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Month: July 2021

The Other Corner, Habarana

The Other Corner, Habarana

Hidden away amid the lush, dense greenery of Habarana, a place where nature abounds and can still be found in its pristine condition lies a little known lodge quaintly called “The Other Corner”. Situated along the Anuradhapura – Trincomalee/ Polonnaruwa road in the Anuradhapura district, a veritable paradise amid a paradise as a recent visitor termed it, an apt description as many a well-known ornithologist and a myriad of botanists are sure to call it after spending a few days in this tranquil setting.

Built on a sprawling spread of approximately 5 acres, about a 5-minute drive from the town of Habarana, the chalets are located in hiding, preserving as much privacy and sanctuary as possible. The fact that there is no barrier or fences (to preserve natural trails and to reduce a much a possible the effect of encroaching on nature) erected around the Other Corner in no way diminishes the sense of solitude and peace one feels.

All accommodation at The Other Corner is air-conditioned with modern facilities amenities including tea/coffee service and mini-fridges. Be it an intimate party of two or a larger group we have many types of accommodation to suit your needs.

Along with the basic comforts of life that we take for granted such as pipe-borne water and electricity, the lodge also provides hot and cold water as well as a modern sanitary section. Along with a uniquely attractive shower head, that brings to mind a miniature waterfall and is enticingly refreshing after a long day of walking amid the green forest gardens. Meal provided would be as requested by the visitors ranging from Local Rice and Curries to Western Cuisine, served by the ever-helpful attendant. Wireless internet facilities will also be available for the use of laptops and other portable devices.

To best enjoy your nature experience, The Other Corner has several options on where you may dine. You can opt to dine on your private back-patio, have your food served on the upper deck of the chalets or in our open-concept restaurant which has a 28 person seating capacity. Our extensive menu has a wide selection of options, including show cooking on some nights. During much of the year, guests may have the privilege of visiting our vegetable garden handpicking produce to be cooked to order by our chefs. We also boast of a wide range of international beer and wines.

Feel the stress-strain evaporate as you bask in the crystal clear water after a day of birding and sightseeing. The tranquil pool is nestled among the shaded groves. Relax on a deck chair sip a cool drink or ask the staff for our poolside menu indulge in one of our delicious snacks while you feel the day give way to calm and serenity while listening to the call of the birds.

The ideal location for travellers who seek an eco and nature-friendly stay surrounded by lush greenery and excellent bird watching.

Ambul Thiyal – The unique Sri Lankan way of preserving fish

Ambul Thiyal – The unique Sri Lankan way of preserving fish

A must-try if savouring Sri Lankan cuisine, Ambul Thiyal, which translates to “Sour Fish Curry” – which is made using a traditional preservative known as “Goraka” which is dried Brindleberry, and black pepper. The spice blend used will turn the outer portion of the fish black in colour. With a unique sour taste, this goes well with any dish or meal in Sri Lanka.

Typical fish used in this are types of Tuna and Sailfish.

This fish curry can be preserved for long periods and was a unique method used during a time without refrigeration. When packed this curry can be preserved even for long-distance travel and is a favourite among Sri Lankans to take abroad to relatives who crave a taste of Sri Lanka. Enjoyed by all communities island-wide this is especially loved in combination with Milk Rice or even Hoppers or String Hoppers.

Face to face with the beautiful Sri Lanka Green Pit Viper

Face to face with the beautiful Sri Lanka Green Pit Viper

The Sri Lankan Green Pit Viper (Trimeresurus trigonocephalus) is the island’s most iconic snake species. This beautiful endemic reptilian species is a moderately venomous snake with beautiful colouration and appearance. Usually, arboreal and nocturnal species descend occasionally to the ground in search of food. This pit viper is relatively sluggish and is usually encountered in low shrubs during the morning hours.

