Thiruketheeswaram is one of the most important Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. Built around 600 BC it is dedicated to the God Shiva. Pilgrims come from around the world to wash in the lake and pray at the temple.
We stayed at a simple guesthouse that was run by an old woman with giant spectacles, a beautiful smile and a heart-wrenching story. She lived alone with her daughter after their entire family was killed in the civil war. Then tragedy struck again and her daughter, the sole income earner, was diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter knew that if she died no one would be left to support her mother, so she spent all her remaining energy working to save up as much money as possible. Before she died, the daughter invested all these savings into a house. A house that could be run by her mother as a guesthouse to earn a living and be surrounded by good company!
She is supported by a couple of other old ladies who help her cook and clean. Her house has 4 rooms that are full of tiny beds; I think about 50 (small) people could stay at once. She barely needs any sleep and is up at 3am every morning to prepare meals for guests and makes garlands for the temple. The rate per night is whatever you want or can contribute. She also makes some of the most delicious food I’ve had in Sri Lanka. A lovely place, and a lovely old lady.