Lazing in Lanka

Payel Majumdar Upreti | Updated on October 04, 2019

Seafood fest: Chilli crab at Cantaloupe House, Ahangama   -  PAYEL MAJUMDAR UPRETI

The sailing life: A hidden beach in Ahangama is the perfect spot to set sail into the Indian Ocean and watch the sunset   -  PAYEL MAJUMDAR UPRETI

Sun, sea and surf are a given in Ahangama, but so are quiet villas and breathtaking views that help you relax

Galle boy Shanjei Perumal, with his free-flowing beard, mysterious dark glasses and a baritone tomatchthe imposingGalle Fortlighthouse and kithul palm tree in the background, was right out of a Martin Scorcese film, except that he was wearing a colourful sarong and had his favourite puppy for company. “See these moss-grown walls? They breathe in the history of the Dutch who built the fort in the medieval ages, after capturing these lands around us.” As Shanjei narrated the history of Sri Lanka’s living fort that surrounded us, we looked on enthralled at the lone lighthouse standing tall and looking out to the sea. The Galle Fort, with its beautiful alleys and historic architecture, now houses chic shops lined with upmarket homegrown brands, eateries, mosques and churches that Shanjei brought to life for us. A former investment banker,he conducts tours of the fort area, a funway of getting to know its chequered history. We had driven down the fantastic coastal road from Ahangama where we were staying at the Cantaloupe House, in the erstwhile Dutch mayor’s residence, now converted into a beautiful villa. Ahangama is in south Sri Lanka, a couple of hours’ drive from the bustling Capital city of Colombo. It is a quiet town that is perfect for languid days on the beach, with many good surfing spots. When things get a bittoo quiet, you can always go toGalle — an hour’s drive — and have a drink or two in one of the Galle Hospital area’s open-air bars. Our first evening on a yacht offshore — watching the sunset off Jungle Beach, from where we had sailed — provedthatdays couldbe spentinperfectidle contemplation. But the very next evening we were at Sugar Beach, a hip beach club done all in white to set off the midnight blue twilight. It played just the right music for the sunset theatrics. The owner is a music aficionado and one of the organisers of the Colombo Jazz Festival. If you’re lucky, he will show you his favourite hideout — a lagoon on the beach where you can spend some magicaltime under the stars while still listening to the music. Ahangama is known for its luxurious properties with sweeping rooms, but there is little point spending time indoors. Perhaps that is why the Cantaloupe House even features an outdoor bathtub and shower in the minigarden attached to every room. Coastal Sri Lanka is a holiday that accommodates anyone, from those seeking a romantic holiday to a family get-together. The food is just an added bonus. Do have a meal at the stunning Sielen Diva, another boutique villa at Talpe, a quiet little village. The chef offered us fresh lobsters, sustainably sourced from the local fishing community, fresh cinnamon ice cream and banana fritters! We couldn’t get enough of the delicious food — or of the sun, sea and surf of Sri Lanka.

Payel Majumdar Upreti

(The author was in Ahangama upon invitation from Cantaloupe House, Ahangama. Contact Shanjei on Instagram @galle_fort_walks or

Published on October 04, 2019

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