FRIENDLIER PEOPLE

With a genuine smile on the face. Sri Lankan people are known to be friendlier and the most Hospitable in the world.

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TEA

The world’s purest and finest tea is produced by Sri Lanka which is the world’s 4th largest producer and the 2nd Largest Exporter of the Tea.

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World- Renowned as Ceylon Tea “the Sri Lanka tea is of distinctive taste, attractive aroma and untouchable quality. This is because the country’s tropical climate and fertile Soil are healthier for quality tea production.

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GEMS

Known as the “Island of Gems” Since ancient times. Sri Lanka,s  gem industry of over 2500 years. The world’s rarest gemstones are found in this wonderful island which is most famous for its blue Sapphires. Sri Lankan blue Sapphires are world-renowned and are highly priced because of its pleasing tone of color. Flawlessness. Very high transparency, Clarity etc.

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GOLDAN BEACHES

Sri Lanka is a resplendent island blessed with more than thousand kilometers of stunning golden beaches that attract tens of thousands of tourists around the world annually. The tropical palm-fringed beaches make Sri Lanka a Heaven for Holiday makers.

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HERITAGE

A Country with a Great history. Sri Lanka has a splendid heritage which has mostly been influenced by Buddhism. Inscribed by the UNESCO. Sri Lanka has eight world heritage Sites Such as  Sri  Dalada Maligawa Kandy, ( Temple of Tooth Relic )Sigiriya, Anuradhapuraya etc.

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AYURVEDIC TREATMENTS

Developed over 3000 years, Sri Lanka`s system of Ayurveda is an indigenous from of traditional medicine influenced by Aryans Ayurveda.The world famous Sri Lanka`s Ayurvedic  treatments heal and rejuvenate body and mind leading to healthier and Longer life.Ayurveda with meditation and yoga leads not only to bodily and mental wellness as well .

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SPICES

Indigenous to Sri Lanka, Ceyloan Cinnamon or true Cinnamon is the most famous in the world because of its distinctive quality and aroma.Sri Lanka accounts for over 90% of the world market for true Cinnamon. Sri Lanka`s other Spices Such as Cloves ,Cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg etc. also have big demand in the international market. This is owing to no other reason but its quality. Sri Lanka is a tropical Country Close to the equator with fertile and diverse Soil type, varying microclimates and the favorable temperature variations. All the Contribute to the higher intrinsic value of most Crops grown on this island.

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GARMENTS

Sri Lanka Garments are world-renowned because of its quality. Sri Lanka`s garment industry now turned to be a fashion industry is a more reliable Supplier of quality garments to the world`s top brands and now Sri Lanka is regarded as a producer of garments with no guilt”

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WORLD`S BIGGEST MAMMALS

Both world largest marine and land mammals Can be sighted in a few hours in Sri Lanka.Elephants Can also be Seen in the eastern and southern low Land in addition to other arias of the country.

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Blue Whales are mostly seen in the Country `s eastern and Southern Seas

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FOOD AND BEVERAGE

Sri Lanka is famous for her finest spicy and tasty foods and Delicious beverages. Sri Lanka`s Savory dishes, prepared with its world-renowned home-grown spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper  etc…have a higher health value.mn

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CRICKET

A big cricket playing nation in the world. Sri Lanka was the world cup Champion in 1996 and has been the world cup runners-up for several times. Sri Lanka has produced cricket giants in the world such as batsman Sanath Jayasooriya .Spinner Muttiya Muralidharan.

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PEACE

Nearly three decades long bloody war between the terrorist and the Sri Lankan Government came to an end in 2009 dawning long-awaited peace to war –torn island which is now regarded as one of the most peaceful countries as well as one of the safest tourist destinations in the world.

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GREETING

The Sinhalese traditional way of greeting is by saying “AYUBOWAN!”  which means may you live long!” with hands clasped at chest height and bowed slightly as if in prayer position.    

Tour Planners Lanka – The Best Travel Agent to Explore Sri Lanka without Any Hassles

September 29.Holiday Sri Lanka

Discover the wonders of the paradise island Sri Lanka with the best travel agent ‘Tour Planners Lanka’, who offers a wide variety of Holiday Tour Packages

Sri Lanka, 26 September 2016 – Dehiwala – Sri Lanka is one of the most paradise islands of the world. The nation appears to be a teardrop in the heart of the Indian Ocean; it’s the island of eco-system and a true traveler’s paradise.  The Country Sri Lanka was well known as Ceylon in the past and its worldwide famous for producing quality Tea. Sri Lanka is a multicultural and a mix of modern metropolitan & traditional lifestyles. For travelers it would be unique to experience a different lifestyle in the same place. Apart from that, the Island Sri Lanka has so many natural wonders; it is a popular worldwide tourist destination. Visiting this multicultural land with proper travel agents like ‘Tour Planner Lanka’ is highly advisable in order to experience the natural wonder without any travel or language difficulties.

