Sinhala and Tamil New Year

Goodwill, happiness and joy fills the air and the hearts of people of Sinhala and Tamil homes during the New Year.The familiar sound ot the Koha ,the rhythem of the drum areheard.Old customs are revived and people exchange greetings .
Age old Sinhalese traditions and popular customs which were meticulously observed by the ancients, are revived and the younger folks were introduced to them by their parents in the past. But a deplorable change has now taken its place with various types of innovations, as a result of modern science and technology in the so called advanced towns, although the rural folks pay the greatest attention to retain those valuable customs and observe them, even in the present times.
The New Year named the Aluth Avurudda which dawns on April 14, according to astrological calculations marks the movement of sun from the Zodiac of Pisces (Meena Rasi) into the Zodiac of Aries (Mesha Rasi). The Sun covers a period of twelve months or one year travelling through the twelve houses of the Zodiac in its nonstop traversing.
Most people attach great importance to the New Year customs and traditions and rigidly adhere to the directions in the Panchanga Litha or Almanac or the Avurudu Seettuwa in rural areas in days gone by. Observing the accurate details made by means of calculations, with strict trust and belief they conduct their activities according to the auspicious times carefully calculated by astrologers, to make the year happy, prosperous and lucky.
In ancient times these calculation were made by super grade Rishis, who devoted their entire lives for the development of their mental faculties by radiating their loving kindness of metta thoughts to be of service to future generations in diverse and multifarious ways. Their investigations and probings into the universe enabled them to discover limitless phenomena which the ordinary mind was unable even to fathom or understand or unravel.
Individually and unitedly eminent Rishis such as Varahamira, Narada, Susrutha, Madhava, Wickramadithya, Vishnu, Charaka, Bhaskara, Pulathi, Vaagbhata etc used to meet at the sacred and holy prescincts of the Himalayan Mountains from time to time and confer on various topics and phenomena including nature such as the cosmos and varied heavenly bodies, human beings, and their birth, ailments and death. Astrological times, calculations of auspicious and malefic moments were the results of their unfailing efforts. The Sinhala Aluth Avurudda ushers a season of festive activities or merriment and rejoicing and is attendant with a series of customs and traditional activitie

Srilankan Foods

Srilankan Foods  ...........

Foods in Sri Lanka can be hot or very mild or can be combination being very much a question of individual preference. Sri Lankan food is unique for their Culture. Many Sinhala food items are derived from Chena cultivation.Sri Lankan cuisine plays a vital role in the islanders’ life from the most auspicious Sinhala/ Hindu New Year to normal day-to-day practices. They make milk rice and special sweets with coconut milk, floor and Honey at cultural festivals. It is recognized as one of the sixty- four types of art, “Siu Seta kalawa”. The curries come in many verities of colors and flavors blended in Sri Lankan Hot Spices has a great ayurvedic value when used in curries.
Most of the Sri Lankans eat vegetables. With a large community of farmers the Rice and curry is the main food in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka curries are known for their fiery hot spicy flavors and coconut milk is very distinct feature of Sri Lankan cuisine that different regions of country specialize in different types of dishes. The specialty in Sri Lankan food is that same food is differently made in different regions. Dishes from the North region of Sri Lanka have distinct south Indian flavors.
Dishes from the South region of Sri Lanka can be Spicy, Hot or Mild. The meals of the southern region of Sri Lanka are known for their variety and fishing village though the coastal strip. Ambulthiyal a unique spicy fish preparation with thick gamboges “Goraka” paste.
Foods in Sri Lanka
Foods in Sri Lanka

