“From India? Oh! Mother Country!” exclaimed my tuktuk driver when I told him I was from India. Many of them spoke fluent Hindi and were just happy to know that I was from neighbouring country. A lot of them were just amused by my hair (I had a head full of turquoise hair then; it’s violet now). The first three of my trip to Sri Lanka were spent exploring the southwest coast – Colombo to Galle and around. The weather was largely unpredictable here – from too hot and humid to heavy rains which ate up on my beach time. However, I covered a considerable part of the coast. Here’s my journey in pictures.
A TRAIN RIDE TO REMEMBER
Beautiful Sri Lankan countryside view at one side and the gorgeous Indian Ocean on the other. The train ride from Colombo to Galle had my eyes glued to the window.
BEING TRANSPORTED TO ANOTHER ERA
That’s what the Dutch Fort in Galle feels like with its colonial buildings. Oh! And look at that beautiful Galle sky.
THE COLOURFUL CAFES
The place is teeming with cafes and restaurants but I would recommend Elita for its spectacular seafood and meat heavy menu. The fish here is absolutely fresh.
MOM AND POP SHOPS
The best food in Galle is served at these small family run shops. This is where I’d usually go for breakfast.
WALKING AROUND GALLE FORT
Dutch Reformed Church in Galle Fort. The sky was always full of drama.
Galle Library, one of the prettiest libraries I have seen.
My favourite part of the Historical Mansion Museum in Galle Fort, a room full of ancient cooking equipment.
THAT GIRL IN RED
All over Galle Fort there were people shooting models who were impeccably dressed. Shoots for ads or pre-wedding shoots? I am not sure.
The old Dutch market, a lane of shops selling fruits, vegetables and spices.
THE CHOON PAN MEN
All over Sri Lanka, you’ll find tuktuks selling fresh breads and snacks most commonly to the tune of Beethoven’s Fur Elise.
A LIGHTHOUSE AT THE END OF THE ISLAND
Dondra is the southmost end of Sri Lanka with a beautiful view of the ocean and a lighthouse standing guard.
THE ISLAND TEMPLE IN MATARA
There was no dearth of Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, but few were as gorgeous as this one in Matara.
ISLAND WITHIN AN ISLAND
Gokkala Lake Safari, one of the best kept secrets around Galle. THe safari took me to a cinnamon island where I saw the cinnamon farmer carving out beautiful quills of this fragrant spice.
A MUSEUM OF DESPAIR
The Tsunami Photo Museum in Hikkaduwa showing the damage from the 2004 Tsunami. The museum has been built by Mrs Kamani De Silva with the help of a Dutch volunteer Miss Jacky. De Silva’s house was destroyed in the tsunami and the museum stands in that rundown place now.
Ariyapala Mask Museum in Ambalangoda, a small town between Galle and Colombo. Everything here is hand crafted (you can have a look at their workshop too). Every mask here has a meaning behind it – some are supposed to bring good luck and some are supposed to protect you from the evil.