Tour Planners Lanka offers wide variety of tour packages and family holiday packages for visitors or tourists to explore their paradise island according to their wish. They offer best possible solutions according to the traveler’s interest, and they have all packages from budget to extreme levels. In addition, they also provide a special honeymoon package for couples who wish to experience the natural wonders of Sri Lanka in privacy.

The CEO of Tour Planners Lanka Mr. Nandana Adithya Amarasekara says “I work as an independent guide lecturer for fifteen years for leading travel companies in Sri Lanka. During my service, I have gained extensive knowledge about languages, cultures and traditions of different tourist from different countries. It is my belief that each touring group leaves Sri Lanka after being very pleased with my service.” This elaborates the tourism knowledge owned by the CEO of Tour Planners Lanka, and it assures that with the CEO’s knowledge agents or guides of Tour Planner Lanka would be trained professionally.

With highly quality travel guides, the Tour Planners of Lanka started to grab the attentions of lots of travelers from Western and European Countries. Since, visitors from those parts of the world often facing problem while traveling and getting mingled with the locals, the Tours Planners  of Lanka offers better service for such visitors and makes them to feel like home away from home.

About Tour Planners Lanka:

The ‘Tour Planner Lanka’ administrated by Mr. Nandana Adithya Amarasekara for the past 15 plus years in tourism venture. They have organized various touring events and achieve success in satisfying tourist’s expectation.  They have good experience and skilled chauffeur and national guide who can handle all sorts of condition and act accordingly to the visitors/tourists’ needs.

In addition, The Tour Planner Lanka has close relationship with several top hotels and restaurants across the country, owning to that, visitors/tourists no need to worry about their accommodations. In fact, they offer tour packages along with the accommodation facilities.

To know more about the features and packages of Tour Planner Lanka visit their official site: http://www.tourplanlanka.com/

Media Contact
Company Name: Silkroad Lanka Holding (Pvt) Ltd.
Contact Person: Mr. Nandana Adithya Amarasekara
Email: Send Email
Phone: +94112723544, +94702044449
Address:3/C/01, Station Road, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka.
State: Colombo
Country: Sri Lanka
Website: http://www.tourplanlanka.com/

Veddas are an indigenous people of Sri Lanka. They, amongst other self-identified native communities such as Coast Veddas and Anuradhapura Veddas, are accorded indigenous status. Most speak Sinhala and Tamil instead due to their indigenous language having become nearly extinct.

the-vedda

According to the genesis chronicle of the Sinhala people, the Mahavamsa (“Great Chronicle“), written in the 5th century CE, the Pulindas believed to refer to Veddas are descended from Prince Vijaya (6th–5th century BCE), the founding father of the nation, through Kuveni, a Princes of the yaksha tribe, he married.

The Mahavansa relates that following the repudiation of Kuveni by Vijaya, in favour of a Kshatriya-caste princess from Pandya, their two children, a boy and a girl, departed to the region of Sumanakuta (Adam’s Peak in the Ratnapura District), where they multiplied, and giving rise to the Vedda people. Anthropologists such as the Seligmanns (The Veddas 1911) believed the Veddas to be identical with the Yaksha.

They never cut their hair but tye it up on their Crowns in a bunch. The cloth they use, is not broad nor large, scarcely enough to cover their Buttocks. Thewilder and tamer sort of them do both observe a Religion. They have a God peculiar to themselves. The tamer do build Temples, the wild only bring their sacrifice under Trees, and while it is offering, dance round it both men and women.

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Vedda people are also mentioned in Robert Knox’s history of his captivity by the King of Kandy in the 17th century. Knox described them as “wild men”, but also said there was a “tamer sort”, and that the latter sometimes served in the king’s army.