Certain types of fish Balaya , Kelawalla are native to Southern seas. “Lunu dehi” (lime pickle) and jaadi (Pikled fish) are food items made from methods of preserving since they could dry them in sun during rainless days. Western region of Sri Lanka has foreign influence much more than other regions. Many items made using wheat flour always had made Sri Lankan dishes foreign. Since upper western coastal region is dry, fish is dried with salt as a preservative. This is called “Karawala” (dry fish).
Spices such as Cloves, Cardamoms, nutmeg and pepper are found in abundance throughout Kandy and Matale District in Central region of Sri Lanka. Eastern province constitutes three major ethnic groups. Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil, Chena cultivation, Game meat from nearby forests and dry Weather have influenced many food items. Staple diet of Sri Lanka is ‘Rice and curry’ the word ‘curry’ convering a multitude of dishes which are made according to different methods of cooking from Soups, meat, Sea food, Lentils, Vegetables, Sambols, Mallums, Phies to Achcharus. Curd and Treacle and Sweetmeats made from Rice flour and palm treacle, jiggery along with various types of fruits are additions to the meal as the dessert. The Palm, Coconut, Kithul, Palmyra from which the treacle is made will vary accordingly. Sri Lankans also like several juicy sweetmeats like Kavum, kokis, Halape, Thalaguli and Wattalapam etc. Sri Lankans also like to have drinks like tea and coffee.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park ...........

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park (block 1) and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds.

There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. Among the largest is Lunugamvehera National Park. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.

The area around Yala has hosted several ancient civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites,Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are situated within the park. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National Park and 250 people died in its vicinity. The number of visitors has been on the rise since 2009 after the security situation in the park improved.

Galle Fortress

 Galle fort 

                                                    Ancient Map of fort at Galle, Ceylon 1787

The main entrance to the fort as it stands today
The pride of a nation and the country in the eyes of the world is enhanced by its civilization, its culture and its natural beauties. Endowed with these qualifications with a 2500 year old history supported by ancient archaeological treasures, Sri Lanka is rated as a bio diversity hot-spot of the world.
A recent visit to the Galle Fort World Heritage Site, the writer came face to face with evidence of ‘disintegration’ of this historical location.
The Galle Dutch Fort is a rare historical jewel protected by dark, thick stone walls – with the endless ocean on one side. The roads inside the Galle Fort have hardly changed, like the squares on a chess board crisscrossing in regular patches. Straight and narrow lanes branch in and out inviting the visitor to a delightful walk into the 17th century.

dutch clock tower at Galle Fort
Today’s Peddler Street was called “Moorse Kramerstraat” by the Dutch, Lighthouse Street was “Zeeburgstraat and Middelpuntstraat”, Hospital Street as `Nieuwe Lijnbaanstraat and Lijnbaanstraat (New Ropewalk Street), Old Ropewalk Street as Oude Lijnbaanstraat (Old Rope-Walk Street), Church Street as Kerkstraat, Parrawa Street as “Parruasstraat” and Chiando Street as “Chiandostraat”. Through this memory walk one would however miss the 17th century familiar vendors who traded in cinnamon, lace, elephants, tortoise and turtle shell ornaments besides the famous down south sweetmeats like “bondi aluwa” hanging in garlands from the shoulders of vendors.
Built by the Portuguese in 1620, the Galle Fort was fortified by the Dutch in 1667. The historical walk would also revive memories of places within the Fort as Sao Lago (Sun Bastion), Middelpunt (Moon Bastion), Cavaliar, Sao Antonio and Zeepunt (Star Bastion), Porte da Muro (Wall Gate), Porte da traisao (Treason Gate)Santa Cruz and Zwarte Fort (Black Fort), Akersloot Bastion, Halve Maanrje (Utrecht Bastion or Half Moon), Nieuw Werk (Klipenburg Bastion) Nieuwe Punt (New Point), Halve Bolwerk (Half Bastion)- Aeolus Bastion, Triton Bastion, Neptune Bastion, Aurora bastion, Rocky Bastion, Negotie-mantoor (Trade Office).

