Richard Holmes ex­plores the ci­ties, cul­ture and coast of ‘In­dia lite’ — and plans to go back for more

Sunday Times - - Artisan -

It’s less than a decade since the end of the 26-year civil war that frac­tured the coun­try, but Sri Lanka’s tourism for­tunes are on the up as trav­ellers flock to the “teardrop of In­dia”. And it’s not hard to see why. From the colo­nial her­itage of Colombo and Galle to the cap­ti­vat­ing cul­tural heart­land, there’s a wealth of his­tory and tra­di­tion. There’s no short­age of nat­u­ral beauty ei­ther. Udawalawe Na­tional Park is fa­mous for its Asian ele­phants, leop­ards are the star of Yala Na­tional Park, while twitch­ers head straight for the Sin­haraja For­est Re­serve, one of the is­land’s eight Unesco World Her­itage Sites. And, oh, the beaches! While tourist pres­sure and care­less devel­op­ment has

Pic­tures: Richard Holmes

SWEET DES­TI­NA­TION The train from Colombo to Kandy crosses a mag­nif­i­cent viaduct on its jour­ney to the hills.

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