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The Ratnapura District, which is part of the Sabaragamuwa Province, is known to have been inhabited by the Veddas in the distant past. This has been shown by scholars like Nandadeva Wijesekera (Veddhas in transition 1964). The very name Sabaragamuwa is believed to have meant the village of the Sabaras or “forest barbarians”. Such place-names as Vedda-gala (Vedda Rock), Vedda-ela (Vedda Canal) and Vedi-kanda (Vedda Mountain) in the Ratnapura District also bear testimony to this. As Wijesekera observes, a strong Vedda element is discernible in the population of Vedda-gala and its environs.vedda_chief_uruwarige_wannila_aththo

Travel Tips – Traveling Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the leading romantic destinations in the whole world. Discover the beauty of Sri Lanka and Tips for the Traveling Sri Lanka. Tour Plan lanka is the best tour Company in Sri Lanka. Also it is a land of ancient ruins and religious relics, palm-fringed beaches and colourful reefs, balmy rainforests and local legends. Life in Sri Lanka is dictated by the sea around the Island.

Welcome - Traveling Sri Lanka

Conduct

Cleanliness and modesty are appreciated even in informal situations. Nudity and topless bathing are prohibited and subject to heavy fines. Display of intimacy is not considered suitable in public and will probably draw unwanted attention. Women in rural areas do not normally shake hands with men as this form of contact is not traditionally acceptable between acquaintance.

Hands & Eating

Use your right hand for giving, eating or shaking hands as the the left hand is considered to be unclean.Do not shake hands with a Buddhist monk or a Hindu Swami. Greet them with your hands Clasped together as if a prayer and raising them to your foreheads bending slightly forward. When handing objects to another person, using right hand or both hands would be appreciated by the receiver.

Visiting Places of Worship

Visitors to Buddhist and Hindu temples are welcome Though the shrines of Hindu temples are sometime closed to non Hindus. However, visitors to any place of Worship in Sri Lanka are expected to be decently. Clad covered down at least below knees, unshod and heads uncovered.

Visiting Places - Traveling Sri Lanka

Read more on Travel Tips

 

LANKA THILAKA RAJA MAHA VIHARAYA. KANDY SRI LANKA

The history of the temple goes back to the 14th century. According to historical reports this temple was built by King Bhuvanekabahu IV, who reigned from 1341 to 1351 A. D. He entrusted the construction of this temple to his Chief Minister named Senalankadhikara, who successfully finished the works of this temple. The architecture of the temple was designed by a South Indian architect named Sathapati Rayar, According to the Professor Senarath Paranavithana, Sathapati Rayar designed this temple using Sinhalese architecture of Polonnaruwa era and also with other Dravidian and Indo Chinese architectural patterns.
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The vihara buildings have been built on a natural rock called Panhalgala Rock. Among the buildings the image house possesses characteristically outstanding architectural features, embellished with traditional Sinhalese sculptures. According the facts recorded in the Lankatilake copper plaque, this image house was construct as a four storied mansion with height of eighty feet, but today only 3 stories can be seen.The walls and the ceiling of the image house has been adorned with the Kandyan era paintings and sculptures.
Rock curved inscriptions found in the temple premises with both Sinhala and Tamil sections, proclaim about the initiators and the facilities gifted to this temple by the kings.

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The image house of the Lankatilaka is enriched with five devales. God Upulvan, Ganapathi, Saman, Vibhishana and Kumara Bandara are worshipped here. God Kumara bandara is believed to be the deity, who protects the Lankatilaka vihara.

Kandy-Perahara (2)

There are special religious programs conducted in the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on every Full Moon Poya day where large numbers participate. Apart from these daily, weekly and monthly ceremonies, there are four major ceremonies held every year. They are;

  1. Aluth Sahal Mangailaya;
  2. Avurudu Mangallaya;
  3. Esala Mangallaya; and
  4. Karthika Mangallaya.

Of these the most important is the Esala Mangallaya. Esala, according to the Sinhalese Calendar, is the month of July/ August This is the months in which Kandy gets into a festive mood. Shopkeepers and hoteliers pile up their stock to cater to the massive crowds that throng the city. Maligawa and its premises are gaily decorated and are illuminated with strings of lights, including the esplanade.

Perahera, A Kapa, a sapling from a tree that sheds milky juice is erected in each of the four Devales. On the 5th day, The Kumbal Perahera begins and goes on for 10 consecutive nights when the sacred relic casket is taken round the streets of Kandy accompanied by exotically costumed dancers and drummers.

