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The Significance Of Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharya History Essay


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The significance of Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharya as the most sacred worshipping places of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka can be explained by the visit of mighty Buddha. Kelaniya has been a very large city in the past with Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharya as its largest and most mesmerizing temples of Sir Lanka. This beautiful temple is located approximately six miles from Colombo within a sacred area of around ten acres; it also is situated beside the Kelani River which reflects the traditions of Buddhists in the country. The spot of the temple derived its sanctity in the Buddhist era 2351, with the third and final visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. During his visit he hallowed the ground on which the temple stands, with the company of 500 Arahants. This event took place eight years after Buddha had gained enlightenment. Thus the history of the temple goes back to before 500 BC. The visiting of the spot by Buddha on a Wesak day, on the invitation of King Maniakkhika has caused that temple to be a tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. During the Kotte era the temple flourished but in the time of the Portugese Empire most of the land was lost. In 1510 when the Portuguese entered, they destroyed the sacred temple and confiscated the land, preventing the Buddhists from worshipping in the temple. However, under the Dutch Empire the temple was rebuilt under the orders of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha, where new land was also provided. With the help of Helena Wiiewardana the temple was restored in the half of the 20th century. The temple is known for its image of the sprawling Buddha and paintings that paint the major events in the life of Buddha. These events are vital in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, along with being a part of the Jataka tales. The temple is the locaction for the Duruthu Maha Perehera procession on the January of each year. Moreover an eighteen stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been placed at the temple that makes it attractive to tourists and especially many of the Buddhists from all over the world. There is also a 2500 year old relic chamber that is believed to contain the throne made out of gold and jewels on which Buddha sat to teach, along with Buddha's hair and utensils.

Maligatenna Raja maha Viharaya

The Maligatenne rock cave temple is not that far away from Colombo, approximately two miles from Tihariya junction. The temple from a far off distance can be visible by a small dagaba, shinning white. The temple has several caves, that are not very deep but they do have dip ledge brows about forty to fifty feet high. The caves are different levels and sizes, with granite slabs on the floor that cause a cool atmosphere in the cave. The caves are at 3 levels where the largest is the main meditation Centre. Theses caves are well known by Buddhists and were built back at the times of Mahinda Thera. King Walagamba used these caves to hide from the Indian attacks till he could make an army, for which this temple was renowned. In order to make the rock caves habitable, drip ledges were cut to take rain water away from the steep rock surface. Most of them were cut during the time of King Walagamba and it is unbelievable due to the height of the rock caverns. As an act of thanksgiving by King Walagamba the large cave was transformed into a shrine room. The King ordered a Buddha statue and today a eighteen feet Buddha statue in the temple. The temple is still used for the purpose of worshipping by the Buddhists till this day, containing mural paintings depicting Jataka stories. At the back of the cave in the outdoor a skeleton hangs in a sheltered nook. This is meant for people to meditate on the nature of life and give a reminder to man that death is inevitable so it is a symbolic of death. To the top of the mountain there which has the dagaba, the path is made of jagged rocks and loose gravel. Besides the dagaba there is also a rectangular pool filled with water and covered with beautiful blooming white lilies. There is a rumor that the pond never runs dry and there is hidden treasure at the base of the pond. This is one of the most beautiful temples in Sri Lanka that should be visited and is an important site for tourists due to its rich historical background and relevance, along with its incomparable beauty. This is also a perfect location to provide you with good scenery as well as beauty and a place where you can observe Buddhists still keeping Buddha's teachings alive in the temple.

Alagiyawanna falls

The Algiyawanna falls are situated in the Gampaha Distict. Cascading from two boulders, impressively four meter high the waterfall looks absolutely beautiful, especially in the monsoon season. To reach the waterfall we need to travel to Hanwella first, which is thirty kilometers from Gampaha and the waterfall is further two and half kilometers from there. While travelling on the Colombo Kandy Road, we need to turn at Nittambuwa Junction and pass Watupitiwala Attauagalla, and Urpola to get to Hanwella. Turning from the Meewitigama Junction, we have to travel one and half kilometers towards Amitirigala and reach Bopagama Temple. A kilometer away from here stands the beautiful Alagiyawanna falls. The Alagiyawanna falls emerge from the Aquifers of Kandalande Estate and the stream is joined by Nagas Canal. The cascades from two rock boulders show the flow across Agrarian land to Attanagalu tank. This flow of water looks more vibrant during raining seasons. The view has high towering trees which prevent the sunlight from entering and the environment is rather gloomy. The stream overflows with fish, which is one of many reasons why it is a popular waterfall amongst locals. Along with this breathtaking waterfall there are adjoining attractions for tourists, such as archeology sites and Buddhist temple. Ruwanwelisaya, a Buddhist temple also known as Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagab, was built by King Dutugemunu and is known for its magnificent architecture. In addition to this, it is also the tallest monument in the world, making it an attraction to people all over the globe. Alawala PreHistoric Site and Avissawella are two examples of archaeology sites nearby the waterfall. Alawala caves are famous for the amazing discovery of two prehistoric human remains along with artifacts and utensils. The site is now an archeological dig site which is being investigated by the students, so it is attractive to individuals interested in the field of archaeology. Avissawella on the other hand is located fifty kilometers from Colombo and is called Seethawaka, a name associated with the Sita Devi of Ramayana. In the 17th century this place was once the capital of the Seethawaka Kingdom. These entire sites make the visit to the Alagiyawanna falls even more exciting and interesting, shedding light on the tourist sites in Sri Lanka. The waterfall is a surely a place that depicts and conveys the undeniable beauty and power of nature itself.

