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ULPOTHA

A village in Sri Lanka

SRI LANKA - Ulpotha

Ulpotha has been a retreat site for thousands of years and remains a perfect place for a Yoga holiday or an Ayurveda retreat in the heart of Sri Lanka. It's a beautiful hide-away open to guests for holidays and retreats for part of the year and is a place of total peace. You may come here to experience Yoga holidays and Ayurveda retreats and the warm, generous and gentle hospitality the people of Sri Lanka love to offer.

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ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

"I was overwhelmed by the variety and the sophistication of the meals"
The Financial Times

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

Ulpotha is the land that time forgot, there is no electricity, buffaloes are used to thresh heritage red rice, food is cooked on open fires and vegetables grown in the garden.

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

As candles are to a restaurant, fire is to Ulpotha. By design there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day.

Photo: Zuzana Zwiebel

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

When Ulpotha was first established, rare indigenous rice seeds were carefully collected for their taste and high nutritional value from small traditional farmers all over Sri Lanka and a small seed bank established.

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

Food is cooked on open fires and there are no fridges (which were deemed by one of Ulpotha's founders as simply being a means of eating un-fresh food). Water comes from spring-fed wells.

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ultopha

A village in Sri Lanka

As candles are to a restaurant, fire is to Ulpotha. Paths and accommodation are lit by lamps and lanterns with the twinkling firelight creating a captivating and romantic sense of times gone by.

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA

Sri Lanka, Ulpotha

A village in Sri Lanka

Traditional methods of farming, where respect is paid to local deities, and lunar cycles are used to determine auspicious times for planting and harvesting, are embraced in Ulpotha.

Photo: Sea Eymere

ULPOTHA - A KITCHEN IN PARADISE

"I was overwhelmed by the variety and the sophistication of the meals." The Financial Times  

Ulpotha is the land that time forgot, full of lore, mystery, and legend. It’s where monkeys swing through the trees and nature is in full play. Buffaloes are used to thresh heritage red rice, there is no electricity, food is cooked on open fires and vegetables grown in the garden. The villagers welcome guests six months a year to do yoga, eat Ayurvedic food and have Ayurvedic treatments. By design there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day. Paths and accommodation are lit by lamps and lanterns. A small solar power panel provides electricity for recharging hand held devices. Food is cooked on open fires and there are no fridges (which were deemed by one of Ulpotha's founders as simply being a means of eating un-fresh food). Water comes from spring-fed wells and guests are encouraged to use it sparingly. Ulpotha Heritage Rice comprises a variety of pure strains of very rare indigenous rice, produced by unique communities of villagers in the jungle heartland of Sri Lanka. Ulpotha supports and celebrates not just a method of farming but a way of life.

FARMING IDEALS

Traditional methods of farming, where respect is paid to local deities, and lunar cycles are used to determine auspicious times for planting and harvesting, are embraced in Ulpotha. Naturally no artificial fertilisers and pesticides are employed on the land. Instead age-old bio-dynamic formulas, traditional rituals, and bio-diversity are used to ensure a healthy harvest. In order to preserve the natural environment, water buffalo plough the fields and thresh the paddy in place of tractors. And, in keeping with old village practises, most of these farming activities are times for communal song, dance and celebration. Crops are protected from bugs and pests using traditional and biological methods. These start with the choosing of auspicious times for planting and the making and keeping of ritual vows to the spirits of the land. Biological means, such as the use of powdered neem seeds, dried makra leaves, crushed coconut shavings, sap from the jak fruit, cactus milk, branches of the kaduru tree, bamboo leaves and riverbed sand, are all employed when required and appropriate to deal with any infestations. Ploughing and threshing of the paddy are carried out using buffalo, as the use of tractors is avoided. The latter tend to break through the crust that retain water in paddy fields, resulting in the need for far greater amounts of irrigation. They also tend to dig up the soil too deeply, bringing less fertile soil to the surface to the detriment of the crops. Buffalo, on the other hand, do not cause these difficulties and do not produce air and noise pollution, while they do produce useful fertiliser and nourishing milk. They also reproduce.

RICE VARIETIES

Before the introduction of fertiliser-dependant hybrids, there were over four hundred different varieties of rice grown in the country, each with different nutrient values and characteristics. Now only a handful of rice strains are widely grown - almost all of which are hybrids. When Ulpotha was first established, rare indigenous rice seeds were carefully collected for their taste and high nutritional value from small traditional farmers all over Sri Lanka and a small seed bank established. In nutritional content, texture, appearance, aroma and - most importantly - taste, these pure strains of indigenous rice are unlike any other. Kaluheenati, which literally means dark, fine grain, is a highly nutritious red rice that is considered to have medicinal properties, and is particularly recommended for lactating mothers.

  • Kuruwee literally means 'small rice', and is a sweet and soft red rice.
  • Gonabaru is a very rare old variety of red rice that formed the staple diet of both peasant and king.
  • Dhikwee is a soft and wholesome red rice that is high in nutritional value.
  • Pachchaperumal is a wholesome short grain red rice that when cooked takes on a deep rich burgundy colour.
  • Pachchuperumal means 'Buddha's colour' and has been considered a divine rice in traditional Singhalese culture. It has been used for centuries in 'Danes' (offerings to the monks during a thanksgiving or vow to the gods for rain, protection of crops etc)
  • Samba is a soft and delicious white rice that has been the traditional rice of choice for festivities and alms-giving.
  • Suwandel is a rare white rice that is, as its translated name implies, fragrant.

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