frequency of 225,000 cusecs to 175,000 cusecs with a flood lift of 7 ft. above the normal water surface elevation of 1410 MSL.
The gross capacity of the reservoir is 415 thousand ac.ft the active capacity 390 thousand ac.ft. which will have an annual regulated discharge of 926 thousand ac.ft. for irrigation releases. During ‘shut down’ period and for emergency use an under sluice of size 7×7’ having a discharge capacity of about 1200 cusecs, will be provided.
Historical Background
The Victoria project is located in an area of great scenic beauty, congenial climate and of historic importance. The valley inundated below the Polgolla barrage is considered by geographers as a ”a misfit valley” due to the precipitous nature in relation to the large volume of water carried by the river. The climate in the Victoria is broadly similar to that of Kandy, but the rainfall is less and it is considered an area which has a climate between the dry and wet zone types.
The area affected by the project has played a very significant role in the religious, cultural and historical development of Sri Lanka. The evidence of early human settlement is shown from the Brahmi inscriptions found at the ancient temples at Goawatte and Bambaragala, which date back to the first century B.C. During the 15th century an area which is covered with water has played a very significant role in the politics of the time, particularly in view of the fact that some of the decisive battles have been fought against the foreign invading armies in this area. There were palaces of Sinhalese Kings situated in this area, and even today many of the inhabitants of this area perform various rituals connected with the temple of the Sacred Tooth relic of Lord Buddha in Kandy.
information @ Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka website.




Dunhinda Falls

The Dunhinda Falls is one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful waterfalls located about 5 km off Badulla town. The waterfall, which is 210 feet (64 m) high gets its name from the smoky dew drops spray, (Dun in sinhala means mist or smoke) which surrounds the area at the foot of the waterfall. The water fall is created by the river called Badulu Oya which goes through the Badulla town.

To reach the water fall you have to walk more than 1 km distance along a foot path. Along this foot path you can see another small waterfall at a distance. However walking along this muddy foot path is really worth as the waterfall is so beautiful. Along this foot path there are many native venders selling herbal drinks to refresh and rest yourself. At the end of the path there is a secure stage constructed for viewers to see the waterfall. If you are brave enough you can reach the foot of the waterfall and cross the river and see the most beautiful view of the fall.



Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation (chena farming). The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.

Udawalawe lies on the boundary of Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones. Plains dominate the topography, though there are also some mountainous areas. The Kalthota Range and Diyawini Falls are in the north of the park and the outcrops of Bambaragala and Reminikotha lie within it. The park has an annual rainfall of 1,500 millimetres (59 in), most of which falls during the months of October to January and March to May. The average annual temperature is about 27–28 °C (81–82 °F), while relative humidity varies from 70% to 82%. Well-drained reddish-brown soil is the predominant soil type, with poorly drained low humic grey soils found in the valley bottoms. Mainly alluvial soils form the beds of the watercourses.



Adisham – Haputale

Adisham is the kind of place seekers of peace dream about. Now a religious house where tranquility lies like a blessing and the grandeur of sweeping mountain vistas takes your breath away, Adisham was originally the country seat of Sir Thomas Villiers.The spirit of Thomas Lister Villiers strongly pervades this stately house. Villiers came to Ceylon in 1887 with 10 sterling pounds in his pocket. He was born in 1869 in Adisham Rectory in Kent, the son of Rev Henry Montague Villiers. He was a grandson of Lord John Russell, twice prime minister of Britain.

Villiers received a public school education but instead of settling down to a business or political career in England chose adventure in the colony of Ceylon. Soon after his arrival, he began life as a trainee planter (a creeper) on Elbedde Estate, Bogawantalawa. In 1896 he married the daughter of a tea planter and went to Brazil. He returned to Ceylon four years later and soon began his own tea estate, Dikoya Group.

In 1905 Villiers joined the firm of George Steuart, a trading and estate agency house in Colombo, and rose to be its chairman in 1928, a position he held till retirement in 1948. He also played a role in Ceylon politics.

It was while he was chairman of George Steuart that Sir Thomas commenced building a dream home in the country. He selected an idyllic site at Haputale, surrounded by virgin forest and commanding views across hills and valleys and the highest mountain ranges of Ceylon. The house was designed in the Tudor style, on the lines of Leeds Castle in Kent, with stout granite walls of locally quarried stone, long, narrow turret windows and chimneys. It looked in every detail an Elizabethan country mansion, the retreat in the tropics of a homesick Englishman, nostalgic for the scenes of his boyhood. Villiers spared no expense to ensure that his country home was luxurious in its appointments. The roof was covered with flat Burma teak shingles. The doors, windows, paneling, staircase and floors were all of Burma teak. The elaborate pillared landing on the main staircase adorned by portraits of his relatives, the Clarendons and the Dukes of Bedford, consists of four stout English oaks, polished, but otherwise natural.

