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Taschen Ulpotha Feature

One of Asia's most extraordinary ecotourism projects came into being at the place where elephant paths crossed, Shiva's son had a shrine built and a prince fled with his legendarily beautiful but poor lover. Rebuilt as a traditional farming village, Ulpotha lies in the middle of former Ceylon's deepest jungle next to a small lake, surrounded by seven hills in which ascetics and shamans still meditate in their caves.

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Disconnect From the Internet in the Sri Lankan Jungle.

"They come from all over to disconnect. Bankers, CEOs, marketing managers, dancers," enthused my lively masseuse Marion, as she pulled my naked thigh to a new angle and pressed down. "I think there is a need for a place like this. For people to reconnect to themselves."

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Is this the purest form of eco-tourism in the world?

Designed around the layout of a deserted traditional village, Ulpotha covers a twelve acre site next to a large tank situated at the base of the Galgiriwiya Mountains in the jungle heartland of Old Ceylon. Ulpotha literally translates as water source, referring to the spring which feeds a system of five tanks which irrigate the surrounding watershed. According to legend, pilgrims travelling from south India in search of Lord Kataragama, an incarnation of the god-child Murugan (the son of Shiva revered in the temples of Tamil Nadu), believed that Ulpotha was the sacred site associated with the god due to the seven hills in the surrounding jungle which corresponded to the description they had been given. In a vision the head priest was shown how to perform a special puja and they built a temple to Kataragama at the entrance to the village. The area was also known as the playground of Prince Salya and the beautiful Asokamala, who escaped the ancient city of Anuradhapura through a secret tunnel hidden in a local cave. The surrounding hills are still home to cave dwelling ascetics and practising shamans.

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Hip and Hot -The Insider's Guide to the Best Chill-Out Spots

Submerged in the jungle heartland of Sri Lanka, Ulpotha is so remote that, by the time you bump your way down the dirt drive (three long hours from the airport), you could be forgiven for doubting its existence. You soon discover it is most definitely mud-between-the toes real. Living with nature is what the brochure said it was all about, and in Ulpotha they take that literally. It takes a while to get used to the lack of electricity and hot water, not to mention the absence of solid doors to lock out the inevitable bugs and jungle sounds. But by the end of the first day, this rusticity seems like paradise. Perhaps this is due to the allure of diving through lotus leaves into Ulpotha’s glorious mountain lake, or showering in waterfalls, or making your barefoot way back to your mud hut in the sultry night, along a trail through paddy-fields that is illuminated by a multitude of glow-worms and oil lamps.

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New Dawn

Ulpotha offers perhaps the ultimate blend of relaxation and ecological commitment. This hidden haven is not designed to appeal to everyone, but those seeking tranquility tend to get hooked when I was there one guest was on her third visit from Britain in less than a year. It is a working village rather than hotel, whose community was founded on an abandoned coconut plantation in the mid-1990s. Its mission was to develop the surrounding farmland so as to revive traditional agricultural practices for the benefit of both the land and the people.

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Finding Never Never Land

In hearing Perera talk about how Ulpotha evolved, I come to understand that it’s the product of an unusual recipe of serendipity, synchronicity, trust and fun. “Ulpotha came about playfully,” Perera tells me. “It was never meant to be anything in particular but it seems just about perfect for whatever anyone might take it to be.”

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Rebuilding Ulpotha

Many details have been almost accidental in their inception. Viren smiles at one of his stories of design by default. ‘I noticed that one of the flat stones in the guest bathroom had cracked. It began to nag at me whenever I saw it until I just propped it against the wall. Someone put the soap on it. Then the stonemason carved a place for the soap. A design consultant was staying in the hut and waxed lyrical about the pure design of the soap stand, where a shaft of sunlight hit the stone and lit up the soap. Nothing planned. I love that.’ In my own wanderings around the vegetable and flower gardens, the water meadows and jungle of Ulpotha, butterflies pulsed from trees and bushes in small, brilliant clouds almost as if by design. Nothing planned. I love that.

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Sanctuary in a Jungle Paradise

Ulpotha is so much more than a retreat it’s a lifestyle choice run by the local villagers as a non-profit organisation with all the money being generated going towards these goals and that reflected in the atmosphere. At first it seemed a little overwhelming arriving straight from London but within a few days there was nowhere in the world I would rather be.

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Kharma Down

Whether you’re frolicking on the freshwater lake, or climbing the hills and finding caves, Ulpotha encourages that joyful sense of wonder so frequently denied by modern lifestyles. It’s bare and innocent, exotic and playful. Few places can boast of such a subtle fusion of sybaritic indulgence and raw, ascetic comfort...

