Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nuga Gama: A bit of Sri Lankan History

 We took a stroll through the Cinnamon Grand Hotel one day after breakfast and stumbled upon a real treasure.  Nuga Gama is a restaurant/ model of an old Sri Lankan village.  Immediately as we began our walk through, a lady dressed in traditional dress came to give us a tour.  The restaurant serves dinner each night and lunch on the weekends, but in the morning it is a quiet, tranquil place.  The whole area has been planted with trees, flowers, shrubs and crops that can be found around the island.

The name Nuga Gama comes from the Sinhala name for Banyan tree.  There is one that is about 200 years old at the centre of the village.  In the old Sri Lankan villages, this Nuga was the meeting place for the villagers.  Gama means village.

 This karrata or cart would have been used to transport people or goods. They would be pulled by elephants or oxen.
This structure, an ambalama would be found in the village to provide shelter and a resting spot for travelers.

 The pokuna or pond is a vital element of the village.  This particular pond at Nuga Gama has the national flower- the nil manel which would be used as an offering in Buddhist temples as a symbol of purity and truth.  The seeds and tubers would be used by the villagers as a vegetable and the leaves stems and flowes as a herbal medecine.

This clay structure is called a bissa and it  is used for rice storage. It stands on a wooden platform and can hold around 60 bushels. It has a thatched roof that can be lifted with a pole for the farmer to pour in the rice.  There is a small door at the bottom to remove the rice as needed.

a pepper bush

The gama gedera is another clay structure with a thatched roof which would be typical living quarters for the famer and his family.

To the left of Joe are sleeping mats hanging from the ceiling.

an old sewing machine sits in the corner

typical pots and ornaments found.. the leaves are Betel leaves which are often chewed with tobacco and areca nut (the seed of a palm tree).

 A Buddhist shrine would be found in the living quarters.  

Near the gedera is a well, or linda.

a plow used in the paddy fields

the village rooster!

This is the threshing floor or kamatha used to unhusk the rice.  It would also be used to perform rituals to ensure a bountiful paddy (unhusked rice).  

 This area outside the cooking area is a place to clean your hands.

 These are clay pots typically used for cooking.  

The women are hard at work in the Kussiya or kitchen over an open fire, cooking authenic Sri Lankan food.

 The salawa is the traditional village hall.

This is the kade, a traditional Sri Lankan village shop which sells fruits, sweets,and household items.

 the village cow!

Nuga Gama is definitely one of our favourite we will visit again a few times before we leave. 

Here the kids are standing under the 200 year old Banyan tree.

Thanks for taking this tour with us!!

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