Delightful Sri Lanka and it’s….Drivers, Safaris, Buddhist Monks, Vegetable buns and Arrack……Part 5
After paying the bill, I meander back towards the long flight of steps that take me to my bed for the night. I can see the outline of Adam’s Peak in the distance as I walk towards the Villa and when I arrive it’s obvious that something of interest is occurring in Dalhousie this evening. The area is now filled with colourful buses and people engaging in noisy chatter. The earlier quietness of this small place has now been replaced with a buzz of activity and it’s impossible to resist the sense of excitement that fills the air.
I climb the steps to my room feeling a little less fit than I would of given myself credit for, however the climb is worth the effort as the views are fabulous, especially as I am now looking down on the street activity below. I reflect on my research of this area back in the UK and remember the name ‘Dalhousie’ is taken from a nearby tea estate and there is more to this quiet’ish’ part of Sri Lanka than meets the eye.
It is believed that the Buddha himself visited Adam’s peak (or Sri Pada as it’s known locally) and according to Sinhala tradition, left his footmark at the summit on his third and final visit to Sri Lanka. Some say that this footmark is actually impressed upon a sapphire that lies beneath the temple which has been built to protect the sacred imprint. Many Sri Lankan devotees aspire to make a pilgrimage to this holy place at least once in their lifetime. Tradition being to begin the climb in the early hours of the morning so you reach the summit in time for sunrise.
I sit out on the front balcony and soak up the atmosphere that is getting more intense as the size of the crowd below increases. Soon enough a loud speaker fires up and then what I guess is Buddhist prayer begins to be recited. I wonder what significance this place has where people clearly travel a distance to engage in prayer together and I make a mental note to ask Nisha in the morning.
As I sit quietly in my own thoughts, listening to the prayer, one of the staff from the Villa passes by on his way down towards the main building and tells me to be mindful of the monkeys that inhabit the area adjacent to the villas here. ‘Make sure you secure the window inside as it has been known for monkeys to climb into bedrooms during the night’ Flipping heck that would be a shocker to wake up to !……..
I reflect on my time already spent in Sri Lanka and the impression that it has made on me in this short period, the colours, the smells, the noises, the Buddhist culture all make for a fascinating place and even though the last two days have been busy I feel relaxed and contented. I soon begin to yawn and before heading to bed I make a decision not to wake at 1.30am to make the accent in the dark to watch the sun rise over Adam’s Peak.
I feel I would benefit much more from another good nights sleep than I would undertaking approx. 6 hours exercise in the middle of the night. I double checking the window is securely fastened……….then double check it again, before climbing into bed and falling into another restful night sleep. The following morning I shower and dress, I repack my bag again! before heading to the restaurant which is where I was told breakfast is served. This morning I find several ‘table’s for one’ and I choose the table nearest the front of the villa where I can watch the activities of the locals of Dalhousie, as they go about their daily business
I flick through the rough guide again, looking forward to todays drive which will take us to Ella, through scenic countryside and tea plantations. Breakfast once again is eggs, toast, fruit, and lots of coffee. The waiter asks me for my room key so that my bag can be brought to reception and I gratefully hand this over as I thank him.
After breakfast I meander around the area at the front of the villa, which is now empty of buses and is made up of mainly stalls selling touristy things, catching hikers as they return from the early morning walk to the summit. Today is cloudy and very humid I suspect there will be another thunderstorm at some point today, which will hopefully cool the temperature slightly as it is just over one hour since I showered and already I am wishing that I could take another one.
Nisha arrives at reception and my bag is placed in the boot of his car, I thank the staff here who have been helpful, climb into the passenger seat, and whilst enjoying the welcomed coolness of the air con, we leave Dalhousie and begin our drive towards Ella.