These dance forms vary. The most popular dance froms are the Ves, Udekki, Pantheru, Naiyandi, Hewisi, Savang and Leekeli and the dancers with years of experience reveal their dexterity in the performance of their respective dances.
The most colorful Perahera is last Randoli Perahera which falls on the Esala Full Moon Poya day. On this day, at the auspicious time the Perahera starts. The Diyawadana Nilame in full traditional Kandyan dress will enter the inner chamber to receive the Perahera Karanduwa containing the Buddha Relics.
Kandy-Perahara

The Mahanayake Thero will place the relics casket on the velvet cloth clonintricately embroidered with gold and silver, held by both hands by the Nilame. As he steps out of the chamber bearing the relics casket, the crowd with one heart and one voice starts chanting sadhu, sadhu, sadhu and the chorus will go on while the Esala Perahera begins.

A red and yellow floor spread (pavada) embroidered with appliques of different hues is laid before him, and two Temple functionaries will start strewing jasmine flowers on it while the Diyawadana Nilame, carrying the casket, will slowly tread over the pavada. In front of him two hand torches are held by bearers while the kavikara maduwa sing songs in praise of the Dalada. The Nilame walks past the udamale and begin to descend the wooden staircase and go past the digge and ambarawa and finally arrives the place where the tusker is waiting to carry the casket.

The casket containing the Buddha Relics is always carried by a tusker decorated with a is magnificent dress embedded with colored bulbs and generally looks more colorful then the other caparisoned elephants numbering over 75 who take part in the Esala Perahera. The decorated ransivige is placed on the back of this tusker and the relics casket is placed inside it on, a velvet cushion, by the Nilame. After the Nilame and the Mahanayake Thero strew jasmine flowers on the casket the tusker arrives at the wahalkada followed by the Nilame.

The Esala Perahera proper begins as the canon booms. Leading the Perahera is the band of whip crackers who crack their whips in rhythmic pattern announcing it that the Esala Perahera is on. Immediately following are two o flag bearers carrying the two flags of the Sathara Korale (known as Ira Kodiya) embossed with the symbols of the sun and the moon indicating the wish that this Perahera be held until the sun and the moon last. Next comes the Peramunerala, attired in the traditional white dress and riding a caparisoned elephant and carrying the sannasa, the royal charter to hold the Perahera. Following him is the Gajanayake, A the Maligawa official in charge of the elephants, elegantly dressed in traditional Kandyan dress carrying the ankusaya the instrument by which elephants are controlled.

Picture of Kandy Festivel

The crowd is impatiently waiting to get a glimpse of the tusker carrying the relics casket. It’s a wonderful sight to see the tusker dressed in a decorated costume and brilliantly illuminated bearing the ransivige in which the Perahera Karandawa rests on a velvet cushion, with garlands of jasmine flowers hanging dangling above it and strings of lights flickering all the time, tread over the pavada in assured steps under the canopy held over the ransivie by 16 able bodied men with poles and strings. As the karanduwa passes by, the crowd, stand up and with their hands clasped together chanting sadhu, sadhu, sadhu thereby paying their homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic.

The focus of the crowd then moves towards the Diyawadana Nilame who, attired in his traditional Kandyan constume, slowly walks by under a large e embroidered umbrella held by a Vidane of the Maligawa and  flanked by two troupes of Ves dancers whose performance is a lovely sight to see.

Over 75 caparisoned elephants, 1000s of dancers and drummers, hundreds of flag bearers and torchbearers take part in each of the Peraheras. The Maligawa Perahera is followed by the Devala Peraheras in the order of Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini under the direction of the respective Basnayake Nilames, who in their traditional Kandy an costumes, take part in the Esala Perahera Kandy.

After the day of the Esala Perahera, it is customary for the Diyawadana Nilame and the Basnayake Nilames of the four devalas to report to Her Excellency the’ President that the Esala Perahera in Kandy was satisfactorily conducted.

As the Esala Perahera draws to an end, the onlooker is apt to conclude that it is nothing but sheer ingenuity of the Buddhists from ancient times to have organized the country’s talents in arts and g crafts including drumming and dancing into a cultural pageant of such magnitude and offer it to ‘” the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha as a form of veneration.

The Road Show of Sri Lanka Tourism ended with success on 7 June, 2016. Sri Lanka Tourism and the representatives of Sri Lanka travel agencies visited Korea, and introduced tourist attractions and vision of Sri Lanka to the travel industry and media of Korea. Also B2B consulting was provided in the event.

