A trip after Sri Lankan blast

barathee

Member
Hi BCM Tourians,

Its been a while after I wrote a log here. Its been a while after I took my camera as well. Its been a memorable trip after a long time. It really helps. It helps us to have a wounderful time with family. It improves the bonding between the family. Good to see kids exposed to different places, cultures. I saved something every month to have a trip by year end. We have no plans about the places. I thought about Kerala, Bali or Phuket. Suddenly my wife and I thought about Sri Lanka by the month of March this year. We arranged a local tour company for suggestions and asked them to take us around.

Unfortunately the cruel easter sunday blast carried out by radical minds of Sri Lanka. After-effects such as communal riots, safety notices issued by Indian MEA raised our concerns. We went an extreme decision of asking for refund. On the other hand, we may travel to Kerala or any part of India. While Indian hand is being exposed to external world in Easter bombing, is India safe? So we decided to keep our plans as such. Our tour operator Mr Dinesh of Blue Lanka Tours gave us confidence of refund in full, even if we cancel our trip at last moment.

Day 1: 4th June Tue
The trip had started on 4th June as planned from SIN as planned. One common behavior with Indian airports is to charge heavily after you went in. Even for water bottles, single cup of tea they charge 3 or 4 times higher. The airports of our republic should not penalize their passengers for being hungry. They should know at what price, you can get a toast and coffee after you get in.
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We are going to Colombo via Chennai. Our flight to Chennai is delayed by an hour. So I had enough time to capture some pictures.
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Morning flights to India. The dreamliner is ready to depart to Delhi and 320 neo is at the bay scheduled to depart to Chennai..
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And the IX scheduled for Madurai..
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The delayed air india pilot apologized. The journey started with a welcome drink as usual. The journey was smooth except a troublesome neighbour :). Air India stopped Dreamliner in this route long back, stating air strip maintenance at Chennai and Mumbai. Many frequent flyers of AI do not believe this as the company (that too a loss making one) will replace a dreamliner with a narrow bady fleet for such reasons for long time. Thanks to such bureaucratic decision, we lost dreamliner for Chennai and Mumbai (forever if I am not wrong).
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We landed in Chennai in hot summer. Our flight to Colombo is scheduled next day morning at 6 AM.

(to show case pleasant sri lanka in further posts.....)
 
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barathee

Member
Summer in Chennai/Tamilnadu is one of among the worsts. If it rains, Chennai cries. If sun shines, Chennai cries. But no one expected Chennai will face water scarcity, even to drink!! Many offices and schools are affected. We stayed in Chennai for 15 hours before our flight to Colombo. Heat Heat Heat.. Heat everywhere.

05 June 19
Ok. Good Morning from Chennai. We started as early as 3 AM to catch the early morning flight to Colombo. As soon as we get down at Chennai airport, Kharthik, my younger son, vomitted as he had motion sickness. I was worried about this trip for two reasons, motion sickness of my kids and their food preferences - hit by the first one even before boarding to Colombo :shock:. The man with a sandal colour safari offered his water bottle to clean my kid.

Chennai airport is usually busy in the early morning because of its connectivity to Middle east. Fortunately the immigration queue is lesser. I have been asked for the reason for my Colombo trip. I expected the immigration officer would warn me about MEA's travel warning to SL. He didn't. Passing immigration, we met the man in sandal colour safari again. We realized he is working in Customs. Thank you for your mind gesture, sir! :)

Dont be suprised. with in another 15 minutes, my wife saw 'usual govt staff'. She said the lady officer in security scanning made a nasty comments at those who are new to airport security scanning. People of different type. Officers are also like that!

Kannan (my elder son) and I roam around the old international terminal, as it is too cold to sit in one place. In addition, we felt sleepy as well. My wife and younger son couldnt control their sleep. We didnt want to disturb them as well. This terminal still keep the passenger remember about Chennai's old journey nostalgia, like free wired telephone, smelly and dripping toilets :)
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Air India AI273 operates A320 in this route, One of the dirtiest planes I have seen. The overhead compartments had the traces of dirt all over. It was stuffy during our flight as well. But I need to accept that this is the cheapest ticket, I got.

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All of us were sleepy. Kannan's eyes looked like swallon as he didn't have enough sleep for two consecutive days. Both kids started sleeping even before we depart.

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We had a glimpse of beautiful sunrise while taxiing. Many BCM tourists travel long to get sunrise. You will know how refreshing the sunrise is.

Most of my rides were early morning rides. See -
It is pretty good to start a day like this, isn't it?

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The flight started on time. As we get up early, we were damn hungry. Both boys as sleep. I munched the podi-idly+vadai south Indian breakfast. 100% consumed. Nothing left. :razz:

We landed on time. The airport was less crowded. By the time we fill the immigration form and go to immigration counter, it was empty. It is pain to see a country where Indians, Europeans and Chinese were queuing, is totally empty. We wish the country should back on track soon.

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Airport tightened the security so we need to take a shuttle bus to the near by car park. Alas, we didn't our guide was waiting for us at the airport. Earlier, we had been instructed to wait at car park. By the time we get down at car park, we realized that we landed in 'another-india'. Auto (three-wheel), taxi drivers luring us, the roads with pan-parag stains. By the time my Sri Lankan contact finds me, we get a real taste :cool:

We started to our first location of interest Kandy, with our friendly guide.
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Before start writing about Kandy, The above picture can give a better idea about the road. It is a two lane road. Seems to be very busy. The left and right side is full of farm fields and small green hills. I recalled my trip to Munnar, Kerala. Not only me, many Indian tourists say Sri Lanka looks like Kerala.