This original rare old antique engraved print from: “Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën” (Old and New East Indies) by François Valentyn / Valentijn, published in 1724-1726.
Ancient monuments within this historical complex included the Lighthouse, the clock tower, the first Dutch Reformed and Anglican churches, the Meera Mosque, the Buddhist Temple, and the Commander’s Residence. Worthy of mention is the Dutch Reformed Church with its baroque facade and the usual double scroll mouldings on its gables which testify to indigenous influence. The military architecture of the Fort is European in design. The unique Galle Fort is still the best preserved fortified city in South Asia.


The historical importance of this monument is unchallenged. The origins of Galle though lost in antiquity still survive through artifacts which confirm its existence in pre Christian and Roman eras. Through medieval ages, the Galle Fort emerged as Ceylon’s major southern international port attracting Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Persian, Roman and Arab traders.

Galle Fort
The fortification of the Galle Fort as a seat of administration was seen during the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods. The neglect of the Fort began after 1948 with vandalism being prevalent.
Considering its importance as an outstanding architectural and archaeological monument in Asia during the colonial period and to prevent its further degradation the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (COSMOS) registered Galle Fort as a World Heritage Site. Subsequently, the Government of Sri Lanka enacted legislation under the Galle Heritage Foundation Act No. 7 of 1991 for the conservation and management of the Galle Fort and environs.

17th Century Map of the fort at Galle 1790
Since then the Galle Public Awareness Programme was launched with assistance from the Netherlands Government in association with the Departments of Archaeology and Museums, the Ceylon Tourist Board and the Amsterdam and the Netherlands Departments of Conservation. A Maritime Museum was opened on March 28 1999.
Archaeological experts and other organisations interested in the preservation of this World Heritage site are raising alarm at the facilities afforded to foreigners to purchase land within the Galle Fort by even removing the one hundred percent tax levied on such purchases. By 1998 over 50 houses had been bought by non-Lankans including 30 Dutch colonial period houses. Are the alarm bells ringing far too late – or is there hope yet for the survival of this historic monument?
Foreigners are also accused of resorting to devious methods to hoodwink government officials to obtain liquor licenses and permits to operate their various businesses. The GFWHPS also points out that foreigners have also encroached on our southern beaches where they have purchased houses with beach frontage. Whilst appealing to the Government to strictly enforce laws to protect our World Heritage and Archaeological Sites the Society warns that the dark side of western culture which promotes evils such as vice dens and paedophiles will be the cancer that will destroy local civil society in these areas as well as future generations.The Galle Fort World Heritage Protection Society (GFWHPS) has made an appeal to the Government urging their immediate attention to protect our World Heritage Sites. They allege that foreigners who purchase sites within the Galle Fort have contravened the Antiquities Act which is a non-bailable offense.
Experts, archaeologists and environmentalists point out that even the richest nations in the world have imposed restrictions and impediments in UNESCO declared Heritage, Archaeological and valuable sites. Whilst querying whether the quiet transformation of this historical site will prove to be the final chapter of its long history, they inform the government that what they are now bartering for foreign economic gains is the national heritage of our future generations.

Hill Country (Nuwaraeliya)

                 Hill Country

Baker's waterfall
Baker's waterfall

Welcome to Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is located at the heart of the hill country 6182 feet above from the sea level. The town is situated at 74 km away along Kandy-Nuwara Eliya road and this was rediscovered by British in 1827. It is still very much like an old English town with styled Bungalows and buildings. The cool calm climate, gorges rolling tea plantation which makes the best “Ceylon tea” and the breathtaking beautiful waterfalls makes Nuwara Eliya one of the most beautiful town in the world.

