A Requiem For Barbara Sansoni: From 1962 …. – by Michael Roberts Source:thuppahis.com Somasiri Devendra, ** whose chosen title is “A wooden bridge, an iron house, and Barbara then ….” .………… of such are memories made, writes Somasiri Devendra So, Barbara has ridden off into the sunset, on her white horse, after “a hard day’s night” leaving behind memories of the times when she was a person, not an icon, and very good company indeed. Those memories reach back 60 years. In 1962 I was the only unmarried officer, in our ‘ship’ in Diyatalawa – Her Majesty’s Ceylon Ship “Rangalla” – living in solitary splendour in the Wardroom (the Officers’ Mess). That made me the official host to visiting dignitaries. One day I was told to stand by to entertain a WW2 veteran, a Lieut. Cdr. Hildon Sansoni, who would be coming on a longish holiday with his family. Proctor of the Supreme Court, National ...

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Devil’s Staircase – popular hiking adventure in Central Highlands By Arundathie Abeysinghe   There are several natural as well as man-made formations in many countries that have earned the name “Devil’s Staircase”. Sri Lanka also has one of the most dangerous popular hiking routes in Central Highlands with sharp zig-zag twists, old dilapidated roads through tea estates which are extremely steep and difficult, yet exciting to hike… The picturesque Devil’s Staircase trail is a well-known secret among adventure loving locals as well as foreigners, engulfed by the serenity of the misty mountains, breathtaking vistas, rolling carpets of tea of the Central Highlands… When looking from a distance, the terrain has an infinity atmosphere where the sky and lands meet, engulfed in the beauty of Mother Nature blending perfectly with awe-inspiring vistas of mountain ranges, the sky and the impeccable clouds, a mesmerizing view… Devil’s Staircase popular as “Yakshayage Padipela” (in ...

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Kohonawala – cinematic hamlet in Central Highlands By Arundathie Abeysinghe Spectacular and epic verdant vistas of gorgeous hill country scenery… Misty weather and intense clouds enhance the gorgeous landscape hiding the panorama from the other end of the Central Highlands… The highland reaching an abrupt end with dramatic and breathtaking views rendering a cinematic experience… An impression of being at the end of the world… Kohonawala is an isolated village located at the bottom of a deep, narrow gorge… The abyss is constantly mist engulfed with an impression of being over the clouds. If there is no mist, Eastern and South Eastern areas of Sri Lanka can be seen from Kohonawala. Kohonawala is similar to a fairy tale hamlet with its spectacular vistas, a hamlet which receives sunlight only for six hours (a day), between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm … As the hamlet is surrounded by a ring of ...

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Mysterious Halaba Bridge in Badulla By Arundathie Abeysinghe   This spectacular mysterious steel bridge is located across Uma Oya at Halaba, a small village located near Uma Oya (Oya meaning stream in Sinhala) in *Badulla in close proximity to breathtaking hamlet*Ella. It is 113 meters (372 feet) long. The bridge is built at the widest points of Uma Oya, approximately 91 meters (300 feet) wide and 7-12 meters (25-40 feet) deep.  The two ends of the Bridge are approximately three meters wide (10 feet) and the mid portion is approximately two meters (8 feet) wide. The Bridge is considered as a mysterious bridge as there are no roads (there had never been any roads even in the past) except a footpath on either side of the bridge.  This bridge had been installed by British during the British Colonial Era, but the reason for installing this bridge is not known. According ...

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Moon Plains – aura of magical splendor in Central Highlands By Arundathie Abeysinghe Situated about nine kilometers from Nuwara Eliya town, Sandatenna (translated as Moon Plains) is an epitome of pristine beauty in the Central Highlands. Pidurutalagala, Horton Plains National Park and Hakgala Botanical Gardens are the most visited sites in Nuwara Eliya, whereas Moon Plains is a site rarely visited by the majority of tourists. Yet, it is an ideal site for those who like to admire spectacular vistas and capture the aura of magical splendor. This is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts as well as average tourists as the view from the summit of Moon Plains is similar to an epic scene, a place described in fairy tales.  A magnificent platform has been constructed at the summit. Hence, visitors can see breathtaking vistas of the surroundings as well as the valley below. According to some foreign tourists, ...

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Buduruwagala Buddha Statue – tallest rock-carved statue By Arundathie Abeysinghe   The Buddha Statue at Buduruwagala Rock Carved Temple is considered as the tallest rock-carved statue in the world after the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha Statues in Afghanistan.  Situated about nine kilometers from *Wellawaya on *Thanamalwila Road (about 25 kilometers from *Ella), Buduruwagala Rock Carved Temple is a less visited place by local as well as foreign tourists. The location can be reached from a scenic road.  According to scholars, Buduruwagala means “the rock with the statue of the Buddha” as Buduruwagala is derived from Buddha (Budu), images (ruva) and stone (gala) in Sinhala. There are seven figures of the Buddha at the Temple, carved on a rock at the center of the cliff face, centered by a huge 15.3 meter Buddha Statue in Abhaya Mudra* position and there are three smaller statues on both sides. On the tallest statue ...

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Adisham Bungalow – wrapped in serenity of misty hills By Arundathie Abeysinghe     Situated about four kilometers from Haputale and designed in Tudor and Jacobean style, similar to Leeds Castle in Kent with solid granite walls as well as long narrow windows and chimneys, Adisham Bungalow is situated in a spectacular environment with undulating mountain ranges and breathtaking valleys. The well-maintained charming gardens with blooming flowers of the Bungalow have the allure of English Gardens. The terraced well-manicured lawns, flowerbeds as well as the orchards are etched on the skyline to take the shape of an outline known as “Sleeping Warrior”. Visitors to Adisham are enchanted by the melodious chirpings of green barbets, paradise flycatchers, blue magpies, horn bills as well as some endemic birds which frequent the area. The railway line between Haputale and *Idalgashinna Railway Stations is situated below the Bungalow. Situated in the verdant mountains of ...

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Ravana Ella and Ravana Cave – entwined in myth and legend By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Cascading from a height of 25 meters grandly down many rock faces from an oval-shaped concave rocky outcrop, Ravana Ella (Ella meaning waterfall in Sinhala) or Ravana Falls is the source of many myths and legends. Ravana Ella is one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka and also a major tourist attraction. This waterfall is situated in Ravana Ella Wildlife Sanctuary about six kilometers from *Ella Railway Station on the road towards south of Sri Lanka through Ella Gap. It is linked to the Hindu epic *Ramayana – a historic tale that is based in India and Sri Lanka. According to Ramayana, the waterfall is named after the famous king, King Ravana who kidnapped Princess Sita from India and hid her in the caves behind the waterfall. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation ...

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Ella Rock – hike through highland hamlets By Arundathie Abeysinghe   A jagged peak with an abrupt drop… Spectacular views of Ella Gap and epic vistas of the valley below… Paths through a railway line and bridges… Hike through vegetable plots… Views of trains on the up country line from the summit of the Rock …  Situated about five kilometers from Ella town, this dramatic peak is a popular excursion among local and foreign tourists. Optically interesting Ella Rock is a gorgeous cliff face rising high above Ella. The hike to Ella Rock is approximately a 10 kilometer round trip through mesmerizing woodlands, rubber plantations and verdant tea plantations of Ella, a serene hamlet in Central Highlands. The trek to the Rock can be completed within five hours with one hour for relaxing and basking in the glory of the verdant vistas including photo sessions of spectacular panorama.   According ...

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