Friday, March 26, 2010

Rear Sight Heritance Kandalama

Manis crassicaidata (Indian Pangolin or Scaly Anteater)

Date Recorded 24th March 2010
Recorded By : Mr. Ranjith Kumarasinghe
Picture Taken By : Mr. Nadhun Punchihewa
Time : 7.30pm
Location : Guest Corridor in Dambulla Wing 5th Floor (in front of Room No 531-532)

Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1)[2]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Pholidota
Family: Manidae
Genus: Manis
Species: M. crassicaudata
Binomial name
Manis crassicaudata
Gray, 1827

The Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) is a pangolin that is found in many parts of India and some parts of Sri Lanka. Like other pangolins, it has large, overlapping scales on the body which act like armour. It can also curl itself into a ball as self defence against predators such as the Tiger. It is an insectivore and feeds on ants and termites, digging them out of their mounds using its long claws that are as long as its forelimbs. It lives mainly in burrows and is known to climb trees. It is also considered to be a curious animal and has been killed for so-called medicinal value.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Hope for Future

Sri Lankan Tourism started picking up recently after decades long downturn in the industry. As Tourism is a resilient industry, it'll have ups and downs all around the world depending on Political,economical, social... prevailing conditions.

Most of the Aitken Spence Hotels are fully booked during the long weekend starting from 04th Sept 2009. This is a clear sign that the Industry started picking up with many new hopes and wishes.

When the economic down turn around the world is finished by around 2 years of time, the world tourism industry will start booming up by generating tremendous direct and indirect job opportunities for masses.

So any one hoping to be in an industry, which has many potentials, now its time to get back to Tourism. Aitken Spence have identified their role as the Market Leader by establishing a fully fledged Hotel School in Ahungalla to train youth to take up future challenges.

By: Asela

Friday, August 14, 2009


The Department of National Zoological Garden has set up an Orphanage for Baby Elephants at Pinnawela, which is about 102Km from Kandalama. The Orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers or fallen into pits during the drought period.
2 ½ hours from Kandalama

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ritigala Rock and Ancient Gardens

Ritigala is the highest mountain mass of the North Central Plains, 1000 meters above sea level. Today a Strict Nature Reserve, it was used as a fortress even from pre-Christian times. The paved path s, stone bridges over brooks and stone pillars tell the story of a monastery that existed here restored by hermit monks.

2 hours from Kandalama

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Mesmerizing Esala Perahara

Visiting the grand old city of Kandy is a favorite pastime of mine, especially during the season of the Esala Perehara. This annual festival which occurs in the months of July/August attracts thousands of devotees from around the country as well as local and foreign tourist who want to catch a glimpse of this mystical festival. I usually make my way up to the hill capital a couple of days prior to the festival and make my self feel at home at the Hilltop Hotel where I have been staying for the past ten years during my frequent visits to Kandy. The hotel is a convenient base as it is centrally located and I have always been impressed by the hospitality offered at the hotel.

I would like to share with you a few facts about the Esela Perehara which never ceases to intrigue me. The all important date for the Perehara is fixed by the Diyawadana Nilame
(Chief Lay Head or Trustee) of the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). According to the Mahavamsa, from the time the Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Ceylon in the reign of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna who ruled at Anuradhapura from 303 - 331 A.D., it was placed in a casket made of Phalika (Steatire or Soapstone) and lodged in an edifice called the Dharma-Chakra built by King Devanampiyatissa in the third century B.C. The Mahavamsa goes on to say that 900,000 Kahapanas (a great sum of money) were spent in celebrating the festival in honour of the Sacred Tooth Relic and the King Kirthisiri Meghawanna decreed that the Relic should be taken round the city of Anuradhapura once a year in spring. There is evidence to show that his decree was faithfully carried out by those Kings who followed him. It is not documented if the Perehara held in Anuradhapura continued after it ceased to be the capital of Ceylon.
The Esala Perahera as we know it today, with the four Hindu Dewale Peraheras participating in it, had its origin in 1775 A.D. under the reign of King Kirthisri Rajasinghe. The Perahera he inaugurated in his reign was confined at first to the four Hindu Dewales, because by then Hindu practices and rituals had crept into Theravada Buddhism owing to the influence of Mahayanism as well as that of the King's consorts who were Hindu Princesses from South India. During this time a body of Siamese priests who came to Ceylon for the restoration of the Upasampadha ordination were surprised to find a purely Hindu ceremony in the capital of a pre-eminently Buddhist country. To remove their scruples the King ordered a procession with the Sacred Tooth Relic to head the four Dewale Perahera, and that decree had been faithfully carried out ever since.
Today the Sacred Tooth Relic is not carried in the procession as it is considered inauspicious to remove the Sacred Tooth Relic from its precincts. This ten day festival commences with the ritual of Esala trees been cut and planted in each Dewela as a vow that the Perehara will be held. For the first five nights processions are held within the temple premises around the Esala trees and on the 6th day the Perehara is taken to the streets of Kandy which commences the Randoli Perehara. On each day the procession gathers momentum as the number of elephants, dancers, jugglers, whip crackers, flag bearers and fire breathers’ increase with the last night being the grandest of them all.
Being an ardent traveler and having witnessed many cultural events around the world, I can guarantee that the Esela Perehara celebrated in Sri Lanka is an event not to be missed. I would recommend that one finds accommodation away from the immediate surrounds of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic as during the days of the Perehara many of the streets in the area will be blocked due to security concerns. The Hilltop Hotel where I stay is ideally situated as it is not far from the location of the festival but it is still far enough from the hub so that you are not inconvenienced by the festival preparations.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dine at Deshamanya Mr. Bawa’s Table


