Our first retreat! Four acres of jungle land at the base of the Pidurangala rock handpicked to give us a base to visit - and re-visit - Minneriya, Kaudulla and more recently, Hurulu Wawe National Parks as well as to explore the area around the World Heritage Site, Sigiriya. We have to admit though; the excellent bird watching offered by the site itself has often made us spend the entire vacation here…So we went with the name given to the site by the villagers and called our first retreat ‘Kurulu Uyana’ (Bird Park).

Facts in brief

Meal times and check in / check out times:
Flexible depending on occupancy.

Staff:
includes manager/naturalist, house-keeper, guide and cook.

Activities and Excursions :
Bird watching, walking, hiking, picnics and wawe (tank) baths. Excursions to the Minneriya, Kaudulla and Hurulu Wawe wildlife parks, Sigiriya, Pidurangala, Dambulla, Ritigala, Polonnaruwa archeological sites.

Location :
Pidurangala – bordering Sigiriya. Closest main town is Dambulla ( 20 km)

Travelling from Colombo : 
4 hour drive, 175 km of tarred roads, 2 km of very well maintained village road.

Accommodation and service :  
6 rooms for a maximum of 16 adults and children. All rooms have attached toilets and hot water. Separate driver’s quarters are available.

Dining :
Custom prepared Sri Lankan and western meals will be served in the dining area. Tea, coffee and drinking water is provided free of charge.

Nalinika, Colombo, Dec 2007

 

Accommodation

Welang:
This open format bungalow has three bed rooms, a dining and lounge area. Up to 8 adults and three children can be accommodated comfortably in Welang which is given out as a single unit. We designed this specifically for family and friends to relax together in comfort while being close to nature. The attic we included for additional sleeping space has become the most popular spot with the kids! We also added a small pantry with a refrigerator to this bungalow.


Weera:
Three individual cottages – named after three of our favourite resident birds Shama, Iora, Mal Koha – share a common lounge and dining area along with a little pantry. The cottages, each with its own verandah, are designed to maximise the impact of the forest. As our attics seem highly popular, we added one at Weera as well. It leads off the lounge area and can be used for additional sleep space or for reading, writing, bird watching…or playing games on a rainy day.

In keeping with our philosophy of minimising energy usage all our bedrooms have fans rather than air conditioning. Given the jungle setting, we have provided mosquito nets for our guests.Rooms have attached toilets with hot and cold water.


- Jet Ray and friends, July 2009
- Sri Lanka Natural History Society, October 2007

Dining


Food has always been a vital part of our family holidays … part of what makes up our travel memories! At Kurulu Uyana too our cook will prepare a wide variety of Sri Lankan as well as western dishes.The village flavor predominates in the Sri Lankan food, and there is a distinct ‘Sri Lankan touch’ to the western dishes.

Rooms are offered on Bed and Breakfast, Half Board or Full Board basis.In the tradition of Sri Lankan wildlife bungalows, when booking Welang we also give the option of bringing your groceries which our cook will prepare for you. We can also pack you a picnic lunch should you be spending the day exploring.



-Neil, Australia, July 2008

Activities

Reading up on what we see has always added to pleasure of exploring this island.We have started a little library at each of our Back of Beyond retreats. In addition to some of favourite books on Sri Lanka - its history, nature, wildlife, folk tales and culture – we have thrown in a few pulp fiction…after all what is a holiday without a little bit of brainless reading! The library at Kurulu Uyana will also help you identify the birds and trees around you as well as bring you up to date with the latest debates on who built Sigiriya…

Bird watching and wildlife:
Kurulu Uyana is surrounded by forest that is typical to the north central plains of Sri Lanka. It is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers. Our staff are specially trained to help you identify birds, butterflies and trees in the forest. As our property borders an elephant path, elephant sightings are possible, especially during the dry season.