Horagolla national park

One of the most established national parks of Sri Lanka is the Horagolla national park. In 1973 the area was assigned to become a wildlife sanctuary due to its rich biodiversity. However afterwards in 2004 this protected areas was declared a national park. The abundance of 'Hora' trees in the area, over 13.362 hectares in Gamoaha gave the park its name. The park is the smallest national park on the island and is regarded as the only urban park in the highly populated western province of Sri Lanka. The park is situated next to the Horagolla Walauwa which is the family home of the Bandaanaike family. Not much variety of animal species exists in the park although it does have a garden of carefully planted trees. These include Canarium zeylanicum (Kekuna), Dillenia retusa (Godapara),Caryota urens (Kitul), Pericopsis mooniana (Nedun),Mangifera zeylanica (Atamba), Sacred fig, Alstonia scholaris (Ruk Attana), Acronychia pedunculata (Ankenda), Vitex pinnata (Milla), Mimusops elengi (Moonamal), Breadfruit and Pterospermum canescens (Velang).The trees are seen to be very tall in the park, making it dense and hard to view the sky. The park consists of a low county evergreen forest and a humus soil structure that is ideal for a comfortable walk. The only wildlife in the park consist of Fishing Cat, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotain, Golden Jackal, Grizzled giant squirrel and sixty eight species birds; making it an ideal spot for bird watching. The different kinds of birds consist of Parakeets, Black-crested Bulbul, Barbets, Asian Koel, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard's Parakeet and Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. The rare Clipper, Ceylon Birdwing and Blue Mormon are the butterflies fluttering in the park while an occasional cobra or a python is also observed. The summer house by the canal is spread with aquatic birds which makes it an ideal place to enjoy solitude and relax after a long walk and afternoon well spend at the Horagolla. Both the park and its surroundings are very pleasant, with the visitors accompanied by a department guide. Overcrowding is the biggest problem faced by the traveler to scenic places in Sri Lanka today, including this park so it should be looked into. The biggest advantage of this national park is its accessibility. The garden is ideal for those who enjoy nature and solitude because of its short distance from Colombo. The paths are paved with concrete which makes walking very easy and enjoyable.

Alawala Pre-Historic Archaeological Site

After the discovery of two pre-historic humans' remains and other artifacts in the Alawala, Gampaha, the place has been a hub for archaeology students and other speacialists. These people are interested in searching for more clues to our mysterious past as shown by the remains. Potugal lena serves as a passage in to the pre-historic Sri Lanka of nearly 125,000 years back. Various excavations in the area have unearthed evidence of an entire livelihood of hunters, gatherers and a religious establishment that is dating back to pre-Buddhist times. When travelling by the Kirindiwela-Nittambuwa main road there is a three kilometers turn off that leads to the Alawala Potgul Viharaya. This is a temple of about 60 acres, encompassing three caves. This is mainly the cave of the temple, also known as Viharalena, potgul lena. The cave is also often referred to as the cave of the library and the thapo lena or the cave of meditation. The shelter of the viharalena, which is situated closest to the temple, carries two eras worth of Buddhist history. Along its length there is a reclining Buddha of the Kandyan Era, which suffered on the hands of the treasure hunters after its reconstruction. On either side of the shelter there are two seated statues of belonging to the Anuradhapura era (377 BC) and the Kandyan Era (1500s AD). The murals are a special feature of the cave along with the aged illustrations of the Buddha that have been drawn on a polished rock surface. The second cave is called Potgul lena having a very strong mystery to it, but to reach it is not an easy task. There is a detour across a streamlet to another isolated footpath that leads to the second cave. The archaeological excavations here have unearthed numerous bone fossils comprising of pieces of skulls, mandibles and molars belonging to pre-historical adult and a child. Moreover bone tools used for skinning and stripping meat off animal bones have been recovered from the site along with the remains of animal bones. Interestingly, a pendant fashioned from a shark tooth was among the jewelry dug out that shows the creativity of ancient man. Archaeologists have also discovered two stone inscriptions in one of the cave's drip-ledge, stating the names of village officials and instruction for the function of a religious center way before the era Buddhism was well-established in the country.

Dadagamuwa Raja maha Viharaya

The temple is in the Dadagamuwa village that is a thirteen kilometer drive from Gampaha. It can be reached by travelling along Colombo; from Kandy road up to Kalagedihena junction, turn off to Veyangoda road and travel one mile to reach Dadagamuwa Junction from which turn left and travel another half mile to reach the temple. The temple has a "Watadageya", which is the most important of all the structures. It is decorated with paintings that are strongly believed to belong to Kandy era. The walls of inner halls of this structure decorated with two rows of beautiful paintings. The paintings of the upper row are based on Sambula Jathakaya and Themiya Jathakaya. On the other hand the lower row is based on Dhamsoda Jathakaya. Moreover, there are two paintings in the back wall which are left incomplete. These paintings have been restored during the latter part of 19th century and beginning of 20th century. Hence they are not the original paintings made in olden times. The original paintings seem to belong to the Kandy Era as indicated by the peeled off sections of the existing paintings. In addition to all this the roof of the Watadagaya contains two tiers that are sloping in four directions, where the top of the roof is crowned with a pinnacle. There are many ancient architectural structures like Nidngala, ancient stone pillars and Padalasa Gala present in the temple, giving it a very high archeological importance. The temple also has a dagaba within the "Watadageya" which is shaped like a water bulb, known as 'Diya bubula'. There are painting of Jathaka stories in the inner hall that is present in the enclosure of the Dagaba and a presence of nine meters high circular stone pillars outside the corridor. Here the spire consists of ten spiral rings with the crystal pinnacle. The stone pillars such as 'Nidana gala' and 'Padalassa gala' are few additional monuments on the place that provide evidence to the history of the temple. The Bo Tree that stands magically in the vihara maluwa is considered to be a sapling from Sri Maha Bodi Anuradhapura. The serene beauty of the Maha Vihara siste is beyond description through words and the amazing statues, paintings, architecture of the temple adds to its allure. Currently in Dadagamuva Rajamaha Viharaya, Sri Dharmapala Jayanthi Dhamma School plays a vital role in the Spiritual Behavior of the students.

Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens

Henarathgoda Botanical Garden is located around thirty kilometers north-west of Colombo, near Gampaha off Colombo-Kandy road. The variation in the availability of trees in this garden is from distant places like Brazil. The oldest Rubber tree in the island is seen at this park. In 1876 AD, the first seedlings of Brazilian rubber tree ever were planted in Asia, growing and prospering these lovely Gardens. Nowadays, the rubber industry is one the largest sector contributing in the economy of Sri Lanka. There are two entrances from Gampaha and Ja ela to the garden. It is most beautiful during the monsoons as most of the trees are lush and green. In Sri Lanka it rains at least twice a year, the long wet season helps the gardens to maintain the year round verdure. The garden is about seven acres in size, with Attanagalu Oya flows through the garden and a ferry service for the convenience of visitors.  The Gampaha gardens also showcase about one thousand and five hundred types of other plants. Kithul palm supplies Sri Lanka with its rich brown raw sugar, jaggery, and alcoholic toddy. Tall Mahogany and Satinwood trees abound, as well as Figs and even some Eucalypts. The orchid house is also worth a visit to marvel at the variety of colors and forms that these exquisite flowers can take, from pink to blue, brown and green. There is a huge variety of flowering acacias that are well adapted to the arid conditions of the land in Sri Lanka and flourish on the Jaffna Peninsula. Among the trees of the dry-land forests some valuable species are growing in the garden; such as satinwood, ebony, ironwood, and mahogany. In the wet zone, the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest, with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. Forests at one time covered nearly the entire island, but by the late 20th century lands classified as forests and forest. The landscape of Henarathgoda Botanical Gardens is breathtaking with over 10,000 species of flora planted in the garden. During the spring season in Nuwara Eliya thousands of visitors come to see the blooms in the beautiful piece of land .A close estimate of the number of annual visitors is around five hundred thousand.

Negombo beach resort city

Negombo Beach was the first beach resort in Sri Lanka and is an ideal place to start or end your vacations in Sri Lanka. Conveniently located only fifteen kilometers from Sri Lanka's International Airport, Negombo offers wide beaches, a great selection of hotels and guesthouses. There are many options, ranging from budget to five star resorts, excellent restaurants, well stocked supermarkets and many watersport facilities. The colorful array of coral reefs is present in Negombo, along with a fifty year old shipwreck that acts as an artificial reef for many varieties of fishes. There is availability of Catamaran ride at most hotels. Negombo beach is a very amazing hot spot for tourism that is perfect for various water sports, like diving and wind surfing. To view the best of the sandy beaches it is advisable to head to main hotel drag, where it is possible to hire all sorts of watersports equipment and get enrolled in reasonably prices diving courses. The beaches were used by the Portuguese, Dutch and British as main export harbor for cinnamon, so you will still see many historical buildings. Major attractions in the city are the Old Dutch fort gate that was built in 1672, the Dutch Canal which was then a supply route from the interior of the island, old churches and fishing villagers. The Old Dutch canal running through the town is still being used and is an attraction for those who want to see the country from a different perspective, till this day. Many tourists enjoy watching the old world fishing crafts like the outrigger canoes and the catamarans bringing a variety of marine fishes: such as seers, skipjacks, pomfrets and amber-jacks. In the lagoon lobsters and prawns are also caught and served as fascinating delicacies in the restaurants. On Negombo's long Beach there are many seafood restaurants, bars and shops. Moreover, the town itself shows the interesting colonial past which was heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. There are numerous ways to explore Negombo but one of the most recommendable ones is traveling along the many canals that are connecting the Negombo lagoon and the sea. Hence we see that there are many activities like exploring the Dutch heritage, snorkeling in the reefs close by, taking a boat out on the lagoon, a refreshing beer in one of the many pubs shows that there is plenty to do even outside the Resort.

Angurukaramulla raja mahavihara temple

Located in close locality of the Bandaranaike International Airport, not far away from the Negombo town, the Angurukaramulla Temple is visited by many tourists. The temple is well known for its Buddha statue that is six meters high. When enter this famed site you will see the gigantic sculpture of a dragon at the base of the entrance, as if it were there to guard the temple from evil spirits. The garish exterior décor of the multicolored tiles, pillars and arches above and around the massive seated Buddha and the gaping maw of some fantastic creature that forms the entrance to the temple, are visible from the road, leading the visitor to expect more of the same. Right from the entrance the temple portrays a unique style of ancient murals and the historic paintings. These are the highlight for the tourists who visit the temple as well. The Angurukaramulla Temple is never missed by the Buddhist pilgrims who pass through Negombo. When entering the premises is impossible not to notice the collection of Buddha statues that are gifted by his devotees. Its unique design, the ornate statues and the colorfully painted deities on the ceiling of the shrine room add to the historic and artistic value of the site. Towards the side of the shrine room is another important part of the temple that portrays stories from the "Mahavansa" of the queens and kings that once ruled the country. Unfortunately, this building id broken down and neglected, the paintings are cracked and faded with large sections of the drawings missing altogether. The Siddha Sooniyam Devale attached to the temple premises is visited by Hindu followers in the area and is a known Hindu place of worship, which in turn attracts more in Hindus in numbers than other shrines do. When you visit this beautiful site you are promised its beauty. The culture and the history brought about by the Agurukaramulla temple, in addition to the warmth and hospitality of the people and the beautiful, gleaming sun that bathes the landscape in a warm tropical glow. The part of the garden has white painted building with intricately worked eaves and balconies with beautiful framework like lace, carrying a little plaque identifying it as a library, declared by Sir Andrew Caldecott in 1941. This building too has fallen into disrepair, although the original plaque still remains.

