Nature's gift to the world...

Perhaps a new development yet to be discovered in one of the world's best kept secrets, is the growing demand for Sri Lanka's greener side of life in keeping with the call of nature... encompassing such pursuits as rafting, canoeing, hiking and biking to mention a few.

If you fancy trying your hand at rafting, Sri Lanka's famous Kelani River gives you the opportunity to join a group of novices who, after a brief pep talk and some on-shore instruction, don life jackets and helmets, pick up paddles and take to the water - all prepared for the ride of their lives!

The outing begins in relatively calm water but it is not long before they have to negotiate the first set of rapids and then another set and another before plummeting through white foam to calm water, where one can swim and relax (professional guides of course are with them all the way). And as the raft goes down stream so they can't fail to breathe in the fragrance of green beauty all around them!

As well as rafting, one can also try canoeing but it is advisable that you have some experience here!

Other pursuits include bike and hiking trips in the region to the South of the Kelani River in which villages not connected by roads and displaying a traditional, agricultural way of life. From there one can climb to the hills and to the rain forest's edge. So if you have the spirit of adventure and of "going green", the sky is the limit in paradise isle!

And if the mood is to be "in-tune with nature" you will be amazed at the discovery of Eco-Tourism or Ecological awareness that has been in existence for over hundreds of years in this isle. Nature has always been an essential part of the Sri Lankan life style. Whether it is a tree or for that matter water... it is a matter of respect. Even before the digging of a well for Water, religious rites are performed and the well remains a sacred part of life. It is here that people even talk to snakes to ask them to move away of their path. Since you need the snake to balance the eco-system, villagers have learned to make use of this system without exploiting it.

Sri Lanka offers tremendous potential as an eco-friendly destination. Our culture is beautifully integrated into the natural environment. From the 600 foot granite rock fortress at Sigiriya - an historic site emanating from the shrub jungles where animals call the tune - to medicinal plants forming the base of natural therapy and a people that still believe in the age old traditions, have kept the island's treasure of nature's gifts alive.

Eco-lodges and ecofriendly hotels are now the name of the game and if you feel like getting in tune with nature...try nature's gift to the world...the isle of Sri Lanka.