Sustainable Base

Sustainable Base

20 October, 2015
Eco Exploration
The wonders of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle are enhanced even further with a stay at Ulagalla
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The ‘cultural triangle’ in Sri Lanka provides an outstanding, multi-faceted experience for even the most seasoned of travellers. One point of the ‘triangle’ (located 3 hours Northeast by train from Colombo) is made up of the Ancient ruins at Anuradhapura.
 
Towering white stupas combine with hundreds of pilgrims, langur monkeys, holy trees, and buddhas to create an unpretentious and intriguing ancient religious site. One of the most enchanting things about it is the fact that it is still used by locals daily, who pray, chant and smile at your while you explore – creating a vivid picture of daily life and culture, both now and 2,000 years ago. Roman-inspired pools where royalty would cavort can be found near caves that were carved out of rocks by devoted monks – one such rock even features the imprint of where a monk sat for years on end, meditating.  The other two points of the triangle are made up of Sigiriya and Minneriya National Park. The former is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (as is Anuradhapura) and features the remains of a massive ‘Lions Gate’ entrance, and 200-metre rock with city ruins – both of which carry profound historical and archaeological significance. It was the capital and royal palace in times gone by, and is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning.

Minneriya, meanwhile, is home to an entirely different kind of ancient treasure: a natural one. During dry season the lake at the national park’s centre attracts the entire 300-strong population of wild elephants for an afternoon frolick and splash – known locally as the ‘elephant gathering’. This awe-inspiring spectacle is a definite must-do for traveller’s whose hearts beat for wildlife.

In order to enjoy nature, we must cherish it – and make responsible choices to this end. At the centre of the ‘cultural triangle’ lies Ulagalla – a sustainable, chic, and comfortable base from which to enjoy the historical and ecological delights of Sri Lanka’s famed triangle. Spread across 58 acres of organic paddy fields, lakes and forests the 20 stand-alone private villas provide an unrivalled sense of seclusion and exclusivity to its guests. A private plunge pool and Jacuzzi comes as standard with each stilt-raised villa, and bicycles can be found underneath for exploration purposes. Other activities on the Ulagalla grounds include horse riding, kayaking on the lakes, archery, guided nature walks and cooking classes in the expansive organic garden.

The garden and rice paddies provide food for both the 180 local staff employed at the resort, and its signature restaurant, which is housed in a 100-year-old colonial mansion. This house also contains the tastefully decorated open-air lobby, and is flanked by a stunning, Olympic-sized infinity pool. The stables are covered with panels that comprise Sri Lanka’s second-largest solar farm, which provides the resort with 50% of its electricity and saves 375kg of CO2 emissions daily. There are also a rainwater harvesting units, wastewater irrigation system and sewage treatment plant that ensures the resort operates with as minimal impact as possible. Ulagalla's villas, meanwhile, are made from organic Durra Board rather than concrete, to keep the environment as natural as possible.

And this is just as well, since there are over 70 bird species that call this patch home, along with mongoose, wildcats, lizards and the odd wild elephant! A truly exceptional option as a base for your cultural triangle adventures.
 
For more information or to book, visit Ulagalla's website and for more pics check out our Ecozine gallery.
 

By: Ecozine Staff
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