Aththanagalla raja maha vihara

Attanagalla Rajamaha Viharaya is one of the most famous ancient royal temples in Sri Lanka. The Attanagalla Royal temple is the primary one among its nine subordinate temples and is situated in Western Province, Sri Lanka. The temple is twenty eight miles northeast of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. It is unique because it is the only ancient temple historically recognized as the place where a Bodhisattva, mesning 'a future Buddha'; fulfilled his Dana Paramita. Dana Paramita is one of the ten perfections to be completed by a Bodhisattva to become a Buddha, known as an Awakened One. He sacrificed his life by giving his head in gratitude in return to a favor he received from a poor and ordinary countryman. Recognized by the name of King Sri Sangabo (247-249 A.D.) he was known in the chronicles and other ancient literature of Sri Lanka, as the most pious Buddhist king in Sri Lankan history. After King Sri Sangabo, his brother Gothabhaya (249-262 A.D.) became the king of the country and built a Stupa (Pagoda) at the place where his brother, Bodhisattva Sri Sangabo, made the great sacrifice fulfilling a parami. According to the Attanagall Vihara Chronicle, during the reign of King Upatissa (365-406 A.D.), one of the monks after having practiced meditation achieved Arahanthship that is 'Enlightenment' at this temple. King Upatissa was very pleased to hear this and built a five-story monastery, which he offered to the Maha Sangaha. The Sirisangobo story is perhaps the reason why the temple is so significance, in the story there were three friends; Sangabodhi, Gotabhaya and Sangathissa who came to Anuradhapura to serve the king. A blind wise man predicted to Gotabhaya that all of them would be king but only the last would survive. Gotabhaya however did not tell the others what he was told; hence later on Sangathissa killed the king and took his place for four years. He was later found to be poisoned to death, which followed Prince Sangabo to be king. The king made peace with Rakthakshi, a devil only for prince Gotabhaya to come to the throne. Sangabo lived a simple life in Aththanagalla as a hermit meditating most of the time. Prince Gotabaya wanted to kill Sangobo, which lead to bloodshed so Sangobo himself offered his chopped head as a peace offering to the peasants. This place later became a temple and a lot of people visit it today.


Fa Hien Caves

Fa Hien is a cave in Sri Lanka, located in the south western part of the country, in the area of Kalutara. Fa Hien cave is an important archaeological site which has human skeletal remains from the late Pleistocene. The oldest fragments of the human bones are the skeletal remains of three children and two adults. They also show a secondary burial, when the dead bodies were exposed in the jungle and placed in graves after they decomposed and cleansed by the predators. The cave was named after a Buddhist monk Faxian (Wade-Giles: Fa Hien). The Late Pleistocenehuman skeletal remains discovered in the 1960s and 1980s, along which the first human burials in the cave were uncovered in 1968 by Dr Siran U. Deraniyagala. He was a part of the Sri Lankan government department of archaeology and returned with an assistant, W. H. Wijepala, in 1988. The main findings form the caves comprised of microliths, the remains of ancient fires, and the remains of plants and human beings. It was shown by radiocarbon dating that the cave had been occipied from about 33,000 to 4,750 years ago, from the Late Pleistocene to the Middle Holocene. The human remains from the different levels were taken to the Human Biology Laboratory at Cornell University, where they were studied by Dr Kenneth A. R. Kennedy and one of his graduate students, Joanne L. Zahorsky. The oldest fragments of human bone came from a young child, two older children, a juvenile, and two adults, and showed evidence of being secondary burials: that is, after death, the bodies were exposed, and after decomposition and the predations of scavengers, the bones were placed in graves. The later remains included those of a young child, about 6,850 years old, and a young woman, nearly about 5,400 years old. These discoveries are important to archaeologists and palaeontologists because the earliest of the people buried in the Cave lived at the same time as European Cro-Magnon man and other hominids of the Late Pleistocene around the world. Studies of the teeth found in the cave indicate that the population of Sri Lanka ground nuts, seeds, and grains in stone querns in the preparation of food, and that they continued to live as hunter-gatherers until about the eighth century BC. This shows that Sri Lanka has yielded the earliest known microliths, which didn't appear in Europe until the Early Holocene.

Kalutara temple

It is located approximately forty kilometers away from Colombo in the city of Kalutara, the third largest city in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. Named after the sparkling "Kalu Ganga" river, Kalutara has a rich history as it once was an important spice trading centre in the region. Today, it is one of the more popular cities of the country, and is home to several beautiful features and magnificent attractions. One of the city's most famous and legendary attractions is the Kalutara Temple, one of Sri Lanka's most holiest and most beautiful temples. Home to the only hollow stupa in the world, this temple boasts of a rich history, beautiful structures, marvellous monuments, and an unparalleled spiritual ambience. The beauty and tranquillity of this magnificent, grand temple attracts not only Buddhists, but also members of other religious communities as well as tourists. The temple is located south of the Kalutara Bridge and overlooks the river. It is a must-see attraction for any tourist, as it imparts an experience which represents the spiritual as well as cultural lifestyle of the folk of Sri Lanka. Being built on the site of an ancient Portuguese Fort, the temple was built in the1960's. Within the cool walls of the stupa of this temple are seventy four beautiful murals that depict various jataka katha. The people who visit for the purpose of praying preform rituals and offerings of oil-lamps, flowers, and incense. Some even are seen pouring water to the roots of the sacred Bo Tree when doing their poojas. An interesting tradition is that almost every motorist who passes by the temple, stops, offers a few coins and prays for a safe journey. A visit to this site offers a spiritual and cultural experience amidst a peaceful atmosphere, by which you will surely be inspired. The visitors who intend to stay have options of Kalutara hotels that can make reservation with The Sands by Aitken Spence Hotels. This hospitality group has a number of luxury hotels, where Sri Lanka is in the key locations around the country. There hotels are known to for their excellent service and the legendary Sri Lankan hospitality, they offer tranquil accommodation and a range of luxury facilities and services which will make your stay in this tropical haven most comforting and memorable. Therefore this temple is surely one of the most attractive and magnificent places see when visiting Kalutara,

