Back of Beyond Dehi Gaha Ela is set within seven acres of wilderness in the remote village of Alakolaweva, just 20 minutes from Sigiriya. The area hosts plenty of birds and, intermittently, even the occasional wild elephant. Dehi Gaha Ela is named after the `ela’ (stream) that flows at the edge of the property, and is one of three Back of Beyond properties, all owned by a Sri Lankan ardent nature lover. It is an eco-retreat suitable for those of adventurous backwoodsman spirit. Guests can sleep in a tree house or wooden cottage on stilts that incorporates the natural landscape, including trees and large granite boulders. The small wattle-and-daub restaurant / lounge area is positioned in a central clearing overlooking a manmade pond. The estate borders the jungles of Minneriya National Park where deer, sambur and elephant are free to roam. Go on a nature trail with the in-house naturalist and on the way back, cool off with a dip in the Dehi Gaha `ela’. Meals are sumptuous traditional rice and curry cooked in clay pots. Life at this truly back of beyond eco-retreat is unhurried.
There are two wooden tree houses and four cottages. Tree houses have thatched roofs and a sleeping area accessed via a ladder, with a double mattress on the floor fitted with mosquito netting. Bathroom with h/w shower is on the ground floor. Of the four cottages, three are triple rooms and one is a double. The cottages are built into the hilly terrain and consist of a bedroom with double or twin beds with mosquito netting, attached bathroom with open-air h/w shower and veranda.
There is a restaurant and lounge overlooking the gardens – Sri Lankan cuisine is served here cooked with fresh vegetables from the village. Be aware that there is a limited choice of meats. Other facilities include: a small library with books on Sri Lanka’s wildlife and cultural heritage; bicycles; Wi-Fi and room service. Solar power is used for h/w and electricity and water on tap is from the well. Go bird watching and trekking accompanied by one of the experienced staff, who are well versed with the area.
Why We Like It
The authentic rural experience as you sleep under the stars and discover a new way of living.
The historic sites of Sigiriya, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, as well as wildlife parks including Minneriya, can be accessed from Dehi Gaha Ela. The journey from Colombo’s international airport will take about 4.5 hours.