Ever wanted to travel back in time, or in other words to experience a real-life throwback to witness how people lived many centuries ago, possibly in the stone age? Here is your chance to experience the livelihood of people who lived in Sri Lanka many centuries ago.
Discover the indigenous roots of Sri Lanka by meeting, greeting, and experiencing the day-to-day life of the indigenous people of Sri Lanka, “Veddhas” or Adivasis”, who have an archaeologically recorded history dating back to 5th - 6th century B.C. These warriors of the forest, living in mud huts, maintaining a lifestyle close to the stone age, speaking in an ancient dialect of Sinhala, and living off hunting and forest gatherings, while engaging in ancient rituals and customs, will not only give you a whole new perception to living a simple life in tune with nature but also take your thoughts on a trip back in time.
This rapidly disappearing tribe of people is the only existing community of Sri Lankan indigenous people and is recorded to be descendants of Prince Vijaya. Over time, they are known to have traveled from the Northcentral region of Sri Lanka to the Central regions of the country and are now living in the forest regions of Dambana.
Spend a day or a night over in the remote village of Dambana to meet, greet and experience the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of this native community who have been living in harmony with nature for generations, preserving their native identity intact.
You will be picked up from the pickup place in Dambana, bringing you to a remote village in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but miles of green forest stretching for as far as your eyes can see. Men with long grown beards, a bare upper body with a bow hanging on their back and an axe hanging on their shoulder, and women dressed in native "Vaddhi" clothes will welcome you in their ancient dialect, which will be translated to you by the tour guide.
Following this, you will be directed to the mud hut of “Wanniyalatto”, the chief of the Veddha tribe for a meet and greet, and a tour of the museum, an opportunity to understand the history of this community through carvings, paintings, and instruments. As you take a stroll in the museum getting lost in the ancient history of these indigenous people, it will be hard not to notice how they have slightly changed their dressing style from that of ancient Veddhas, where they have known to have worn dresses made out of forest materials such as leaves, etc. to dresses made out of cloth now.
As you get a closer look into the history, it will be the time to get some real action-packed experience in the jungle. Track through the jungle with the hunting crew of Veddhas, learn how to use a bow and arrow, how to make a small animal trap while also learning to differentiate the footprints of animals in only a little from what you will get to experience. As you walk through the jungle pathways covered in layers of leaves, you will have a first-hand experience of how Veddhas find edible yams, extract honey from beehives, and fish with tree barks. As they are not allowed to hunt in their natural hunting grounds anymore, they now merge their eating habits with that of the common man in rural villages. Therefore, excursions such as this to showcase their authentic way of life is what Veddhas do to preserve and share their culture.
After an adventurous afternoon excursion in the jungle with Veddha’s, it will be time to enjoy a traditional coal-cooked meal with boiled yams in the Vedhi Ghama, the village of Veddha’s, while you relish an ancient dance routine by them. If you happen to opt for an overnight stay with this native community, you will get to experience such dance routines around a blazing campfire under a moonlit sky, accompanied by folk music.
Visiting the Veddha’s in Dambana is a real-life time-travel experience that will give you a glimpse into how the long-existing indigenous community of Sri Lanka lived and how they now work towards preserving their authenticity amid urbanization. This truly intriguing experience into Veddha’s way of life will leave you lost in your thoughts!