Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was once known, is a small tear-drop shaped island nestled in the middle of the brilliant blue Indian Ocean. The island was made famous going back thousands of years by seafaring voyagers seeking aromatic spices and precious gemstones to take back to their homelands.
Colonised in 1505 by the Portuguese followed by the Dutch & British, Sri Lanka was prized for centuries for its fertile land, beautiful gems, abundant seas and magnificently bountiful hill-terrain. The tropical island of Sri Lanka has drawn in the wondrous, the treasure-seekers, and those in quest of both tranquility and exhilaration. In 1344, Ibn Batuta a famous Arab traveller in his travelogue stated "gems are met within all localities of the island of Serendib. There are red rubies, yellow topazes and blue sapphires. All the women in the island of Serendib possess necklaces of precious stones of diverse colours".
Deep drum-beats pulsate through the Esela Perahera—a joyously feverish week-long procession celebrate the ancient kingdom of Kandy while the vivid saffron robes of young and barefoot Buddhist monks pass beneath the shade of emerald-hued palms. It is from these poetic scenes that Sri Lanka finds its own legend—a tale of contrasts, colours, intensity and above all, beauty.
The myriad colours, textures and smells of vibrant south-east Asia, blend with ancient European, Persian, Chinese and Arab travellers to manifest in the culture and traditions of Sri Lanka's divergent people.
Smooth faced bungalows and green lawns so reminiscent of 19th century European architecture, have evolved to accommodate Sri Lankans' love of organically designed spaces—creating beautiful enclosures that are an architect's dream. From modern city restaurants that serve exotically plated seafood to the intense smoky sweetness of a street-vendor's freshly cut golden mango, Sri Lanka's bounties feed not just the mind and soul, but also the body.
Visitors to this beautiful island return time and again to discover its secrets, peeling away one layer at a time—a paradisiacal beach today, a languorously perched leopard on a treetop tomorrow, a glimpse of an elusive blue whale, the sudden gust of a breeze on a warm afternoon in Colombo. Much of this island's gifts are yet to be uncovered.