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Month: December 2021

Andare- The court Jester famed in Sri Lanka

Andare- The court Jester famed in Sri Lanka

It’s fascinating to be living in a country full of myths and legends. Folktales are stories passed down verbally across generations.

A folktale plays an important role in every society. It plays a great role in passing down history and personality development influencing people’s, especially younger generation’s, attitudes and behaviour. Storytelling also creates a bond between young and old.

During the bygone periods of Sinhala Kings, there was a comedian called Andare who was employed to amuse the King and his Ministers. One of the most popular folk stories in Sri Lanka is the story of Andare. Andare was born in the South of Sri Lanka in a village in Matara District. Folklore has many stories about Andare and the pranks he played on the King, his Ministers and even the Queen.

He was appointed by King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe (1742 – 1782). Andare used to be a poet who could instantly compose verses to suit any ongoing situation. Despite being a joker, the tales suggest Andare had a great intelligence that aided him in turning situations in his favour. After his death, he was buried in the town of Udamalala, his hometown, where the tomb can be found on the banks of the Udamalala wewa.

There are so many Andare tales…

One day the Queen said she wished to meet Andare’s wife. Andare said “yes”, but said, “Your Majesty, my wife is a little deaf so you must speak very loudly when you talk to her”. The queen agreed. He then went home and told his wife that the queen wishes to see her but as the queen is deaf she must talk to her very loudly. Andare then took his wife to the Queen. The queen and Andare’s wife started communicating, both yelling, hoping to make each other heard. Everybody including the King hurried over to see why the women were yelling. When the King heard about the trick he burst into laughter but the Queen and Andare’s wife both became really angry with Andare.

Andare used to come home very late, and his wife became angry over his continuous late arrivals. She wanted to teach Andare a lesson by keeping him out all night. So one day she did not open the door although Andare kept on shouting. He continued shouting. Getting no response, he then picked up a large stone from the yard and dropped it into the well with a loud splash. The wife got upset thinking he had jumped into the well. When she came out to check, Andare got into the house and closed the door and asked his wife to wait outside till the sun rises.

To play a trick on Andare each of the Ministers took an egg along with him. At the pond when they were bathing one Minister asked who can dive into the pond and bring an egg. All the Ministers shouted that they can. Then all of them dived into the pond. Andare was surprised thinking about how to find an egg underwater but he too dived into the pond. After a while, the ministers jubilantly came up each holding an egg in his hand. Andare too came up, guessing that they had done this to make a fool out of him. But he did not want to accept defeat. So he shouted, “Cock-a-doodle-doo, you are all hens and I am the only cock”. The King saw how Andare had made a fool of the Ministers and had a good laugh. The king liked to enjoy Andare’s pranks. He enjoyed them till the death of Andare…

He is believed to have been born in Devinuwara in the Matara district. He was the second son of Palawinnage Palliyaguru, an accomplished linguist and the teacher at the Church of Devinuwara appointed by the Dutch.

According to the folklore, Andare died of thirst on a trip to his home town. It is said the king hearing the death of his favourite court jester, immediately visited the place of his death and seeing the corpse with all his limbs spread wide made the king smile and said “Dear Andare, you are making me laugh even after your death”.

A tomb and a monument has been built in 2001 where Andare is believed to have died along with a sculpture showing how he died with arms spread.

Sri Lankan Cashew Curry- A much loved culinary treat

Sri Lankan Cashew Curry- A much loved culinary treat

Passed down through generations of families in Sri Lanka, the Cashew Curry or more popularly known as the “Kadju Maluwa” is a much loved vegetarian dish that is also gluten-free. Often served as a celebratory dish at special Events and Weddings, it can be cooked and served as a creamier version or as a crunchier one to have some bite.

A dish that is loved by many, the cashew curry is quite mild compared to the many spicy dishes that Sri Lankans enjoy. Turmeric and Chilli are used but the balance is found with the thick coconut milk that is added in abundance to give that creamy and mouthwatering texture.

A visit to Sri Lanka will not be complete without trying out the amazing culinary delicacies it has to offer, and a well-prepared cashew curry always goes well at a hearty Sri Lankan meal.

Explore the amazing gastronomic experiences and programs Classic Destinations has to offer for those ready to explore an island of flavours.

An adventure to the Nitro Caves of the Knuckles Mountains

An adventure to the Nitro Caves of the Knuckles Mountains

The nitro cave is a large cave network, well hidden in the Knuckles Mountain Range. This is believed to be thousands of years old. Over the years this cave network has become the home to hundreds and thousands of bats. It aptly gets its name from the large deposits of bats which contain nitrate. In the past, these caves were mined as the deposits were used as a traditional raw material to produce gunpowder. Today a visit to these caves will make you feel like you’ve traversed into a different dimension, a different world, which is intriguing and mysterious.

Start your adventure from the village of Thangappuwa. Begin with an approx. 1.5 hours safari to the start of the trek. On the way, we take a break to catch a stunning view of Lakegala Rock from a picturesque location. We continue our journey passing through the Corbet’s Gap, which is one of the windiest areas in Sri Lanka. After passing a few quirky villages we enter the town of Meemure where we get off the jeep and start our trek to the entrance of the cave.

The climb as we enter the caves is very steep. As we make our way deeper into the cave, we will slowly sink into the soil of deposits, when we start hearing the bat swarms up ahead. We finally encounter the bats as they start to flutter in excitement because of our arrival. After enjoying the moment, we slowly exit the caves respecting the opportunity that mother nature has presented us.

We then walk to a petite waterfall a few meters away from the caves, where we clean up and enjoy a picnic brunch.

Colombo Art Mule – An exploration of Colombo’s art scene

Colombo Art Mule – An exploration of Colombo’s art scene

Discover the birth of contemporary and modern art originating from non-other than its capital Colombo. Witness its evolution through half a century inspiring and captivating young talent from around the island.

The tour will start at the house of an artist and then proceed to The Sapumal Foundation where we will explore their private collection and focus on four key artists who contributed immensely to the art circle in Colombo.

Then we have a brief stop at Saskia Fernando’s art gallery before driving past the works of Colombo’s Street Art Painters. Our next stop is the Academy of Design Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, where we get in insight into the story of the present art movement in the city. We conclude our tour by appreciating an exhibition of art at the Barefoot Gallery.

We can tailor-make the experience for families with children where the kids get to have a hands-on painting class with your host at their residence. Your host will also do their explanations at the art galleries you will be visiting in a way the kids will also understand the story of art in Colombo. 

This tour is very interactive. It gets more and more interesting as you partake in conversation with your host.