Ashburnham Tea Estate Guesthouse
Our first two nights in Sri Lanka we spent at Ashburnham Tea Estate, an old tea plantation high in the hills above Kandy. After we had left Mumbai at four o’clock in the morning at already 32 degrees Celsius outside, a minor odyssey via Chennai, including cancelt flights and an airline that had gone bust and several hours drive over the island from the airport to our final destination, the arrival at this calm and quiet gem was a wonderful moment . Ashburnham is located high up in the mountains and therefore offers soothing cool temperatures . The old colonial mansion now houses 4 guest rooms, set around an entrance hall which opens onto a small terrace with a wonderful view over the tea plantations. Besides the guests only Carrie and Andy, who run the guest house, and a few workers of the still active plantation live on the grounds. For children, especially the natural waterfalls, that accumulate into large pools, are a real hightlight.
Ashburnham is the perfectly located as a starting point for a day trip to Kandy. The little town in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, capital of the last Sinhalese Kingdom, is grouped around a small lake, the Kandy Lake. The main attraction is the World Heritage Site „Temple of the Tooth“, named in accordance with its shrine. The legend reports that a tooth of Buddha is burried in the shrine. The temple is a popular excursion and holiday destination, not only for tourists, but also for the people of Sri Lanka, travelgroups, families and school classes.
In the middle of the temple complex lives an old elephant who has reached an impressive size, especially for a member of the Asian version of this species. Our younger one was terrified of the animal, but the daughter was thrilled. To be honest I could understand my son. I was nervously watching the manically forward and backward swinging giant who was not chained and could go run any time. His presence in the temple has an important reason. Local family come with their children especially to see the Elephant. They carry their babies and walk under the belly of the beast – according to their tradition this will bring luck.
The extensive temple grounds are extremely exciting for children. Just as the Sri Lankan kids the can run around anywhere in the complex. Only in the areas directly related to the shrine slicence and calmness are exspected. The rest of the site is extremely lively. Most of the Sri Lankans come here with there children and are extremely welcoming towards the foreign visitors.