Friday, June 20, 2008

Poson Poya

This year Poson Poya, fell on Wednesday, June 18th 2008 and therefore was a midweek day. There was no exodus of the Colombo middle class to provincial 5 star hotels for a weekend of fun and therefore these hotels were empty. I went to the Deer Park Hotel around 8.30pm the night before Poya to have dinner and the lights at the entrance were switched off and I was told the Restaurant also was closed. I suspect they did not even have one guest.

Earlier that same day after climbing the Dambulla Cave temple where the power had failed, and we just had to view in poor light, we went to Heritance Kandalama for tea and a light bite, and even there it was eerily empty. The staff all seemed lost and wandering about polishing the floors and practicing bar skills like throwing the bottle over the head for want of something better to do. This is the best time of year for all those hotels as the air is dry, there is no rain, and the wind keeps the whole place beautifully cool at all times with no mosquitoes. A short drive thereafter to Sigiriya and the climb seemed even easier than before with all the new ladders in place and one section for ascent and another for descent making all much easier than my first climb which was as precarious as one could make it following the contours of the rock holding onto rusty chains.

We settled into the Giritale Hotel for the night, primarily because of the unmatched location, where only one other room was taken. The stunning view in almost any other country would keep this place full all year round and as I mentioned earlier this is the best time of year to be there. Walking out at dawn on Poya morning into the lobby in my sarong and banyan seemed quite natural as there was no one else, not even hotel staff hovering around. The morning pot of tea was ordered and enjoyed with the birds-eye view of the birds especially the Brahmini Kite.

What I am trying to say is that we have some of the nicest hotel locations on the face of the planet and they are all empty, dead, almost forgotten, and there is no reason why our glorious tourist industry should blame terrorism, as it is just the excuse. I was telling this friend, who was with me that for me the first impressions of a country count an awful lot in making up my mind about a place, and that all the travel agent has to do is to whisk the traveler straight from the airport to these locations as the flights arrive at dawn and they can get here in a few hours, which will give the impression especially in June of a lush peaceful tropical paradise far removed from the media spotlight that appears to cloud one’s thinking. It is just marketing skill that can turn a threat into an opportunity and then give a tourist the holiday of a lifetime, which is all we should strive for, so that their word of mouth is better than any marketing plan in luring more to our shores to enjoy the immense range of interest we can offer the true explorer.

The Poson Poya morning trip into the Polonnaruwa ruined city was a carnival of hand tractors and trailers packed to the brim with people on a day out with beautiful parasols keeping out the hot midday sun from their faces. It is enough to melt the heart of the observer to see the patience with which these people endure the bumpy ride with no apparent discomfort, so they can partake in all sorts of activities of the day.

Near one of the ancient ponds there was this snake charmer with two cobras and one python, see photo attached with a throng of people surrounding watching the proceedings. There were hat sellers, ice-cream sellers, clairvoyants and palm readers and an assortment of vendors seizing the opportunity to make a buck.

The various food Dansalas were everywhere so no one need go hungry today as every bit of food was free!! The biblical view of the thousands of older ladies who had come to partake in the religious ceremonies at the famous Gal Vihare were all seated all along the hillocks having their packed lunches provided for them by some well wisher.

The flowers on the offering table at the Buddha statues were so serene and natural as would be expected in any religious place. The relatively modern version of the Buddhist flag was everywhere and the very same flags were also used to flag down the traveler to imbibe in some refreshment.

What was more surprising was that all along the road all the way from Polonnaruwa to Godagama, there were these Dansalas where no one need be hungry as there was food for the asking. The crowds seem to all have decided that they were all going to eat out today, with no one cooking at home for once. Everyone in the country seemed to be on their way to a free eatery near their homes, with the usual mode of transport being the tractor-trailer. It is a nightmare scenario for a motorist to navigate between parked vehicles in the middle of the road as no one seemed to care where they stopped, but every one seemed to enjoy themselves and that was all that mattered a nation in a sociable, jovial, eating, singing and dancing mood.


machang said...


Just letting you know I left you a comment on the "my first computer" post that might be helpful.

Anonymous said...

this is an amazingly interesting blog. please update more often.

Shardha said...

Nice bit of writing Ranjit. Let me know on your next visit so that we could join you. But hope you have a nice toilet and bed.

Anonymous said...

Hello, where are you? dying to read the next post!

Anonymous said...

Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your
favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the
simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you,
I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know
about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having
side effect , people can take a signal. Will likely be
back to get more. Thanks
Also visit my site ;

Anonymous said...

First off I want to say fantastic blog! I
had a quick question that I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I've had
difficulty clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
are usually wasted just trying to figure out how to begin.
Any ideas or tips? Appreciate it!
My webpage :: hyper-Wiki.Fr

Anonymous said...

You ought to take part in a contest for one of the most useful blogs on the web.
I most certainly will recommend this site!
my site -

Anonymous said...

Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?

There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thanks
My webpage : Eveningrainfarm.Com

Anonymous said...

Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious opinion, post is nice, thats why i have read it fully
Here is my homepage :: Sams Instant Cash Loan

Anonymous said...

Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having problems finding one?
Thanks a lot!
My web blog ;

Anonymous said...

Great weblog right here! Also your site quite a bit up very fast!
What web host are you the use of? Can I get your associate link in your host?
I want my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol
my page - Sams Quick Loans

Anonymous said...

Hi! I simply would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have got right here on this post.

I'll be coming back to your blog for more soon.

Visit my site - laser cellulite treatment

Anonymous said...

Hello there, I discovered your site via Google while looking for a
comparable subject, your web site got here up, it appears great.

I've bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
Hi there, just become alert to your blog via Google, and found that it is really informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels. I'll appreciate when
you proceed this in future. Numerous other folks will be benefited
from your writing. Cheers!

Look at my website cellulite treatment cream