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The World's 100 Best Spas Alternative Retreats

The fact that your ayurvedic cure and your dinner probably grew alongside each other in the garden indicates a simpler approach to looking after the body – a traditional way we have long forgotten in the West. Nature is the cure, and Ulpotha reminds us of a more holistic approach to life and health. Here, you are living according to the natural rhythms and ancient rituals of the land. There is not a fluffy towel in sight, but you leave this hedonist’s Shangri-la feeling as pampered and relaxed as if you had spent a month in a five-star deluxe hotel.

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Exclusive and Serene

It is the creation of a trinity of idealists: the late Sri Lankan visionary Tennekoon; a Sri Lankan-born investment banker, Viren Perera, who decided to get closer to his roots; and Giles Scott, a British former property developer, who “came to Sri Lanka to rediscover my soul”. The original vision didn’t include paying guests. The idea was to create an organic community where Tennekoon could experiment with traditional agriculture and Perera and Scott could go for a weekend retreat. It wasn’t long before news of this Arcadia leaked out, and friends of friends wangled invitations to come and stay.

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Nature, traditions, a prophet,and a village in the jungle

What strikes you when you first arrive in Ulpotha is the physical beauty of the place as well as its extraordinary tranquillity. Located at the foot of the Galgiriyawa mountains, a forested range that captures precipitation from both the south-west and north-east monsoons, Ulpotha enjoys a temperate climate unusual for the dry zone.

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I had a farm in Sri Lanka

During June and July and from mid-November to the end of March, Ulpotha welcomes guests to become part of the village. Visitors may join in yoga or t'ai chi classes in a specially built outdoor studio. They may try herbal steam baths and other traditional Sri Lankan ayurvedic treatments, swim in the lake next to the rebuilt manor house or explore the surrounding hills and slowly relax to the rhythm of village life. Although there are glorious Buddhist temples and ancient ruined cities to be visited in other parts of Sri Lanka, it is Ulpotha itself that I will remember and the feeling that, for a while, I was part of a small world so distant in every way from my own.

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Interview with Tennekoon, one of the founders of Ulpotha by Teddy Goldsmith

Goldsmith : How many varieties of rice did you use to grow here?
Senanayake : At one time 280 varieties were cultivated in Sri Lanka. Only 15-20 are left. As a result of government policies the others have become extinct.*According to D. Dreberg, (superintendent of school gardens quoted in C. Wright, Glimpses of Ceylon) 1974 three to four hundred varieties of rice were once cultivated.

Tennekoon : I can remember 123 varieties of red rice, now only three or four remain.

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Luxury Without Electricity At A Yoga Retreat In The Sri Lankan Jungle

New Year's Eve began on Monkey Rock, the mountain slab overlooking the northern Sri Lankan countryside, with lush jungle trees, lakes and rice paddies as far as the eye can see. Nigel, our British yoga teacher, led us through his beautifully crafted eclectic combo of tai chi and Hatha yoga, having us swing our arms to the left, towards the drifting clouds over the lake, and then to the right, towards the mountain tops. "Feel the breeze on your arms," he instructed in his low melodic voice. "Put your hands on your chest, lift your eyes, and connect with the vast blue above."

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Ulpotha - Saying Hello to Mellow

Ulpotha’s organic beginning still permeate its spirit. The atmosphere is one of an extended and extremely mellow house party. If you are looking for a five-star resort where you luxuriate in deferential service and cocktails by the pool, this place is not for you. Ulpotha is wholeheartedly a down-to-earth affair where your shower is bracing water from an ingeniously funneled tree trunk and where, by design, there is no electricity. The villagers who light your lamps at night and cook your food return to the fields when you are gone. Every care has been taken not to impose western lifestyle upon the village. Accommodation follows these lines in traditional mud and wattle huts, some beautifully fashioned, with low hanging roofs that are open to the elements.

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Social highs and spiritual rejuvenation in a jungle hideway

Ulpotha is a place to heal if you are hurting, but also if you simply want to be alone in good company. A place of odd privations and unexpected luxuries, completely different from anywhere else I had been, it was beautiful and intensely memorable.

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Escape to paradise

At the heart of Ulpotha is the main house, an apricot-coloured delight of a building encompassing cool courtyards, Buddha shrines and a library. There is also a pavilion where food is served. Guests (a maximum of 24 at any given time) lounge emperor-like on splendid cushions, and sarong-clad villagers lay twice-daily feasts out on the banana-leaf floor. The food is glorious. Poppadoms and rice are heaped with exquisite curries. There are tomato salads, fried banana, lentil daal; all organic, all vegetarian, all filled with vitality and goodness. And nobody flinches when you top up your plate for the umpteenth time.