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On the way, The man of lumbini - the god of Bodh Gaya blessed us all over. Oh ya, it is a Buddhist country. We had stopped in couple of places for security verification. Military and security persons standing in important places. By the time they are convinced that we are 'real tourists' we got clearance.

We started to up-hill gradually. My guide Tushara was saying that we were going in Colombo - Kandy main road. It was an ancient bullock cart trail converted to a road. Yes, most of the roads in India is also like that. Recently, all the main roads of Tamilnadu had been upgraded and toll fee was imposed. We may expect SL will have the same any time soon.

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More to come. Stay connected. Have a good time friends.
 

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barathee

Member
Colombo to Kandy main road reminds me about the roads between t2 cities of Tamilnadu. Later My mind assumed we are travelling around the greeny roads of Kerala state. Mango or coconut groves on both sides makes me to feel home sick. That was a life many of us had lost, for ever... we got out of that life and sigh with our inability for not getting it back.

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As the road is not wide enough, the travel takes along time. When a 'Lanka Ashok Leland' bus stops in a bus stop, we need to move carefully. Sometimes we need to wait for it to get Bus driver's approval to go ahead.
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Our first stop is the beautiful Peradaniya Botanical Garden at the outskirts of Kandy. We were too tired as it was a long day for us. But this place is worth seeing. Though I can not compare it with Singapore Botanical Garden, which is a Unesco site, this attracts our mind as it gives the mixture of ethnicity and botany together.

The entrance was so secured due to the bombing. No rush. Few locals were about to go inside as it was a public holiday due to Eid al-Fitr. They were checked by armed securities. My guide hinted the that we were from India, we were given priority to enter the park. This is not only a courtesy, but this shows how Sri Lanka treats their guests..

We were hungry. In fact damn hungry. Tushara suggested to have something in the café inside. We were about to find coffee, tea, alcohol with western foods. By the time we start the trip, it is good to take something without preference. Interestingly my wife and sons felt the same way. We had some sandwiche and black tea. Need of the hour!
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Photo(c) 2 Days In Kandy: 7 Brilliant Places To Visit In Kandy Sri Lanka [2019] | Dream Big, Travel Far I forget to shoot this!

We had a walk around the park, on the bank of Mahaweli river. After the food, we were able to walk around this beautiful garden. Walking along the bank of a river, with water stream on a side, greeny lawn with durian, banyan trees. It was so good.
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Mahaweli Ganga seems to be a longer river in srilanka. It starts from Nuwala Eliya district; run through 300+ kilometers and finally reaches sea shore in Trincomalee bay. It was a emerald coloured stream surrounded by hills with green trees and bushes.
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There was a royal walk, a road guarded by palm trees on both sides. Good place to take wedding/honeymoon photos. Singles pls take note (no objects if you are planning for double or triple:lol:)!
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There were saplings planted by leaders of different countries. I found a magizham tree (மகிழ் மரம்). I recalled poetries about magizham.
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I have taken this photo beneath the magizham tree.

The hoarding says, it was planted by Prince of Wales in 1922.
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Mazham is a tree of religious interest. It was the holy tree of Tirupunavasal Shiva temple, near my native place.
It is a also a tree of historical interest. Because it was mentioned in Sangam literature dates back to 300 BC to 300 CE. Sangam literature Kurinji pattu (Poetries of Kurinji) 70 mentions this the flower of this tree பசும்பிடி வகுளம் பல்லிணர்க் காயா as Vakulam!

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We didn't go a full round. We didn't go to orchid gardens as well. We were happy with whatever we saw. So we preferred to go inside the city.

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We have been taken to a place from where we can see the entire Kandy city. There was a Buddha statue at top of a hill, as if the city is under vigilantly safe guarded always. We had a nice view of the lake and tooth relic temple and the hill behind the temple..
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We went to the Hindu shaivaite temple at Kandy. Recently renovated. Usually i didn't prefer to at that time as we were tired, not clean due to roaming around. But we had other appointments next day. Our gods are always forgiving, aren't they. So I took liberty to enter he temple after washing our legs and faces.
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It was recently renovated. Kumbabishekam (Consecration) was performed. Still the rituals were in progress.

We got packed dinner and left to the hotel. Vyana boutique- a neat hotel in the bank of Kandy lake. My tour operator was able to get a premium accommodation for us. But the hotel looks emptiest. Staff members were lesser , lesser than five?
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Photo(c) Google

We need to climb the steps of multiple levels to reach our room. Wah. That was a freedom spirit, we get after entering the room. Freedom from our daily schedule. Free from day today hackles.

More to come..
 
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karun0035

Well-Known Member
Nice. I've been thinking about a trip to Sri Lanka for a long time. Waiting to see further updates!
I second that. After using my spare time in lockdown period, I am highly convinced to visit Sri Lanka for various reasons. Some of them are:
1. Affordable! (if you compare other countries)
2. Connection to Indian culture.
 
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