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Savoring the simple life of a Rural Village

Savoring the simple life of a Rural Village

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.

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.

Crab Curry – A Sri Lankan Favorite

Crab Curry – A Sri Lankan Favorite

Being an island, Sri Lanka has some of the most abundant sea life found on earth. This bounty from nature results in some of the freshest sea food available. The lagoon crab is one of the country’s lesser known exports. This species Scylla serrata is also known as the mud crab and found in the estuaries and mangroves in the Sri Lankan coast. These crabs are served in Singapore as the famous Singapore Chilli Crab, when in-fact they are all exported from Sri Lanka.

This crab is much loved even in Sri Lanka and usually prepared as a spicy curry. With generous amounts of curry powder (cumin, fennel, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves, dried curry leaves, cinnamon) and chilli powder, turmeric and coconut milk. Leaves of the Drumstick Tree known as Murunga are added to the curry.

The delicious curry can be enjoyed with rice, bread, pittu or any form of starch which is to one’s liking. But one must ensure to taste the gravy which has the real flavor behind the curry.

Full of depth and flavor this is the ideal meal for a grand Sri Lankan Sunday Lunch.

Words and Photos by Rajiv Welikala