About Taprobane Island
Taprobane Island is located 200 yards off the southern coast of Sri Lanka in the centre of Weligama bay, which in turn is 3 1/2 hours south of the capital of Colombo and 30 minutes south of the provincial capital of Galle, a town designated by the United Nations as a world heritage site.
Access to the island from the coast is usually made by wading through the surf on foot, or by some on elephant or sedan chair! Most visitors arrive in Sri Lanka through the international airport situated 30 minutes to the north of Colombo; and then after a day spent shopping and sightseeing in Colombo proceed to Weligama by motor car or train, both of which hug the west coast shoreline; the journey through coconut plantations, coastal villages markets and long deserted beaches provides an immediate insight into the island of serendipity.
Taprobane Island itself is approximately 2 1/2 acres, is similar in shape to Sri Lanka and is one of the reasons that its original owner gave it the name Taprobane (which was the original Greek name for Ceylon). There is nothing between the island and the south pole, and it is a sight that nobody forgets on turning the corner when coming into Weligama bay. In his book The Reefs of Taprobane, Arthur C. Clarke describes "the scene as being so peaceful and so completely relaxing.. that I managed to escape the tyranny of the typewriter... the equal of San Michele... the place where I learned to wear a sarong." Most guests echo similar sentiments and, to all, it is very much "an isle of dreams", or as Paul Bowles reflected when he was the owner: "an embodiment of the innumerable fantasies that have flitted through my mind since childhood"
Taprobane Island as we see it today was created in 1922 by Count de Mauny - Talvande, a gentlemen of leisure, furniture maker and a descendent of one of Napoleon's Generals. In his book The Gardens of Taprobane, he describes his first encounter; "shall I ever forget that morning in September, when, quite by chance I first saw Weligama Bay, and in the centre of it the red granite rock, covered with palms and jungle scrub, rising from the Indian Ocean: an emerald in a setting of pink coral. I swam across the narrow strait, scrambled over rocks and briers, and reached the top of the rock. The view from here was admirable: below me was the Bay outspreading its long arms towards the ocean; until they were lost in the haze of the far distance; the coral reef, sparkling with the diamonds of the spray; the sea, turquoise blue, streaked with amethyst-purple. Beyond, far beyond, the bare horizon; there was nothing between me and the South Pole."
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