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Month: May 2021

Santani Wellness Resort & Spa

Santani Wellness Resort & Spa

Seeking out the latest innovations in health science from around the world to harmonize with the most effective treatments among the rich heritage of Ayurveda in Sri Lanka, thus creating one of the best wellness resorts for guests.

Building upon the global philosophy and extensive therapeutic amenities, Santani takes a lifestyle approach to wellness with two essential components: to pamper your body in an environment designed at every level to revitalize you and to educate your mind so that you leave with healthy habits and practices which allow you to sustain greater mental, spiritual and physical well-being for years to come. That is the Santani lifestyle.

How does this work in practice? The expert team at Santani will help you set aside the stresses of daily life when you come to Santani and allow them to detox your body while you naturally harmonize yourself within this serene atmosphere.

As muscles, including the mind, relax, watch your body bend in new ways and your spirits rise. Your mind soaks up new knowledge and practices, which you take back when you leave. Beyond the plethora of healthy indulgences for the mind, body and spirit at Santani, the success rests upon the mindfulness that is imparted so that you may thrive in every aspect of your life back home.

The contemporary design of the dwellings is based on the concept of the ‘ambalama’, which is the Sri Lankan word meaning ‘place of rest.’ Historically, pilgrims and traders moved around this sun-kissed island on foot. Simple shelters called ambalama’s came into being, offering these travellers somewhere safe to rest up for the next leg of a long journey. This human need to rest has not changed; today’s travellers are also in need of a place to rest up along the journey of life.

Stylish and utterly comfortable, the interiors too are deliberately minimal. As in ancient Buddhist meditation caves in the mountains surrounding Santani, this lack of distraction allows you to focus your mind solely on slowing it down.

To further support your efforts to ‘reset,’ the rooms do not have televisions. While digital detox is a key component of the Santani experience, the property does offer in-room WiFi on demand.

By blurring the distinction between inside and out, these private retreats invite you to rest, relax or meditate while inhaling the pure fresh air and taking in the pristine, truly inspiring scenery around you.

There are 16 Mountain View Chalets that overlook the surrounding mountain range.

Leave your structured, stressful life behind. The vision of Santani is for you to allow the healing to happen at your natural pace. You will find no pre-set ‘one size fits all’ wellness packages at Santani. Arrive, if you wish, with goals in mind, then work together with your dedicated wellness concierge to customize a unique programme of activities strategically designed towards reaching your goals. Unless you want a strict, precisely defined schedule, it is generally a flexible approach to wellness, one which encourages spontaneity and curiosity to stimulate the mind as much as these activities create shifts in the body and spirit.

Wake up early and meditate if the cooler, misty mornings inspire you. Or perhaps your inner night owl likes to wind down the day on the yoga mat. Santani is all about offering you space, freedom and support to find your way.

Santani has been thoughtfully conceived to offer naturally healing landscapes, holistic architecture, delectable food and deep knowledge of health and wellness from the traditional to the scientific plus a stimulating array of life-enhancing pursuits. These include yoga, detox and cleansing therapies, Ayurveda, meditation, cardio and holistic fitness, mountain hiking, jungle gyms and swimming in natural pools just to name a few.

The intention is to empower you to choose among these what to do, or not do in the moment, then try another path whenever you so desire. Freedom to seek, to choose and to thrive is what Santani is all about.

Sri Lanka’s wellness heritage dates back more than 5,000 years. Whether or not we take the Ramayana literally, it is true that medicinal plants found here do not grow anywhere else other than in the Himalayas. These therapeutic plants form the basis for Ayurveda, a two-part Sanskrit word, Ayur meaning ‘life’ and Veda meaning ‘knowledge.’ A comprehensive, holistic approach to healthy living Ayurveda remains extremely relevant within the context of modern wellness.

Ayurveda in Sri Lanka is characterized by two distinct forms of treatment: Shamana alleviates symptoms and Shodhana, which translates as ‘to wash away,’ cleanses the body to remove the root causes of dis-ease. Detox and cleansing programmes at Santani are deeply rooted in these ancient therapies proven effective over the centuries.

