I had heard of the Dehiowita over news, but never knew it was a place that can offer such amazing views, fresh air and warm hearted people for both local and foreign travelers. During my research on accommodation in the area, I found this beauty named Belle Kasha, that offered me more than just a stay.
Belle Kasha, is a 75 year old colonial bungalow located amidst the luscious tea terrains in Dehiowita, Sri Lanka. Dehiowita is a town located in Kegalle District, Sabaragamuwa Province. It is about 68 kms away from the capital city, Colombo and is quite an inviting atmosphere for the travelers who believe in nature’s healing. Public transport is available right up to the bungalow and finding the location is not at all difficult as it is a well-known place for great hospitality for its guests. Parking area is available at the venue for all those who plan to drive-in. My intention was to stay for two nights which later extended to four, and you are about to find out why!
Welcome to Belle Kasha
My hostess Mrs. Champa Tennakoon,was a cheerful lady with a pleasant smile who welcomed me to the place. Having reached there was quite equal to reaching home, away from the hassle of the city with a garden overlooking the mountains and a natural stream at the corner. I spent some time in the garden, to let myself surrender to the nature’s beauty and the cool weather which was so peaceful and relaxing. The bungalow contains 4 fully furnished bedrooms with attached bathrooms which is ideal for a travel group of 15-20 people. My room was friendly and cozy with windows opening out to the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and distant music from the Hindu temple located within a few kilometres from the house.
The furniture and the interior gave the feeling of living a historical dream with a classy touch. Once I settled down, Mrs. Tennakoon showed me around the house. The dining area looked very inviting with fresh flowers and candle holders, adding color to its charm.
Belle Kasha also facilitates the ‘must-have’ for any traveler’s holiday, a personal library stocked with a range of books that come down from a historical collection of the bungalow. I took a lot of time in the library discussing with Mrs. Tennakoon who has taken a great deal of care maintaining the library and adding new reads to it. She is also an expert in picking up great books according to the taste of her guests.
Good Read with Ceylon Tea
This trip was a solo one for me, but I wished so badly that my other friends had accompanied me. The tea experience was quite memorable! A steaming pot of tea was offered in the garden with cookies, splendid for the evening weather which was turning a little colder by then. Mrs. Tennakoon told me that Dehiowita area is rich with its tea cultivation and there were a couple of impressive tea acres bordering Belle Kasha as well. My heart was taken by the tableware of the place which was decorated with color and detailed designs with gold and silver lining. Every detail about the house was in line with each other making it a true piece of art.
I started reading the book I picked up from the library, while sipping tea and I must say it was the best tea moment I ever had. I was asked of my preferences for dinner, and I chose a traditional meal. Raja, the cook of the bungalow prepared for me string hoppers, a favorite from the Sri Lankan cuisine with sambol (mixture of grated coconut, chilies and lime juice) and potato gravy. The food was delicious and filling and it kept me eagerly waiting for the food next day.
Next day I took a walk outside, to the tea estates. I met people on the way who smiled at me with a friendly attitude. I was able to click many vibrant photographs of the birds, some that are endemic to Sri Lanka. Further down the road, there was a river which I assumed is related to Kahanavita Ella or Dehenwaka. It had a few natural pools safe and great for a refreshing dip into the cooling waters. I was not prepared for a swim so I thought to push it off for the next day. But sitting by the river listening to the birds and the sound of the waves was truly a soul soothing experience. I returned back to the bungalow with a good collection of photographs and memories where I had the opportunity to taste yet another home-made delicacy by Raja. The lunch was again a traditional meal with steaming red rice, dhal curry, polos curry (polos-baby jack fruit) and fried river fish. What more can one ask for!
After lunch, I had a little chat with Mrs. Tennakoon who further explained to me about the village and the communities that are attached to it. Belle Kasha is not only a tourist bungalow but also a main contributor to uplift the lives of the villagers.Through its community service projects,it provides job opportunities for the youth along with educational facilities. Most of the people lived off day jobs either working in the tea/rubber estates or running small grocery shops. Belle Kasha, in that sense brings a lot of positive exposure to this hidden hamlet and its people. I was amazed by the hard work put in by Mrs. Tennakoon to handle everything single handedly, and its very inspiring to see that her efforts have resulted in such a beautiful lodging facility. She as a responsible citizen, is giving her best to her community out of the earnings. The next three days went by with walks in the village, tasting more delicious food and fruitful discussions with her. Belle Kasha is not just a space to rest your head but a whole book to read and understand the livelihoods and experience the beautiful nature. I suggest all travelers visiting the hill country of Sri Lanka to take a stop at Belle Kasha, for a memorable holiday chapter. They also host garden weddings, parties and staff retreats, so if work is not giving you a holiday, how about taking work there?
Contact Belle Kasha for reservations on +94 76 611 35621