From plant pot to plate, all the food at Jetwing Kurulubedda is outstanding, and even more amazing is that everything is either produced from their home garden or sourced from the local markets. Spicy marinated tuna caught that morning and banana flower curry and a table leaf salad, ingredients plucked from the garden by myself only a few moments before. Walking down a beautiful garden path overgrown with snake-like vines, verdant plant life and with each step I find another pot full of growing organic vegetable by my feet. I stumble across a pontoon-like landing stretched across a lake so still it looks like glass where I take a seat for my much anticipated home garden dinner.
Deep in the southern village of Mahamodora, meaning “Big Garden” in Singhalese and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see why, exists a rustic and wild jungle abode with six luxury rooms for human guests, amongst a protected area of swampland, paddy fields and rainforest for the hotel’s far more important guests; the local wildlife. What makes Jetwing Kurulubedda so much fun is that the rooms frame the paddy field in front with window seats to enjoy observing the strutting peacocks and male monkeys beating their chests before enjoying the fruits of the jam tree. It feels like you have walked straight in to a scene out of David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series, and all from the comfort of your own bedroom window!
By no means does the nature documentary stop there. Along the walkway I notice a young land turtle raises its head above the water to say hello. Amongst the undergrowth a mother moorhen and her adorable week old chicks scurry away from me as that falls on to the path in front of me. Hearing them before I see them, a mischievous and noisy group of Purple-faced Leaf monkeys are playing cat and mouse amongst the trees above my head. Another loud squark and my eyes fall to a young peacock doing the spectacular mating dance, shaking his best tail feathers at a peahen who amusingly couldn’t look more disinterested if she tried. As this comical scene unfolds I find myself totally absorbed in jungle life, listening to the natural symphonies of ribbeting frogs, courting squirrels, chattering crickets and playing fishing cats.
What is so magical about this place is that you can’t step foot anywhere without interacting with the surrounding wildlife, from the forty plus tropical birds who splash you with their brightly coloured plumage whilst you are trying to relax in the swimming pool, to the huge prehistoric monitor lizards that patrol the surrounding grounds like natural security guards. “Look what I found last week!” The hotels general manager Prabhath smiles at me with excitement beaming across his face. He proudly shows me pictures of a large, but thankfully non venomous Ceylon Snake crossing one of the pathways and just behind him, a much smaller mongoose nipping and biting at his tail to make sure he doesn’t take one of the baby mongoose from the nearby nest.
Beyond the extraordinary wildlife you will be living amongst, there is also the richest selection of vegetation and foliage which has fed the local inhabitants, human and animal, for centuries and home garden cooking classes are an unmissable activity at Jetwing Kurulubedda where you will be taught the amazing medicinal benefits to all these leaves and fruits. Pluck your own garden salad and understand from the locals the goodness that comes from each ingredient, such as the Gotukola leaf which is great for digestion and is a natural remedy for killing any worms in your gut, Aloe Vera plant which is great for soothing sunburnt skin and can help relieve those with diabetes, and cinnamon leaf which is thought to improve your memory, have anti-cancerous qualities and is used regularly in Sri Lanka for cleaning the teeth. All of this in one home garden salad!
Jetwing Kurulubedda is a magical oasis full of natural wonders so tranquil you will be shocked to discover that you are just a ten minute drive from the bustling UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle Fort. In the luxury, rustic setting of Jetwing Kurulubedda you will find yourself learning about your health as well as how each plant and animal plays an important role in Sri Lanka’s ecosystem. Immerse yourself in all things natural and leave feeling like a new you balanced with nature, after all ones real wealth is ones health.