Category Archives: Sri Lanka Travels

colombo suburb roads

Why Do Colombo Suburb Roads Get Flooded For Heavy Monsoon Rains?

Sri Lanka is under water again…. Here are some pictures of flooded bits of roads I encountered on my way to Colombo today morning.
colombo suburb roads
I encountered FOUR such flooded places in the roads on my way today from Wattala To Colombo. This flooded bit of road is in the place called Pansala Junction in Hunupitiya, Wattala area close to Kelaniya. It is in the 261 bus route where the Pettah- Mahara Handiya bus goes.

colombo flooding roads

I hear there were similar places all around Colombo and suburbs with roads partially under water making traffic jams and causing difficulty. Every year or two there is an unusually high Monsoon rain fall to Sri Lanka and we see roads go under water like this. Why do roads get flooded like this every year or so?

colombo wattala road
This photo shows how they were clearing the road in one place using a backhoe loader and digging the water canals deeper. Don’t know how effective it is because the water level was still the same even after some digging.

Its causing great difficulty to those using these road whether they walk or travel by vehicle. There are sometimes severe traffic jams. Because of such flooding roads sometimes buses and taxis don’t want go through these roads and people have to walk for miles. My father-in-law got caught like this when the Buses and three-wheelers stoped going in the 261 Bus Route when buses because of flooded bit of road you saw in the first picture. How can office people and passersby walk thorough knee deep water with there office suit/dress when the roads are like this?

New Shopping & Service Centers On The Colombo Southern Expressway

Have you heard about the new shopping and service centers coming up in the Colombo Southern E1 expressway? I got some photographs of them on the way to Galle recently. Here they are.

service center expressway

I took these photos using my normal Nokia phone’s camera. They aren’t high quality photos but you can see the new buildings of the southern expressway shopping and service center coming up nicely. They looked good like a giant steel crescent rising out the road sides.

highway shopping center

This is how they look when you pass it on just in front of it on the expressway. There is a high bund built right in front I think to prevent vehicles that may accidentally slip and getting hit on the buildings. That’s a good precaution. There is access point roads also built with this so motorist can drive to the shopping center. The road you see in the above picture outside of our lanes road barriers is actually the access road for people who are coming out of the service center to rejoin the expressway.

srilanka highway shopsI was impressed by its size too. This is a massive building. You can see how big it is by comparing part of the shopping and service center with the tiny three-wheeler that’s parked in front of it. You won’t notice how big it is when you speed alone the highway at 100kmph but if you go near it I think you will really appreciate its size.

colombo south expressway

There were two buildings like this one in each side of the road. Soon the motorist traveling on the Colombo Southern Highway will be able to enjoy breaks and fill up there fuel tanks and drink some tea or do a spot of shopping on the way to Colombo or Galle. I heard that there are going to be shopping shops for tourist, fashion stores, supermarket as well as fuel stations and restaurants in this Southern highway service centers so who knows, it might even become more interesting and jam packed in future than our only shopping mall in Majestic City, Bambalapitiya.

expressway petrol shed

There are also a couple of smaller half circle roofed outer building alone side the big building. I think those are going to be the fuel pumping petrol sheds while the main building will be for restaurants and shopping stores.

sri lanka food restaurant

Sri Lankan Malay Food At Dehiwala Malay Restaurant

sri lanka food restaurant

A Special Malay Rice Dish Called “Nasi Goreng”

Have you tasted Sri Lankan Malay foods? Frankly, until recently I handn’t. So I went with a friend to have dinner at this place auspiciously called as the, “Malay Restaurant” in Dehiwala Hill Street.

