Friday, March 4, 2011

Pioneer-Feb.6th.2011-"Destination Teardrop"

"Destination Teardrop"

Sri Lanka is slowly becoming a hot holiday destination after the surrender of LTTESri Lanka, widely regarded as the land of history, culture and heritage, has various stories hidden in its buildings in and around Colombo. This tiny island has had a past full of tales of terrorism and disaster. India and Sri Lanka are related in more ways than one. Apart from the Tamil language, the food is similar too.One cannot imagine that, till sometime back, the country had bomb blasts occurring anytime and anywhere. Today, one can see the cheerful faces of locals who have moved on from those fearful days. As you cross the President’s house, one can see only two guards outside the gate. But in the days of war, the place was surrounded by army barricades. After LTTE surrendered, a calm atmosphere prevails. Hotels are buzzing and enjoying 97 per cent occupancy. The airport, an hour’s drive from Colombo, is at par with any international airport in the world — clean, airy, large and with helpful smiling officials to assist you. It takes a minute for the immigration to stamp your passport with a visa on arrival. The luggage is delivered instantly and you are out of the airport within minutes. Most taxi drivers understand English. The drive to Colombo is interesting as you cross small villages and local coffee shops serving signature dishes like rice and string hoppers.Sri Lanka’s population is 70 per cent Buddhist, 20 per cent Hindu, 5 per cent Muslim and 5 per cent Christians. History says that Lord Buddha’s sister planted a sapling of the Bodhi tree there. The nation also has a lot of Chinese settlers and visitors along with the Australians and British. Most restaurants serve the best continental food comparable to any famous restaurant around the world. After all, Lankans have been ruled by the Portuguese, British and Dutch. The hotels being refurbished are a clear sign of the economy going up.Shopping in Lanka may not be too good, but as the economy rises things are bound to improve. Like every island, helpers in the stores are lazy and take time serving customers. The porcelain crockery of Sri Lanka is renowned worldwide.The Sri Lankan elite are sophisticated and have all the nakhras of the top class in the world. Their mansions are done by international designers and jewellery worn by their women could put our Maharanis to shame. They love to dine, wine and dance. Even the heaviest of the Lankan is light on his feet and can easily groove to rock & roll.The new political leaders in Sri Lanka are aged between 35 to 50. They are well-educated and it shows that they are doing good for the country. It is a place worth going as it is extremely cheap and beautiful. The cheaper Lankan Rupee as compared to Indian currency makes a holiday there cheaper than going to Madras, Kerala or Goa. With cheap accommodation, cheap food and friendly welcoming people, it’s a great holiday destination if you love the surf and the sand.

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