Dombagaskanda temple

Bodhinagala Aranya Senasanaya can be reached by traveling about three miles from Ingiriya town and then take the left turn from bodhinagalaa road. After traveling about one and half miles you will reach the forest. The Dombagaskanda Forest Reservation where this place is situated was named in 1955. This beautiful place is on a claim and natural environment. In South East of this beautiful forest area, flows the Kalu River and that slope area is rich in herbal plants and southern wet zone plants inheritable to this area. There are about twenty to twenty five monks meditating in the caves situated here and there in this Aranya Senasana. The meditative monks come out from the caves only when they eat and then they go back to the caves in the forest. This area is very calm and high in security. Many foreigners and local visitors come to visit this Aranya Senasana. It is situated surrounding a Buddhist temple; this tropical rain forest is rich in fauna and flora and is a good birding venue in the western province, close to Colombo. There are close to one hundred and fifty species of birds recorded including several endemics such as Legge's Flowerpecker, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Spot-winged Thrush and the endangered Green-billed Coucal. Some of the other birds recorded here include Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Large Cuckooshrike and Indian Blue Robin. Some of the reptiles recorded here are Earless Lizard and Humped-nosed Lizard. You can also see a wide variety of butterflies which includes Yamfly, Malayan, Tawny Rajah and Cingalese Bushbrown. You could also find many fish species such as Giant Danio, Smooth-breasted Snakehead, Horadandiya and the rare Jonklaas's Loach. For visitors going along to a temple is free and meditation teaching is also free. The Buddhist belief is that religion should be free, open and truthful. It is a custom, if you go to a temple, to take a small offering such as flowers or food. If you talk to a master for long periods, you may wish to leave a small donation. For some activities such as public talks, meditation courses, retreats; a charge is made, because the expenses involved in organizing them can be substantial. The teaching is not supposed to be denied to people who lack financial accumulation. Hence the temple and the forest both are very attractive sites next to each other for the tourists and Buddhists visiting the area.

Nachichimale temple

The Nachichimale temple is a famous Vipassana meditation center, with map coordinates 6°46'26"N and 80°12'20"E. This makes it easier for us to find the temple on the map when we are travelling around in Sri Lanka. The nearby cities around the Nachichimale temple are Homagama, Kalutara and Panadura, which make the locating the temple easier to find for tourists. A water stream passing by the side of the aranya creates a calm cool environment that is ideal for meditation. The meditation helps prevent stress from getting into the system and works in releasing accumulated stress in the system. On the physical level meditation helps in lowering high blood pressure, lowers the levels of blood lactate and reduces anxiety attacks. It also decreases any tension related pain, such as tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems. Moreover it increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior, improves the immune system and increases the energy level, as you gain inner source of energy. On the mental level it decreases anxiety, improves emotional stability, increases creativity, increases happiness, and develops your intuition as you gain clarity and peace in mind. All of your problems become smaller as your mind is sharpened from gaining focus through relaxation. This amazing balance of a sharp mind and expanded consciousness brings perfection to your inner soul. Meditation is like a seed, when you cultivate a seed with love, the more it blossoms. Similarly, the sapling of consciousness is within you and temples like these help you in the process of attaining the strong power that is within you. The most popular bathing spot in the temple is along the water stream, called Pareithota. The stream is very popular for its fresh water and natural pool like existence for the tourists. The water stream is a beautiful site for the people to enjoy that gives them a calm feeling inside as they watch the ripples and wave motion in the water. This temple is a lovely place for people to relax and grow internally by the help of meditation. The experience of visiting this temple is very memorable for people as it offers them a chance to indulge in their inner self and experience the power they hold in their souls. So it is highly advisable that you visit this temple when you are taking a tour of Sri Lanka.

Calido beach

Calido beach is a very popular beach not only among the local residents but also among tourists and is clearly visible when you cross the Kula Ganga, the black river in the Galle road or parallel rail way track in Kalutara, Sri Lanka. The Black river gets a nighty degree turn closer to Kalutara Bodhiya and runs few kilometers along the beach before reaching the sea. Calido Beach is a thin piece of land, which runs in between Kalu Ganga and the sea. The Kalutara urban council maintains the Calido beach area to protect its natural beauty. Many locals and tourists never forget to step into this magnificent beach area, mainly the devotees come to visit the 'Kalutara Bodhiya', a famous Buddhist temple. In 2005, this area was destroyed because of Tsunami which took lives of thousands of people who were at the beach and in the Black river. Currently there is nothing remaining except the beach which also has sandy area where football is played. The beach was declared as a tourist zone in the last year by the government and the management was given to one of the local leading Casino operating centers in Colombo. The Government focuses on developing Kalutara district including the scenic Calido beach in to a tourist destination.  Accordingly Kalutara is also be made into a fully accommodated religious city while establishing a holiday resort and other facilities that is required for tourists. Deputy Minister of Ports and Aviation Rohitha Abeygunawardena stated that the development work including construction of holiday resorts and Cafeteria's in the area will be completed by 2011. A special boat service was said to commence from Kalu Ganga up to Caldio beach facilitating those who visit the Kalutara Bodhiya to view the beauty of the coast. In 2011, a proposal was put forward to have a nude beach in Kalutara and Stardust Casino, which was approved and it made Calido beach the first nude beach in Kalutara. Some argue that the location of the nude beach is highly irrelevant since the location is surrounded by many holy places along with schools in the area and criticize the government's approval of the proposal. However the beach has still become a popular site where locals and tourist visit when they want to enjoy the view of the beach, on their way to other attractions in the city.

