RURAL ECO TOURISM AT OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA- BOAT RIDE & VILLAGE WALK!

RURAL ECO TOURISM AT OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA- BOAT RIDE & VILLAGE WALK!

This blog is about the village walk and boat ride I took in and around Hiriwadunna lake in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. It is an Eco Tourism project and one of the top offbeat things to do in Sri Lanka. I saw my first glimpse of world famous Sigiriya here.

Amaya Lake, Dambulla. Hotel Sri Lanka (4)

Amaya lake, luxury resort in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. This is where we had a quick lunch.

It was late afternoon. We had just arrived at luxury resort Amaya lake in Dambulla in Sri Lanka. We had few hours left before we could finish our lunch and rest. I and my travel blogger friends had just landed at Colombo airport a few hours ago.  What is the one activity we can do in the few hours that we have before the sundown? The luxurious Amaya lake is situated at a very strategic location. Both top tourist attraction such as Dambulla caves and Sigiriya are close to the resort. But these ancient monuments for sure need exploration of an entire day to do justice to them. Our local guide, the super cool Mr. Rane suggested a village walk through Hiriwadunna lake at sunset.  It was very close to the place and sunset is the best time to enjoy it, we were told.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (4)

This is how I had the first glimpse of world famous Sigiriya. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

We wolfed down our club sandwiches, juices and potato wedges ferociously. We had less time within which we had to freshen up, check in, eat and leave. I had requested to cancel the bullock cart which was a part of the itinerary as I am against the use of any animal for human entertainment or other activities.

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Sunset. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

ECO TOURISM AT THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

As we arrived at the main road leading to the Hiriwadunna lake, we left the car and walked on the dirt path under the canopy of tall trees. It was an isolated place. No other human was in sight yet barring a few locals. The first glimpse of lake arrested us. I had seen similar places in India. Yet, it was an intriguing sight to behold. This place was being developed as an eco friendly destination designed as an immersive travel experience for the discerning travelers who like to go deeper and wish to explore a place beyond the usual suspects.

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That’s the dirt path we walked on. I said NO to bullock cart. So should you! Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

MY FIRST VIEW OF SIGIRIYA FROM HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA

This was where I had my first view of the world famous Sigiriya and Pidurangala rocks at far distance. As soon as we sat in the boat, one person at a time, the guide showed us the huge mountain which stood out in the absence of any other similar mountain in the vicinity. That is Sigiriya! My eyes open wide, I asked them impatiently, “When are we going to Sigiriya” It was the next day, I was told. From the distance, it looked like a mysterious mythological structure. I will find out the next day. Awestruck, I stared at it one last time, eyes failing to blink, before the boat swerved to narrow waterways, reminiscent of the backwaters of Kerala.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (9)

The first glimpse of Sigiriya. Yes, that is a local bus. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

THE SERENE AMBIANCE OF THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

When we started the boat ride, the lake was wide and had small islands on which sat the exotic birds of all kinds. The humidity of the Sri Lankan afternoon was replaced by cool breeze. The traffic of roads was not very far yet we were insulated from it. Souvenir shops were non-existent. So was any hint of any other tourist trap. Pollution was absent. The boat moved around lyrically, creating ripples in the lake. I would often stretch my hand and touch the water, achieving a childlike joy.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (8)

The lotus leaf and the boatman. Soon this would be our hats. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

WEAR A COOL LOTUS HAT AT THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

Flowers like lily and lotus gave us company throughout. My back was facing the guide. We were sitting on 2 canoes joined as one.  Few minutes into the ride, the guide tapped me on my back. I turned around to see him smile, stretch his hand and present me with a hat made from a lotus leaf he picked fresh from the lake.  It was a cool eco friendly hat. Soon, he made one quickly for all of us. I am sure from a distance; we all looked like some eccentric aristocrats out to colonize a new exotic island. We toyed with our new hats amidst mirth and peals of laughter.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (12)

Western tourists wearing the lotus leaf hats. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

VILLAGE TOUR AT THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

We were in the rural area of Habarana city. Villages were located parallel to the lake but we could not see it from our canoes due to dense foliage and greenery. As the waterways narrowed down, we spotted white tourists on other canoes, enjoying.  It started getting cooler and darker as we navigated deeper. The boat halted at a stop. We disembarked carefully on to the makeshift wooden bridge, shaky yet strong. We maneuvered our way through the dense forest to arrive at a quaint village home.

 

 

Pics above (left to right, clockwise): Our host offering us local food.  Kevum balls. Old Arrack.

We were served delicious kavum aka kevum. It is a sweet ball made with kithul treacle (local jaggery extracted from palm tree), rice flour and coconut oil. Ambrosia is the word! I ate like a glutton! We also had our first taste of sambols and coconut roti and old arrack (Sri Lankan equivalent of Goan Feni). Do read about my vegan and vegetarian food guide on Sri Lanka. Links of all my other blogs on Sri Lanka are shared below.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (14)

We saw this machan opposite the hut we visited. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

RURAL TOURISM AT THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE,

DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

The hut we had congregated at was a local house and all the dish were prepared by local ladies.  It was a personal space. The construction of the house was simple and eco friendly. Only natural ingredients were used to build the hut. There was no electricity. As it turned darker, I strained my eyes to look at the belongings of the household.  Wicker baskets, posters of local deities on the wall, grains, the works! It gave me a quick insight into the lifestyle. I could not help but admire the effortless ways the rural areas of Sri Lanka and India are eco friendly. Unlike their city counterparts, people in rural areas do not even try hard to be eco friendly. It is in fact a part of their daily lifestyle. There is a lot for the urban planners to learn from here.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (13)

Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

SUNSET AT THE OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA

We bid adieu to our smiling hosts and jumped back to our canoes. The sky was now bursting in a riot of colors. It was a surreal sunset. The green forest had turned black with a backdrop of a brilliant orange sky.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (15)

Sun set at Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

The silhouette of leaves made them appear like the guards of the island. The air had become cooler. We had turned silent. Nature dwarfed us with its subtle power and beauty. As we hopped on to the rickshaw (tuk tuk), I peeped out of the window to look at the sunset one last time.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (5)

Grey Heron at the Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

WHERE TO STAY IN DAMBULLA,

SRI LANKA

Amaya lake in Dambulla is a wonderful luxury property to stay when in Dambulla. It is a great place to stay if you are visiting not only the Hiriwadunna lake, but also Sigiriya and Dambulla caves. It is a sprawling property and has individual cottages for all guests. It is located next to a beautiful lake. Read about it in detail on my blog. Links are shared below.

The view from my #SoulWindow is soothing!  

Amaya Lake, Dambulla. Luxury Hotel Sri Lanka (3)

My room at Amaya lake, luxury resort near Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

MY OTHER BLOGS ON SRI LANKA:

LUXURY RESORT, AMAYA LAKE, DAMBULLA

SHOPPING GUIDE TO SRI LANKA

AMAZING BUSINESS CLASS OF SRI LANKAN AIRLINES

THE ULTIMATE VEGAN & VEGETARIAN FOOD AND DRINKS GUIDE TO SRI LANKA

VEGAN RECIPE OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF SAMBOL

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka

Village safari. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Email me for collaboration: 21abhinav21@gmail.com

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (6)

Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Pidurangala Rock (left) and Sigiriya (right) as seen from Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

Disclosure: As is common in the travel industry to host the writers and bloggers for reviews and media reports, I was also invited on the press trip to cover it. However, my views are not influenced by the sponsorship. It is my responsibility to give truthful information to my readers on my blog and I have adhered to that personal policy while writing this blog.

This particular trip was supported by Sri Lankan Airlines in association with association with Outbound Konnections Reps Pvt. Ltd.

Outbounds Konnections can be reached at salesdelhi@outboundkonnections.in

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Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

WARNING: COPYRIGHT TO ALL THE TEXT SHARED HERE REMAINS WITH ME. YOU CAN NOT JUST LIFT THE CONTENT AND USE IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. STRICT LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IF CONTENT IS STOLEN. YES, I AM SERIOUS.

Hiriwadunna Village safari Dambulla Sigiriya Sri Lanka (10)

It was all a poetic blur. Hiriwadunna lake, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

 

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17 thoughts on “RURAL ECO TOURISM AT OFFBEAT HIRIWADUNNA LAKE, DAMBULLA, SRI LANKA- BOAT RIDE & VILLAGE WALK!

  1. This is definitely a totally different and fresh perspective of Sri Lanka. Raw and earthy with an endearing charm that is much more enchanting than gorgeous beaches and turquoise waters.I took a fancy to the lotus leaf hats, they look so cute. Also, the food served by the villagers looks so fresh and simple, and I am sure served with lots of love. kavum looks and sounds really irresistible. All in all a wonderful experience of the rural hinterland of Sri Lanka.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes. Very few discover this side of Sri Lanka. Even though it’s very close to the already famous sites such as Dambulla caves and Sigiriya. Hope my blog inspires more people to give rural Tourism a shot. Personally I find it very satisfying. 😊

      Like

  2. Hiriwadunna looks like a truly immersive experience as far as travel. I love exploring places that aren’t overrun by tourists. I’m glad that they’ve chosen to encourage ecotourism. Your posts on Sri Lanka don’t disappoint!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely experience. Going in a boat, wearing a lotus hat, interacting with the locals and trying some home-made food, and that sunset on Hiriwadunna Lake, all seem to be the kind of experiences I’d love to try as well. Beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I went to Sri Lanka but not this splendid Hiriwadunna Lake. I loved the golden sunsets over this lake and your photographs have done justice to this beautiful place. Also I loved the place where you had your quick lunch at Luxury resort at Damabulla. Those Lotus leaves hat are unique to me but a great idea. Thanks for sharing some unique features of Sri Lanka!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet, but Hiriwadunna Lake certainly looks beautiful and peaceful. I’m so glad that eco tourism is becoming more mainstream. I would love to go here myself one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess Sri Lanka has many such hidden gems. Would love to explore them someday. Hirwadunna lake looks beautiful and your pictures especially the sunset one is amazing. Glad you are exploring such offbeat places for us to know

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is fascinating isn’t it? It looks just like South India! I really wanna explore these places and see how we could also improve our rural tourism.
    And yeah, I envy you that you got to see Sigiriya. Its been in my wish list for quite some time now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. It feels like South India and yet different. Sri Lanka as a whole was very different experience. We have lot of lesson to learn especially when it comes to rural tourism.

      Sigiriya was a dream come true.

      Like

  8. Pingback: Celebrated Indian blogger hails Hiriwadunna eco-tourism project in the shadow of Sigiriya Lion Rock | Pledge Holidays Travel Blog

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