The places and the company

Sri Lanka map

The trip

Luca Novelli, Federico Canobbio Codelli and some of their collaborators spent a few weeks in Sri Lanka and gathered images, testimonies and suggestions here.

Here a brief account about their experience:

“At the National Museum of Colombo we found not only magnificent objects of the last 2,500 years, but also information and finds about the ancient history of Sri Lanka, when the myth was probably born. The finds confirm that before the Cro-Magnon man appeared in Europe, another advanced human species in technology and culture already existed in Sri Lanka: he is the man of Balangoda. In the museum there is evidence that agriculture and livestock began in Sri Lanka about 12,000 – 14,000 years ago. In practice, 4,000 years before in Anatolia and the Middle East. We interviewed the Professor U.S. Deraniyagala, the greatest archaeologist in Sri Lanka. We also interviewed the venerable Walpola Kalyanatissa Maha Thero, one of the most important local representatives of Buddhism, religion spread from Sri Lanka in many countries around the world. We also made a number of questions to the Vedda chief  Uruwarige Wannila Aththo (or Wanniyala-Aetto). Vedda are considered the successors of the man of Balangoda.

Unlike other people and other religions, Vedda have no memory of a lost paradise. The chief told us that “nature has created everything, even man, woman and Vedda people”. “We’ve always been here,” he said, “We invented fire and bow and Sri Lanka is our home.”

In Sri Lanka we were fascinated by people’s smiles, we felt invited to practice meditation and to pray in Buddhist temples. Also he beautiful colors of the Hindu temples, the peaceful landscape, the liveliness of life and the variety of vegetation captured our imagination.

We also visited a school that the community of Milan helped to rebuild after the terrible tsunami of 2004. We came home with a certainty: even if Sri Lanka was not the place of origin of the myth of the terrestrial paradise, it’s, with no doubt, a place that is very close to it.

The trip has touched the most important places of ancient Ceylon and outlines a perfect itinerary even for those who want to visit the country with different eyes, starting from those places which are the confessors of legends.


The company

How is it composed the travel team? Luca Novelli and his collaborators have characterized the experience, enriching it with their personal knowledge but also with their particularities! Let’s get to know them briefly by listing some unusual features that emerge from this travel diary!

Luca. The author and principal creator of this mission in Sri Lanka. Milanese by birth, ecologist by training and conviction. A popular lover, he made four trips around the world to describe the route traced by Darwin. The last trips, like this one in Sri Lanka, led him to wonder about climate changes and the origin of ancient myths.

Federico. The painter and philosopher and the second protagonist of this book thanks to his illustrated drawings. The most critical member of the company, when it finds interesting subjects to draw, plunges itself completely into their contemplation, not aware of anything that surrounds it, not even of the Japanese tourists who photograph it.

Elisabeth. English, she has an excellent command of English, French, Italian and German and she has already faced other missions with Luca Novelli such as those in the Pacific Ocean, Galapagos and Mount Ararat. She is interested in history, sustainability and archeology. Her mother has a tea cup set with portraits of Carlo and Diana and she is ashamed of it. Expert in Buddhism, she appreciates those who follow this philosophy because they are not interested in killing animals to eat them; she practices yoga and meditation and she loved the journey in Sri Lanka.

Virginia. The youngest of the group, she is silent and she counts up to ten before expressing herself. She is afraid of snakes and during the trip she had a bad experience with a leech but she also tried to make friendship with a donkey, in one of the bed & breakfasts where the group slept. She believes she has friends on Whatsapp with head like the Neanderthal skull.

Puk. The photographer of the group, he loves collecting the fruits from the trees, hunting and fishing and for this reason she would have done well without the invention of agriculture. He faced a male monkey pulling his teeth out like the animal. He worries a lot about the climate changes that are affecting our planet.

Shamin. The official Sri Lankan guide of the trip, extremely prepared and available. He accompanies the others throughout the journey and his knowledge allows them to learn about the many hidden mysteries of the country.

Ari. The driver, serene and unperturbed, his English is phlegmatic and reassuring. He has three children and the oldest has recently graduated in biology. He adds to a safe driving an excellent knowledge of a wide variety of birds, mammals and reptiles.