Richmond Castle

One and half kilometer ahead from Platota junction we reach the Richmond Park Estate, where the Richmond Castle is situated. It was said to be one of the biggest mansions in Sri Lanka. The Richmond Castle is a superb hybrid of Indian and British architecture that was copied from the plans of an Indian Maharaja's palace designed by a London architect. Richmond Castle in Kalutara is a two-storied building with fifteen rooms. All the rooms are naturally air-conditioned with it having ninety-nine door frames, thirty eight windows and one roof covering the entire mansion. The whole building is characterized by elaborate carvings. There was a dancing hall with a stage as an added feature. There were tiny holes at the floor of dancing room, to provide a continuous flow of cool air from the bank of Kulu River. Italian and Scottish glass windows and mirrors, and shiploads of timber from Burma, were imported to build this superb construction and is complete with a stable, workers' quarters, guard rooms, dancing floor and all requirements for a luxury life. Richmond Castle has a fascinating history; it was built in 1896 and is considered to be one of the most spectacular architectural works of the period. It was built for a regional governor turned philanthropist with an impossibly long name, Padikara-Mudaliyar Rajawasala Appuhamilage Don Arthur de Silva Wijesinghe Siriwardena (1888-1949).This castle reveals a fascinating story of a millionaire whose life turned from a strange fairy tale into surmounting despair. Since the Mudaliyar was a lover of nature, he had decorated the garden with blooming plants and marble statues. Even today some of the statues still stand in the Garden. Folklore said the Mudliyar was childless and not happy with his marriage. At the end of his marriage when he was too lost, he devised his dream castle to the Public Trustee for the welfare of the children of the country. He breathed his last in 1947 alone, in a room at the Queen's Hotel in Kandy. Once a palace, emanating unending sounds of joy and happiness, hundreds of parties attracting aristocrats, noblemen, and the upper echelon but became an old-fashioned ghostly palace, lying in isolation amidst the forest. Richmond Castle has now been converted into a Montessori school for underprivileged children, and is also a popular tourist attraction. Many of the people visit the Richmond's Castle and are mesmerized by its beautiful architecture and beauty.

Rankoth Viharaya, Panadura

Rankoth Viharaya is the most prominent Buddhist attraction in Panadura, situated seventeen miles away from Colombo. This temple was built on the top of a natural rock and can be viewed from the far distance. In the early days this place was known as the 'Galkanda Viharaya" and renamed as Rankoth Viharaya in 1890 after Pagoda was build. The name Rankoth means Golden Pinnacle and according to the belief the Rankoth Vihara Bo tree was older than the temple itself. Many people come to this place, to do the pooja and to recieve the blessing of this temple. The shrine room of the Rankoth vihara was decorated with large number of murals. These again depict many incidence of the life of the Load Buddha and the many Jathaka Stories, as do many of them present in other Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka. The old library building is located on the western side, where Buddha's relie, rare books and antiques are kept. On special occasions and Wesak Full moon days its doors are kept open and exhibited. Preaching hall bears its own unique features and appears to be Roman or Dutch architectural construction. It is a vast building that could accommodate thousands of people at a given time. It is used not only for "bana" preaching but to conduct many conferences that have religious and social value. Moreover the dwelling pace of the Bikkhu's has been built on 1830 A.D. It is a historical place, the top floor was used as an in camera study venue by Buddhist faction of the Panadura Controversy. Prior to great debate all necessary papers and references were also made here. In addition to all this, the temple conducts various social services; there is Sunday school and preschool providing Dhamma knowledge to children. The Prajapathi Gothami women's society organizes many social activities such as distributing school materials and essential goods to poor in the area. Newly formed Bodu Pubudu foundation, which consists of educated youth, has planned many long-term programs that would amnesty benefit the Buddhist community. The Buddhist laity of Panadura contributed immensely to the development and sustenance of this Viharaya. While the public contributed their mite, the affluent and the educated generously shouldered its developmental projects. Thus, it could be rightly said that the Panadura Rankoth Vihara amongst its many facets serves also as a symbol of the religiosity and devotion of the Panadura Buddhist population.

Kande Viharaya, Aluthgama

When you are travelling southwards from Colombo towards Galle, passing Beruwala you come across the "Kaluwamodara" bridge which is situated approximately fifty nine kilometers from Colombo. Turn left upon passing the bridge and travel approximately one kilometer towards "Kaalawila" to arrive at the Kande Viharaya. Travel time from Colombo is almost an hour. Kande Viharaya is located in Aluthgama, Kaluthra district. This temple got its name "Kande Viharaya" or the temple on the hill, because it is made at a top of a hill. The trees here add beauty to the environment, serenity to the hearts and minds of the pilgrims who visit the temple. Kande Viharaya Temple was established in year 1734 and became the regional Buddhist center. The Samadhi Buddha statue was constructed in the recent past and can be visible from a long distance. New Image House is located under this statue and depicts many Jathaka stories and incidents related to the life of Buddha, just like many other temples. This historical temple has enriched its importance with the presence of the Stupa, Bo Tree, Relic Chamber, Image House, Sri Vishnu Maha Devala and the four Maha Devalas including Kataragama Devale. Outside the vihara, the ancient Bo Tree, Sri Saranatissa Memorial Dhamma Hall and the Poya Seema meant for Vinaya Kamma are located. The bell shaped stupa found in the temple has been erected within an octagonal Shelter. At the base of the stupa there is a molding of flower petals and above it are the three basal terraces, then the dome and upon the dome the square enclosures with a Bo leaf engraving in each comer. Relic chamber here is supposed to be oldest building is the temple and the Bo tree has a history going back to more than 300 years. Sculptures for depicting the events relating to the bringing of the Branch of Sri Maha Bodhi to Sri Lanka are found inside the cells of the wall. It is an age old custom of devotees to pay homage to Buddha first and transfer merit to God Vishnu thereafter with the hope of receiving blessings. Also outside the temple there is the Seema Malaka where Vinaya Kamma is performed. The Buddha statue in this temple is the largest in Sri Lanka has been erected so as to depict the Weerasena posture on a lotus flower, making the location a very likely tourist attraction along with the Buddhists.


Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is situated at the village of Pinnawala in the region of Kegalla at a distance of ninety kilometers from Colombo. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is reached by A1 Colombo-Kandy main road. A turn off at the eighty two kilometer post at Kegalle leads to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage. The closest Railway station is at Rambukkana which is two kilometers away from the village of Pinnawala. The centre opens at 8.30 am and closes at 6pm daily. Bottle feeding is at 9.15am, 1.15pm & 5pm and bathing time at the river is at 10am and 2pm. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is very popular tourist attraction visited by Sri Lankan tourists as well as by the foreign tourists. One of the main attractions for tourists is the grand opportunity to enjoy the spectacle up close a large herd of elephants interacting together. The highlight is the elephants at the bathing hours: at 10.00 am and 2.00 pm daily, the animals are walked 400 meters to the river Maha Oya. The visitors seated on the steep rocky banks of the river, are afforded the opportunity, to enjoy the sight of the herd of elephants bathing and playing at the river. The bathing hours are followed up with the feeding hour at the main center of the orphanage. Baby elephants are bottle fed. Selected visitors have a chance of bottle feeding milk to the baby elephants. Each and every beast is fed with green matter made of leaves weighing no less than 75 kg: Coconut leaves (Cocos nucifera); Jackfruit (Artocarpus integra); leaves, branches and logs of Kitul palm tree (Caryoty urens); tamarind and grass. Over and above that quantity, elephants are also fed with 2kg of a food mixture containing maize, rice bran, powdered gingelly seed and minerals. A large considerable number of books and research articles on Pinnawela have been published in several languages. This is done to evatuate the success of the Orphanage, by various scientists. The members of the Pinnawela herd have been filmed, videoed and photographed thousands of times by professionals, and millions of times by amateurs. The message of conservation from Pinnawela has been passed on to thousands, if not millions of people, after their visit to the orphanage. The orphanage has been fulfilling its goal undeniably by providing the best possible opportunity to the animal victims and is surely geared to provide an environment of a happy and healthy life to them.

New Paradise Spice & Herbal Garden

The New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden is situated at the 88 kilometer post along the Kandy, Colombo high way, with an important historical center called Uthuwankanda. The garden is famous for the best spices and herbs in Sri Lanka and has been approved by the Ceylon Tourist Board. Therefore it is very popular among the locals and foreigners alike, because of the high quality Herbal and Ayurvedic products. Along with this educative and informative awareness program are conducted by qualified multilingual herbal doctors. The highlight of this awareness tour is the demonstration and the herbal massage given by the trained staff of the herbal garden. The New Paradise Spice Garden, its High Quality Herbal Products and the friendly service provides maintains trust among travelers from all over the world, specially Germany, Italy, Russia, England, Finland, Denmark, Holland, Czech Republic, Australia, Austria, Japan, Middle East Countries, Thai van, Thailand, China, France, Spain, Singapore, Sweden and even India. The New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden provides an enjoyable journey of spices and herbal medicine for long life without any fear of secondary after effects. The indigenous medical system of Sri Lanka is one of the most ancient healing systems, which is more than five thousand years old. The vision of the New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden is to manufacture ayuryedic and herbal products; preserving and respecting the most traditional system. Then further supply the quality products to the market for a reasonable price. They also take the responsibility to utilize this valuable property in an environmental friendly manner. The two products the New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden offers are the Spice Tea that is also known as the Herbal Drink for Refreshment and the Herbal Medicine that is a Lime Oil mixture against fatness with Bee Honey. The Spice Tea is made up of one tea spoon tea, which can be of Cardemon, Ginger, Cinnamon, or Cumin with Country tea. For the Hebal Medicine with Bee Honey the ingredients are Wilid Lemon extract, Wilid Pineapple extract and Bee Honey. This medicine has been made according to the primitive ayuruvedic direction based on herbal formula to bring down the extra weight of human body by burning the calories and extra fats. Therefore we see how popular the New Paradise Spice and Herbal Garden is, from the high reputation it enjoys with his customers and tourists.

The Millennium Elephant Foundation

Driven by the popularity of the Elephant Orphanage, the area around Pinnawela has become something of a strip mall for elephantine adventures. Up and down the narrow road that leads from the highway there are signs available and shops publicizing "Elephant Rides!" or "Pet an Elephant!" It is a little demoralizing, but positive experience at the orphanage; visitors mostly do visit the Millennium Elephant Foundation before heading back home. The Millennium Elephant Foundation's main aim is to provide a home for old and retired elephants, which is a noble ac. There are Elephant rides being offered on the way to the place for visitors and even to view the elephants, some also allow helping wash the elephant. The place behaves like a rest room for old and retired elephants, although the rides do not come in harmony with this aim. There is a small a small "museum" near the site, and at most of the times down to the river, enormous elephant are resting, with people taking care of them. The people working there usually scrub the elephants with a coconut shell. But it was impossible to fully enjoy, because the scrub-master kept grabbing my arm and asking for money, which they absolutely love. Often foreign volunteers can pay to work at the Millennium Foundation and help improve the place. These volunteers seem very positive about the experience they were having in the Millennium Elephant Foundation. This shows clearly that the experience of working in the place is very different from visiting the place, because you start spending quality time with the elephants. The Millennium Elephant Foundation charity was founded in August 1999 with the help of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and has been working continually to improve the care, protection and treatment of elephants in Sri Lanka by providing a place of sanctuary and medical services and facilities. During the visit, visitors are offered to wash the elephants, to take an elephant shower, journey on a bare back elephant safari around the estate and feed the elephants. There are opportunities to enjoy refreshment's or a meal at the Club Concept restaurant located opposite the Millennium Elephant Foundation as well as to just sit back and relax with the time spend watching the elephants. There is also the availability of experienced multilingual guides and volunteers that are also very happy to take photographs and videos for visitors.