The garden lay-out was also British and, as in the house, the incomparable scenery is used to best effect. The terraced lawns, flowerbeds and orchard, like the drawing room, study, library, dining room and bedrooms, look out on lofty mountain ranges, all between 1,800 and 2,100m above sea level, etched sharply on the skyline to form a curious outline called the Sleeping Warrior.

Villiers imported fine period furniture, linen, carpets, porcelain, silver, and glassware from England for his home and named it Adisham after the Kentish village where he was born. English tea and cabbage roses bloomed on the lawns. Albertines and honeysuckle climbed over the porches and windows; strawberries, apples and Victoria plums ripened in the cool mountain air and the tropical sunshine. Villiers even had an English chauffeur for his Daimler.

Adisham entertained the social elite of Ceylon at the time: Its house parties included the governor and distinguished visitors to the island. Lady Villiers, chatelaine of Adisham, was a gracious, gentle person and a charming hostess. She was a painter of considerable skill and her oil paintings and water-colours, mostly of marine subjects, adorn the walls of the library and the drawing room. The Villiers had two sons but both pre-deceased them: Their only grandson, Stephen, who lives in England, recently visited Sri Lanka with a BBC team for the preparation of a feature on Adisham. Sir Thomas retired to Kent and died on December 21, 1959. In 1949, after Sir Thomas left George Steuart, Adisham and its furniture, fittings and other effects were sold to the Sedawatte Mills. In 1961 the Roman Catholic Church acquired Adisham with its 12 acre grounds and turned it into a monastery and novitiate run by the priests of the Congregation of St Sylvester, A missionary order that came to Ceylon in the 1840s. Today, the spirit of Sir Thomas and Lady Villiers linger in their living rooms kept in impeccable order by the Sylvestrines. The libooks and its cases of polished oak, is meticulously orderly even though the Regency clock on the mantelpiece of the handsome fireplace, with its gleaming fire-irons, has stopped ticking. A long line of the Dukes of Bedford look down from the walls and one gets the feeling that any minute Sir Thomas might come in, calling to his dogs.

The drawing room has been preserved in every detail. David Paynter’s study of Sir Thomas looks down from above the William IV furniture which is polished even if the Lancashire broadloom on the chairs and the Ax Minster carpets have aged gently. On the Dutch marquetry card-table is a half-finished game of patience and the Georgian gate-legged table is set for tea with Wedgewood jasper china. The rustle you hear is not the swish of silk dresses on the beautifully kept grand staircase; it is just the wind sighing in the forest trees. Outside the morning room the terrace looks out over the sunny lawns, rioting with a hundred varieties of roses. A signboard near the gate reminds you that if you can’t find happiness along the way, you will not find it at the end of the road. One of Adisham’s most wonderful sights is its natural bird sanctuary. Brilliantly plumaged orange mini-verts, green barbets, blue magpies, paradise flycatchers, hornbills, golden oreoles and a host of others which live in the forested slopes of the nature reserve above Adisham swoop down to feast on apple and plum trees.

Today’s Adisham is primarily a monastery, where a small community of six novices and a few monks follow a schedule of prayer, meditation, work and service. Adisham has made itself famous for fine products such as strawberry jam, orange marmalade, wild guava jelly and fresh fruit cordials.

When Adisham was purchased, the priests found half-wild strawberries, Seville oranges and guavas from the original Villiers orchards, which they developed and extended. The priests as well as a few villagers work in orchards, vegetable gardens, and dairy and in the processing of produce.

The day begins early for the novices and priests when the rising bell tolls at 05.30 hrs in the mist covered dawn. If is always chilly and, from November to January when the north-east monsoon howls down the Tangamalai wind-gap, freezing. The gong sounds for muster for tea-estate labourers on neighbouring Glenanore Estate when the priests kneel in prayer and meditation in the little chapel adorned with an image of St Benedict.

Breakfast is at 08.00 hrs and is wholesome and home grown: It is served, like all meals, in the plain and austere refectory. Two hours of silence, contemplation and study follow. Next come two hours of manual work in the orchards, flower and kitchen gardens, dairy, house, laundry or kitchen. Prayer at the chapel is followed by a lunch of rice and spicy curries with fresh vegetables from the gardens. A period of recreation follows, when a sense of humour and a cheerful heart are encouraged. An hour’s manual work, a short break for tea, silence, prayer, studies, more prayer, dinner, recreation, study and then, after 22.30 hrs the great silence of the monastery reigns. From their bedroom windows, the brothers can see the mist swirling round the Sleeping Warrior. On clear, moonlit nights, the view is stunning and heaven seems within touching distance.