Cricket- A Nations Passion

Cricket- A Nations Passion

A remnant from our colonial past has grown to become a national pastime. Even on a busy weekday, you can easily find a throng of people staring across the glass of an electronic store that has tuned in their brand new TVs to the ongoing match. The talk of any office discussion would usually be of yesterday’s match. Any group of boys and men if they have some spare time, would invariably pick up a bat and ball and play a game of Cricket be it in their back yards, or while on vacation, in a park. This game has single-handedly brought this nation together.

Even during the times of the civil war which ravaged our country, the war itself stopped for a game of cricket, especially when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup. A day that would forever be etched, in the memories of those who were alive to witness its glory. Our team, a humble mix of young men from varying backgrounds became superstars overnight. Their famous Blue and Yellow jerseys became a household fashion accessory for young boys and men alike.

When travelling across the island from the Southern Coastal fishing villages to the far North of Jaffna, you are very likely to see a group of boys playing a game of Cricket and having a great time in the process.

Despite the ups and downs in the international game, and the performances of our national team, the eternal hope and passion for this game will forever be etched in the Sri Lankan way of life.

Kevans Casa

Kevans Casa

Located in Mahiyanganaya, Kevans Casa is the perfect base to explore some of the “lesser-known” wonders of Sri Lanka.

From an exclusive audience with the indigenous Veddah tribe, or a stunning early morning sunrise and outdoor breakfast overlooking the Sorabora Lake, or maybe a daring hike up the legendary “Aien Rock” Dani Gala, Mahiyangaya has many places to explore and is vastly unknown to mainstream tourism.

Kevans Casa is located perfectly in the heart of Mahiyanganaya, consisting of elegantly designed bedrooms with all modern facilities and comforts.

Seeking the elusive and nocturnal Flying Squirrels of Sri Lanka

Seeking the elusive and nocturnal Flying Squirrels of Sri Lanka

The Grey Flying Squirrel is more in number compared to its smaller counterpart. They have a dark silver grey colouration, but some can be even dark brown. Both species are strictly nocturnal and have large beady eyes.

The ability to glide enables these incredible creatures to move between trees at ease. Due to their shy nature, they are seen at night, and even then by a very lucky few. During the daytime, they usually rest in tree hollows and prefer feeding on fruits and flowers after dark.

The Large Brown Flying Squirrel is a widely distributed, nocturnal mammal inhabiting varied kinds of tree-covered forests of India

The appellation ‘flying’ is a misnomer because these squirrels cannot actually fly. They have fairly thick membranes, extending between the front and back legs on both sides, which they use as a parachute to glide down from a tall tree to the branches of another tree lower down.

These membranes reach down to the toes of both fore and hind feet. The forelimbs and the neck are joined by small membranes, as are the hind limbs to the first two or three inches of the tail.

The fairly thick cartilage about six inches long on the edge of this membrane and starting from the front legs keeps the membrane from being limp. Without the cartilage, the flying squirrel would not be able to spread out the membrane and glide.

The flying squirrel is said to have a curious method of getting back to its nest hole, which is generally in the trunk of a tree. If in its nocturnal forays, it has wandered downhill in search of food, the flying squirrel climbs up a tall tree and glides or ‘vol planes’ down to the base of a tree, which is higher up the hill. He then climbs up this tree and repeats this performance till he finally reaches the base of the tree – in which his nest hole is.

Exploring the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Burial Site

Exploring the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Burial Site

There is also evidence to suggest that these bodies were buried with specific rituals, due to the many artefacts found in the premises. 

Artefacts that have been found in the premises range from clay pots, iron, copper, gold objects, beads, and necklaces. Intriguingly, some of the gemstones that have been found on the beads of the necklaces are not found naturally on the island, making it probable to speculate that the ancient people of Sri Lanka engaged in international trade with neighbouring countries. The current excavation site measures around 15 acres, making it one of the more remarkable discoveries in the country. Moreover, the site was only found in the 1980s, making it one of the more recent discoveries in the country that provide us with some insight into the prehistoric civilizations that thrived.

Traditional Dance Forms of Sri Lanka

Traditional Dance Forms of Sri Lanka

The Upcountry or the Kandyan dance form is the most well-known and performed at the annual Perehera in Kandy, as well as many other ceremonial functions in the country.

Below are some forms of up-country dancing.

Magul Bera

The blowing of the Conch Shell is the traditional invocation at the commencement of any significant, celebratory function, and the drums are an integral part of this ritual. It is an ancient Sinhala custom that presents ritual music when seeking the blessings of the Guardian Deities of the Land.

