What is to be said when you journey to the far corners of Mother Earth and find an overwhelming slice of paradise? Perhaps I wax poetic, but you will too if you decide to put Sri Lanka on your radar and make this unforgettable journey for yourself.
My husband Willy and I, along with five other members of our group visited Sri Lanka for nine days at the end of February into early March as a pre-trip with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) prior to our base trip to India. Part of our itinerary included a two-night stay at the home of Sumedha Kulatunga and his wife Kumari, proprietors of the Morwaka Tea Garden Lodge. The estate had its beginnings in the late 1800's when it was started by Sumedha's great grandfather. Two generations later, the family tradition not only continues to produce the finest quality teas from the best green tea leaf, it is done with the idea in mind that taking care of the workers is a moral imperative. The focus of our visit was to gain the full experience of life on an estate where tea is grown, harvested, picked and marketed. We met workers tapping rubber latex from the estate's rubber trees and had a quick "Rubber 101" lesson that added to our knowledge base. A visit to the estate's school gave us a wonderful opportunity to meet teachers and children eager to show us around, display their knowledge and appreciation for the opportunity to have the doors of knowledge open to them by the Kulatunga family who purchase the uniforms for the students, pay the teachers' salaries and supply the materials of instruction as well. A home-hosted lunch in the hills above the estate at the home of one of the workers made an indelible impression of the vitality of the community created by the Kulatunga's in return for the labor intensive efforts of the tea estate workers.
Our "down time" to pause and reflect on each day's experiences could not have found a more inviting "nest" than the estate's lodge. Pictures, paintings, maps and other artifacts revealing the breadth and depth of Sri Lankan craftsmanship graced the warmly colored walls of the common areas. A large veranda overlooking the estate was the perfect place to relax, wrap one's head around the beauty of the landscape (particularly dramatic at sunrise) and enjoy the tea and other temptations offered by our ever-present vivacious hostess, Kumari.
Breakfast, lunch and dinnertime were greeted by all of us with eager anticipation, happy to savor new and unusual local cuisine. Curry made from the pendulous purple banana flower, breakfast curds made with buffalo milk with a sugary accompanied by a"rock-candy like" brown confection known as jaggery to gently crunch while eating the curd and tea filled our stomachs and slaked our thirst. The variety of breads, soups, fruit and legumes known and unfamiliar all yielded delightful smiles of approval from one and all.
From the candle-lit greeting and dinner the night we arrived, through the all-too-few days that we experienced the Kulatunga family and their benevolent enterprise,our accommodations were truly comfortable. Each room was very large, immaculate and had the romantic appeal of a comfortable canopy bed. The bathrooms had plenty of hot water for showers and standard toilet fixtures. Believe me, there is NO roughing it at the estate.
Although our visit was brief and we had more than three weeks ahead of us as we continued on the rest of our visit to the incredibly lush and beautiful island of Sri Lanka and onward to the Heart of India, it was difficult to bid adieu to what was truly a majestic and magical experience in meeting Sumedha and Kumari and having the opportunity to spend a couple of days at home on the estate at the Morawaka Tea Garden Lodge.
All of the rooms are of equal comfort and appeal.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.