History of Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya can be treated as one of the most beautiful nature creations in the world and it is the most beautiful city in Sri Lanka. Even though British claim that Nuwara Eliya was found in 1827 by British hunting party it was known to Sri Lankan long before. It is said that the British governor Sir Edward Bans (1824-1831) was very much interested about the cool climate Nuwara Eliya had and build a bungalow called “Bans Hall”. He is treated as the person who encouraged the human settlements of Nuwara Eliya. During these times other buildings were also build such as St Andrews and Carlton. The “Bans Hall” is converted to a hotel called “Grand Hotel” later with more than 150 rooms.
The person behind the Agricultural revolution of Nuwara Eliya was Sir Samuel Baker who came to Sri Lanka in the year of 1845. The farm started by Baker got popular as “Bakers Farm”. To commemorate Baker there is a monument at the location of his farm and there is a word called “Baker’s ward” at Nuwara Eliya hospital to remember him.
The Governor during the time of 1872-1877 Sir William Gregory choused the capital as Nuwara Eliya and the development became fast. He built a lake called Gregory Lake within the city limits which has become a popular tourist attraction of Nuwara Eliya.

How to reach Nuwara Eliya

* Along Colombo – Kandy road from Peradeniya via Ramboda
* Along Colombo – Avissawell road passing Ginigathhena Haton, Thalawakale and via Nanuoya
* Along the Badulla – Bandarawella road via Walimada to Hakgala
* From Colombo – Kandy road passing Hguranketha, Rikillagaskada, Padiyapalella, Ragala via Kadapola

Modern Nuwara Eliya

Modern times Nuwara Eliya is a place where people come for enjoy the cool relaxing climate and for the summer festivals. Summer comes to Nuwara Eliya end of March. Once summer comes the city becomes a crowded place with thousands of local and foreign visitors. During this time Nuwara Eliya becomes a beautiful place with all sorts of festivals taking place. The festivals are organized by the municipal council of the town and the most highlighted events are The fox hill motor cross, motor bicycle races, boat races and horse races at the race course.

golf_course_150The Golf Course

Nuwara Eliya Golf Course is more than 100 years old and it is spreads over 90 acres. This 18 hole golf course is well known as all the holes are visible from the Club House.

worlds_end_150Horton plain

Horton plain is the only mountain National Park which has an area of 3,162 ha. The park is one hour away from Nuwara Eliya. Best months to visit are April and August.

backers_fall_150Waterfalls of Nuwara Eliya – Backers Fall

Backers fall is located in the Horton plain, you can reach this place by traveling about 1 km off north east of “worlds end”. This magnificent fall originates from the Belehuloya which is a tributary of “Walawe river”.

hakgala_botanical_garden_150Hakgalla Garden

Hakgalla Garden is located along Nuwara Eliya ~ Badulla road (along Kandy~Ramboda) This place is 5581 feet high from the sea level. It is said that the King “Rawana” used this place as a herbal garden.
This place was started as a Botanical garden by British botanist Dr. G.H.K. Thwaites who was the director of “Peradiniya Botanical Garden “ in the year of 1859. Initially they grew “ sinkona” which was used to produce “ quiveenen” for malaria. There are more than 60000 species of plants have planted here. During the summer season this one of the most scenic places of Nuwara Eliya

With the cool climate of Nuwra Eliya many differnt kinds of plants from differnt parts of the world can be seen. For example conifers and cedars from Australia, Bermuda cypresses from the Himalayas English oak are some of the highlights.


Victoria Park

Victoria Park was established in 1897 as for the jubilee of Queen Victoria in completion of sixty years on here thorn.The park is within the city limits and it has become a must see location anyone who visit Nuwara Eliya. During the summer the park is filled with colorful roses and various flowers where you wont be able to see them in any other city of Sri Lanka.

wooden_bridge_gallanda_oyaThe wooden Bridge of Gallanda Oya

This 50 feet long 6feet wide wooden bridge is magnificent creation of ancient craftsman’s of Sri Lanka. It is believed that this wooden bridge belongs to the “Dambadeniya” era. This ancient bridge is located in “Boogoda Raja Maha Vihara” premises and built across the “Gallanda oya”. The interesting this of this wooden bridge is that it is built upon two wooden bars which are fixed in to stone holes of that location and there are 10 pillars on each side of the bridge and a roof is fixed to this pillars. No nails are used here.

