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A traditional stop when driving the road from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya is to see St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. It was misty and cool in the mountains here at nearly a mile above sea level, as it often is.
The cascade of the Kotmale Oya river through the St. Clair tea plantation (from which the falls derive their name) is a pretty sight. I’d previously visited these falls about 20 years earlier and recalled a lot more water literally filling the river and pouring rather than trickling down the mountain. I asked my driver whether the water was so low because of dry weather? No that was not the case — apparently the flow …
The Diwan-i-Aam, or Audience Hall, is located in Delhi’s Red Fort. It was here that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (best known for building the Taj Mahal) and his successors meet with citizens to hear their grievances and requests.
The Audience Hall is covered with a roof but is open on three sides, with a back wall and weight-bearing pillars and arches made of red sandstone. The hall measures 100 x 60 feet. Apparently at one time its ceiling and columns were painted with gold — that would have been quite a sight.
It’s an impressive and beautifully constructed space, highlighted by place where the Emperor would sit — a magnificent elevated white marble throne inlaid with semi-precious stone (a technique later perfected in …
Despite being a small nation, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy in Sri Lanka, from lovely palm-fringed beaches, to charming small villages, to ancient cities. As far as scenery to enjoy while on a road trip, I don’t think there’s anything more appealing than a drive through the tea country of the mountains.
The following images are a short gallery taken from my back seat window while traveling from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya, the latter city in the heart of the country’s tea-growing region. The roads are curvy and progress is slow, but I suppose that’s a metaphor for life in Ceylon.
Here are some of the scenes spotted along the way:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance …
The medieval ruins of Polonnaruwa are located in east-central Sri Lanka.
During my last trip to Sri Lanka I revisited Polonnaruwa as I’d only been there on one prior occasion. During that prior visit, Polonnaruwa was at the fringes of the front in the country’s lingering Civil War, and not considered safe, so we didn’t stay any longer than necessary to visit the highlights of the ruined city.
This trip was done at a more relaxed pace. We spent two nights in the Polonnaruwa at a charming small hotel adjacent to the ruins, got to celebrate Sri Lankan New Year with the hotel owners, staff and guests, and I had a leisurely day to explore the ruins.
Polonnaruwa is part of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle, …
One of our tour group’s activities while in Delhi was to visit a Home for Boys, which we did early one winter morning. The air was cool and crisp as we stepped off our bus and most of us zipped up our jackets. We were met by one of the older boys from the home. He greeted us and gave a brief history of the home before guiding us through the streets to visit it. While I think the purpose of the walk was largely to let us see what life on these streets could be like, it would be impossible for any vehicle larger than a tuk-tuk to have navigated the maze we entered.
The Salaam Baalak …
The building of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb was actually undertaken in 1565 by his Persian-born widow, Hamida Banu Begum, nine years after the great man died. She selected the site of the monument, on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the Persian architect who designed it. The monument took seven years to build and shows a strong Persian influence, including it’s gardens divided into four parts by walkways or flowing water. It was the first garden-tomb in India.
The massive mausoleum is constructed of red sandstone interspersed with white marble, while the inner tomb itself is made of marble. The platform of the mausoleum is 7 meters tall, while the height of the building’s impressive marble dome is 47 meters. …
High in the mountains of central Sri Lanka you’ll find vast plantations of tea. Interspersed among these are tea centers, wherein you can stop, sample some of the local tea and purchase some to take with you. Some of these stops include a free tour of a tea production factory; here you can see how the tea leaves are dried, fermented, roasted, crushed and prepared for market.
Near the city of Nuwara Eliya we stopped at St. Clair’s Tea Center, which is only a tea shop with no adjoining factory tour. St. Clair’s was founded in the 19th century by James Ryan, who was among the first in the region to begin growing and experimenting with tea. The plantation is named …
Jojawar is a fairly small community in the Rajasthan region of India. We spent several days here and I really enjoyed this part of our trip. It’s a more traditional community than many of the others we visited, with, for example many men in Jojawar having beards and wearing turbins — something you don’t see much of in India’s bigger cities anymore.
As I was sorting through my images from this community it became clear that there were many interesting doors in this small community, which is the theme of today’s blog.
I hope to share more stories from Jojawar with you in the future.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)