Journey to the Island of Sri Lanka
Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Many people still believe that Hanuman lives in the forest of Sri Lanka to this day. The legend goes that Hanuman, the Monkey King, had so much courage and power that he was chosen by Rama to leap across the ocean from India to Sri Lanka in order to save the Goddess Sita who was captured by the demon Ravana. Hanuman is the embodiment of strength and devotion and the only one who could conquer all odds to move mountains and save Sita. His energy and his love is very much present in Sri Lanka to this day as every evening and morning Hanuman chants are heard throughout the mountains while monkeys play in the trees.
Sri Lanka is a magically diverse island just below India. Sri Lanka offers everything from surf beaches in the south to high elevation, sacred Buddhist mountains to hillsides covered with tea plantations. It is full of lush nature, monkeys, beautiful birds, amazing hospitality, huge portions of homemade food and always some sort of unexpected experiences. I spend a lot of time in India so I have come to Sri Lanka a couple times for visa runs and have always had a stunning experience.
For someone who loves to get their hands dirty and have a real Sri Lankan experience in nature, while making an impact on a thriving community, you have to visit the Eco-Community Farm paradise in the small village of Thennakoogama. I spent a couple weeks here, living in a small straw hut in the trees while working on amazing projects with people from all over the world. When I arrived off a tuktuk four-wheeling through the bush, I saw a group of youngsters looking quite tired and dirty sitting on the floor of a hut eating traditional rice and curries with their hands and I just thought, “Where in the world am I?”
Next thing you know I’m there with them building mud huts, harvesting rice, gardening, peeing in a hole and eating delicious food with my hands too. The people at this farm were so welcoming and loving, the experience rewarding and informative, the place spectacular with nature’s beauty.
Now for someone who wants to totally retreat inwards and focus on meditation, you have to check out the Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Center just outside of Kandy. Here you will have a simple room in the forest and practice silent meditation daily. To be connected with nature in the mountains of Sri Lanka while practicing deep, silent meditation is an experience where you will for sure learn a lot more about yourself and have the chance to purify your mind and feel even more peaceful. For people who want to get away and just retreat yourself, this is a great place to be. And feel free to meet people there who will help you find a great yoga retreat in Asia!
Next is the famous train ride from Kandy to Ella. Now don’t get me wrong it is a beautiful train ride, however be prepared to be on the train for much longer than you would ever expect. This train moves very slowly through dense mountains but the beauty is totally Instagram worthy. You will see lush greens of all shades in the forest, countless vegetable gardens covering every hill, tea plantations with women picking tea all over the place and steep drop offs as the mountains get bigger and bigger. Then once you arrive in Ella there are so many scenic houses that you can stay in, delicious restaurants to eat from and stunning hikes, waterfalls and bridges to visit.
Well it doesn’t stop there, if you are keen for some party and surf then head down to the beach town of Mirissa. If you want to experience amazing beauty and peaceful fresh air, go hike up to the top of Adam’s Peak, a popular Buddhist pilgrimage mountain, in the middle of the night to see the sunrise. If you want to see magnificent geology and one of the most valuable historical monuments, go visit the abandoned Lion Rock Fortress of Sigiriya. And I'm sure that you can find a yoga retreat and book that yoga retreat as well for a very invigorating experience!
As Sita was held captive by Ravana on this island of Sri Lanka, she wasn’t able to see any way to escape and return to her beloved Rama. It was the strength, courage and devotion of Hanuman plus Rama’s powerful army that brought her freedom, and this lesson is very profound to this day. The people in Sri Lanka have had many demons as well, like civil war and climate change, but like Hanuman, their strength and devotion has allowed them to conquer many odds and sustain this beautiful country while always being loving to their neighbors. Sri Lanka has been a popular place for travelers to visit for decades. These people who come and experience the real Sri Lanka are blessed. It may not always be an easy place to travel, but with strength and endurance comes beauty and peace.