Road_Show_Sri Lanka_Tourism

The Road Show of Sri Lanka Tourism

The ambassador of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, Manisha Gunasekera, had an interview with Korean media. “Currently not many Korean tourists visit Sri Lanka since direct flights from Korea to Sri Lanka have recently been created. However, Sri Lanka has become one of popular countries to travel in China and Japan. We are focusing on promotion of tourism in Korea through participating in Korea World Travel Fair and Busan International Travel Fair, and in the planning stage to promote cooperatively with Korean Air which flies to Sri Lanka.”

Road_Show_Sri Lanka_Tourism

Regarding the reason of increased percentage of tourists the ambassador mentioned “Now large-sized hotels are being constructed in Sri Lanka, so the accommodation will be increased by 60% throughout the country. Also new airline routes to Europe will be added. Based on ample tourism infrastructure we will attract more tourists.

In closing, the ambassador said “Buddhism culture, Ceylon tea, and coconut oil are great things of Sri Lanka, as well; cinnamon, water sports, and whale watching are world’s top level. Sri Lanka has many important factors as a popular tourist destination such as beautiful nature, beach, long history and culture, wild animals and UNESCO World Heritage. And the best thing is Sri Lankan people’s kind attitude to welcome tourists.” She emphasized that various aspects of Sri Lankan culture and tourism including cultural properties, food festival, traditional dance performance to celebrate the 40th Korea-Sri Lanka relations will be introduced.

Sri Lanka Tourism Golden Jubilee

The month of May 2016, marks a golden milestone for Sri Lanka Tourism with the grand celebration of its 50th Anniversary.

Earlier referred to as the Ceylon Tourist Board, was the official government body responsible for all tourism related activities and development within the country. The Ceylon Tourist Board was established on the 2nd of May 1966 by Tourism Act No. 10 of 1966. It is now branched into four institutions namely Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB).

Sri Lanka Tourism has initiated a series of activities to celebrate this historic occasion. An attractive logo which depicts the various tourist attractions of Sri Lanka was launched in March powering a more meaningful beginning to this event. The grand celebrations will draw the attention of both local and global tourism enthusiasts bringing a strong word of mouth to Brand Sri Lanka. Amongst the planned activities, 50 foreign nationals already in the country talks about Sri Lanka and it has grabbed the attention of many tourism lovers in the Sri Lankan Tourism industry. These videos will be released to the social media channels at the inaugural ceremony which will be held on the 27th of May 2016 at the main hall of the BMICH with the participation of the four institutions.

Along with the celebrations a commemorative volume, a commemorative stamp and a video film on the 50-year history of the industry will be launched at the national ceremony. Individuals who have contributed to the development and growth of the tourism industry throughout the years will be felicitated as Legends of Tourism along with appreciation awards for long service staff members of the institutions at this event. The Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are expected to attend the official ceremony on May 27.

This event will be followed by a National Exhibition of Artefacts in Tourism which will showcase important milestones of Sri Lanka Tourism since its establishment in 1966. The exhibition will take place from 27th of May to 29th of May. Sri Lanka Tourism has already conducted a series of competitions for children and adults in parallel to this Golden Jubilee Celebrations. A stamp will be issued at the main celebration platform. The prizes for the children essay, arts competition and photo and videography competitions will also be presented on the same stage. A number of social media competitions are also being promoted to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations such as 50 best experiences of Sri Lanka and 50 best food of Sri Lanka.

Other events at the BMICH premises from 27th to 29th May include exhibition on memories of 50 years of Sri Lanka Tourism, exhibitions of cultural heritage, gem & jewellery, Sri Lankan handicrafts, wildlife conservation, zoological & botanical gardens and Ceylon Tea by relevant government organizations, Sancharaka Udawa – Exhibition of Tourism products meet mart in Sri Lanka organised by Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators. A Home Stay village showcasing rural tourism activities and cultural shows presented by the armed forces.

Over the years various highly regarded professionals led each of these institutions together with the devoted team at Sri Lanka Tourism to achieve the targets and goals in the Sri Lankan tourism industry. Accounting only 18,969 tourist arrivals in the year 1966, Sri Lanka Tourism industry has progressed dramatically over five decades to receive an all-time high of 1.8 million annual tourist arrivals at the end of the year 2015. Previous year total arrivals showed a 17.8 percent year on year growth and that will be expected to continually improve over the upcoming years by financially strengthening the nation. Further, over the next several years Sri Lanka Tourism will focus on sustainable tourism development by improving the stability between the tourism related commercial development with a natural & socio cultural uplift. With this positive vision towards the future of the tourism industry, Sri Lanka Tourism is heading towards new challenges with the accomplishment of continued progress, regardless of the rising competition in the global Tourism Sector.

