In Japanese Zen Buddhism, satori means 'spiritual awakening' and this hillside refuge just outside Galle is certainly a rousing place for self-discovery. Zen practitioners attain satori through personal awareness, and experiencing this enchanting private sanctuary with its inspirational jungle views, spatial freedom, meditative pavilions, extreme privacy and lived-in interiors, is rejuvenating and assists in fostering the attainment of individual equilibrium. Here, the senses are awakened in celebration of not simply being - but really feeling - alive.
Making relaxation easy is the key to Satori's restorative powers; an entrancing swimming pool and a magnificent coach house have been added to the original bungalow; an open-to-the-skies bathtub provides delightful liberation whilst deliciously oversized cushions and swinging hammocks furnish the many contemplative look-out spots generously scattered throughout the terraced tree-filled garden. Traditional rural sounds - the cries of the fish seller and melodious chanting from the distant Buddhist temple - weave themselves into the experience to provide sensorial fusion with village life. Images, statues and carvings of The Buddha beautify the house and provide as protective a presence as that of the personable team of staff who've a fascinating connection to the property itself.
Over 150 years ago this Dutch colonial bungalow and a considerably larger portion of land brimming with cinnamon, tea, rice, fruit and vegetables, was the self-built property of Upali Gamage. A respected village elder, Upali solved all manner of village disputes and lent his house as a centre for agricultural trading. The houses that stood on his expansive land were occupied by his relatives, many of whom - three generations on - are still living there. In one of these dwellings lives Madori, Upali's great-grandaughter who, along with her husband and daughter, serendipitously continues to infuse Satori with the warm and accommodating hospitality of this familial locale.