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Serenity in Style – Sri Lanka

Well-known masseurs and yogis visit from all corners of the globe to run workshops here in the lush and spiritual countryside, but there is no pressure to join classes. Some guests prefer to swim, walk, read or simply “be”. Vegetarian food is served and the occasional party is the chance to enjoy a few drinks as alcohol is not otherwise available (unless you bring your own). “Luxurious without the normal trappings of luxury” is how one returning English guest defined her stay. Ten years since it was started, Perera continues to be amazed at Ulpotha’s success: “The place has a life of its own and we are as much passengers as anyone else.”

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Magic in the mountains

I went home eased, soothed and inspired by the beautiful setting, the ethos of the place, the people I met and the yoga I practised there. I still practise that form to this day. Ulpotha changed my life.

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Ulpotha - An Island Paradise in the Cookbook World

They come in droves, returning again and again, enchanted by the gentle pace, the exquisitely simple life of swimming and lounging, sun salutations and no communication - there is no signal, no phone and no electricity. It's a place that is making its own legend, reviving almost lost traditions of farming for the villagers and introducing harassed urbanites to another, more beautiful way of life.

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Organic Farming Sponsored by Holidaymakers

Ulpotha, located in the dry zone of central Sri Lanka, is the site of an holistic environmental and cultural undertaking by a non-profit organization, The East Pole Foundation. It has at its heart an exciting project, aiming to help a small village to transform itself from an abandoned coconut plantation into a vital bio-diverse organic agricultural village. Their approach has been to draw significantly from tradition, while not abandoning the modern, to recreate an environment where nature and man live in productive harmony. It is also a unique Sanctuary, which is open to visitors. Guests can enjoy a relaxing holiday or retreat. They can be part of village life and learn about the traditional practices, or can take part in a workshop such as Yoga or Tai Ji. The revenue from visitors is crucial to the project. It will enable the environmental work to continue and for Ulpotha's future to be safeguarded

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Gently Does It!

For two blissful weeks, I found a serenity and relaxation that I've never known before. Thousands of miles and several shifts of the known universe away from everyday life, and without email, phones or even text messages, visitors to Ulpotha have no option but to calm down and take things gently.

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The Ultimate Yoga Holiday

The place has a soothing appeal with no uncomfortable guest-servant relationships. In fact, its genuine residents move through the communal areas, going about their business, as freely as the visitors. In other establishments that sense of harmony is usually replaced by luxury and staff who have learnt how to smile. But Ulpotha demonstrates that, for the right sort of personality, pampering doesn’t require a manicure and extra-fluffy towels..

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Respite in the Village

Brigid Delaney stops for yoga, fresh food and shared dining at a retreat that sustains the local community.
Ulpotha, a village in central Sri Lanka, could have been dreamt up by Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose writing combines magic and reality.

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Restorative Retreats

Not for the faint-hearted but definitely for the super-stressed, Ulpotha is for those looking to tune out from the modern world.

 

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Does my bum look good in this?

Ulpotha isn't about fluffy bathrobes and fawning service, but somewhere our Western preoccupation with past and future quickly dissipates. I returned relaxed as never before with some new friends and a flat stomach.

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Wellness in Wilderness

Ulpotha is not your average retreat. Hiding at the foothills of the Galgiriyawa Mountains deep in Sri Lanka's rural hinterland with a sacred history that dates back thousands of years, this ancient pilgrimage site sprawls across 20 lush acres of tangled jungle and organic rice paddy fields...

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Retour Aux Sources

Au cœur de l’île, les citadins fuyant le stress peuvent se ressourcer dans un village traditionnel. Au programme : huttes en boue séchée grand luxe, bien que sans eau ni électricité, douches en plein air, cuisine végétarienne et cours de yoga.

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Se Connecter

Les visiteurs sont enthousiastes, et cela fait maintenant dix ans que des citadins amateurs de yoga viennent se ressourcer dans ce petit paradis. Depuis, Ulpotha s’est un peu développé, et le village est aujourd’hui presque autosuffisant, grâce notamment à l’extraordinaire diversité des f ruits et légumes qui y poussent, mais aussi aux différentes variétés de riz, dont le très savoureux riz rouge, particulièrement riche e n protéines. Ulpotha ouvre désormais ses portes du 20 novembre au 2 avril et du 28 mai au 9 juillet. Tous les 15 jours, un nouveau professeur de yoga commence un stage pour un groupe d’une quinzaine de personnes en moyenne. Le forfait à la semaine que propose Ulpotha comprend l'hébergement, les repas, les cours de yoga ainsi que des massages. Un bain de vapeur naturel est aussi accessible à tous moments ainsi que d’autres soins traditionnels.

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Ulpotha - L'Eden a L'est

À quoi tient la magie d’Ulpotha ? Au site, bien sur, d’une beauté spectaculaire. Situé au pied de la chaîne de montagnes Galgiriwiya, niché dans les collines verdoyantes et surplombant un splendide lac d’eau pure où flottent des feuilles de lotus, il était considéré comme sacré par les moines bouddhistes qui s’y rendaient en pèlerinage depuis les contreforts de l’Himalaya il y a déjà deux mille cinq cents ans.