When we went we saw they had several special Malay dishes I wanted to tryout like Malay Dum Buriyani, Mee Goreng Egg Noodles and Malay pickle mixed Arabic rice. In addition they also had other general Sri Lankan food like various kinds of mouth watering Buriyani, Pittu, Parata, Naan Rottis, Lamprais, Burgers and Sandwiches. These food looked good too. I think people generally like this restaurant if I were to go by the crowd of people stopping their vehicles and waiting for their take away food order in front of the Malay restaurant.

restaurants sri lanka

Because  we can’t taste all the dishes at once, my friend and I settled on a special Malay rice dish called “Nasi Goreng” mixed wit Sea Food. The top photo here shows the Malay rice dish we got (which I photographed before eating so that I may one day write about it here on Sri Lankan News Online) . I assure you this Nasi Goreng rice dish stuff tasted as good as it looked. It had a unique taste of its own. If you really want to know the taste like any food cousines its hard to describe but imagine something like what sea food like cuttle fish and buriyani rice mix dish taste like. They also had this Nasi Goreng rice dish with Chicken, Beef or Mutton to select but we went with the sea food.

Their menu card was surprisingly detailed about the special Malay foods they had on it. For instance this Nasi Goreng rice dish was describe as made out of basmathi rice, stir fried vegetables, pineapple stew, Chutney, egg Omelette and Chilli Paste.

While their dinner with this Malay spice rice stuff was excellent, I was disappointed and felt cheated out with what I got served for dessert. You see, for dessert on their menu we could select 1) Wattalappam, 2) Cream Caramel, 3) Ice Cream Topped Fruit and lastly 4) Fruit Triffle. The first three dessert are their in almost all Sri Lankan restaurants so my friend and I thought to go for Fruit Triffle. That was a bad idea. Their Fruit Triffle turned out to be nothing more than Custard Pudding topped with Jelly. Add insult to injury, it was premade and was a very small quantity in a small yoghourt cup like disposable plastic container. Not worth Rs. 50 let alone Rs. 150/= we were charged for the dessert.

sri lankan food

But despite the bad experience with that dessert I’d recommend this restaurant for their well made and special Sri Lankan food belonging to the small Malay community of this island. Its not every where you find authentic Malay food restaurants in Sri Lanka like this one. So if anyone wants to try out Malay food in Sri Lanka this will be a good place tryout.

Price wise this restaurant is a middle class Sri Lankan restaurant with food not very cheap nor very expensive. The one portion of asi Goreng rice dish we got was Rs. 380 and it was enough for two hungry 25 year old guys. The place caters to the middle to lower upper class citizens of Sri Lanka I think but it suitable to take even a foreign tourist guest you have. It is also a very busy place (specially on weekends) so you have to wait at least half an hour before they serve the food. Take away orders are not that delaying and they also seem to get lot of takeaway orders on small call center like reception area they got here. I must add a word about the the restaurant’s staff. They are not the most friendly or cooperative but that maybe because I caught them at the busy time.

Overall they do have some very tasty and special Malay food dishes with Malay sounding terms (they give a full glossary like menu leaflet, see in the photo below). So you might like to try out these Sri Lankan Malay food stuff sometime here.

sri lankan food menu

Update: This Malay food restaurant also has a good updated website with food prices, contact details etc. at www.malayrestaurant.lk . Their sites homepage says, the restaurant, located at the heart of Hill Street at No. 115, Hill Street, Dehiwela with a well equipped kitchen attached, which recently underwent expansion and the restaurant too underwent expansion to accommodate more dining guests, and will be very soon to accommodate four fold of our present capacity of dining guests.

colombo port construction

Colombo Port Set To Enter Top 10 Busiest Ports in the World!

Even though Sri Lanka is a small and developing country, it currently has one of the busiest container port and largest harbour in the world. The Colombo port in Sri Lanka which is currently ranked as the 29th busiest port in the world in Wikipedia’s list of world’s busiest container ports.

new colombo port

Above Pic: A New 1.5km long container quay of Colombo Port, spreading out to the Indian Ocean from the shores of Colombo.

However as you can see in the photos here which I took recently, a mega expansion project is going on at the Colombo port. This Colombo port expansion project is going to it 3 times as big as it is now!  That means when this port expansion project is over (within 2 years), Colombo port will be set to become one of the 10 largest and busiest ports in the world!

According to the previously mentioned Wikipedia world’s busiest port list, Colombo port handled about 4 million TEUs (or Twenty-foot equivalent units of containers) in 2010. That made it the 29th busiest port in the world. This itself is a impressive record for a country like small Sri Lanka, considering that world famous and busy ports like New York City (ranked world’s 19th) handled only 5.3 million TEUs in 2010.