They are widely distributed in all climatic zones of the island except the high hills, which have an altitude of above 1000 meters above sea level, and very arid zones. They are most common in the wet zone rainforests and grasslands and also in plantations. Being from the viper family they produce live young, usually in the months of June -July where the brood size ranges from 5 to 30 animals. They use their colouration to camouflage and usually makes every effort to escape or avoid confrontation. The venom is potent but rarely causes fatalities in people.

The Last Africans of Sri Lanka- Meeting a lesser known community in rural Sri Lanka

The Last Africans of Sri Lanka- Meeting a lesser known community in rural Sri Lanka

Unknown to most people, even Sri Lankan’s themselves there exists a small community of the Africans who are a unique ethnic group who partially descended to the island in the 16th Century brought in by the Portuguese traders who brought Bantu Slaves to work as labourers and soldiers to fight against the native Kings.

This community traditionally speak a native version of Creole which is based on the Portuguese language. Known as the Kaffir People ( the name they refer their community to, and not concerning the derogatory term used in parts of South Africa), as still found in a small village located in the remote corner of Puttalam in the West of the island.

They are a colourful group of people with a rich musical culture, and even the Sri Lankan songs and dance is known as Baila which is today perceived as quintessentially Sri Lankan is believed to have originated from the Kaffir people.

Now the community is intermarried with the local Sinhalese and Tamil people and have almost all lost their traditional language which is remembered only by a few elders. They still preserve their musical culture in the form of song and dance known as “Manja”.

A rhythmic form of song and dance, using various instruments, and wearing colorful dress, this up beat music adds to the color and diversity of Sri Lanka.

Maintaining an oral history of their families and descendants, it is believed they originate from East Africa from the Great Lakes region.

A visit to their village entails a step into the past, in discovering the lives of these amazing people who have made Sri Lanka their home, and keep their rich traditions and culture alive. Classic Sri Lanka has gained special access to meet and work with this community to bring forth their unique culture to the world. Join Classic Sri Lanka to explore the vast diversity and colourful tapestry that is Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s Elusive Wild Cats

Sri Lanka’s Elusive Wild Cats

The leopard may be the top predator on land but there are three more felines who are much rarer and just as intriguing. These cats are:

–         Fishing Cat

–         Jungle Cat

–         Rusty Spotted Cat

The Fishing Cat can be found throughout the country, even in suburban areas off Colombo. Mainly a nocturnal predator, they are mostly found in wetland habitats such as swamps and marshes. As its name suggests, these felines are known to feed on fish but will also prey on small mammals and birds. The cat has a double layer of fur, which helps to keep it dry. The cat also has semi-webbed feet, which helps with swimming. 

The Jungle Cat is a more slender and graceful feline, mainly seen in the dry zone of the island. One of the most distinctive features is the black ear tufts similar to other wild cats found around the world. Colouration can vary from the region, from greyish to more brown in colour. Active during daytime and night, the best place to see these beautiful cats is in Udawalawe National Park, where if one is observant and sharp can have a good chance of catching a glimpse of this shy feline. Seasonal sightings at night can be expected during the dry seasons when the village cultivations have been harvested and hence brings these cats into full view. 

The Rusty Spotted Cat is the smallest wild cat on the island. Similar in size to a domestic cat, this species is widespread across the island, though seldom seen. The Rusty Spotted Cat is a nocturnal hunter and feeds mainly on insects, small birds, rodents, frogs and possibly small lizards as well as domestic fowl. The coats of the kittens are duller than the adults. The Rusty-spotted Cat is named after its specific markings. The base fur is usually grey in colour and is covered by small, rust-red coloured spots, which form into solid stripes along the back and on the top of the head – the underparts of the body, the chest bib and the chin are white. Sightings have been confirmed in national parks such as Yala and Wilpattu, but they are quite rare to see during the daytime.

Classic Sri Lanka has identified several hotspots around the island which are good sites for viewing these 3 species of cats and is a closely guarded secret. With the help of expert naturalist guides and enough patience and luck, encountering these three amazing felines is very much a possibility.