 

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

Vesak is recognised as the most venerated day of the calendar for all Buddhists in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and the South East Asian countries of Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, and Indonesia. This day encompasses the three main life events of Gautama Buddha namely as birth, enlightenment and passing away.

All cities and villages celebrate Vesak colourfully following the traditional arts and crafts. Colombo, as the capital of Sri Lanka organises the Budhdha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016 to be held on 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25th May 2016 in historic Gangarama temple, prestigious temple trees and surroundings of serine Bere Lake.

The temple’s architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. This Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises. Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

Today Gangaramaya serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship; it is also a centre of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions.

Among various colourful events in this temple, the Vesak lantern and pandal competition is highlighted and very popular among the public. In Vesak Season in electrically lit Vesak pandols called thoranas are erected island wide at public places, being mostly sponsored by donors, religious societies and welfare groups. Each pandol illustrates a story from the 550 ‘Jathaka Katha’ or the 550 Past Life Stories of the Buddha.

Vesak lanterns called Vesak koodu are lit in most of the homes in Sri Lanka on Vesak poya day. The lighting signifies an offering to the memory of the Buddha who delivered the message of Dhamma. In ancient times, people used their clay oil lamps for illumination. When candles became popular, colourful lanterns were made in different shapes and colours were used. Buddha Rashmi Vesak Kalapaya arrange competitions on Vesak lanterns with the creators of the most beautiful lanterns being awarded valuable prizes.

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

During this week, the selling of alcohol and flesh is usually prohibited, with abattoirs also being closed. Celebrations include various religious and alms giving activities. Electrically lit pandals called Toranas are erected in various locations mainly in Colombo, Kandy, Galle and elsewhere; most sponsored by donors, religious societies and welfare groups. Each Pandal illustrates a story from the 550 Jataka Katha or the 550 Past Life Stories of the Buddha. The Vesak Pandal depicting various Jathaka stories with paintings are erected all over Sri Lanka. They are illuminated and presented beautifully.

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

Food stalls set up by Buddhist devotees called Dansalas provide free food and drinks to passers-by. Groups of people from various community organizations, businesses and government departments sing Bhakti gee or Buddhist devotional songs. Colombo experiences a massive influx of public from all parts of the country during this week. The Vesak festival marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away into Nirvana of the Lord Buddha and includes devotion and Alma giving with spectacular displays and entertainment. The weeklong celebration gives the visitor a unique opportunity to discover Sri Lanka’s religious and cultural traditions. Lanterns made from bamboo frames and covered in coloured paper are hung inside every home and incredible illuminated displays decorate the streets. There could be no Vesak without lanterns and Vesak lantern competitions are organise in a number of cities and towns. The winners are awarded valuable prizes.

On Vesak day, devout Buddhists and followers alike are expected and requested to assemble in their various temples before dawn for the ceremonial, and honourable, hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples). Devotees may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-sticks to lay at the feet of their teacher. These symbolic offerings are to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction.

Devotees are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. They are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day. In some countries, notably Sri Lanka, two days are set aside for the celebration of Vesak and all liquor shops and slaughter houses are closed by government decree during the two days. Also birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in what is known as a ‘symbolic act to liberation’; of giving freedom to those who are in captivity, imprisoned, or tortured against their will. Some devout Buddhists will wear a simple white dress and spend the whole day in temples with renewed determination to observe the eight Precepts.

Devout Buddhists undertake to lead a noble life according to the teaching by making daily affirmations to observe the Five Precepts. However, on special days, notably new moon and full moon days, they observe the eight Precepts to train themselves to practice morality, simplicity and humility.

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

Devotees are expected to listen to talks given by monks. On this day monks will recite verses uttered by the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago, to invoke peace and happiness for the Government and the people. Buddhists are reminded to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha had taught.

Celebrating Vesak also means making special efforts to bring happiness to the unfortunate like the aged, the handicapped and the sick. To this day, Buddhists will distribute gifts in cash and kind to various charitable homes throughout the country. Vesak is also a time for great joy and happiness, expressed not by pandering to one’s appetites but by concentrating on useful activities such as decorating and illuminating temples, painting and creating exquisite scenes from the life of the Buddha for public dissemination. Devout Buddhists also vie with one another to provide refreshments and vegetarian food to followers who visit the temple to pay homage to the Enlightened One.

Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage. Just before he died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda, weeping. The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all compounded things (including even his own body) must disintegrate. He advised everyone not to cry over the disintegration of the physical body but to regard his teachings (The Dhamma) as their teacher from then on, because only the Dhamma truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that the way to pay homage to him was not merely by offering flowers, incense, and lights, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings. This is how Buddhists are expected to celebrate Vesak: to use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practice loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.

Vesak is of religious significance for Buddhists all over the world but, to Sri Lanka, it is what Christmas is to the West. A festival of togetherness, a festival of rejoicing in the birth and enlightenment of the Lord Buddha, as well as a time for reflection on his death. It is the festival of light. Of pandals, of buckets, of lanterns of shining eyes. In the course of its celebration, it brings a contentment to people that spreads out from the very inside of their bodies.

Stalls on the roadside distribute free refreshments to passers-by and there are some fantastic mime and street theatre performances, staged on tall platforms throughout the cities and towns near the temples.

Vesak is a festival of togetherness, a festival of rejoicing in the birth and enlightenment of the Lord Buddha, as well as a time for reflection on his death. It is the festival of light, of pandals, of buckets, of lanterns of shining eyes. In the course of its celebration, it brings a contentment to people that spreads out from every Sri Lankan; that is the magic of Vesak.

Vesak is a religious and cultural festival in Sri Lanka. It is celebrated on the day of the full moon in the month of May. Vesak Day is one of the biggest days of the year and is celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. Buddhists commemorate the important events that took place in the life of Lord Buddha on this day. First comes the birth of Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini in Nepal which took place under the arbor of Sat trees where queen Mahamaya gave birth to him. The second event was Siddharta Gautam’s supreme attainment as the Buddha, the Enlightened One. The third event was Lord Buddha’s Parinibbana over 2500 years ago at Kusinagar.

The decision to agree to celebrate the Vesak as the Buddha’s birthday was formalized at the first Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists held in Sri Lanka in 1950, although festivals at this time in the Buddhist world are a centuries-old tradition. The Resolution that was adopted at the World Conference reads as: “On Vesak Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate events of significance to Buddhists of all traditions: The birth, enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha. As Buddhism spread from India it was assimilated into many foreign cultures, and consequently Vesak is celebrated in many different ways all over the world.”

Birth of Siddhartha Gautam

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

The Siddharth or lord Buddha, the divine creature inquired about five affairs before expiring for the final birth. The inquiries are the: right time, right area, right continent, right caste and right mother.

Then, as any Buddhists know, the fully mindful divine being entered the womb of Queen Mahamaya. A prince was born on a Vesak Poya day to the Queen and King Suddhodana and was named Siddhartha, one who has found meaning of existence. The Queen passed away seven days after the prince’s birth.

Attainment as Lord Buddha

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

Gautama Buddha was trained in various mental skills under many teachers, only to get disillusioned that they do not have the truth he looked for. The right way to achieve the truth dawned on him one day. He directed his mind in the path of meditation. Moments later he reached enlightenment and conquered the world of sorrows on Vesak Poya day.

Lord Buddha’s Parinibbana

Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival 2016

80-year old Gotama Buddha then announced His passing away, Parinibbana, would take place on the third watch of the night at Sal grove of Malla royal family, and it happened to be a Vesak Poya day.

These three ceremonies are being celebrated at this grand Vesak event honouring the greatest philosopher ever generated in this earth as per Buddhist studies.

Apart from Sri Lanka, many Asian countries including India, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan celebrate Vesak. Many religious activities are organized during this period in Sri Lanka such as Sil campaigns, Bodhi Poojas, Dansalas (Freely giving foods, coffee, tea from people), Vesak devotional songs (Bakthi Gee), pandols (thoran) and lanterns.

Buddhists generally wear a white dress and go to the temple and participate in the traditional ceremonies. Many of them spend the whole day in the temple and reaffirm their determination to follow the teachings of Buddha. On this holy day the ‘Dana’ (alms giving) plays an important role. This is a sign of sharing joy and peace with people. During the Vesak Festival week, the selling of alcohol and flesh is usually prohibited, with abattoirs also being closed.

Other than the exclusive religious aspects of the festival, the Buddhists of Sri Lanka, decorate their houses and public places and arrange for various cultural events.