When the Colombo Port expansion project (called the Colombo South Port) is  complete the Colombo Port will have the ability to handle more then 12 million TEUs annually. According to current world port statistic that will make Colombo Port able to claim the 9th or 10th place among the top 10 busiest ports in the world.

colombo port construction

Above Pic Shows construction work going on 24/7 at Colombo Port expansion project. The strange shaped objects in the foreground are the giant concrete boulders that are used to fill the sea, reclaim land and build the new quays of the port.

S0 look forward very soon for the day our port will beat world famous ports like Rotterdam  (11.1 million TEUs, Busiest Port in Europe) and Los Angeles Port  (6.5 million TEUs, busiest port in North America). Not bad for a small 3rd world country no?

Largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka: Photos of 1624 Trincomalee Fort Fredrick

If you visit Trincomalee area in North Eastern Sri Lanka you can find many tourist attractions to occupy your time.  Some of them are the hot water springs in Kanniyayi, the Trincomalee Harbour, the Pigeon Island, the old Dutch Fort, the Nilaveli beach and other beaches for surfing, scuba diving, fishing and whale watching, not to mention the town itself with its blend of people with their different cultures and traditions.

Out of these famous locations in Trincomalee, the old Dutch Fort is perhaps the most important tourist attraction. That is because it is not just a old fortress. This fort is a very diverse attraction for a tourist, because within it a curious tourist has got many things to see and experience.

Sadly many people don’t know about the things you got to see in this historic Fort. So I thought to photograph and document things of interest you find within the old Trincomalee Dutch fort which also happens to be the largest Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka. I took the photographs of the Fort I’m sharing here on a visit to the Trincomalee somewhere in the end of September 2011. So without further ado here is the largest Dutch fort in Sri Lanka at your perusal…

 

Trincomalee Fort Fredrick (1624-1948) As Seen From Trincomalee Town Dutch Bay Beach

trincomalee beach pictures

The Dutch Fort as seen from the Trincomalee town beach. As you will see in the map below the Fort is built on a small north facing peninsular land mass that juts out of a larger peninsular  in which the Trincomalee town is today located.

The Map of the Fort

[mappress mapid=”4″]

trincomalee fort dutch

The Entrance To the Fort 

trincomalee fort entrance

Backside of the Fort Entrance

srilanka dutch fort

Fort Fredrick Road leading to Trincomalee Town

fort entrance road

Road within the Fort to Koneswaram Hindu Kovil

trincomalee pictures fort

 

The Army Camp of Sri Lanka Army Gajaba Regiment

trincomalee army camp

srilanka army camp

Koneswaram Kovil (Hindu Temple)

trincomalee Koneswaram kovil

Monkeys Waiting for Food from Tourist & Pilgrims

srilanka wildlife photos

 

Tourist shops and souvenir stands within Fort on the way to Koneswaram Kovil

trincomalee fort market

Sweets and Food Products made primarily from Palmyra Tree

Palmyra tree products

Souvenir stand selling Seashell And Shell-work Artifacts

seashell shellwork artifacts

View of Trincomalee Town And Fishing Harbour from a hill within the Fort

trincomalee town pictures

A hill within the fort

trincomalee photos fort

 

The Place called Lover’s Leap

srilanka lovers leap

 

Remains of World War II British Coastal Artillery Guns

 

coastal artillery guns

world war 2 artillery

Un-Preserved Ruins & Wilderness within the Fort

dutch fort ruins

ruins and wild plants

Hope you enjoyed these pictures and the little detail I could provide with it. Feel free to add your comments and any knowledge about Trincomalee Fort you like to share in the comments.

pinnawela elephant orphanage

Tourist Hotels in Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage Area

pinnawela elephant orphanageAn elephant walks in front of the Elephant Park hotel after a bath in MaOya river – (Photo was taken by my cousin in a recent visit to Pinnawela

If you want to get the most of a visit to see wild Asian elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka then you have to be ready to spend sometime there. However many tourist both local and foreign visit the Pinnawala elephant sanctuary as a drop visit of few hours. I think thats because they are unaware of hotel and lodging facilities available near this orphanage which also happens to have the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