Although it should be emphasized that Adisham is not in any way a commercial guest-house nor a Villiers museum open to casual callers, accommodation is available for 12 guests. It would suit people appreciative of a Christian spiritual experience, counsel and guidance, in a place of surpassing peace, solitude and beauty. The large rooms are comfortable and have some of the best mountain views in Sri Lanka. The food (three main meals and afternoon tea) is simple but excellent and the atmosphere edifying and serene.

Guests should not expect hotel amusements and are expected to be considerate of the rules of the community. The rate is Rs250 per day, inclusive of all meals. Prior written notice and booking are essential. inquiries may be made of Father Superior, Adisham, Haputale:

How to get there:

Buses from Colombo to Badulla (Route 99) pass through Haputale, the nearest town for Adisham, and you can take a local taxi from there. The best way to travel to Haputale is by train, 1st class sleeper or observation car for Rs238.50 one way. From Fort station.

or

Proceed along the Colombo Road (main street) up to the end of the Bazzar and take upper road to the Police station, proceed 2miles passing the Buddhist Temple then take left for and half mile till you Reach Adisham, an old English Maner first owned By Sir Thomas Villers, now run by Catholic priests.



Kelaniya Temple

The spot on which this vihara stands derived its sanctity in the Buddhist era 2531, with the third visit of the Buddha to this country. He hallowed this ground by His visit accompanied by 500 Arahants.
The fact that the Buddha visited the spot on a Wesak day on the invitation of King Maniakkhika is given in the historic epics of Sri Lanka.
The Naga King, according to these chronicles had invited the Buddha to a repast at this spot which following the expounding of the Dhamma was consecrated and on which the King had built a vehera wherein the Buddha’s hair and the utensils use at the repast together with the seat on which the Buddha sat were buried.
However with the advent of time and the destruction of the vihara by the foreign invaders has resulted in the original dageba being lost today.
Kaleniya Vihara however, received its hallowed status and became a place of Buddhist worship after venerable Mahinda brought the Dhamma to this country. According to the Mahawansa King Devanampiyatissa’s brother Uttiya renovated the vihara for the first time. He is also said to have built the first Quaters of the Monks (Sanghawasa) there.
Historical evidence shows that the Kelaniya Vihara was at its highest glory during the Kotte Era. By the time the Portuguese conquered the country considerable land had been donated by the kings to the Kelaniya Vihara, and when in 1510 the Portuguese entered and destroyed the secret temple. They had confiscated this land preventing Buddhists from worshiping at the temple.
Restrictions placed on the development of Kelaniya were reduced with the advent of the Dutch. They in 1767 perhaps in order to gain King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha’s good will permitted him to develop Kelaniya Vihara. Thus the reconstruction of the Vihara was undertaken by the then Chief incumbent Venerable Mapitigama Buddharakkhita. He was provided with funds from the treasury. The King was so overjoyed at the way the work was handled that further grants of lands had been given to the vihara.

The spot on which this vihara stands derived its sanctity in the Buddhist era 2531, with the third visit of the Buddha to this country. He hallowed this ground by His visit accompanied by 500 Arahants.The fact that the Buddha visited the spot on a Wesak day on the invitation of King Maniakkhika is given in the historic epics of Sri Lanka.

The Naga King, according to these chronicles had invited the Buddha to a repast at this spot which following the expounding of the Dhamma was consecrated and on which the King had built a vehera wherein the Buddha’s hair and the utensils use at the repast together with the seat on which the Buddha sat were buried. However with the advent of time and the destruction of the vihara by the foreign invaders has resulted in the original dageba being lost today.
Kaleniya Vihara however, received its hallowed status and became a place of Buddhist worship after venerable Mahinda brought the Dhamma to this country. According to the Mahawansa King Devanampiyatissa’s brother Uttiya renovated the vihara for the first time. He is also said to have built the first Quaters of the Monks (Sanghawasa) there.
Historical evidence shows that the Kelaniya Vihara was at its highest glory during the Kotte Era. By the time the Portuguese conquered the country considerable land had been donated by the kings to the Kelaniya Vihara, and when in 1510 the Portuguese entered and destroyed the secret temple. They had confiscated this land preventing Buddhists from worshiping at the temple.

Restrictions placed on the development of Kelaniya were reduced with the advent of the Dutch. They in 1767 perhaps in order to gain King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha’s good will permitted him to develop Kelaniya Vihara. Thus the reconstruction of the Vihara was undertaken by the then Chief incumbent Venerable Mapitigama Buddharakkhita. He was provided with funds from the treasury. The King was so overjoyed at the way the work was handled that further grants of lands had been given to the vihara.



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