Fifty minutes northeast of Kandy the fertile landscape becomes a mass of lush vegetation reverberating with unfamiliar birdsong. The human populace too seems a different breed, profligate with smiles and allowing their abundant good sat sung to spill over and cloak the visitor. Go past the triangular ambalama and up the steps where you squeeze past the statue of a giant Hindu goddess - half woman, half horse.
Inside the entrance hall at Samadhi you are watched over by a silk tapestry depicting seven Buddhist monks each holding a lotus blossom in their hand. Each monk is a different shade of brown. Likewise, the cultural diversity of this island is reflected in the villagers, who form the core of what makes Samadhi run smoothly; they are unspoiled and courteous; every man, woman or boy will calmly break from sweeping the stone pathway, lighting the oil lamp or picking fresh produce for your lunch to wish you "Ayubowan!" the traditional Sinhala welcome which means "Let there be long life!"
Samadhi weaves its magic on you from the moment you enter through the massive Kandyan doorway set into stone. Suri mama, the soft-spoken guardian of Samadhi and its Manager, is there to greet you. He is also resident artist who is responsible for the murals of Tantric art on the walls.
The inspiration for the design and architecture was born of meditation. And so you willingly leave your city husk behind at the gates...with no signal for mobile phones, it is the perfect opportunity to let nothing interrupt the sounds of forest birdsong, of tree frogs and crickets and the whisper of the breeze from the trees. The thirteen pavilions, which lean out of the hillside, are veritable temples of tranquility. They are designed to make you feel you are the only person staying here. Privacy is everything. Yet there are no unnecessary walls. This results in a truly serene environment surrounded by urns, art and treasures dating back to a time Kandy was a Royal realm. Here everything is king-sized. The Indonesian teak bed in a double room is spacious enough to sleep three people comfortably. But even the smallest suite provides a four-poster bed to dream in.