Now thanks to the elephant orphanage in Pinnawela area some small but good tourist hotels have come up. So if you are hoping to visit Pinnawala, you can spend more than a few hours, perhaps stay a day or two and watch the elephants without traveling a hour or so to big hotels located 25km away near Kandy city. The hotels in Pinnawala area are as follows;
1) Hotel Elephant Bay, Pinnawala – This is a 19 room hotel just opposite the elephant orphanage at Pinnawala. It has rooms with large private balconies and spectacular views over Ma Oya River where the Pinnawela elephants bath and soak in water for hours. The hotel also offers bicycle rental facilities for guests’ convenience which allows you to ride and experience the surrounding tropical countryside. They also have activities like hiking and fishing available.

2) Hotel Elephant View, Pinnawala – This is another small tourist hotel located right next to the Pinnawala orphanage. It has 16 rooms and all the other amenities of a small hotel.

3) Pinnawala Hotel Champis – Located at a 5-minute walk from the Pinnawala elephant orphanage is the 10 room  Hotel Champis of Pinnawela.

4) Pinnawala Elephant Park Hotel – This is a 6 room hotel located a five minute walk from the Elephant Orphanage. Guests at Hotel Elephant Park can watch elephants directly from their rooms.

All these hotels at Pinnawela have restaurants which provide an international menu and Western-style guest rooms with a private bathroom and toiletries and shower facilities. They also have room services including laundry and ironing and satellite TVs. You can make booking and also get lot more information about these hotels through the Pinnawela Hotels page in Bookings.com

 

Old Town of Madampe & Voice of America Shortwave Relay Station

This photo shows the Old Town of Madampe. Though you see only a few shops along a highway this place and surrounding areas seem to have a lot of character, history and secret missions going on.  I’ll share here what I heard about this area. I hope those from the Madampe area or know more about this area will come forward to add details about this town in the comments below.

old town madampe

Today this original Madampe town is overshadowed by the newer town known in Madampe area as the “Silver Town” which is located to the north of this old town. I heard the, “Silver Town” or the present Madampe town developed only recently as a result of banks and other important institutions opening up near the Madampe railway station which was a little away from the Madampe Old Town.

The world famous Voice of America Shortwave radio station’s Asia relay station is also located quite closeby to Madampe old town in the place called Iranawila. I was able to see the tall relay towers of the Voice of America Shortwave Radio from the paddy fields you see in the photograph below. There were a dozen or so towers and they were much taller than the telephone towers. Because I took these photos from my phone camera I couldn’t capture the towers clearly because they were very far in the horizon. I heard from Madampe people that the towers are lit at night and is a very beautiful sight to behold. According to wikimapia.org US propaganda radio stations that function under Voice of America such as Radio Ashna, Radio Azadi, Radio Farda, Radio Free Afghanistan, Radio Free Asia, Radio Liberty and Radio Sawa are aired into Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and India from this relay station in Sri Lanka.

paddy field srilanka

For those unfamiliar with the location of Madampe, it is situated in Puttalam District in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. The people of the area constitute of poor and middle class Muslims and Buddhist and Christian Sinhalese.

 

Beautiful Scenery & Places in Kandy Colombo Road Travels

Colombo and Kandy are the two biggest and most important cities in Sri Lanka. Colombo is situated in on the western shores of the Sri Lankan island while Kandy is situated almost in the center of the island between scenic mountain ranges. The distance between these two cities is about 120 kilometers and they are connected via the A1 highway of the country which is otherwise known as the Kandy Colombo road. When you travel on this road you can see some awesome scenery that is not second to any other road in the world.

Sri Lankans travel this road countless times and therefore sometimes they forget to appreciate the beauty and important places you find in this road. You need to look at it from a foreign tourists eye to appreciate how blessed this country is in natural beauty and splendor not to mention historic and tourist value. So on this page I would like to share some pictures of beautiful scenery and interesting places I photographed while traveling on Colombo Kandy road from the last few times I traveled on it.

