As we tasted some yum coconut snacks and lots of black tea at the Global Ceylon Tea Party, my mind was already rolling on the greens of this island nation. And here’s what I dug out and hope to see one day.

have a cupCommemorating the 150th anniversary of the Sri Lankan tea industry, we were enjoying our cuppa at the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Delhi on July 6, 2017. Teas of all kinds and snacks unique to the island nation were spread out on the table. Even as we were privy to what Sri Lankan tea was all about, a grand celebration was being held at Galle Face Hotel in Colombo too.

The 24-hour ‘Global Ceylon Tea Party’ highlighted the many regional teas and even the well-known Dilmah along with more herbal Beyond Passe were there. We tasted the cold and hot teas and dug into sweet coconut, coconut roti, milk rice, koki and more.

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In Sri Lanka, 20 Ceylon tea parties were held in tea growing areas and in 25 tea factories. Major markets in the globe also celebrated this party.

But what this party got me exploring was the sites I could see in Sri Lanka—people I could meet, places I could visit and cultures, I could be exposed to.

And here’s what I chose from the 56 places suggested by Thrillophilia:

  1. Colombo is said to be a green carpet of tea plantations. Tour starts from the Bogawantalawa valley and covers other plantations that are at 1500m above sea level. One can see the manufacturing process and taste different kinds of tea. Tour price: Approx from LKR 5700.

    Sigiriya Lion Gate, Photo: Cherubino
  2. Sigiriya has a 1600-year-old Sigiriya Fortress built by King Kasyapa. This massive compound is protected by two moats and three ramparts. The Sigiriya Frescoes were hand painted by the king himself depicting celestial nymphs all around the circumference. And on top of these rocks, he built for himself a white palace which stands as an epitome of beauty. Timing: Opens daily from 7am-5:30pm. Price: Approx from $15 to $25.
  3. The Udawalawe National Park, southeast of Colombo, was an attempt to protect the wild animals who were displaced because of the construction of the Udawalawe reservoir. There is an Elephant Transit Home (elephant orphanage) which has housed 25 baby elephants who lost their parents. From Pinnewala, one can spot elephants quite closely because usually elephants are bottle fed there. Best time to visit: July and August. Prices: From Rs 2,195