Take a Step Back in Time with the Comfort of Today’s Luxuries at the Boutique Mahesa Bhawan – Northern Sri Lanka
Quench your thirst for travel, venture to the hidden gems of northern Sri Lanka. Steeped in history with a rich, vibrant culture Jaffna is the perfect, off the beaten track get away for any intrepid traveller. This is no quick whirlwind tour but real adventure to be savoured and experienced and guests of Mahesa Bhawan can soak up the atmosphere, explore a range of hidden wonders, from Buddhist temples and ruins to an island inhabited by rare wild horses.
Built in 1935 the original building was abandoned during the 30-year long war, used as a safe house by Tamal Tigers and left to the ravages of time, it has been meticulously restored to its former glory and today stands elegant and proud offering guests a pool, spacious dining and living spaces (designed by the Cooray family themselves), and delicious authentic Jaffna food – which is unique to the region.
You can travel by air in just 50 minutes from Columbo to Jaffna, however the most accessible way to reach Jaffna overland is via the newly launched train from Colombo https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Colombo-KKS-luxury-train-service-launched/108-228653. Travellers can enjoy a leisurely and relaxed pace, whilst imbibing the nature of what Sri Lanka is all about. The route is largely untouched and extends a mix of Victorian charm and vibrant Tamil culture, it’s almost like stepping back in time by 50 years.
The Northern province endured decades of strife during Sri Lanka’s civil war, but the beauty of the region is undiminished. The Jetwing Mahesa Bhawan house is a symbol of the North’s regeneration after conflict: a gateway to the lesser-known side of Sri Lanka, only a short boat ride away from the scenic islands of the North.
Within easy walking distance is the town of Jaffna with a vibrant, bustling marketplace. It is the home of the unique annual Nallur Festival (the largest Hindu festival in Sri Lanka) that takes place between August and September where the town comes alive.
Mooching around the market you will discover that the food is distinct. Closer to South Indian food than Southern Sri Lankan food (as it is closer to India than Columbo). The clear difference is the mix of spices in the curry powder, even in other parts of Sri Lanka, you will find “Jaffna Curry Powder” in the markets as it is considered so different. Being so close to the sea you are guaranteed an excellent array of locally caught fresh seafood on your plate coupled with breads similar to South Indian food – like idli, dosa and Pittu.
There are some stunning nature walks right on the doorstep of Mahesa Bhawan house. Just a gentle stroll through the town and across the lagoon, you will tread the narrow road with water on either side as you pass many indigenous birds and local fisherman net fishing or heading out to sea. It’s about an hour’s walk, in total from the hotels and villa.
A range of unique experiences are available as part of a visit to this historic region. Animal lovers will relish the opportunity to walk among wild horses on Delft Island, one of the most remote places in Sri Lanka. The Chundikulam Bird Sanctuary, a mostly unfrequented spot, will appeal to both seasoned and novice birdwatchers.
For history buffs, Jaffna Fort is a striking remnant of the North’s colonial history, while the enchanting Kadurugoda Temple and Ruins are one of the last examples of Buddhist legacies in the area. Culture seekers will want to head for Nallur Kandasamy Kovil, an iconic emblem of Hinduism, and Jaffna Library, one of the North’s most treasured and historic buildings.
In need of some downtime after all that adventure? You would be hard pushed to find more picturesque places in which to relax than Casuarina Beach, named after its resident coastal trees.
SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY RATES FOR MAHESA BHAWAN:
Double – BB basis – £185 per room per day – Before 31st March 2022
Double – BB basis – £190 nett per room per day – After 01st April 2022
Information on travel to SrI Lanka:
“As of 29th January, you only need to produce a negative Rapid Antigen Test to enter Sri Lanka. It must be taken within the 48 hours before you depart the UK and certified in a clinic. Additionally, if travelling with vaccinated parents, children under 12 no longer need to take any tests at all. This relaxation of testing requirements combined with the availability of direct flights, great weather at this time of year and an abundant variety of scenery and wonder means Sri Lanka is one of the best places to travel at the moment” SAM CLARK – EXPERIENCE TRAVEL