Sri Lanka, Heaven’s Own Island

There goes an old saying that marriages are made in heaven. Heaven, however, in its literal sense is not yet accessible to us mortals. But there is a certain kind of comfort in the knowledge that there exist places on this earthly world that would provide the perfect heavenly backdrop for the ones hoping to enter the bliss of marriage this season. One such place rests on the chest of our neighboring Indian Ocean.

The All Saints' Church inside Galle Fort
The All Saints’ Church inside Galle Fort

Known fondly as the ‘tear drop of India’ due to its geographic shape and location, Sri Lanka’s unbelievable pristine beauty would be the only reason that would elicit tear drops from its visitors. This tropical island has captured the world’s attention as one of the most upcoming travel destinations following the end of the thirty-year long civil war in 2009. The much deserved attention spurts from the fact that as tiny as this island may be, it has managed the impossibility of being able to provide almost every form of indulgence that any visitor could possibly ever imagine of. From the lush green tea gardens of Nuwara Eliya to the untouched stretches of beaches along its southern coasts, or the fun-filled wildlife reserves of Pinnawala to the rock fortress of Sigriya, Sri Lanka leaves no wishes unfulfilled. And so, for the couples who are vacillating between honeymoon destinations that would satisfy your polar-opposite choices, Sri Lanka is the absolute place to be.

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A two and half hour flight away from Dhaka is Colombo, the bustling capital of Sri Lanka with its fancy restaurants, hotels and spas, most of which are concentrated along the Galle Face area. For a couple however, a much more apt destination would be the Dutch-built Galle Fort at Galle. Situated at Sri Lanka’s southern tip, this inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site is a two hour ride away from Colombo. This Dutch Fort is a marvel of the perfect representation of the past. The Fort has successfully preserved most of its 16th century Dutch buildings, but yet adapting them to the needs of the modern traveler. What once was a Dutch trading house is now where you and your loved one may sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, while staring into the oblivion of the Indian Ocean framed by the remnants of the Dutch fortifications. Galle Fort’s winding cobbled streets still hold essence to make the momentarily distracted traveler believe that it may still be the 16th century, or that he or she has accidentally stepped into a time machine. A stay inside the charming Galle Fort is highly recommended, and prices vary that suit all forms of budget, with Peddlar’s Inn and Mango Tree House being most couple’s favorites.
If however, you are hoping to splurge further and cherish complete solitude, situated about a 20-minutes ride away from the Galle Fort is the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel. Designed by Sri Lanka’s pioneer architect Geoffrey Bawa, this hotel has become an international icon that faces the Indian Ocean, creating an illusion as if being part of the mighty waves that crash onto it relentlessly. The central attraction of this masterpiece, however, is a sculptural staircase that depicts the arrival of the first European colonisers to ‘Ceylon’, Sri Lanka’s ancient name. Titled “The Portuguese Arriving in Ceylon Under a Cloud” and sculpted by one of Sri Lanka’s most prominent artists Laki Sennanayake, it is a depiction of a somewhat liberally assumed history in its most engaging form. But for you and your special one, Lighthouse Hotel’s dinner along the beach at evening while the waves lap at your feet should be an absolute must. Sri Lanka is star-studded with some of the best resorts in the world, but what makes the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel at Galle so special is its natural setting. What greater joy is there than to sit with the one you promised your infinity to while staring into nature’s own infinity of the ocean? The hotel also contains a swimming pool, the setting of which can be most aptly described as continuously teasing the Indian Ocean beside which it is set.

Peddlar's Inn Restaurent- Galle Fort
Peddlar’s Inn Restaurent- Galle Fort

At the fringe of both the Light House Hotel and Galle Fort is the pristine beach of Unawatana. The sandy white shores and the evergreen coconut trees dote on the horizon, while corals line the restless waters of the Indian Ocean. Here travelers will find options for fun filled activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and boat riding and well-qualified trainers for the activities. Accommodation options are expensive along the beach side, and a more intelligent choice would be to stay in Galle Fort and take the 30-minute ride to Unawatana. Sri Lanka’s phenomenal beaches have become part of its national identity but what sets Unawatana apart from the rest would be the mythological stories associated with it. Mentioned explicitly in the epic saga of love and battle, the Ramayana, legends say that the protruding land visible from the Unuwatana beach is the chunk that fell when the Hindu mythological monkey-God Hanuman carried an entire mountain to try and save the wounded Lakshman.

The Jetwing Lighthouse- Hotel-Exterior
The Jetwing Lighthouse- Hotel-Exterior

Paradise is not made only by the physical beauty of the world; paradise is a state of being. But when the incorporeal meets the perfect earthly setting, it culminates to a point where heaven seems to truly exist on earth. While you seek the very best in the world to offer to your loved one, let Sri Lanka paint the backdrop of paradise that you wish to enter with your better half.

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