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Visit the Vedda settlementin Kandy, Sri Lanka

#6of 8 things to doin Kandy


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The Vedda tribesmen have not changed their way of living for 16000 years.
How to visit the Vedda settlement in Kandy
In Sri Lanka there are about 300 Vedda families. The main settlement inhabits Dambana village.

The Veddas settlement, Kandy
Photo: The Veddas settlement, © rainer.reisen | flickr

The tribe cherishes their identity - they live separately and avoid interracial marriages. They make their living by bushmeat hunting and honey extraction (men remove honey from combs with their bare hands). They sell animal skin and honey at the market and thus buy rice, salt and other necessary food stuff.

Veddas usually wear sarung when go hunting, Kandy
Photo: Veddas usually wear sarung when go hunting, © rainer.reisen | flickr

The Veddas don't wear clothes and lead primitive life: they settle down in caves or huts made from brunches and barks, sleep on the floor and prepare food on red-hot stones. Vedda men wear beard, and women - a lot of different accessories.

The Veddas tribe chiefs are public figures. Giving interviews and visiting conferences are their common practice, Kandy
Photo: The Veddas tribe chiefs are public figures. Giving interviews and visiting conferences are their common practice, © Dan Lundberg

At the same time tribesmen are not averse to earn money on tourists - for a small fee you can watch them make a bonfire with two stones or hunt animals.

Kindling a fire with stones, Kandy

How to do?

1. Dambana village is located 100 kilometers from Kandy. It takes about 6 hours to get here by public transport - take a bus to Dambana Road bus stop in the direction of Ampara town (It's a 4-hour drive, ticket cost is 600 rupees, look up seat availability here), then you can walk 5 kilometers, or get to Ampara station and rent a tuk tuk to reach the settlement.

2. You'll need a vadi basava language speaking guide-interpreter if you want to talk to the Veddas. You can hire one for 5-10 dollars in Sinhalese village before the Veddas settlement. After the excursion stay overnight in Ampara (twin room with breakfast is about 15 dollars) or just take a bus back to Kandy (departure time - at 3am, 5:45am).

Where to do?

#4Dambana villageDambana village

The village is located 100 kilometers east from Kandy. Dambana is inhabited by descendants of the earliest tribe on Sri Lanka - Veddas.

How much?

Bus ticket Kandy - Ampara - Kandy - 1200 rupees, tuk tuk ride - about 2000 rupees, guide-interpreter service - 650 rupees, one-night room in a hotel - 1000 rupees.


Guest25 May 2024

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Photo credit © Sergio Carbajo