Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Place of Drying Skins

There is a beautiful stretch of country road, from Hanwalla to Seethawaka, in Sri Lanka as you head for cool Avisawella from Colombo .
Apart from the impossibly green paddy fields and divine river bathing spots, Seethawaka is also a land of rather gory Sinhala legend. The town Hanwalla itself has its name from "place of drying skins" and its probably not animal skins we are referring to here, as some of the old Sinhala conquerors were quite cruel. You can let your imagination take over! Another beautiful town, Labugama, was actually named when a prince once said something like " Oooh would you look at that, it looks like a pile of Labu fruits…" in reference to a large pile of the heads of enemy soldiers…and Seethawaka itself was the place of a famous battle of yore.
Among the reeds, on the side of the Kelani river you can also find the neglected, modest tomb of an ancient  Sinhala king of Seetawaka . Not only was he guilty of boiling a few holy monks in oil because he suspected one of having an affair with his queen, he also once played a trick on his harem and signalled from the battle field that he had lost the war and was dead. The distraught queens all jumped in the river and killed themselves, which must have left him rather numbed to say the least. His tomb is very discreete and has a sad little wooden stick fence round it so you cant imagine that this was a magestic conqueror and VIP personality of many hundreds of  years ago…
However the cool river lined A4 road is now peaceful, bordered by micro sized tea and rubber plantations, bamboo groves, and gorgeous little coconut leaf-thatched road side shacks selling boiled corn, clay items and fruits.
Hanwella has a couple of cute holiday spots like the Natures Resort Bungalow , an Eco Resort named Ambalama, and you can see waterfalls, lush green hills, paddy fields and cool rubber plantations as well as two beautiful reservoirs  which supply water to Colombo ..and so many country roads in paradise.

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