Sri Lanka 1992

India’s teardrop

(Going hunting with the Vedda)

This stunning paradise island is a real pearl in the Indian Ocean owing to its colourful and different way of life, its magnificent tropical vegetation, and the beauty of its coasts and beaches. We spent weeks and weeks exploring the so-called Teardrop of India, and indulged in the magic of its eventful and ancient history.

We shall never forget the rice terraces, glowing silvery in the setting sun, or the cool climate in the high mountain ranges, the green veiling over the jungle covered with its dense vegetation, the rich flora and fauna, and the mostly amicable people. A particularly unforgettable experience, however, was our stay with the Vedda, a native tribe in Sri Lanka. For several days, we joined them on their treks through the steppes and woods in search of wild elephants. They allowed us to share their den, and took us along when going hunting. Yet, just as so many other native tribes, they too are an endangered culture.

Due to the increasing demand for arable farm land, the jungle has been cleared, thus depriving the Vedda of their natural habitat. The government resettled many of them into villages. They mingled with Singhalese and Tamils, thus intermixing their races to such an extent that their tribe will soon cease to exist. Approximately 600 of them are still living as hunter-gatherers in little parts of the island. To date they know how to handle bow and arrow, and produce durable goods such as mats and bags, partly still out of leaves and bark…


Sri Lanka 1992

It is the colourful and differing way of life, the tropical abundance of the vegetation, the beauty of the coast and beaches that gives reason to compare this paradisiacal island with a pearl of the Indian Ocean. Tanja and Denis Katzer spent weeks touring through this island, and on their way also visited the last aboriginal tribe living in Sri Lanka.