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Join this eco-friendly and vegetarian yoga retreat in Ulpotha, Sri Lanka. There, traditional lifestyles provide room for all the ingredients required for a balanced existence, a personal and immediate relationship to family, community, nature, and the spiritual world, as well as an attitude to work as a lifestyle rather than as labor. Ulpotha is there to be enjoyed as one wishes and taken for what it is, an enchanting place that sprinkles its magic dust on those who pass through.
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Guests will be accommodated in one of a number of tastefully decorated traditional wattle and daub huts sprinkled through Ulpotha, where living is by design a communal and shared experience in nature's embrace. There are 11 charming guest huts in Ulpotha, 10 of which are for two guests and one for three.
All huts are built using traditional wattle and daub with comfortable beds, excellent mosquito nets, cupboards, fresh water, towels, and offer a sarong to wear and take home. The huts are of an open, airy design that facilitates the sense of being one with nature.
Twice a year, each hut is hand painted using different colored clays, where no designs are ever repeated. Much use has been made of clay, stone, wood, pottery, and fabrics that reflect traditional village practices and aesthetics.
With one or two exceptions, Ulpotha adheres to the Sri Lankan village tradition of keeping toilet spaces separate from living spaces. The enchanting showers are open to the stars and the toilets are modern.
All the huts at Ulpotha are allocated on a twin share basis. Sharing with someone is more welcome than one might usually expect. Though ultimately soothing to the ears, the jungle noises can take some getting used to and it is quite reassuring to have a companion sharing one's space.
By design, there is no electricity in Ulpotha and life is lived by the rhythm of the day. As candles are to a restaurant, flame 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.
What is instinctively apparent when one arrives in Ulpotha is that the place itself has a sense of deep calm. The yoga, Ayurveda, the gardens and barefoot paths, the healthy food, and the aesthetic beauty, all of which one finds in Ulpotha, are secondary. The fact that living spaces are open to the outside world connects one to the surrounding nature rather than cutting and insulating one from it.
Also very important and rather unique in today's world is the fact that Ulpotha has neither electricity nor internet and poor mobile telephone reception. Both internet and mobiles bring in the stress of the outside world and take one away from being able to live in the moment. Ulpotha encourages communal interaction with others, as it is in the genetic imprint of human beings to band together after dark to eat and tell stories, in short to commune and connect socially.
During the retreat, mornings will begin with a light tea or snack, a yoga class, and breakfast. Then you are free to either have a massage, treat yourself to an Ayurveda detox, swim in the lake, or simply relax in a swing bed.
Lunch will be served at noon and it will be the time to catch up with your fellow travelers and play a game of chess or backgammon. After lunch, you are free to do as you please, go on a bike ride, explore the lakes by boat, read in a swing bed, sunbathe, or snooze.
Before the sun goes down, grab a snack and a tea and go to the evening yoga session, which sometimes takes place out of the yoga shala, under the trees, or up a mountain. Dinner will be served after the evening yoga session and then you are free to linger and chat or head back to your hut for a full night's rest.
Naturally, this will be your holiday and none of the activities in Ulpotha are mandatory. However, to reap the full benefit of your stay, you are encouraged to do both the yoga and, if you wish, also try one of the Ayurveda detox programs.
During week one, there will be one half-day excursion and during week two, there will be a full-day excursion.
Malaika MaVeena Darville
Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda, Australia (Yoga)
Malaika completed her yoga teacher training in Australia in 2005. Since then, she has been teaching private and group classes in Australia, Costa Rica, Canada, and Hawaii. She also created The Ultimate Journey, a five-day initiation retreat for women with elemental trance dance, an ecstatic dance journey through the five elements. Malaika is also a fully qualified lomilomi therapist, a massage based on the traditional on the traditional Hawaiian art of healing. In Ulpotha, she will combine yoga and Five Elements Dance Activation.
Ulpotha is very much off the beaten track in the middle of Sri Lanka, by a lakeside, at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountains. It has been a retreat site for thousands of years and remains a perfect place for a yoga holiday in the heart of Sri Lanka.
It is a beautiful and peaceful hideaway, open to guests for part of the year. 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.
Ulpotha is only open for half the year, generally from November to March and June to August. The rest of the year Ulpotha reverts to its primary role as a traditional rice growing village.
Ulpotha is blessed with surroundings that are uncommonly beautiful and serene. The abundant bird and animal life reinforce its timeless beauty. If you take away the pretty stupa on the mountain, one would be looking at a scene that has remained unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. The sense of deep calm and peace is the essence of Ulpotha and the gift it shares with those who visit.
During this retreat, you will be served daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks. The food at Ulpotha is simply delicious and very healthy. It is almost entirely vegan, wheat-free, with an abundance of fresh vegetables, organic red rice, and tropical fruit freshly picked largely from Ulpotha's gardens. A visit to Ulpotha is a good opportunity to detoxify your system without fuss.
Ulpotha only uses organic farming practices that follow the lunar cycle and use no mechanical means. All crops are hand planted and harvested, while the fields are plowed and the rice is threshed by buffaloes.
Special diets cannot be catered for, but it is fairly easy to pick and choose, depending on your taste, from the many dishes served at each meal. If there is anything that you feel that you simply can't do without, such as coffee, alcohol, and chocolate, Ulpotha suggests you bring it with you.
As there is no electricity, all food is cooked fresh for each meal on open fires. Breakfast is served from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and consists of herbal teas, fresh fruit, fresh coconut water, herbal rice porridge, and a Sri Lankan breakfast cake.
Lunch served around midday is the main meal of the day and consists of a wide array of Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, salads, Ulpotha Heritage rice, fruits, curd, juice, and herbal tea. Dinner is served after dusk and consists of an array of salads, Sri Lankan vegetarian dishes, juice, fruit, and herbal tea.
Please book your flight to arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). Transfer to and from this airport is available upon request. Ulpotha will arrange for a driver to collect you at the airport and will return you to the airport or drop you to your next destination after your stay with them. The cost per vehicle is 100 USD for one person and 115 USD for two persons, each way. It will be a three-hour ride.
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