Priyankara Hotel Tissamaharama***

Priyankara, a three star hotel, lies in the Deep South, close to the south coast’s collection of sandy coves and well placed to explore Tissa’s ancient cultural heritage as well as the Sacred Kataragama, and the Yala National Park. The serene and tranquil town of Tissamaharama was the capital of the ancient Ruhunu Kingdom in the 2nd century B.C. Wildlife enthusiasts will be particularly taken by Priyankara, which has a restful location close to the Tissmaharama tank. Enjoy the surroundings & relax within the comfort of your room and watch an array of birds in the nearby rice fields, as well as the timeless rituals of paddy farming.

The hotel gives off an air of brisk cheeriness, and the capable, smartly uniformed staff fluent in English who smoothly see to all your needs reinforces this impression. The premises are extremely well looked after with a lot of flourishing greenery, which is an unusual feature in the Dry Zone, and which adds to the cool appeal of this hotel.

All 26 rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated. They have phones, hot and cold water, are air conditioned, and the private balconies overlook vast acres of paddy fields which are host to an assortment of birds and other wild life. The surrounding area in general is unspoiled and undeveloped as yet, although there are shops in the nearby Tissa town where you can purchase handicrafts and essentials for your journey.

There are a number of indoor games to keep you occupied if you don’t want to explore the environs, and there is also a pool table in the roomy lounge area. The bar is small but has a diverse selection of beverages, including a fairly good selection of international wines. You can carry a glass of Chablis or Medoc or St. Million to the restaurant or order a bottle with your dinner. The restaurant seats 70 people, and is decorated in keeping with the unifying theme that pervades the hotel. The menu here has predominantly western fare, and some of the specialties’ include fresh fish from the Tissa Wewa (tank). Hotel Priyankara also boasts of the finest Sri Lankan rice and curries in the area, and buffets and barbecues are sometimes organized.

Kataragama town, with its sacred shrines is a fifteen minute drive from the hotel and should not be missed – especially in July when the holy festival brings the town to life with its rituals and devotions in a manner that defies description.

The Ruhunu National Park, one of the biggest attractions of Sri Lanka, is half an hour away and you can spend a day watching elephants, bears, leopards, iguanas, deer, hare and birds in their multitudes from your vehicle. Also half an hour away is the dense jungle terrain of Bundala – bird sanctuary that is famed for rare birds.

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