13 May 2010

Paradise Farm, Kitulgala, Sri Lanka. An Inspiring Eco-Tourism Project from a Social Responsible Company that Transformed an 80 Acre Farm

http://www.paradisesrilanka.com

Paradise Farm is inspiring, fascinating and a real breath of fresh air. Hidden deep within rolling hills of rainforest, waterfalls, tea and rubber plantations of fertile Kithulgala, the only sounds you’ll hear are bird song, animal calls and the rustle of leaves, with the occasional ding on an old hub cap to signal a break for the workers on the encircling organic farm. Set up in 1998 by two development institutions (NGO’s) as a Social Enterprise.

The farm is designed to promote sustainable agriculture by training villagers in effective organic practices and improve their standard of living, while inspiring a deeper respect and love for nature’s abundant resources. To help finance the project, it has opened its doors to paying guests.

To experience something of Sri Lankan plantation bungalow life, you are warmly welcome to stay in one of 2 double bedrooms in the farmhouse, or for absolute privacy opt for the stunning open-fronted large size luxury bungalow or the medium size luxury bungalow, both with absolute privacy and separate swimming pools, 450 yards up the track form the farm house, with a stunning view across a wide infinity to the lush plantations and blue mountains beyond, with the legendary Adams Peak in the distance. According to legends this sacred mountain was the fountain of paradise.

A Pioneering Effort
The farm is a social responsible company established in 1998. It has transformed 80 acre conventional monoculture coconut and rubber plantation into a multi-purpose operation with bio diversity and value added products.

Value addition of farm products has made it possible to expand the number of jobs from 8 to 50 in a district with high unemployment. The farm is also supporting community development with a comprehensive welfare program. It was initiated by Worldview International Foundation with support from Letten Fund, as a demonstration project in organic agriculture.

The farm has preserved patches of rainforest within its borders and replanted additional areas with MAHOGANI and other rainforest plants contributing to mitigation of green house gases.

A new project to preserve wild ORCHIDS and to develop a natural orchid forest garden was launched in 2009.

We believe in a participatory concept. Workers are part of the decision making process by electing 5 members to the Management Committee. The majority of the workers are women.

Paradise Farm is located in a pristine rainforest area, with lush green vegetation in a beautiful landscape overlooking mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls. The pristine nature has inspired us to create an exceptional concept in eco-tourism with ayurveda and other health products, including adventure experiences for rejuvenation of body and spirit.

Accommodation
* Large size luxury bungalow
* Medium size luxury bungalow
* Farm house

Activities
* Hiking / walking
* Rafting
* Swimming
* Bird watching
* Organic farming
* Plant life / flora
* Cultural insight
* Local home stay
* Peaceful hideaway
* Ayurveda treatments
* Meeting villagers and cultural show

Tips Who Goes : Nature lovers, organic-food lovers and anyone looking for peace and quiet in beautiful natural surroundings. They’re not set up for weddings but would be perfect for honeymoons.
When to go : Sri Lanka is full of microclimates and EI Nino has made things even more unpredictable, but Paradise Farm’s normally largely dry months are August November, December, January and February. April to May is the season for most flowers and fruits and lots of brightly–colored birds are seen then too. The rainy season from June to October has a more temperate climate. Due to the altitude of 400 meters above sea level, the climate is generally pleasant.
How long for : Previous visitors have stayed for 3 days to 1 week, though they’d prefer you to stay for a month, pointing out that it’s a good, peaceful place to relax and recuperate, or to work and write. We can make special programs for visitors with special interest and for longer stay.
What to take : Trekking / hiking shoes, dressing gowns, swimming costumes, light clothes (as it’s only slightly chilly in December), laptop & adapters, little western luxuries, binoculars and any wines or spirits you might want to drink as you can only buy beer and kitul toddy locally. Mosquito nets are provided. A variety of freshly squeezed healthy fruit drinks and lots of green tea freely available as part of the all inclusive price.
Getting there : Paradise Farm is around 2 –2.5 hours east from Colombo Airport (about half way between Colombo and Nuwara Eliya) and pickup can be arranged.
More Info : Paradise Farm - Eco Tourism

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