We have been staying at the Amaya Lake Hotel during our visit to Polonnaruwa. It is a beautiful hotel designed by an architect inspired by Geoffrey Bawa, one of Sri Lanka’s foremost architects. The principle behind each of these designs is to incorporate the natural features of the environment in to the design of the building. One interesting feature I notice almost immediately is the lack of guttering on the roof. The water is diverted to large pots which are pierced to allow the water to percolate in to the ground without causing erosion.
We are here during the North-East monsoon and rain has followed us during our visit but not hindered it till now. We leave our hotel early in the hope of climbing Sigiriya before we head for Trincomalee but it seems the rain gods had other plans. In fact, we are lucky to get away from the hotel. Both roads out are under water, the waters from the adjacent storage tanks have exceeded its capacity is starting to spill, resulting in floods. We stop at the causeway and Naufer our driver removes the air filter as a precaution before we proceed. Any later and we would have been marooned at the Amaya Hotel for a few days.
This region of Sri Lanka is dotted with “tanks” built for irrigation by the various kings that ruled these parts. The monsoonal rains were fickle and the rainfall during the rest of the year sparse. Hence in order to cultivate the staple – rice and keep the population fed, the ancient kings constructed an intricate system of canals and reservoirs that were perhaps the greatest in the world at the time. As it wasn’t possible to climb Sigirya, we stop off to admire another beautifully designed hotel in Sigirya. We relax here for awhile after getting a private tour of the place. It would be an ideal place to chill for a few days…if we could afford it!We drive to Trinco realising that we would have to put off climbing Sigiriya for another time. We reach Trinco in time for lunch and check in to Chaya Blue, a hotel located by the ocean. We’ll be here for two days and It’s time to chill in our room with an ocean view…….