- Srinath and Vasantha, Colombo, Feb 2008
 
- Sri Lanka Natural History Society, October 2007

Walking and cycling: :
The forest merges with the villages and historical sites of Pidurangala and Sigiriya. Walking and cycling along the red earth roads are an ideal way of exploring. But please take care as there are elephants around…

Picnics and wewa baths:
Sri Lankans have a partiality for relaxing in inland waters. There are a number of wawes, (ancient man-made lakes or ‘tanks’), that are ideal spots to spend the better part of the day doing very little!
Hiking:
There are a number of high outcrops that provide excellent hiking options. Not only are you hiking up forested areas, you also get to explore the ruins of ancient monasteries and palaces.

Sigiriya:A barely 5 min drive or a 15 min walk along shady paths will take you from Kurulu Uyana to Sigiriya.

An enormous crag, soaring above the plains of the North Central Province, for a brief period in the 5th century Sigiriya was one of the most beautiful and splendid of royal cities; at once a fortress, palace and citadel…A combination of rock, boulders, water, stone and brick, Sigiriya is a carefully thought out city where the natural elements are interwoven with the man-made environment.
- Eloquence in Stone
Pidurangala:If you take the jungle path from the edge of Kurulu Uyana, you immediately start climbing the forested slope of Pidurangala. Along the village road, it will take you less than 5 minutes to get to the temple entrance.

"Above the drip ledge of this cave is an inscription and from this point to the summit is a flight of steps made of rubble. A long cave on the east side of the summit has been divided into three sections by walls. In one image house in this cave is a large recumbent Buddha statue made of brick and stucco probably 10th century …"
- Handbook for the Ceylon Traveller

Excursions

National Wildlife Parks of Minneriya, Kaudulla, Hurulu Wawe: Less than one hour drive from Kurulu Uyana.
Minneriya, famous for its ‘Gathering’ when herds of over 200 elephants move to the open grasslands, and its neighbouring park Kaudulla are beautiful parks well worth a visit. The recently opened Hurulu Wawe Park is also waiting to be explored.

 




Archeological reserves:
The ancient Sri Lankan excelled in the art of combining nature with human habitation. To explore an archeological site is in fact to marvel at how human construction can enhance rather than destroy nature. Ritigala and Kaludiya Pokuna, are all worth the effort of climbing if only to prove it is possible for us to live as one with nature. You can also visit the famous sites of Dambulla and Polonnaruwa.
Ritigala:An easy 45 minute drive from Kurulu Uyana. 

‘Ritigala monastery lies at the foot of the gorge which separates the main peak form the northern ridge of the range…After clambering over the bed of the main intake stream, the principal entrance staircase is reached…The stairway follows upwards in one ascending ridge and is flanked on either side by ruins, gigantic boulders scarred by gulleys, jungle and noble trees. It is one of the most beautiful and moving sights of any ruins in the county’
-Handbook for the Ceylon Traveller, Chapter 32
Dambulla: A 30 minute drive from Kurulu Uyana.

‘From time immemorial the people of Sri Lanka have taken to rocks and caves with as much alacrity the ducks to water. To torment a cliché – we’ve hardly left a stone unturned. It is then hardly possible that Dambulla’s enormous rock and cavern would have been given a miss…There is no doubt that the painting in the caves of Dambulla have been touched and retouched by succeeding monarchs and patrons and it is not too fanciful to imagine that underneath it all might lie the first artistic efforts of the Lankan cavemen’
- Handbook for the Ceylon Traveller, Chapter 31

Polonnaruwa: A one hour drive from Kurulu Uyana.
‘The finest statue of the Buddha himself will be found at Polonnaruwa, which became the island’s capital when Aunuradhapura was abandoned after repeated invasions from India around AD 1,100. A huge reclining figure, fifteen meters long represents the Buddha at the moment of death; standing at its head is a smaller – but still impressive – statue with arms crossed and a look of down caste meditation or sadness’.
- The Sea of Sinbad, Arthur C. Clarke
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