All posts filed under: Travel

The Qur’an

Most people think that Ramadan revolves around food, or the lack of. However the true significance of Ramadan is the Qur’an. While Muslims do fast from sunrise to sunset, everyday for a month, they are also expected to spend time reading the Qur’an and learning from it.  Interestingly, the first word ever revealed from the Qur’an ‘ikra’ means ‘read’ in Arabic Ramadan is linked to the Qur’an. It was in this month that revelation first started to be sent down to the Prophet Muhammad by the angel Gabriel and continued for 23 years. The Prophet is the last of a line of messengers extending to the beginning of mankind. The Qur’an is a book of guidance and it’s miracle is in that as a religious text, it has been preserved intact in the form it was first revealed over 1400 years ago. Despite Muslims being of many sects, schools of thought, nationalities and ethnicities, the Qur’an is the one binding factor that unites everyone. In my travels and work I have come across the Qur’an …

Sun Aqua Pasikudah

My first trip to Pasikudah was definitely a blissful holiday as I got to spend it at Sun Aqua. The property is part of a Maldivian resort chain and it tries to bring the same serene ambience as the luxury hotels in Maldives are known for. The hotel has around 30 rooms in a chalet style setting. This ensure the space and privacy one needs for a relaxing vacation. The highlight of the room is its large bathroom complete with a plunge pool. This unique feature sets the hotel apart from most of the others on Pasikudah beach. The hotel provides all facilities from three restaurants, a gym, spa, entertainment room and a spectacular pool.  The service is great and the staff is super accommodating. The restaurants serve a diverse menu and have both Sri Lankan and international staples. Their signature dish is this Jaffna style Crab Curry. The hotel has a great spot on the beach and when not using the plunge pool in your room, or swimming pool, the fabulous beach awaits you. Beautiful through out the day. …

Mecca and Medina

Visiting Mecca is always this overwhelming experience, even for secular Muslims.  I’ve seen the Ka’aba (black square building) for years in pictures and on television, and finally seeing it in real life is both surreal and exciting. The layout and architecture of the mosques in Mecca and Medina gives one the feeling of being on a futuristic movie set. Where everyone is in robes, surrounded by the desert, speaking different languages, under high tech domes, and space shuttle shaped canopies.  It creates a sense of the past and future, and makes you feel like you are on an alien planet, removed from the rest of the world. Tomorrow marks Eid ul Adha, the festival that commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. So I thought I’d blog about my first visit to Mecca and Medina on Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) earlier this year.  Umrah can take place anytime of the year, whereas the actual Hajj pilgrimage happens annually between the 8th and 12th of of the last month of the Islamic Calendar. Mecca is where the Prophet was born, …

Bedspace, Unawatuna

Last weekend, the brother and I were hosted by the wonderful Malcolm Skinner at Bedspace, Unawatuna.  We enjoyed amazing hospitality and great food, and I came back to Colombo fuller and more relaxed than I’d been in a long time. Bedspace was started in December 2014 by Malcolm and his business partner David Thomson.  Malcolm is British, but has roots in Sri Lanka and thought it would  be fantastic to start a hospitality venture here.  The biggest attraction of the guesthouse, is their kitchen, with its very creative, delicious and locally sourced dishes. I judge an eating establishment by how well they make a vegetarian dish. I don’t eat a lot of meat in general, and really appreciate a place that serves good veg fare. And Bedspace, definitely won my heart with their vegetarian tart. My brother was served a perfectly flavoured Prawn Pad Thai. The rooms are simple, with focus on guest comfort. The pillows are wonderfully fluffy, and perfect for a good nights sleep. The bathrooms are large, and the rooms come with every amenity …

Phillip Island, Australia

My first trip out of Melbourne was to Phillip Island. The place is a very popular tourist destination both for its scenic beauty and wildlife sanctuaries. The island is named after Arthur Phillip the first Governor of New South Wales and is only an hour’s drive from the city. There are many things you can do in Phillip Island. My itinerary included: Walking along The Nobbies. Lunch at one of the public barbecue grills. All you need to do is bring your meat and roast it over the electric grills. No coals required Visit to the Phillip Island Wildlife Park The Penguin Parade at sunset. I loved the wildlife park as it gave us first hand access to Australia’s indigenous animals. The kangaroos were pretty tame and were used to being fed by visitors. Entry into the park is $17 and includes a bag of food for the animals. More pictures from the park: At sunset we went to watch the Penguin Parade,  the world’s smallest penguins known as ‘little penguins,’ ‘fairy penguins’, or kororā in Maori. They grow …

Blogging from Melbourne

I am sitting at a Middle Eastern cafe called Zaatar, in Coburg, a cosy suburb in Melbourne. Lined with Arab and Turkish cafes, Pakistani dress boutiques, and Indian restaurants, the place feels close to home.  I order a chamomile tea and a piece of baklava  so I can sit here and write my fist blog post since May. I am in Melbourne for many reasons. Being a freelance photographer gives me the freedom to work from anywhere. I like moving office once in a while and this seemed like a good place to get my creativity flowing. Apart from my shoot here, I will also be traveling around Australia and am hoping to visit Brisbane and the Gold Coast in a few days. I landed on a Thursday night, straight into Fall season. It’s been chilly, but a refreshing change from the oppressive heat in Colombo in May. The best part of my flight was flying over Hong Kong during my transit. Definitely a place I’d like to visit in the future. I started my first …

The Parakrama Samudra

Polannaruwa is hands down my favourite heritage city in Sri Lanka.  I had first visited the place when I was about 7, but could not recall that trip too clearly. Then in 2013 I went to help my cousin settle into his medical internship at Polannaruwa and fell in love with the place immediately. The temples and old city are quite a treat. Be sure to rent a cycle and check out them out. I have been to the ruins three times now in the last year and a half and still love going there. However, the clowning glory of the city is The Parakrama Samudra (The Sea of Parakrama). It was built by King Parakramabahu I, a visionary for his time.   When my friends come down from India I make it a point to take them to the Samudra and they have always been impressed. This artificial tank literally does look like a sea. More often that not you are bound to see some elephants coming to drink from its waters. There is …