Ulpotha is one of Sri Lanka's greatest secrets, a tranquil yoga-focused eco-retreat. It has been a retreat for thousands of years and for six months a year offers a committed and beautiful atmosphere for guests who want to put Yoga and Ayurveda at the centre of their search for a meaningful spiritual existence a Yoga or Ayurveda holiday for six months every year. For the rest of the year it reverts to its role as a traditional agricultural village committed to bio-diverse organic farming and reforestation. Ulpotha is cradled on the one side by low mountains and a lotus-ringed lake and on the other by tiny emerald green paddy fields. It is a wonderful experience of Sri Lanka’s traditional lifestyle where you breath fresh air, wake up to bird call, go to the nearby lake for an early morning swim with only the birds and monkeys for company; eat rice and vegetables from the home garden; and go about your day at an unhurried pace. In addition to all this, there is the yoga and meditation that gives you peace of mind; and Ayurvedic healing for those wanting added wellness. Guests arriving at Ulpotha with stressed minds and aching bodies can leave in two weeks completely rejuvenated and embracing a lifestyle that most return to time and again.
This sacred land has a rich history. According to ancient spiritual lore, travelling mendicants from the foothills of the Himalayas, while searching for a sacred site associated with Lord Kataragama (son of Shiva),built a shrine where the entrance to the village is now located. This is also ancestral land belonging to regional chieftains whose sacred duty was to maintain this village shrine to Lord Kataragama as well as maintaining the rituals, traditions, and lifestyle of this indigenous culture. Ulpotha's foundations are laid on timeless grounds of nature, history, tradition and myth.
Ulpotha is open for 13 fortnightly periods between June and August and also from November to March. There is a maximum of only 19 places for guests when Ulpotha is open. Guests are encouraged to arrive on a Sunday at the beginning of a two-week programme rather than during the week.
We can provide full information on request
Due to high demand and the limited amount of space at Ulpotha, all single supplements will be allocated on twin sharing basis.
Ulpotha has no large concrete buildings, electricity, phones, television or radio. Instead, visitors stay in traditional wattle and daub huts with thatched roofs immersed in nature. The huts can accommodate two guests and consist of a sleeping area and attached bathroom with open air shower. There is one two-bedroom hut that can accommodate four guests. Rooms have oil lamps, spring water in a pot to drink, mosquito nets covering the beds and colourful cotton saris draped over the doorways to create more privacy.
A central open-sided pavilion with built-in seating provides this sprawling property with a communal focus and is used for both dining and relaxation during the day. Ulpotha serves vegetarian meals that are prepared by the villagers according to traditional recipes. Meals are cooked in clay pots over a wood fired hearth. Guests are welcome to join the villagers in the kitchen. Ulpotha also has a characterful `Walauwa’ (a restored manor house) with a central courtyard, verandah and walls drenched in vibrant hues. The Walauwa houses the main office which has a telephone; a small library and a modern kitchen where guests can prepare their own tea and coffee.
Yoga: Ulpotha’s Yoga classes are conducted in an open-sided pavilion with a leaf-thatched roof or in the cool shade of a Banyan tree. There are 13 fortnightly courses planned each year.
Ayurveda Programmes: Ulpotha has a traditional Ayurvedic Centre that offers a range of relaxing massages, detox and rejuvenating therapies. Following an initial consultation with the resident Ayurvedic doctor, a personalised treatment programme is designed. The Ayurveda Centre has experienced male and female therapists who are closely supervised by the doctor. The nutritious food and the tranquil environment at Ulpotha complement the therapies and serve to underscore the holistic approach of Ayurveda itself. A 10-day Ayurvedic programme is recommended. Allow at least two days to acclimatise after arrival in Sri Lanka before starting of Ayurvedic treatments. All proceeds of this Ayurveda Centre go towards conducting free health clinics for the villagers.
Thai massage: Conducted by experienced foreign therapists, there is a separate wellness hut where relaxing Thai massages are carried out.
Why We Like It
This remote and enchanting eco village for yoga holidays, ayurveda retreats and general detoxing offers a rare antidote to the stress of modern life.
Hidden away in the remote village of Embogama, west of Dambulla and one hour's drive north on minor roads from Kurunegala, Ulpotha is a place of total peace and tranquillity. The journey from Colombo’s international airport will take about three hours.
Location: Cultural Triangle
Style: Yoga Retreat
No. of Rooms: 10
Key Features: Tranquil location; yoga, traditional Ayurveda; authentic Sri Lankan cuisine