Berendi Kovil, Seethawaka

This place is identified as the only monument of the remaining ruins of Sethawaka era. Since it dedicated to the God Ganie it is called as Berendi Kovil. It is believed that this kovil is built around 1521-80AD. However it has been looted and burnt on several occasions, after which is was re-discovered and consecrated by H.C.P. Bell, the grate archeologist in 1890. When coming from Colombo you need to pass Avissawella, then take the Ginigathena road and after passing a small bridge, take a by-road to your right hand side. This turn is before the Thalduwa junction. We need to further travel just two hundred kilometers along with by-road and it will lead you to the kovil enterance. The road is very smooth to travel by and can be managed easily even by a car with low ground clearance. When walking to through the gates three distinct terraces built one upon the other are visible. The third and the upper terrace housed the ruins of the Kovila. Right around these pillars is a stone that reveals attractive stone carvings that seem alive with the elegance of the carvings. The intricate motifs of leaf and floral designs, the bahirawa faces have been perfectly achieved. The delicate border of upturned petals that ornamented the base of the whole structure looked beautiful. An elegantly carved water spout was the most unique of all. At one entrance there are two guard stones carved with what looked like full pots. Observing carefully it is obvious that one corner of the terrace stone work has an elephant carved into the rest of the carvings. Also there is an unexpected carving of a parrot on the stone wall of the first terrace, which is very distinct and out of place. Many stories tell about the origins of this structure. Some attribute it to King Rajasinghe the first of Sitawaka but others say it was in existence before King Rajasinghe's time during the Sitawake period. Many scholars point out the fact that the style of stone columns, railings and the motifs of floral and leaf carvings referred to the Polonnaruwa period, during which Hindu shrines were built. Berendi Kovila was destroyed by the Portuguese, but the ruins left today are enough to tell the tale of a once grand Kovila that stood by the Sitawaka Oya. A lot of people are taken aback by the mysterious stone work that has decorated the ruin of the Berendi Kovila.

Aluth Nuwara Dedimunda Devalaya

In order to reach the site you have to travel five kilometers from Hingula, Colombo, through Kandy road. Therse is also a Buddist monastic complex present here and other shrines of deities sooniam, Ghambhara, and Weerabadra are present too. The major activity in the Dedimunda Devalaya is Pilgrimage, with Uthuwankanda, Saradiyel Village, Bo Ella as its nearby attractions. The Esala Festival of Althnuwara begins before the Kandy Esala Festival. This temple is linked with the deity Dedimunda, who was the general of Lord Vishu. This Dedimunda dety was put in charge of protecting Buddhism and scaring the devils. Dedimunda is also believed to have come to Aluthnuvara in the area of Kegalle, taking up permanent residence in temple that he constructed himself. Although there are few shrines dedicated to this deity around the island, this is one of the major ones. Another interesting tradition states that he was the only deity who did not run away in fear during the time of Bodhisatta Siddhattha's struggle with Mara. While others took flight he remained Bodhisatta's only guardian. The walking stich is the special attribute by which he is portrayed in the attire of a Kandyan chief. His Kandyan dress symbolizes his suzerainty over the Kandy region. On Kembura days, which are Wednesdays and Saturdays people come to offer worship and make vows to the deity. Often we see many people coming from different parts of the country to seek the blessings of this deity. It is believed that when King Parakramabahu the second was passing through Aluthnuwara on his way to Sri Pada, he was enchanted with the place. He then decided to donate the property pattu village of his Queen Giriwasa Sunethra Devi, to this temple. Also is said that a statue of a god made of sapu (King of wood) was placed in the temple as well. This was earlier dedicated to God Upulavan, and it is presently known as Dedimunda Devale. The reason for this is that during the reign of King Kirithi Sri Rajasinghe the state of god Upulavan that was placed here was taken to Kandy. Dedimunda is god Upulavan's Chief Minister and a Devale is dedicated to god Huniyan who was a chief servicemen of God Dedimunda, which is also found in the temple. The temple contains two inscribed stone slabs, old stone pillars and two rows of uncarved rectangular pillars.


Mulativu Route

The area of Multativu can only be visited by locals, although Kilinochchi is not restricted to anybody. This was under the hold of LTTE for 30 years and currently has remnants of 30 year old terrorist war. LTTE destroyed the water tank on 31st December, 2008 in Kilinochchi, which was the source of water for the whole country. Close to the Visuvamadu Tank is the prison complex of the LTTE, when travelling further north on A9 and turning towards Mulativu at Paranthan. This prison camp now lies inside a Sri Lankan army camp. The next place to be viewed is the terrorist underground bunker used by the leader of the LTTE, on way to Mulativu. Access to the bunker is through a pathway connecting the bunker and an ordinary house, with a bullet proof steel door. Today this bunker lies inside the headquarters of the 4th battalion of Sri Lanka National Guard. The underground five storied luxury bunker complex of the LTTE is the most important capture of the whole Humanitarian Operation of the army to release the tamil civilians. The main bunker lies on the Puthukudiyiruppu - Odusuddan road. The next point of interest of the Humanitarian Operation is the massive LTTE swimming pool, which is 82 feet long, one side of the pool is 22 feet deep and there are two pathways to the bottom of the pool. This whole pool has had a steel camouflaged roof which is now removed. Similar to all other places this too now lies inside an army camp. The submarine yard of the LTTE is perhaps the next best place to see, the site was overrun by the Sri Lankan forces during the last stages of operations and on the discovery of many partially built submarines. The navy discovered a complete three man submersible five hundred meters off the Mulativu coast at the end of operations. The LTTE hijacked Farah III cargo ship, which was carrying fourteen thousand metric tons of rice and detached the anchor of the vessel. As a result it ran aground in the Vellaullivaikal beaches. After all the generators, radio equipment and navigational equipment off the ship were removed, the body was stripped off to be used as armor plates in vehicles. Nowadays you can walk up to the skeleton of the ship which resembles a half consumed animal carcass. So we see that there is much to see when we plan to visit Kilinochchi.

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