‘I magine there’s no heaven …It’s easy if you try.’ Heaven is a place on earth and the exact meaning of Lennon’s song came to me only when I visited Madulkelle few weeks ago, where I discovered heaven. Imagine waking up to the sounds of birds chirping outside and the sun rays over the Knuckles Mountain range falling on your tent room. Zip down the tent door to see a deer or a giant squirrel run away to the valley of tea plantations and witness the most spectacular morning views imaginable.
This is not a script from a movie or a dream but just an unspoilt location just about 140 kms away from Colombo.
‘Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge’, is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka offering a revolutionary and contemporary concept to the traditional warmth and hospitality that Sri Lanka is famous for. Nestled on a picturesque 23 acre tea plantation, on the West slope of the Knuckles Mountain Range, ‘Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge’ can be reached via Katugastota, Madawala and Wattegama and is just about one hours drive from the Kandy City Center.
Perched on the Hunas Mountain on a nearly 70 year old tea plantation, overlooking the Hulu Gaga valley and the ‘Knuckles’ Mountain range, ‘Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge’ is a unique resort with 11 permanent luxury tent secluded lodges (rooms) on platforms on the ridge of the mountain.
‘This way we not only preserved the Tea Plantation, but continue with the production of tea to the world market’ said Bhathiya Gunesekera, the Managing Director of the project.
All lodges are made of high quality tarpaulin canvas specially imported from South Africa. Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge intend to establish 20 to 30 platforms on the ridge for luxury tent accommodations.
‘This is the very same material used by many world renowned safari camps especially in campsites all over Africa’ he added.
Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge is a 70 million BOI investment project which started in 2008 with a French company and Philippe Gomez is the Director representing the overseas interest.
Each lodge at the Madulkelle Eco Lodge can hold a maximum of 3 people and feature a front porch with ‘out-of-this-world’ views, comfortable beds, full bathroom with walk-in shower and a separate private water closet.
‘Guests staying at the Madulkelle Eco Lodge will appreciate the many facilities and services on offer. Some of these facilities include a newly built real colonial style ‘planter’s’ estate house with reception, welcome area and information desk, a library with internet access and a business centre, an English styled Lounge Bar and a dining room and restaurant with a cozy fireplace.
‘The cuisine we offer is all Sri Lankan and cater according to our guests needs and requirements. Gobble and fusion cuisine is our favourite’ said Chaminda, the Manager of the place.
‘Ayurvedic Massages and Therapies by welltrained staff could be arranged in the privacy of your tent or even outdoors under the cool shade of a tree’ Bhathiya stated.
At Madulkelle Tea and Eco Lodge, most of the fruits, vegetables and herbs needed for the kitchen are home grown in their organic garden. This ensures the freshness of the product.
‘An Organic Vegetable and Herb Garden yielding fresh vegetables and herbs all year round helps our Chef to prepare fresh and delicious meals daily,’ said Mr. Gomez, who is keen on culinary delights offered to the guests.
‘We strongly believe in giving back to the society and the various communities we associate with. We conduct regular community service programmes with the nearby village community to help sustain their livelihood and the education of their children. Regular donation of books for the village library and the donation of computers to provide IT training for children are couple of the initiatives undertaken by us’ Bhathiya said.
PIX BY NEIL SIRIWEERA
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