Living a farmer’s life the Jetwing way

Thursday, 12 May 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Situated among reed beds and paddy fields, over the first man-made lake since the era of Parakramabahu I, among the peace and tranquility of Sigiriya, is what Harper’s Bazaar calls the Best Eco Luxury Hotel in Sri Lanka, Jetwing Vil Uyana.

This hotel is an unusual and groundbreaking project of Jetwing Hotels, which has for the first time in the world created a private nature reserve through the construction of a wetland system with lakes and reed beds.

The hotel itself is built on a section of land that is used to re-grow paddy with cosy dwellings which have been placed within the paddy fields themselves.

The extremely unique aspect of this hotel lies in the fact that a wetland system was introduced into a part of the traditional dry zone creating an excitingly new type of approach to eco-living and the eco-lifestyle.

Harper’s Bazaar described the hotel as a place which offers a “refreshingly intelligent approach to luxury travel” with an “evolved environmental policy”.

This can be clearly seen in the fact that on the 14 May 2011 there will be a Seeding and Transplanting Ceremony at Jetwing Vil Uyana. Seeding and Transplanting are the two general methods which are used in the planting of crops.

In agriculture the concept of seeding (or sowing) is a technique used to plant seeds directly into the ground whereas the term transplanting is a reference to the technique of moving a plant from one location to another.

Transplanting uses pre-grown plants, seedlings or vegetatively propagated clones; Paddy is a deep-water crop which needs plenty of water for nearly 2/3 of its life. However, seeds which are germinated under water will not produce healthy plants.

For this reason seedlings are grown on separate seed-beds and when they attain the correct height of about a foot they are up-rooted and planted in fields with ample water. It is here that they grow into mature plants and bear seeds.

The ceremony at Jetwing Vil Uyana will celebrate the birth and growth of the paddy crop which is symbolic of the livelihood, sustenance and development of millions of people throughout Sri Lanka.

Liyanage, a local expert on paddy cultivation, will be speaking on the subject before the ceremony begins, in order to impress upon guests the importance of the seeding and transplanting.

The ceremony itself will commence at 8 a.m. with the national anthem, the traditional Malpela and the lighting of the oil lamp. The drum beats of the raban and the boiling of milk will also take place as Jetwing Vil Uyana proudly exhibits local customs and traditions that are part and parcel of the farmer’s lifestyle and habits.

Tea will be served thereafter with traditional and scrumptious sweet meats to tempt all who are present. It is after this that the action will really begin.

By 9 a.m. the land will be prepared and the traditional method of buffaloes ploughing the fields will take place. It is also important to remember that by using buffaloes instead of tractors less fertile soil is dug up and less water is also utilised. Air and noise pollution is avoided and in its place the buffaloes produce useful fertiliser and nourishing milk.

Buffaloes hard at work will be a rare sight indeed for most city-dwellers and Jetwing Vil Uyana promises to make it an event worth watching. However, the guests will not just be watching from the sidelines but actively participating in the entire process as the ceremony has been constructed with the idea of getting all the visitors to chip in and join the cultivation of paddy.

Once the ploughing of the fields has been completed there will be a break with tea and cookies followed by the much anticipated seeding and transplanting of paddy.

This will be an ideal opportunity for all environmental enthusiasts to observe and of course take part in a process which signifies a truly Sri Lankan lifestyle that has being taking place for the last two millennia. Since the colonisation of Sri Lanka by North Indian migrants in the sixth century BC agriculture has been at the centre of the island’s prosperity and economy and clearly this tradition continues even in the modern age.

At 12:30 p.m. seeding and transplanting will be paused for a traditional Ambula lunch which caters to those in the paddy field and thereafter the morning activities will continue.

Jetwing Vil Uyana invites all agricultural, environmental and of course luxury fans to an event that is uniquely Jetwing. All Sri Lankans who wish to partake and enjoy an event that takes them back to their roots will be offered a discount of 20% on the first night that they spend at Jetwing Vil Uyana and a 25% discount on the second night that they spend at the hotel.

The Seeding and Transplanting Ceremony is an event that should definitely be experienced and Jetwing Vil Uyana looks forward to spending it and celebrating it with all their guests.