Be treated to true Sri Lankan Royalty.
We don’t only offer you a truly exquisite seven course meal but as the occasion presents itself the Kandalama team takes you through time to the 3 rd century’s King Kasyapa’ s dinner table and you are bound to come across some pleasant surprises along the way.
“We Are Kings and Queens Serving Kings and Queens”


The Spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya (Lion rock) was built during the 5th century BC by king Kasyapa, which is situated 34km northeast of Kandalama. It Construction, Artistry and Irrigation of ancient Sri Lanka. The climb up to the rock is sportive, as well as rewarding.
50 mts from Kandalama

Monday, July 13, 2009

Heritance Kandalama Eco-Park

This park is considered as `the Heart of the Hotel’. It is here one learns more about fauna & flora of the area as well as the hotel’s efforts in the optimum use of natural resources. It houses museum of animals in the Kandalama area, animal rehabilitation centre, and herbal garden and bee-keeping project.

Animal Rehabilitation Centre is another attraction in this park and it houses injured animals - especially snakes found in the vicinity and neighborhood.

In this environment, guests are also able to observe and experience traditional ways of preparing authentic meals / hospitality that are identical to the ways of life in the country’s dry zone where Dambulla is in.

Location - Eco Park – 10 minute walk from Hotel

Jungle Trekking at heritance Kandalama

Hike to the historic Aligala (Elephant Rock) caves – 3rd B.C in the jungle. The name derived from its likeness to an elephant (View from Kanchana Restaurant). This majestic rock formation is located to the east of the hotel is a two (02) hour trek.
Explore the trek to Kandalama Rock in the vicinity of Kandalama Hotel; the top view of the summit provides the Island’s richness of green with a glance of Kandalama Tank and Dambulla Cave Temple.
It is a one (01) hour Trek.
Dressed to blend with the surrounding, walk and get yourself talking with nature on our exciting jungle trails.
Starting at - 10.00am & 3.00pm

Bird Watching at Heritance Kandalama

Observe the soft and colorful feathers of over 170 species of resident and migrant birds; Babblers, Barbets, Bulbuls, Parakeets, Woodpeckers, Raptors, Sunbird's, Flower-peckers, Waders…………

Keep your ears and eyes open to grab their lovely melodies and fascinating behavior in the morning dew.

Kandalama is a member of Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka and committed towards the preservation of nature.
Clad in natural colored clothing to blend in to the nature and Join our professional interpreters to observe these wonderful birds and make your Kandalama stay an unforgettable one.

Starting at 7.00am
Duration 1 ½ hours

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Aitken Spence Rejuvenates Neptune Resort

Ayurveda ashrams and yoga meditation are now part of Aitken Spence Hotels’ refurbishment program for Neptune Hotel in Beruwala.

When the property opens its doors as ‘Heritance Mahagedera’, it will be the latest 40 to 60 room wellness resort in the groups’ prestigious Heritance portfolio. The Heritance brand mission is aimed at travelers experiencing, connecting with, and learning from Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.

Malin Hapugoda, Managing Director, Aitken Spence Hotels, says ayurveda, yoga, and meditation will be the priorities of the refurbishment that is scheduled to commence shortly. “Ayurveda is a science of life that has been practiced in Sri Lanka for thousands of years. It is central to our cultural inheritance. ‘Heritance Mahagedera’ will specialize in providing the inner and outer rejuvenation that ayurveda, yoga and meditation, combined with Heritance Cuisine, can provide.”

Heritance Cuisine is unique to the Heritance brand and is based on a threefold foundation of taste, medicinal value, and presentation adapted to an “ayurveda way of life” at ‘Heritance Mahagedera’.

But rejuvenation is only one, if not the most substantial, part of the refurbishment of the hotel. The project will also see the rooms redecorated with new soft furnishings, bathrooms, and superior bedding configurations. Executive specifications will include luxury of space and a choice of air-conditioning or otherwise.

A complete overhaul of all public areas is planned, which will include a refreshed and welcoming porte cochere. Elsewhere, the restaurant will have a total makeover with a special Heritance Cuisine menu and new lighting, furniture, and fittings. The upgrade has further prompted the hotel to widen its sustainable practices relating to recycling both back and front of house.

“Neptune Hotel was the first resort of Aitken Spence, but its age and mixed background had started to show,” says Hapugoda.

“This planned refurbishment will allow us to bring the hotel into the Twenty First century, offering the same high standards of quality and comfort to satisfy today’s traveler, while being aesthetically and spiritually Sri Lankan. We also believe the time is opportune for the refurbishment and as the new property opens its doors as a Heritance, it will be to an economy in upswing”.

A special effort has been made to respect and retain the historical ambience of the property. Neptune Hotel was Aitken Spence Hotels’ first property, designed by prominent Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and built during 1973-1976.

Neptune Hotel is one of 26 three- to five star hotels and resorts owned and operated by the group in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India, and Oman.