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Sri Lanka – Pearl of the Indian Ocean

It was a love of colour and fabric that first drew me to Sri Lanka. I was designing and printing my own fabrics by hand when a friend gave me a colourful Sri Lankan table cloth.

I remember sitting with a cuppa one day and really noticing the cloth. It featured an amazing, rich blue colour that I hadn’t been able to recreate in my fabrics. I needed to go to Sri Lanka and learn how to make that colour.

My decision led me on a fascinating journey and began a life-long love of Sri Lanka and her people.

​Sri Lanka is known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean,’ an ancient land of enchantment and beauty. Rolling hills are covered with lush, green tea plantations producing some of the most flavoursome teas in the world. It is home to many rare birds, marine and land mammals and is rich in natural treasures. 

You can sit at the feet of Buddha, delight in one of the most scenic train journeys, come face-to-face with rescued elephants or catch a wave at some of the best surf beaches in the world.  

Sri Lanka’s native history dates back 2500 years followed by Dutch, Portuguese and British settlements as seen in the remarkable architecture and remains of palaces and monumental buildings.

What struck me was the friendliness of the Sri Lankan people as they happily shared their stories and craftsmanship. I met handloom weavers, furniture makers, wood carvers and yes, I learnt how to make that blue!

Each village brought new joy to my senses; from markets filled with the aroma of exotic spices to the feel of bright, handwoven fabrics and everywhere I turned people with warm hearts and welcoming smiles. And the food – so many exotic, tantalising taste sensations, from authentic Sri Lankan cuisine to Western and Asian inspired dishes.

After returning home, I decided I wanted to work with the wonderful craftspeople I had met, to create a source of income for them by introducing stylish Sri Lankan products to Australia. I returned months later and my idea was welcomed with open arms and so a new, collaborative business was born.​

Visiting Sri Lanka over many years and working with her people has reinforced my belief in the oneness of humanity and the need for us to care about each other, learn from each other no matter where we come from.

​I now host small tours for people who want to discover Sri Lanka beyond the tourist trails and into the heart of the country; to truly experience its people, culture and beauty. 

Heather’s next fully escorted tour is June 3-18, 2020. For further information, contact Heather on 0400 475 909 or hkmwestwood@gmail.com

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