This 1870's ancestral home of Mervyn and Doris Wijesinghe is named after his Grandfather, and Wellawaya is steeped in 16th century Portuguese history.
The surrounding 300 acres now supporting paddy and coconut plantations were once a battle-ground to hundreds of soldiers fighting for the Kandyan King. The Portuguese Governor Dom Constantine De Saa marched to Badulla with an army of 7,000, destroying centuries-old Buddhist temples and villages. The forces of the Kandyan Maha Asthana Prince (crown Prince) retaliated, forcing the Portugese to retreat and suffer death by sword. De Saa and the Portuguese army were decimated at this battleground.
Many village names stem from translations of "soldiers
Having retired from
Enjoy spring-water swimming or boat down-stream admiring the vibrant bird life. Watch- huts and benches lie next to the river and 58 species of bird have been identified, including Kingfishers, Barbets and the Ceylon Flycatcher. Explore the Poonagala Mountain Range and the surrounding jungle by foot or mountain bikes. You'll meet wild elephants, elk and wild boar enroute. Waterfalls cascade all around and frequently provide excellent dipping pools.
Mervyn can fill in the "ėgaps' whilst Doris and her loyal cooks prepare traditional Sri Lankan meals in the original stone kitchen.
Real Sri Lankan living, history and active expeditions fill your days, but that is not all. In the evening you can recline in easy chairs on the spacious roof terrace and enjoy a night sky unpolluted by city lights. Ideal for families, retired couples and birdies who don't want chintz but wish to see a bit of the "real Sri lanka"
The large bungalow is planned around an open courtyard and contemplation pool. Simply and sparsely furnished with 70's furniture and colonial antiques, it features hunting memorabilia on the walls as in a country retreat. The open sitting room is rather formal so guests may prefer to relax on the garden benches.
Away from the family living area, there are five large and simple bedrooms, with king-size beds, two of which accommodate a further single bed. The beds have the traditional, rather thin Sri Lankan mattresses which are sometimes rather hard to European tastes.
The rooms are very basic with old furnishings of the home. Pretty bed linen, flowers and gothic style lights soften the look and each room has its own character, but the frosted windows screen out views of the garden. Equipped with simple storage/hanging space, mosquito nets and fans.
Each bedroom has its own en suite bathroom, three of them with solar heated hot water showers.
Two chalets have been added recently which face the Kirindi Oya (river). They are built in the style of village houses with mud walls and thatched roofs, and have triple beds, en suite bathrooms, large verandahs and solar lighting. Perfect for watching the river birdlife.
The silence is restful and only the birds will awake you each morning.
The dining room is quite casual and the Wijesinghes try to fit meal times around guests' plans.
The large table will accommodate up to 20 when the bungalow is full. Sri Lankan menus dominate but flavours are varied. Western and Chinese dishes are also served for long stayers.
I enjoyed pumpkin soup followed by rice and curry. The meat and fish quality is not so reliable in the mid country. However, wild boar sometimes makes it to the table and is rich and tender.
Lunch time meals are usually more rice and curry for the family but lighter snacks of sandwiches or a packed lunch can be prepared.
Breakfast began with a herbal porridge which has nutritional value and detoxifying properties - definitely an acquired taste! Fruit, curries and pittu were served up. I followed tradition and sprinkled brown sugar and coconut milk over my pittu (steamed rice), which was surprisingly delicious.
Guests are accepted on a half or full board basis as there are no restaurants within easy distance.
Wines and spirits are stocked up regularly and offered at a reasonable price.
For recommendations on places of interest, activities and local transport in the