So now you find me in Kitulgala the location of a Hollywood behemoth that won 7 Oscars, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, which for a brief point in the 50’s took over the Rest Houses, mansions, countryside and river of this small, central-highlands Sri Lankan town.
Consisting of historical facts embellished by folklore and based upon the life of the Persian King Bahram V, who ruled the Sassanid Empire located predominantly in modern day Iran and its surrounding neighbours from 420-440AD.
The Three Princes of Serendip is an old Persian fairy tale dating back over a thousand years.
The Sanskrit word Suvarnadweepa translated into English means Golden Island.
Far back in time it was absorbed into the Tamil language, changed to Seren Deevu and adopted by Persians and Urdu and defined as Serendip.
I had arranged and stayed in the Kithulgala Rest House which held claim to being the place where most of the crew stayed and had raucous parties long into the night during the production.
That in my eyes is quite impressive for a simple fairy tale, but this was not its only lasting impact.Horace Walpole the Earl of Orford, son of the first British Prime minister and cousin of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson, was a very well educated chap know for being an art historian, antiquarian, politician, revivalist of the Gothic style in architecture and man of letters.
As I mentioned earlier, the tale of three Princes while highly embellished, stemmed from historical facts such as the name of an island.This Tuk Tuk driver also runs an adventure sports company and asked if I would like to do some rafting.Again I politely declined his offer and in a sudden on the cuff decision making moment, asked instead if he could take me to the location of the Bridge from the film.Down on the river bank a short walk from the Rest House, where the locals bathe and you catch your crossing, a pile of back stage lighting equipment sat including the lights and reflector boards.An hour earlier or an hour later this pile of production equipment would have gone to their port of call and I would never had witnessed it but for this moment the memory of cinematic craft surfaced, presented itself and echoed like the thunder that reverberated the hills as if the explosion when the bridge was blown up, still rumbles on.This Golden Island still exists today and is now known as Sri Lanka and from my experience Serendipity still resonates in this land.