Dambulla - Tea plucking experience & traditional lacquer-work
After breakfast, you will head to the nearby Meenawatte Estate where we will provide you with a basket in which to collect your leaves. Then we will take you out to our tea fields and show you which leaves to pluck. Our professional tea pluckers will accompany you. You’ll be amazed at how efficiently and quickly they manage to fill their baskets by comparison. Then we return to the weighing shed, where our estate superintendent will inspect your efforts. he will reject any unsuitable leaves, so you must pay attention when picking or all your efforts will be in vain. After checkout from your hotel, journey towards Dambulla.
En-route stopover in Matale to visit a traditional lacquer-work workshop, and witness how this intricate art is carried out. Lacquer work involves the intricate decoration of wooden objects such as bowls and ashtrays with a resin secreted from the bark of certain trees that have been infested with the lacquer beetle. The resin, also called lac, is scraped from the bark, melted down, and strained. While the lac is soft, the pigment is beaten in to produce the desired color. Then it is left to dry. Meeting the master craftsman, see how he uses his decades of skill in making beautiful creations.
Later, if time permits, stopover at Nalanda Gedige,
Nalanda Gedige is a curious hybrid between Buddhist and Hindu architecture. Some of the design elements are distinctly Hindu, such as the mandapam or hall of waiting, and yet there is no sign of Hindu gods present in the structure. There are erotic but eroded Tantric Buddhist carvings, much like the famous ones at Khajuraho in India. The richly decorated façade sections are in the 7th-century style which flourished at Madras, South India. However, the southern section has a semi-circular niche containing in high relief a squat figure of Kuvera, the god of wealth, seated on a lotus plinth – an image that is only found in Sri Lanka. Continue to Dambulla, whereupon reaching, have a quick stopover at the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Burial Site.
One of the more overlooked ruins of the town of Dambulla is the Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs. These tombs are believed to be the place in which many of the prehistoric inhabitants would bury their dead. According to archaeological research, the skeletal remains and the artifacts that have been found are believed to originate between 700 BC – 400 BC, making it one of the few places where it is possible to understand the society and lifestyle the ancient Sri Lankans used to follow. There is also evidence to suggest that these bodies were buried with specific rituals, due to the many artifacts found on the premises.
Artifacts that have been found in the premises range from clay pots, iron, copper, gold objects, beads, and necklaces. Intriguingly, some of the gemstones that have been found on the beads of the necklaces are not found naturally on the island, making it probable to speculate that the ancient people of Sri Lanka engaged in international trade with neighboring countries. The current excavation site measures around 15 acres, making it one of the more remarkable discoveries in the country. Moreover, the site was only found in the 1980s, making it one of the more recent discoveries in the country that provide us some insight into the prehistoric civilizations that thrived.