Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ravana Falls

Our guide to the caves
Ravana cave
Before we headed out from the Ella region – and those gorgeous sunrises and falls, we took off for a “legendary” trip through time. In the famous Indian epic called the Ramayana, there is a character named Ravana, king of Sri Lanka at the time, who had kidnapped princess Sita from her husband, Rama. Supposedly, Ravana hid her (for 5,000 years) in the caves located behind a waterfall, surrounded with thick forests in the midst of the wilderness. Fortunately, the young lovers were eventually reunited, she walked on coals to prove she had stayed true to him (how walking on coals verifies virginity is beyond me) and they lived happily ever after. The “proof” of this story was found in the golden bed that was discovered in the cave.

At the road, we were, of course, greeted by a couple of teenagers who were ready and willing to guide us to the cave - knowing that we might get lost on the stairs that lead directly up to it. Of course, their diligence in making sure that we didn't get lost on the stairs would mean a nice tip for them...
Ravana Falls

From there we traveled down the road to the location of the falls. Apparently there are many tunnels through the hills so I suppose it is possible that the falls are located at the other end of the cave we went to…one just never knows.
We headed from there towards our next destination, the small town of Haputale and a jumping off spot for our trip to Horton’s Plains.

Adisham Monestary with Kapila, our driver
While there’s not much in Haputale proper, it does have an old country home nearby that is gorgeous. It’s now called the Adisham Monastery and was the country home of an Englishman, Sir Thomas Villiers. As a monastery, the Benedictine Monks work to earn the money needed to maintain the place and meet their needs by selling local produce they grow as well as running a fairly exclusive guest house. We would have loved to have stayed there, in the old English “castle” made out of great stone blocks with huge windows, looking off across hills, valleys and manicured gardens but, alas, you need to know you want to do this a year in advance, not on the spur of the moment. We did, however, get to roam the gardens and a few select rooms.

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