Last Capital in Kandy

History of Tooth Relic

Kandy - මහනුවර
(Kandy Era :1469 to 1815 A.D) 

The city of Kandy lies at an altitude of 488.6 meters (1629 feet) above sea level in the center of the island and surrounded by the ranges of mountains. It is still very much a focal point of Sri Lankan culture. It was the capitol of last generation of Sri Lanka`s kings until it fell in to the hands of British in 1815.
Kandy was originally known as Senkadagala pura after a hermit named Senkada who lived there. Many of Sinhalese people call it “Mahanuwara” meaning the "Great City”. But the name Kandy was derived from the Word Kanda, which means mountain. Due to it’s geographical location Kandy was not an easy target for the foreign invaders who could gain the control of coastal area of the island.
The tooth relic was brought to Sri Lanka in 371 A.D. from India. In India there was a king called Buhasiva. He has instructed his son in law Dhantha supposing if he lost in the battle take the tooth relic to Sri Lanka where his friend was living. He handed over this tooth relic to his son in law DhanthaThe king lost the battle and his daughter princes Hemamali and son in law Dhantha brought the tooth relic to Sri Lanka, and it was hidden in her knot of hair foe safety. When they reached Sri Lanka King Buhasiva’s friendly king Mahasen had died. So they handed the sacred tooth relic to king Megavan who was ruling in Anuradhapura. The sacred tooth relic was then handed over to bikku, buddhist monk’s of Abayagiriya for safe keeping and also object of worship for Buddha’s. Traditionally thereafter the sacred tooth relic was regarded as a royal treasure and symbol of kingship and was enshrined in the private shrine room of temple in the royal palace complex of Capital and protected by the king himself. 

When the capital was shifted from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa the tooth relic was taken to Polonnaruwa by king Vijayabahu 1 and he constructed “Atadage”and enshrined it.Aftertsome time Queen Sugala has taken the tooth to Amsterdam bay.There was a fortress and it was hidden there. After a long battle king Parakramabahu the 1st brought the tooth relic again to Polonnaruwa. And king Nissankamalla constructed the tooth relic temple called "Hatadage" and enshrined it. After that it was brought to Dmbadeniya,Yapahuwa, Kurunegala from Kurunegala they brought to Kotte. During the period of Mayadunna it was taken to Seethawaka.During period of Rajasinghe 1, portugues power spread in the costal area and it was taken to Delgamuwa Viharaya, which is situated at Kuruwita in Rathnapura district, and it was taken to Kandy in 1593 and kept by king Wimaladharmasuriya. In 1753 the Kandy Perahara started to honour the tooth relic, and it was taken around the Kandy town.

