Unawatuna is a suburb of Galle with a nice beach, nice restaurants, hotels and the atmosphere that attract beach lovers. It is on the coastal line, accessible by the A2 highway. After visiting Galle Fort, I collected my backpack from the restaurant and took a bus to Unawatuna. After a twenty minute ride, I was at the Unawatuna bus stop, I took a rickshaw and rode up the Rumassala.
The rickshaw driver remembering the instructions from my host, zig-zagged up the dark hills. It was already past seven and there were no street lights, except for the dim lights from the restaurants. The driver stopped at the end of the road and there was my host waiting.
Unawatuna and Rumassala
Rumassala is in the suburb of Unawatuna. It is a pretty little spot, with a lot of trees, a Japanese pagoda and the Jungle Beach. This hill has a mention in the Ramayana. After Lord Rama defeated the Lanka king Ravana in an intense battle, even the gods looked down on two behemoths exchanging fire with their weapons of mass destruction on each other.
After the war, someone thought everybody who died should be brought alive. How to bring back the fallen? The medicinal herbs that live in the Sanjeevini hills in the Himalayas would do the trick. Lord Hanuman was up to the task and he set off. When he got there, he could not tell the medicinal plants and normal innocent trees apart. So he picked up the whole mountain and brought it to Sri Lanka where the dead were resurrected.
On the way, chunks of rocks broke off and ‘fell down’ where the place today is known as ‘Unawatuna’, local language for fell down.
Levitent is where I was going to stay for the night, and my hosts Sala and Bludgy owned the place. I travelled there after Sneha who was their first guest recommended me the place. The Levitent can keep you off the ground and keep you suspended in the air while you sleep. After buying a home built on a piece of rock, with the rock acting as walls of the house, the couple set up the house to have one big hall, a kitchen and a washroom. They set up another washroom outside the house, with a cloth screen acting as the door.
While the couple and their baby slept in the house, guests sleep in a tent that was suspended in the air between three trees. With their ‘No Plastic’ rule in their property, they take in guests who do not mind being suspended four feet up in the air and creatures of the night crawling up to the tent.
Sala and Bludgy are former advertising professionals who quit their jobs and are now trying to build their dream. Art is what they love and design is what they do. After a nice shower, I was served chicken noodle for dinner and the rest of the night we chatted about travel, jobs and life.
The Japanese Peace Pagoda
Sala told me that the waking up experience will be nice. And it was. Before I left to Colombo later in the day, I would go check out the pagoda and then the beach. This place used to be secluded, but now they have carved a path up to the pagoda. The pagoda has a daily prayer service. I missed the way to the pagoda and took the path in front of it. I left the pagoda behind but no complaints, I reached a cliff beach.
Japanese Peace Pagoda
This location was cool, I went back the same path to the pagoda. It is a beautiful shrine and impressive too. It is near the Jungle Beach. The Rumassala Villas is near this place. There are not many peace pagodas in the world and this is one of them. The Japanese Nipponzan-Myōhōji order built it.
I was walking towards the Buddha statue and out a burrow from inside a mound came a huge cobra snake. I had seen many in my city of Mangalore, so it was not bad at all.
This place is definitely not neglected. A statue of Lord Hanuman overlooking the sea is carrying the Sanjeevini hills from where Unawatuna came from.
This is an isolated beach that is located near the peace pagoda. There are steps carved into the rocks, leading down from the top of the hill to the beach. Not many people come here, but tourists do find their way here. The Jungle Beach Party happens here and when I got there people were cleaning up, probably because of the last night’s party. It is a small but beautiful beach.
After hanging out for a while, I went back to my accommodation to pack my bags. I had to board my flight in the evening. Beautiful place to end my Sri Lanka experience. They served me a delicious breakfast of parippu and noolputtu.
‘I saw a huge cobra at the Pagoda’, I said.
‘Yes, people kept telling us that there was a huge cobra there. He doesn’t show up too often. It means that’s a sign of something good things to come’, Sala to me.
‘Good? To what end?’
‘You’ll see’, said Bludgy.
Nature lovers that they are, they made me plant a mango tree in their yard. Every guest of theirs gets to plant a tree. I love the idea because it resonated with my idea of planting a tree in every country I travel. Thanks to Sala and Bludgy. I was the second guest there, but the first to plant a tree. I planted on behalf of the first guest too.