From Ampara town we turned towards Siyambalanduwa, little did we expect the scenic beauty that we encountered as we journeyed through the countryside.
Words Udeshi Amarasinghe
Photographs Menaka Aravinda and Anuradha Perera
Lush greenery of an idyllic terrain met our eyes. The simplicity of life away from the city was mesmerizing. Acres of sugar cane spread out as far as the eye could see. In one plot a farmer was stacking the cut sugar cane on to a cart. Once full, the cart load of sugar cane will be taken to be weighed. With a pleasant smile on his face he worked systematically, cheerful at all times.
We continued on our way passing paddy fields already harvested, glowing in the eastern sun. Cooling lakes completely covered with lotus plants caught our attention, a moments respite and we journeyed on to reach the Ekgal Oya Wewa. Amidst the backdrop of looming hills, the water rippled with the blowing breeze.
The road stretched ahead of us winding along forested areas. A little wattle and daub hut made us halt for a moment; bags of freshly plucked peanuts had been placed out for sale. With no one in sight, we called out and walked towards the house. After a quick chat we proceeded back on the road.
Once full, the cart load of sugar cane will be taken to be weighed. With a pleasant smile on his face he worked systematically, cheerful at all times.
The rock outcrops rose above the land; the vegetation changed from tall grass to coconut trees and thick jungle. One particular rock intrigued us as it looked very similar to Sigiriya, this was known as the historical Govinda Hela.
Taking a side road, we decided to explore further and reached the Buddhama Raja Maha Viharaya. Believed to have been built by King Valagamba, this beautiful cave temple displayed spiritual art of ancient Sri Lanka. Having undergone many transformations over a period of time, the Buddha statue and murals seen today are of the Kandyan era. Interestingly the longest sand box found in the country can also be seen at this temple. With a length of 18ft, it is made of clay. During the Kandyan Kingdom there was a revival in temple based education and it was for this purpose that the sand box was used.
With this lesson of ancient history in mind we returned to the main road and proceeded towards Siyambalanduwa. It was almost late afternoon and the sun that had been bright and hot, now started to hide behind rain filled clouds. We witnessed an almost postcard setting as we passed a mountain with a gravel road leading towards it.
With the clouds brimming in the sky we reached Siyambanduwa town signifying the end of our road trip.
But there was more, we journeyed a little bit farther to quench our thirst at a quaint fresh juice bar on the Thanamalwila – Lunugamvehera Road. The bright colours of the neatly arranged fruits and vibrant glasses drew our attention. Densely grown passion fruit vines covered the roof of the small structure.
With this boost of energy, we bid adieu and were back on the road heading towards our next exciting adventure…