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By Plimun Web Design
According to legend, travelling mendicants from the foothills of the Himalayas came in search of the sacred site associated with the Lord Kataragama, an incarnation of the god-child Murugan and the son of Shiva.
They believed that Ulpotha was this sacred place, as its seven hills matched the description contained in ancient spiritual lore. After the head priest had a vision in which he was shown how to perform a special devotional ritual, or pooja, they built a temple dedicated to their tantric god at what is now the entrance to the village.
'Paradise' is the word guests most often use to describe this unique, mountain-ringed haven in the heart of Sri Lanka. It's a secluded hideaway where you live in elegant simplicity, close to nature, in adobe houses nestling among flowers and trees, swim in a lake rimmed with tiny water lilies, and eat delicious (mainly vegan) food lounging on cushions like an emperor. Yoga and Ayurveda therapies are practised here.
Ulpotha is a garden and a farm in one but, with everything done the traditional way, there are no chemicals and no machinery. The bedrooms are little adobe houses in separate clearings among the lush mingling of tropical trees and shrubs, which produce the farm's fruit nuts. The sandy paths are shaded by coconut palms and fringed with brilliant hibiscus and the vegetable plots are bright with marigolds. So it feels rather like living in the Garden of Eden.
Each house is a double room with a difference. The furnishings are simple and thoughtful. Mosquito nets cover the beds. A curvaceous terracotta pot, topped with a coconut cup, provides pure spring water to drink. here are ample cupboards, piles of softly coloured floor cushions invite lounging beside a low table and every day there's a fresh bowl of floating flowers. The soft natural tones set off the brilliant wallpaper of the natural world. True to Sri Lankan tradition the immaculate and sweetly scented loos and showers are in separate buildings. The only wall is behind the beds, and privacy is provided by bamboo blinds and the low sweep of the palm-leaf roof.
The retreat is run as a non-profit project that supports locals who work the self-sustaining organic farm, plus provides for reforestation and offers a free Ayurvedic clinic to villagers. The price for total tranquility is no electric sockets or hot water and Ulpotha has no phone. Price starts at $1250 per person per week and includes accommodation based on two sharing, tasty veggie meals, yoga classes, a free massage, and excursions. Additional supplements can be added for Ayurveda treatments. Yoga classes are led by some of the world's leading Yoga teachers. Ulpotha is open from November to March and June to August.
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Huts & Cabins
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