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L'intelligence du pied

Le pied est comme une éponge, doux et mou, absorbant, alors que la main est osseuse. Et le mouvement de la jambe est plus fluide que celui du bras, comme un balancier qui fait circuler l'énergie. " Udall enseigne le yoga et pratique une forme de massage très rare avec les pieds, le Chavutti Thirumal. Installé à Londres, il séjourne chaque année quelques mois dans un resort hors du commun, Ulpotha...

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En jerie for sjelen

Litt lei stressende storbyferier? Eller bare behov for fullkommen avkopling med yoga, massasje og vegetarmat i vakre og eksotiske omgivelser? Skuespiller Petronella Barker tok med seg datteren Billie (6) og dro inn i jungelen på Sri Lanka. Her er hennes reisedagbok.

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Zen In Translation

Voyager ne suffit plus. Le bien tre fait dsormais partie du programme. La philosophie des lieux ?  Empreinte minimum.  Le nombre de visiteurs et les dures de sjour sont limits. Yoga, tai-chi, ayurveda base de plantes mdicinales, baignades dans le lac, massages. Farniente autoris.  La cuisine est prpar  base de produits bio : aubergines, salades, galettes de nouilles vapeur, miel de palme.

Les sages?  Des professeurs renomms viennent du monde entier enseigner tous les styles de yoga : hatha, iyengar, ashtanga.

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Tsuyoshi Takashiro's Blog - Japanese

ELLEやVOGUEなど欧州各誌で特集が組まれ、話題沸騰のスリランカのホテル「ウルポタ」。
予約をすると、手書きの地図が送られてきて、それだけを頼りにここに向かう。
表通りから入り口まで、一切の看板も案内表示もない。

最低宿泊期間は1週間。
ここには電気もガスも水道も勿論インターネットも風呂も部屋の鍵どころかドアもなく、
周囲の畑だけで取れたものだけを、薪で火を起こして都度に調理する。
なにしろ、冷蔵庫はないわけで、結果食べ物はフレッシュで、水は湧き水を使う。
洗濯や風呂は、川や池に行く。


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Die Magie der Einfachheit

Ulpotha ist ein traditionelles, ökologisches Dorf, das von Mitte Juni bis Ende August und von November bis Ende März für maximal 23 Besucher gleichzeitig geöffnet ist, um die natürlichen Ressourcen nicht zu belasten. Hier wirkt der Geist des einfachen Lebens. Das Miteinander der Kulturen wird in Harmonie mit der Natur zelebriert. Die Menschen, die hier arbeiten, kommen aus den Dörfern in der Umgebung. Die Einnahmen von Ulpotha werden zur Unterstützung der Einheimischen eingesetzt. Zwölf Lehmhütten mit Strohdach ohne Türen und Wände bieten Schlafplätze mit Gemeinschaftsbädern, in farbenfrohem Design und Dekor. Für Blickschutz sorgen lediglich schlichte Vorhänge. Einfachheit und Natur pur sind hier der Luxus. Kein Handynetz, kein Warmwasser, dafür Stille, Frieden und ein sensationelles vegetarisches, aus eigenem Anbau zubereites Essen.

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Chinese Article

没电没自来水没手机信号,也是一
种奢侈。文/李楠夫、图/Finger L.
雨林乌托邦
红莲盛开的池塘在上,蓝天白云
和果实累累的棕榈树冠在下
……眼前这幕颠倒的热带风
景,是因为我正努力把身体折成倒立的
字母“V”,以完成瑜伽界最稀松平常的
“下犬体式”。坦白说,我感觉痛苦且呼
吸沉重,有生以来第一次为自己身体僵硬
而感到烦恼。尽管完成得并不漂亮,来自
伦敦的客座瑜伽老师Sam Cunningham依
然认为我大有潜力可挖,只要选对适合自
己的瑜伽流派、老师和课程。每隔两周,
Ulpotha就会轮换一次客座瑜伽老师,分

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Ulpotha - Το μέρος όπου η Γιόγκα γίνεται για καλό σκοπό

To Ulpotha είναι ένα χωριÏ� που βρίσκεται στην Σρι

Λάνκα και εδÏ� και χιλιάδες χρÏ�νια αποτελεί προσκÏ�νημα

για πολλοÏ�ς. Σήμερα είναι ένα απÏ� τα πιο σημαντικά κέντρα

γιÏ�γκα της χÏ�ρας αλλά και του κÏ�σμου. Τα εκπαιδευτικά

προγράμματα περιλαμβάνουν γιÏ�γκα με τους πιο διάσημους

γιÏ�γκι παγκοσμίως και εισαγωγή στην ινδική ιατρική αγιουρ-

βέδα.

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