Robin's Adventures

Sri Lanka
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Glenloch Tea Factory

The tea industry in Sri Lanka was started by a British planter in the mid 19th century. Now Sri Lanka is the fourth largest tea producer in the world.

When picking tea, it is best to pick the side branches and pluck in clusters with two leaves and one bud. Sri Lanka is one of the few places in the world where the tea is picked by hand and this makes the quality of the yield very consistent.

Processing the Tea

Most growers have a processing plant on their estate so that there is no time lost between picking and processing the tea. First leaves are spread in troughs to be withered, which removes excess weight from the leaf.

Next the leaves are rolled which causes them to react with the oxygen in the air. After rolling, the leaves are exposed to heat so they can ferment. Temperature and humidity must be carefully controlled so the flavor is retained in the leaves.

Finally, the leaves are fired so that the chemical reactions stop and the flavor is locked into the leaf. The tea is now ready to be packaged and sold.

Tea Production

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is a village in the hill country of Sri Lanka. We made a lunch stop here and enjoyed the picturesque views and the cooler temperatures that came with being at 6, 000 feet in elevation.

We would spend the next couple of hours driving along mountain roads through areas dotted with waterfalls and tea plantations... not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

Terraced Fields

As we traversed the mountainside, we passed tea plantation after tea plantation with tea bushes lined up in neat rows that followed the contours of the mountainside.

As we got a bit lower in elevation, the tea fields gave way to rice paddies that once again followed the contour of the mountain. Other crops were also occasionally visible as we wound through the hills.

Holding down the Roof

The building materials used by both rural people and small town dwellers was often times very creative. Throughout Sri Lanka, we couldn't help but notice, there were often a variety of objects on top of the corrugated metal roofs that seemed to be holding them in place. Definitely a unique building technique.

Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church, which was the destination of our tuk tuk ride across town, is an Anglican Church that was built in the mid nineteenth century. Most of the construction was done by men from the local British garrison.

In 1954 the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh attended services at Holy Trinity. The church also has many very old and interesting tombstones in its cemetery.

We were anxious to move on to see the animals in the national park, but first we stayed the night at the Araliya Green Hills Hotel.

Seetha Amman Temple

Our first stop this morning was at Seetha Amman Temple which is a very colorful and ornate Hindu Temple. According to Hindu belief, this temple is the place where the demon Ravana held the goddess Sita captive. The story is told in the Hindu epic called Ramayana

Ravana Falls

Today we continued our drive through the hill country heading towards Yala National Park. Along the way we stopped to see Ravana Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. The falls are about 82 feet tall.

Near the waterfall, according to scientific evidence, there is a cave that had evidence of human habitation about 25,000 years ago.

Cinnamon Wild

When we arrived in Yala National Park we settled in at Cinnamon Wild Yala Hotel where we would spend the next two nights.