Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Trip to an Eco Paradise - (Part 01)

We left Colombo by around 4.30pm last Sunday hoping to reach a world renowned Eco Paradise in Dambulla. When we think about Dambulla, there are many interesting places which will flash in your mind. Starting from Rangiri Dambulla Temple, Award winning Eco Hotel Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya...etc.

But our journey was to "Heritance Kandalama", the Five Star Eco Hotel which is been managed and owned by Aitken Spence. There are mainly two ways that you can reach Kandalama from Colombo. One is through Kandy, Matale, Dambulla (approx: 185 Km) and the other one is through Kurunegala, Dambulla (approx: 170 Km).

The journey will take around 5 Hrs. But remember, it's not going to be boring as you drive under heavy traffic in Colombo and suburbs. It'll be through lush green forests, paddy fields, rural villages, mountain ranges...etc. While you drive, if you feel that you need a break, there are small ­­­Boutiques, where you can drink a fresh cup of Beli Flower and eat a freshly boiled corn while having a look around at unpolluted environment. Since we left in the afternoon, by the time we reached kandalama, most of these small boutiques were closed as it was late in the evening.

Finally we reached Kandalama around 9.00 pm. When we turned our vehicle from the main road to the Hotel road (a 2 Km stretch), we suddenly noticed that the road was not built using Tar and the road was kept at it's original (Clay) condition. As per Hotel sources, the road has been kept at it's original condition with the intention of not to disturb the environment and Animals. This is the first impression we got that, how much they (Kandalama Hotel) care for their surroundings.
We were welcomed by a Receptionist (who was dressed up with a matching cloth and a Jacket) by offering us Lotus Flowers. I still can remember that fresh Lotus Fragrance, which can't match at all even with Paris perfumes.

A Heartiest Welcome at Heritance Kandalama using Lotus Flowers

We were offered a range of choices to choose for our welcome drink. There were fresh Beli Juice, Wood apple Juice, Lime juice…etc.

Welcome drink been served at Heritance Kandalama

As it was almost night, we couldn’t see the surrounded beauty. But we instinct, that there is a pool nearby and a large empty ground (this was the lake, which we found the following day), as we felt the fresh breeze which took away our hours long tiring feelings.

Heritnace Kandalama Hotel on a bright full moon lit night

After we done with our check-in formalities, we were escorted to our rooms by Elliot (Senior Receptionist), who gave us a brief, but detailed description about Kandalama Beauty. (These information will be shared accordingly as the blog progress).

The cold breeze in Corridors, embraced us as we walked along. It was the first closest encounter we had with the environment during our Trip. Once we entered the room, we were delighted to see the simple room set up, which has not tarnished the five Star image at the same time which blends naturally with the environment. To name a few features which blends the rooms with the environment are, Parquet flooring, framed large clothing (which was made out of a handloom material) decoration which was hanged on the head side of Beds, terra cotta / cement tiles on the Balcony, and finally the hanging natural creeping plants which was planted on the rooftop (which grows from top to bottom) and the ground floor (which grows from Bottom to top).

A Deluxe Room

Kandalama Lake view from a Room Balcony

Sigiriya Wing at Heritance Kandalam Hotel

Creeping plants from Top to bottom and vice versa

These creeping plants made Kandalama a unique Eco Hotel, and have covered around 2/3 of the hotel. This was the idea of Greatest Architect Mr. Geoffry Bawa, as one day, the entire hotel rooms will be covered by these plants. So when you look from the balcony through these creeping plants, you will feel like you are in a jungle and looking through a lush green forest.

As it was night, we couldn’t see Kandalama lake, but the moon above gave us the glimpse of the beauty which was surrounded us.

Kandalama Lake View on a Bright Full moon day from a Room Balcony

This brings an end to the first part of our Kandalama journey. Lets meet up with more exiting stories on our trip to Dambulla Temple, Matale Spice Garden, Minneriya National Park, Sigiriya, Elephant Safari, in the next blog.

- Asela -

1 comment:

  1. Great work Asela, look forward for more info and pics. This is indeed an amazing piece of architecture