After Sri Lanka was concord by British in 1815 the custody of the sacred tooth relic given over to three custodians. The venerable mahanayaka thero of Asgiriya and malwatta chapters and to the Diyawadana Nilame, the chief custodian, and continue even to day. During the period of king wimaladhrmasuriya the temple of tooth relic constructed.he made it a two storied building. Later king wimaladhrmasuriya the 2nd, have constructed three storied building. King Narendrasingha re-built and had paintings of 32 jathaka stories of Depict of the wall of court yard.Paththirippuva (octagan) is part of the royal palace. King used to come and address the people from there. It was constructed by Devendra Moolachari during the period of king Sri Wickrama Rajasingha. Now it’s handed over to the temple of tooth relic, and uses as a library of ola leaves. In front of the Daladha Maligava you get the “diyarelibemma”. as soon as you come out side in the wall you get the diyarelibemma, in the shape of a waves get in the lake. When the electricity is not there you can keep the oil lamp and light in the “diyarelibemma”. There are two walls. First one is calld “diyareli bemma”. The one close to the temple calls “walakulu bemma” at the entrance you get the “maha wahalkada” one of the entrance to the palace area. At the entrance you get a moonstone and by both sides you get nicely carved elephant figures. When you enter the wahalkada you come through a door – way, with makara thorana. And a figur of dhorotupala.(door man) When you pass through a cave called ambarawa. Then you come to the hevisi mandapaya (drumers' courtyard) in front of the sacred tooth relic temple. The lower chamber of the temple call pallemaluwa. Upper chamber call uda mahala or wedahitina mahala. To the right side of the octagon is aramudal ge in which you get the Buddha's image house. then you get pirith mandapaya. Lower chamber of this building have two rooms called dig ge, long house. Other one is maha aramudhala. The treasure room, where the gifts offered are housed. The wooden doors framed over late with rich silver plates with the sun and moon symbol either sides. That is in the lover floor. In the upper chamber there are three rooms. handhun hunama, is the name given to first and second room, or sandal wood shed or gandhakutiya, or perfume chamber. It is the first room that the exposition of the tooth relic take place. The third room is called wadahitina maligawa , where the tooth relic reside. Door frames in these chambers are late with ivory. There are seven golden caskets enclosed for the tooth relic and each studded with precious gems. The outer most caster is embedded by jewellery offered to the relic by various kings and other distinguished quest. on the right hand of the tooth relic is the perahera karaduwa. There is a relic chamber presented by India with the Buddha's relic from dharmajika sthoopa in Thaksala the relic casket is covered with bullet proof glass frame. In front of it is the wooden alter mal asana in late with silver. over it from the ceiling hangs lotus flower made out of gold with gems at the center.

Daily rituals are performed three times a day. One is early morning at 4.30 a.m. second is at 10.30. a.m. and the third is at 6.30. p.m. in the evening at 4.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. 32 measures of rice are cooked as offering for Breakfast and Lunch every day. 32 vegetables are cooked for alms and in the evening various medicinal drinks like koththamalli, tea, fruit juice, with beetle and banana are offered as Buddhist's believe treating Buddha's relic is like treating Buddha alive. 

The Best Rock Fortress Sigiriya


Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is a large stone and ancient rock fortress and palace ruin in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs, and other structures. A popular tourist destination, Sigiriya is also renowned for its ancient paintings (frescos), which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. It is one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.Sigiriya may have been inhabited through prehistoric times. It was used as a rock-shelter mountain monastery from about the 5th century BC, with caves prepared and donated by devotees of the Buddhist Sangha. According to the chronicles as Mahavamsa the entire complex was built by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and after the king's death, it was used as a Buddhist monastery until 14th century.The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Cambridge, Sigiri Graffiti and also Story of Sigiriya.


John Still in 1907 suggested, "The whole face of  the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery.
the largest  picture in the world perhaps". The paintings would have covered most of  the western face 
of the rock, covering an area 140 metres long and 40  metres high. There are references in the graffiti 
to 500 ladies in these paintings. However, many more are lost forever, having been wiped out  when the 
Palace once more became a monastery - so that they would not  disturb meditation.[citation needed] 
Some more frescoes, different from  the popular collection, can be seen elsewhere on the rock surface, 
for  example on the surface of the location called the "Cobra Hood Cave".  Although the frescoes are 
classified as in the Anuradhapura period, the  painting style is considered unique [citation needed] the 
line and style of application of the paintings differing from Anuradhapura paintings. 

 The lines are painted in a form which enhances
 the sense of volume of  the figures. The paint has
 been applied in sweeping 
strokes, using more  pressure on one side, giving
 the effect of a deeper colour tone towards  the edge.
 Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contain 
similar  approaches to painting, but do not have the 
sketchy lines of the  Sigiriya style, having a distinct
 artists' boundary line. The true  identity of the ladies
 in these paintings still have not been confirmed. 
There are various ideas about their identity. Some 
believe that they  are the wives of the king while some think that they are women taking  part in 
religious observances. These pictures have a close resemblance  to some of the paintings seen in 
the ajanta caves in IndiaThe frescoes,  depicting beautiful female figures in graceful contour or colour,
 point  to the direction of the Kandy temple, sacred to the Sinhalese.