As you drive along the Colombo-Kandy main road, right after passing Horagolla Samadhi and Nittambuwa, you will come across a truly interesting spectacle. Lovely local ladies, often clad in vibrantly coloured traditional outfits of ‘reddai hattei’ can be seen waving their hands at the passing vehicles. They stand under their crude huts, attempting to sell delicious cashew nuts to locals and tourists traveling in the area. Indeed, buying a packet of cashew from these smiling ladies is an obligatory part of the journey from Colombo to Kandy for many!
History of the Kaju Gama
Kaju Gama, or ‘Cashew Village’ is a charming region that many who travel in the area love. The village has a history of over 200 years. The colourful cashew colony of the village was resurrected by the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa.
Those who recall the glory days of Kaju Gama will be somewhat dismayed as they approach the area now. In the place of the beautiful lasses clad in attractive outfits, now you will find tired and worn-out sellers. Battling for the cash of the tourists alongside the simple packets of cashew are king coconuts and fresh fruit juices. The cashewvillage is slowly fading away, leaving behind only rich and vibrant memories that will be talked about for decades.
A number of reasons have caused the decline of the cashew industry in Sri Lanka. It is a highly labour intensive industry and the profit margins are rather slim too. Adding to the miseries of the local farmers, the Kerala cashew from India has also been introduced to the island. This strong competitor is gaining foothold in the market primarily with its lower price point. Despite the fact that it lacks the characteristic creamy taste of Sri Lankan cashew.
When you are traveling in the area with Green Holiday Centre, be sure to visit one of these simple stalls and buy a packet of cashew from the locals. You will be charmed to witness the last glowing embers of the glorious past of a legendary colony.