The Hills of Bandarawela Retreat July 2013

Amba Estate Gate View of the mountains

About the Venue? 

Amba Estate is a beautiful organic farm and tea estate set in the hills of Bandarawela and Ella.  From the cosy, Devon style cottage you get a panoramic view of Ella Rock.  The rooms are comfortable, tastefully decorated with loving touches.  The rest of the cottage is homely and intimate, perfect for the cool star-studded evenings, chatting over hot cups of home grown lemon grass tea, an Amba Estate speciality.  In the day the weather was just perfect for sitting out on mats on the grass, reading, chatting or just being.  The surrounding walks made everyone breathe the lovely forest air deeply. Rawana falls took everyone’s breath away by its energy and beauty and the lunchtime picnics, in scenic locations, lovingly wrapped in banana leaves were devoured with glee by all.
Rawana Falls pool

About the Retreat? 

We began the Retreat with the ten bodies physical but stretching yoga kriya, which prepared our minds and bodies for the hike up Ella Rock. When we reached the summit we found a beautiful spot in the shaded woods for our picnic.  hikingFull and satisfied we lay down after lunch, under the cool, rustling leaves for a short nap. On our way down we dipped our sore feet into the cool river waters to refresh ourselves for the last 30 mins of our 4 hour hike.  Exhausted but exhilarated we ended our day on the ridge with stretching our calves and hamstring before sitting down to watch the sun setting over the veils of mountains, as we breathed deeply and meditated on expanding our electromagnetic field.   The next day was again an early start with dynamic asanas and an ONG meditation before we left for our 40 min hike to the Rawana Waterfalls.  Here we swam in the invigorating waters of this mystical waterfall, snacked and rested.  We ended the day with another session of deep breath work before we had another yummy Yoga at Rawana Fallsmeal and an early night.  The final day was taken very easy, with another dynamic yoga and meditation class, a short hike up a near by hill to take in the views and eat our picnic lunch.  Before we travelled back to Colombo we ended the afternoon with deep back stretches before we lay on our bellies for a 30 min yoga nidra or yogic sleep to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit.

About the Food? 

Fresh garden saladGerman is a brilliant chef, but I really felt he surpassed himself at this Retreat. The vegetarian, menu was just a treat.   Two lunches outdoors, taking in stunning views made the food even tastier.  He added a few new dishes to the old favorites, like vegetable tempura with a tangy dipping sauce, an Asian slaw made with kohl rabi and white radish.  Fresh organic leaves picked from the garden, combined with herbs, fennel root, cherry tomatoes and avocado.  For dinners he served warming roast pumpkin and sweet potato and leek soups, with patacones (a south American inspired dish, consisting of mashed green banana pan fried).

Fruit salad breakfastOur lunch parcels were treat; gottukola sambal with dried bitter gourd from the organic farm amongst wonderful fresh up-country vegetables curries all wrapped with organic red rice in a freshly picked banana leaf. We were treated for tea with sugarless passion fruit muffins and mushroom gyoza using kurukan skins.

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