The Mudhouse

RECONNECT WITH MOTHER NATURE – while staying in a traditional Sri Lankan mud house

If you have a sense of adventure and interested in connecting with the real Sri Lanka, staying in your own mud house built using traditional materials & methods can certainly be a rewarding experience.

Spread throughout a large expanse of forest on the outskirts of a small village in lies, this eco-lodge is a private and seductive retreat, far away from the maddening crowds.

Flanked by lakes and blessed with abundant birdlife, wildlife and natural beauty, The Mudhouse offers a range of rustic accommodation in private and individually designed huts.

Run with environmental sustainability as its core focus, The Mudhouse aims to be a positive force for the people and nature with whom we co-exist. Fun and friendly, this laid-back lodge offers a unique chance to experience rural Sri Lankan life in all its colourful splendour.


The Mudhouse is located in the evergreen ‘Intermediate Dry Zone’  forests around Anamaduwa. The area receives less annual rainfall than many parts of the island and means the environment changes throughout the year, unlike the lush ‘wet zone’ areas of the south. Vast networks of man-made ‘tanks’ (lakes) are used to irrigate the paddy fields and support village life – a system remaining unchanged since the times of the ancient kings. Often a picture of splendid serenity, the lakes are focal points for villages and essential to humans and animals alike.  The region is predominantly flat with the exception of a handful of vast rocky outcrops.


Staying at The Mudhouse is a bit like being on a permanent safari. It is surrounded by nature and wildlife, and it is never necessary to look too hard to find something of interest.

Some common visitors that tend to arouse particular interest include the inexplicably cute Mouse Deer, the nocturnal Slender Loris, the imposing Giant Squirrel and the overly-hunted Wild Boar – all of which find increasing refuge in the safety of our protected land.  Insects, reptiles, rodents and mammals provide an endless and colourful backdrop to life here. Butterflies and dragonflies are worthy of particular mention, with many endemic species to be found.

An early morning bird watching walk around the small lanes and paths surrounding The Mudhouse is one of the most popular activities. Indeed, many guests discover the joys of bird watching here for the first time and are pleasantly surprised by the delights of listening to the early morning songs and following the many species though the tree canopies.  From the absolute beginner to the die-hard enthusiast, there is something to interest everyone here. The ‘dawn chorus’ is for many a natural alarm clock and an audible reference to the multitude of species that may be encountered. Over 100 species of birds have been documented at The Mudhouse and suspect there may be many more.

A typical Bird Watching trip would start with an early morning cup of tea in your hut before gently strolling the lanes and paths. The various lakes are often hotspots for a flurry of colourful specimens, but it can be just exciting trying to catch a quick glimpse of the smaller species hiding in the forest cover. The walk tends to last for an hour or two, and you return for a a private outdoor shower followed by a hearty local breakfast.

The Mudhouse has many specialist bird books for you to identify all your sightings with many being spotted in and around the huts and there is always a pair of binoculars in each hut for anything requiring closer inspection.

Local Life

The Mudhouse is located on the outskirts of a typical, rural, Sri Lankan village and is about two-and-a-half hours drive north of the Colombo International Airport. The majority of the people are farmers and the area is surrounded by acres of paddy fields which are irrigated by the various tanks (lakes).  Most of the roads are made of earth and the local village of Paramakanda was only connected to mains electricity in 2012.

Friday is market day in the nearest town, Anamaduwa, and traders from across the region converge to create a colourful fair which is well worth a visit. The town is slowly moving with the times but retains a very old, simple charm.

Buddhism is the predominant religion of the area, although there are also Christian and Muslim villages nearby. Anamaduwa District is a predominantly Sinhalese area although the main town is much more diverse, as is the wider Puttalam District as a whole.  Anamaduwa is often renowned around the country for its colourful role in national politics and the area has given birth to several eminent politicians. The area is home to a very proud and traditional way of life, with history buried wherever you look.

As with all of Sri Lanka’s districts, Puttalam has a plethora of surprisingly interesting, and little-known, things to see and do.

Largely untouched by tourism, the region has escaped mass development, and the fact that guidebooks somehow devote so little attention to it is probably a huge blessing.


The Mudhouse has its own organic farm where a variety of rice grains, vegetables, herbs, spices and fruits are grown. As much of the produce used in the kitchen as possible is grown here. All waste from the farm is recycled into compost, as are the remains from the kitchen. Harvest season is a particularly important time requiring long shifts in the fields, often with much merriment and celebration. Guests are more than welcome to get involved at any stage of the process.


Traditional Sri Lankan meals are prepared the traditional way, using clay pots and firewood. Rice and curry is the staple of the country and The Mudhouse offers a huge variety of dishes at any given time.

There is no menu as such – meals are prepared according to what is in season and most fresh. They don’t tend to serve much meat as it is hard to source quality produce locally. Fish, however, is a different story. Being surrounded by lakes and only 30 km from the coast, there is a range of sea and fresh water fish available throughout the year.

Vegetarians will be happy here and a wide selection of grains, pulses, seeds, vegetables and fruits are prepared daily – many in ways you may not have come across previously.

Much of the produce is sourced from their own organic farm, with other ingredients purchased locally from farmers or from the market in town. All meals are included in the price. If you have any special requests your hosts will always try to accommodate them. You can also learn how to cook any of your favourite dishes in their complimentary cooking classes.

Cooking Lessons

In many ways, the kitchen is the real heart of The Mudhouse – a large thatched building that has grown with time to be able to produce meals around the clock for guests and staff alike.

Cooking lessons are possible in either the morning or afternoon, in order to prepare the meals for lunch or dinner and you can discover how to prepare some of the delicious local recipes from scratch.

The lessons usually comprise of teaching whatever is on the menu for that given day.  With no mains electricity there is also no fridge in the kitchen, meaning that all dishes are prepared fresh and not kept or preserved. Learning to cook the traditional way is both labour and time intensive but it is directly reflected in the flavour of the food.

Many guests discover new dishes at The Mudhouse. Beyond the standard rice and curry dishes you will find across Sri Lanka, you’ll discover numerous special regional and seasonal dishes.

The cooking lessons are informal, fun and conducted by the two main cooks and the rest of the kitchen team.  Eating a meal that you have helped prepare in the traditional Sri Lankan way just makes it even tastier!

With a beer in hand, watching the sun set over the water to being guided by the light of your oil lamp to finally fall asleep listening to the night is a truly sublime feeling.

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For further information and bookings, contact Wilam direct at TTC Sri Lanka

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