Sojourns in Vanishing Jungles in Sri Lanka


Sojourns in Vanishing Jungles in Sri Lanka

Available at 

WNPS (Battaramulla) 011-2887390, Kiyawana Nuwana (Nugegoda) 011-2820209, Book Zone (Colombo1) 011-2335276

Rs 400/= per copy

Ideal home remedy for the travel bug!

Book facts: Sojourns in Vanishing Jungles in Sri Lanka by Douglas B. Ranasinghe. Reviewed by Capt. Elmo Jayawardena

The paradise that has been in sad and wicked slumber for 30 years has woken up. The man-made divisions are slowly being eradicated and the barriers that obstructed travel, both literal and phobic, have become a thing of the past.

It is time for us Sri Lankans to explore the beauty that we inherited as a birth right. Of course the places are many and the information on prominent sites is readily available in fancy books with glossy pages written by people abroad. Fancy prices too, as ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Footprints’ stare at you from book shelves telling you where to go and what to do in your own country.
Author Ranasinghe has come out with a winner. “Sojourns in Vanishing Jungles in Sri Lanka” is a bargain at Rs. 400 and gives first hand information of excellent places to visit. Most are off the beaten track, mere names that we know and never contemplated visiting, yet fascinating even just to read. It is a ‘must’ book for anyone who has the ‘itch’ to see the real Sri Lanka.

The author’s selected places are well-detailed and the first-hand information given by the author who has travelled them all is excellent. Knuckles, Wasgamuwa, Nuwaragala, Sinharaja, Adam’s Peak, Ritigala and Horton Plains are all here with informative descriptions on how to travel and enjoy. His ‘pit-stops’ are all little-known villages (may be not even dots in a map) and the streams he walked with his teams are equally unknown; all this gives a resonant awakening to how much we do not know.

The writing itself has no monotony as author Ranasinghe intersperses everything with very colourful characters who shared his sojourns. Gomba the Veddah who recited their clan songs, ‘Jungle dweller’ John Aiya and his ‘Kunudiya Parvathaya’ are worthy of mention among the many flamboyant ‘wild men’.

The beauty of this book is it is filled with details of places and people and historical fact, quoted by someone who has seen or read them all. The wild is vividly covered, both the fauna and the flora so that the reader gets so much information that is accurately presented. It is obvious that the author is very familiar with ‘roads less travelled’ and the associated folklore and has the ability to express and share his knowledge in a manner that is very readable.

What more can you ask from a book?

In addition to the places he and his friends have explored, Ranasinghe has a chapter ‘Invitation’ that gives a lot of prominence to lesser-known places among the National Parks, Sanctuaries, waterfalls, plains, hills and caves where he invites ‘would-be-adventurers’ to make their plans to visit. He adds another important dimension by giving explicit instructions to ‘amateur travellers’ on how to plan and what to take on a trip to the wilderness, here he has kept clear footprints for others to follow.

The book is a must. Read it and one would want to grab a back-pack and start off to see at least some of the places Ranasinghe describes. The newspapers are filled with advertisements to go to the Holy Land, to Serengeti, cruise in Alaska or train ride in China. All that is fine though purse- draining, yet a must to most. Why not try the home remedy for the travel bug? Go get Douglas B. Ranasinghe’s Sojourns, see the vanishing jungles before they vanish forever, and postpone Jerusalem and Africa to a fairer day.


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