Toddy Tapping in Sri Lanka
Toddy is a local alcoholic drink made by fermenting the sap of the coconut’s flower. It is produced in tropical Asian and African countries. In Sri Lanka, toddy is called thal ra ,kithul ra ,or pol ra according to the plant used to make toddy. Toddy can be further distilled to make stronger alcoholic drinks such as arrack.
Toddy tappers task is to climb the tree and get the flower from the coconut when the time is right. This is considered dangerous due to use of weather-worn ropes, slippery trunks of the palm trees and the wind.The toddy tapper usually walks a tightrope tied high above between two adjacent coconut trees. He holds on to a one rope at shoulder level and walks on the other ever so carefully, because a single misstep would be fatal. This is a frequent sight in the early morning in western coastal areas in Sri Lanka such as Panadura, Wadduwa, Maggona, Payagala, Beruwala to Aluthgama.