Puja Natuma

The female dancers carrying oil lamps are making an offering (puja) with their dancing skills to the Guardian Deities.


This is a traditional folk dance that uses a Raban which is a large round instrument that is similar to a drum. The hand Raban is a small one-foot diameter instrument that is similar to a tambourine and is played and wielded in a variety of forms of dance by male and female performers. This form of dance includes singing as well.

Mayura Natuma (Peacock Dance)

A dance performed by females. It depicts the graceful movements of the peacock – which according to the legend, is the bird that transports the God Skanda, the War God of Sri Lanka, and he is worshipped by Buddhist and Hindu alike.

Panatheru Natuma

The name of the dance is derived from the instrument used – the Panteru which is an instrument closer in resemblance to the tambourine. The rhythm is provided by the supporting drums, and the dance itself showcases Sinhalese Warriors on their way to battle. The instrument is manipulated with great skill and dexterity who create a series of acrobatic moves.

Kulu Netuma

This is the traditional harvest dance which is performed by girls in rural areas to celebrate the rich harvest. The dance portrays the sequences of reaping to winnowing of the grain. This is a buoyant dance that provides ample opportunities for displaying grace and agility and is danced to the accompaniment of light drum beats as well as the haunting strains of the flute.

Gini Sisila

The fire dance is a South Sri Lankan variant that showcases the power of charms and magic over the fire and the twenty-seven Demons which can trouble mankind. The absolute faith of the fire dancers protects them from the flames, and also includes the act of fire-eating.

Ves Natuma

This is the highest level of Kandyan Dance forms, and it is performed only by the highest-ranking dances. The costume can only be earned by the most senior and skilled dancers and it consists of sixty-four ornaments. Years of hard training is required to achieve the honour of donning this costume, and it is the highest honour a dancer can achieve.

Low-Country Dances

These are highly ritualistic dances that are mainly used to appease evil spirits, and are often called the “Devil Dance”. The use of devil masks is quite common and unique to this dance form. The masks depict many characters such as birds, demons, reptiles etc. There are 18 main dances related to the pahatharata style known as the Daha Ata Sanniya held to exorcise 18 types of diseases from the human body.

The “Devil Dances” are an attempt of treatment to the common belief that certain ailments are caused by unseen hands and that they should be exorcised away for the patient to get cured. If an individual or a family is not doing well or suffering from misfortune, the village folk believe that it’s because that person or the family is being harassed by unseen hands which in most cases is assumed to be a demon or devil. A ‘Thovil’ ceremony or exorcism is the answer to these problems.

The ‘Thovil’ can be a simple ritualistic ceremony performed at home and restricted to family and immediate neighbours or can involve the entire village like the ceremonies known as  ‘gam-maduva’ or the ‘devol-maduva’ which, is closely linked to the worship of gods and deities. The masked dancers take part in at least two of the most well-known ‘Thovil’ ceremonies referred to as the ‘Maha Sohon Samayama’ and the ‘Gara Yakuma’. The mention of ‘Maha Sohona’ frightens the people since he is believed to be the bear headed demon of the graveyards.

The performer disguises himself as a ferocious bear and wears a mask and a dress to resemble one. Often the ‘Thovil’ ceremony involves the ‘sanni’ dances where all the dancers wear masks. The ‘daha ata sanniya’ refers to eighteen ailments where a demon is responsible for each one of them.

The simple version of the devil dance ritual usually starts in the morning with the building of the stage for the performance along with the decorations and preparation of the costumes. The performers build an intricate stage before which the dancing commences. The stage area consists of a wall made of freshly cut natural materials such as coconut palms and banana tree trunks etc. Depending on the region and the available materials the stage may also be coated with clay mud. The dances are accompanied by a group of traditional drummers, which also herald the beginning of the ritual. The distinctive sound ensures all neighbours turn up to take part and witness the ceremony. The full-ritual usually lasts until the next morning. Dances can, however, also go on for multiple days.

Sabaragamuwa Dance Form

These dances are performed in the Ratnapura region which is known as Sabaragamuwa, and mainly relates to the worship of the deity Saman who is revered by the people of this region. There are 32 different dances in this style.