 

scenic roads srilanka I photographed this particular tree arch just passing Nittambuwa town on the way to Colombo on April 2011. You find many scenic tree arches like this formed by big tree branches throughout the length of the A1 Kandy Colombo route.

roller highway  museumRoadside Highway Museum at Kiribatkumbura between Peradeniya and Pilimatalawa towns. Here you find original old road construction vehicles and equipments used to lay the Colombo-Kandy road such as steamrollers & bitumen boilers. Next to the museum is a replica of the 300-year old Bogoda roofed wooden bridge.

 

pictures beautiful sceneryIn several places along Colombo Kandy road you can see beautiful tall trees like this that were once planted along the roadside by someone in order to provide shade to the road users. This line of trees with blooming light pink flowers are betweenthe Nittambuwa and Thihariya towns.

Kadugannawa tunnel kandy 175 year old in-road rock tunnel at Kadugannawa Pass. Until recently all road traffic from Colombo to Kandy and beyond went through this tunnel until a bypass road stretch was built for longer and bigger vehicles.

kegalle town clockKegalle town clock tower constructed during the British colonial era.

 

Dawson Tower kadugannawaThe 38 meter tall Dawson tower as seen from Kadugannawa town. This is the tallest memorial tower in Sri Lanka constructed in memory of Captain W. F. Dawson who started building the Colombo to Kandy road just after British captured Sri Lanka in 1820s. The Dawson tower is built at the roadside of the highest altitude point of the A1 route.

 

colombo kandy roadThe Tea Station, a tea factory and restaurant by the roadside where you can sample the world famous Ceylon tea straight from the factory.

beautiful scenery roadKadugannawa pass. One side rock mountain wall and the other side of the road dangerous precipices. The road is great. View is spectacular.

beautiful sceneries pictureA beautiful tree with branches covering a large area near the Kadugannawa tunnel.

beautiful mountain roadFor several kilometers near Kadugannawa town the road passes what is known as the Kadugannawa pass. There you find spectacular views of the mountains and land hundreds of feet below like in this picture.

beautiful road sceneryA nice scenic road stretch near before Kegalle town.

beautiful pottery shopA pottery shop along the roadside. You find beautiful handicraft shops throughout the length of this route. Shops like this sell handicrafts and ingeniousness stuff made in the vicinity of the shop to tourist and road commuters.

SL Navy Water Sport Festival Photos From Trincomalee Beach

East Expo 2011 exhibition was held in a grand scale in the Trincomalee town from the 23rd to 27th September. During this exhibition Sri Lank Navy conducted a water sport festival which included a performance display of Sri Lanka Navy men and boats in action in the beautiful beach near the Trincomalee Fort.

Following are some photos I took when I went to see their water action display on the evening of 23rd September. This photos show only a small part of this Navy display. I heard from other people who went to see this  Navy military action display in Trincomalee beach that there were many more action displays like this throughout the afternoon that day as well as the next few days.

In the photos below I have tried to provide a description of what is taking place.

navi water festival

fast attack craft A Navy boat known as the  Fast Attack craft speeds away from the beach as people look at action taking out there in the ocean.

 

sri lanka navy

A Navy life boat approaches the beach to pickup Navy men who are waiting on the beach to board it.

navy training srilanka

This picture shows how our Navy boys get into a life boat. Look at how they line up and run and get into the boat one by one as the sea wave recedes.

trincomalee beach pictures

You can see part of the crowd that had gathered in the Trincomalee town beach near the Trincomalee Fort to watch our Sri Lankan Navy’s performance in the ocean.

navy boats srilankaSeven Fast Attack Crafts belonging to the Sri Lanka Navy approach the beach with high speed.

 

navy fast boatsIn this photo you see the seven SL Navy Fast Attack Crafts slow down and gather in a close formation near the beach before they race out once again out into the sea which you can see in the next picture below.

sri lanka navy boats

 The seven Navy Fast Attach Craft boats race out to the sea in this straight line formation.

navy life boatA larger life boat with Navy men. The Trincomalee Fort is visible in the background.

 

navy fast attack craftsAnother photo of the seven Fast Attack Crafts as they gathered neared the beach.