Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kataragama - Sri Lanka (Nava K Seen)

Morning, like every other daily, must, yes, be broken by breakfast. For this Nava K, call her a nut case or whatever. I'll leave it to you. Its entirely up to you how you wanna address people like me who give reasons like laziness and crisis to time managing for skipping breakfast instead of accepting the fact to, of course I am aware breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet? Pathetic right? Skipping breakfast for lame excuses? But strange or peculiarly, I really look forward to breakfast while travelling. I make sure I pack my tummy with food. Well, what can or should I say? Breakfast is included in tour packages, breakfast is needed for energy me primarily on my legs and breakfast is served, instead of me preparing a morning meal for myself at home. I guess breakfast is also one of the perks to travelling I yearn for by virtue of my hard earned money.  

Let alone I can't, sincerely, resist Sri Lankan food, Absolutely to my millions of likens. Proven during this Sri Lanka venture throughout Negambo & Kandy, and on this day in Nurwara Eliya. Nava K favorable and willingly tucked into breakfast. Taking my own time to the allocated an hour for breakfast indulgence over the coconut milk infused and spices cooked savory dishes, a tiny bit sweetness from their local desserts went into my tummy as well, before bidding bye-bye to Nuwara Eliya at 9.00am. A 5 hours, approximately drive, about or more in totality and just after the first hour, we insisted on stopping by at Rawana Falls. Driver, aka tour guide wasn't pleased due to lack of parking at the narrow road. Clearly he was sulking, yet, we persisted. He waiting in the van, three of the tour buddies were not keen, me and the other quickly walked towards Rawana's falling and gushing from high up crystal clear nature given water sound. Marvelous. Notably, Rawana water falling is a popular take amongst the locals. A good number were already touching feeling water, whereas others kept throning in. A couple of photo clicks, that's about it, prior to us getting into the van.  

Another pit-stop called for later by two of us, the same two, me and the tour buddy, at the temple located on a hill stop and within a small compound. Seemingly, as far as I sighted, this run down and once the holiness of the locals temple is not cared for anymore. Regardless structure and deities remaining and meaningful for gods presence. We prayed and we glimpsed at the surrounding, indeed, holiness felt, by the next 10 minutes, we hopped into the van again.   
At about 11.00am, as if our wishful thinking for a break was granted by the tour guide at nestled within mountain, hill top cafe. By his suggestion, wonder why this cafe, we didn't mind anyway for the appreciated pleasure of sipping into hot beverages, simultaneously, my-my-me and us. What a breathtaking beauty, mesmerizing view. Mountains and valleys, the green-green grass of Sri Lanka and flowers mushrooming by nature weather. Simply utterly gorgeous. If you are asking me right now, where exactly is this spot, sorry guys, I really don't know. I think or I don't think its part of Nuwara Eliya, or somewhere along the way to Katagarama, but I swear its akin another heaven door opening.  

Arriving in Katagarama, first thing first. Lunch. Don't ask me where and what. My pictures clicked gone departed. One of those things I suppose slipping of your eyes and camera hand skills, or you cared less because you have ditched aside picturing hacks for hungrily digging into food. Food by far was a sensational winner. If I am not mistaken, in a resort villa. Served style instead of buffet and utmost humble service. Sri Lankans, they just have it to smiling and down to earth attitude. Unlike in Western countries where waiting staff think and behave as if they are god given to our mercy. Subsequently after lunching, we made our way for journeying to within a short distance Okrin Hotel by 2.30pm. Warmest welcoming gesture and akin a wonder zone, but unfortunately our rooms were not ready due to late check out by previous guests. Leaving my luggage inside while the cleaning was going on, my room a spacious space and coming with it broad balcony. Mind you, balcony as big as my room facing a mini jungle kinda. Cleaning soon ending, I washed up and down to the one floor down lobby, prior to utilizing our legs to walking. 

Quite a walk, I think twenty minutes and more via the garden like atmosphere and towards “Vedasitikanda” Temple. High up 2500 feet, yes at that height, on Wadasiti Mountain (Wadasiti Kanda) and 4Km from south-east of Kataragama. God religious visit, at an at-hoc basis, no plans whatsoever, instead of doing none till evening, in fact tour guide recommended and one which we looked forward to. History has it for parting the knowledge about God Katargama who once lived in the mountain. Once a upon a time, only the god of Katagama has the answer to how many years ago and where he had thrown an arrow to the spot Kataragama Maha Devalaya was later built. Known as a sacred place for Buddhists and Hindus.Wonder if you have heard of “Vedasitikanda” Temple and doing a pilgrimage by walking two hours to reach the mountain peak? For tourists like us, unless you have prior vowed to walking, better to pay for the open jeep ride. Expect no luxury, not even a tiny bit to the cramped, side by side, akin bumper to bumper and butt almost rubbing each other ride of your life. Your adventurous ride for the next 20 minutes. Dust flying all over and rocking grooving high and low, bouncing you up and down the steep slope. Thereafter, you are dropped off in the compound of the temple right above.  
Prayers to god in the temple and at the altar outside must follow, no matter whichever religion you are. Of course hard cores and faithful to ye religion will never agree. Like I care whether you do? Wait till bitterness massively takes a toll of you. I bet you will run and fall in front of any religion. For me personally, “Vedasitikanda” Temple is unregrettable. No regrets. In fact, came as a surprise discovery as a whole lock, stock and barrel mind blowing, hair standing and remembered forever memorable sightseeing. Walla! Speak about gazing at par level, or across, up, down and below Wadasiti Mountain.  

Taking a brekkie by being seated under the tree for a while, we returned to ground level by jeep vroom-vrah-vrah fast slopping. Stares came from all directions. They had to stare at me throughout the whole time. Maybe my giggles while in the jeep, or my jeans and t-shirts, or maybe you can tell me why. All in all, aside to staring, I had a great time. Next, we proceeded to Katagarama Temple where the carnival like behaviour got me thinking. Religion gratefulness or fun to dancing for attracting crowd? Unbelievable. I say none because anything spoken about religion will be held against me, now and forever. Religion commenting is really sensitive, especially we Hindus who take everything, literally everything, at our emotional value? Katagarama Temple, a temple complex  dedicated to Kataragama dewiyo is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka for summing up the veneration of Sinhala Buddhists, Hindu Sri Lankan Tamils, Sri Lankan Moors and Vedda people. Simply said, all religion in one place. Wish we Malaysians can do the same. Place all our different gods together. Fat hopes I suppose considering our racial disparities and polarizations albeit we love to preach on One Malaysia, additionally, we are brothers and sisters to our fellow Malaysians. But the truth is not very from, when one particular race gather, we speak about inequality. Will we Malaysians change? I'm all ears. 

Katagarama Temple which has been for most of the past millennium a jungle shrine and very difficult to access, is now one of the must do attractions. Obviously accessible by all weather road, otherwise we ourselves won't be here, and apart from almost all shrines and nearby Kiri Vehera managed by managed by Buddhists, there are shrines for Muslims and Hindus. 

Two hours in Katagarama Temple, we then returned to Okrin hotel. I straight away locked myself in my room and immediately showered. I was not only sticky, I had to literally get rid of dust, right from top to toe. While tour buddies had dinner in the dining area, I requested for room service. Yellow rice, roast chicken and veggies, and soup as well. 

Yumminess of food, yet I ate so little though. Maybe because tiredness had in return eaten up my hunger, maybe, I stood at the balcony for a while, no chance to wifi unless I am at the lobby and night my own calling crawled on me automatically.  

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