The village of Weerawila located in the Deep South of the island is still remote and quaint despite being in the modern era. Many age-old practices are still carried out as they did for hundreds of years. We explore three unique households that still hold some unique practices to this day.
Early morning we visit the home of Kusuma and her family. Their family has been making buffalo curd for many generations. This age-old practise produces one of Sri Lanka’s most refreshing desserts, a greek yoghurt style product using the milk of water buffalo. This is a dessert enjoyed especially after a heavy meal of curry and it cools down your stomach. Enjoyed either unsweetened or with fresh Kitul (fishtail palk) treacle syrup this is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy a lunch of spicy curries.
As we ventured into the back yard of this home we met Kusuma and her daughter Leela stirring a large pot of boiling milk brought in fresh every morning. After boiling and ladled for over an hour, the milk curdles and is then brought into the home, where fresh clay pots are laid out in a cool dark room. Here she pours the hot milk into these pots and adds some previously made curd into the milk which starts the culture process which makes curd. Thereafter these pots are covered and left for a day to set.
We enjoyed some curd which was prepared earlier for breakfast, and it was by far the creamiest we have ever had. Combined with the sweet treacle this is a filling and delicious breakfast.
Afterwards, we headed towards Tissa Wewa, where next to the lake is the home of Lionel, who is a traditional potter. An elderly gentleman – he was busy kneading the clay he’s brought in using his feet. Stepping and stomping on the clay, he keeps folding the clay in two and repeats the process. Meanwhile, his wife and daughter prepare the spinning wheel. Thereafter he brought the prepared clay and carefully crafted a beautiful vase for us. Trying our hands in this delicate art, we could not master the fine tough which Lionel used to design such a product. Thereafter we stepped into his workshop, where we saw the many products he makes for the village, which include many pots which are used in the village for daily cooking which is known as “hutti and mutti” as well as water pots which are known as “kalaya’s” and were traditionally used to carry water from the well or water source back to the home. Also, the “Gurulettuwa” which is the traditional clay water jug used to store water in most traditional Sri Lankan households. Due to the cooling nature of clay, the water usually remains cooler than room temperature, not requiring refrigeration. He also designs creative designs such as vases, ashtrays etc.
But he also emphasized that except on daughter his other children are not interested in learning this old craft, and he fears over time it would be lost like many of the old ways of Sri Lanka.
Bidding farewell to Lionel, we headed back to Weerawila where we changed vehicles to a farm tractor known as a “Landmaster” by the villagers and went deep down a remote dirt road through the village. A few kilometres and we came to the farm of Kusumpala, who invited us to his home for a village lunch prepared by his family using all the products grown on his farm. Welcomed in by a refreshing king coconut we were taken to the back of his garden, where a feast of a meal had been laid out in traditional mats on the floor. The dishes included over 7-8 types of vegetables, as well as freshly caught fish prepared in two ways. The flavours and taste were amazing and the meal truly was fit for a king. After the amazing feast, we ended the meal with some buffalo curd once again, thus ending an amazing village experience. Classic Sri Lanka is dedicated to bring such experiences with real Sri Lankans closer to you, and create amazing travel moments which are authentic and unique.