National Zoological Garden in Sri Lanka

National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka (also called Colombo Zoo or Dehiwala Zoo) is a Zoological garden in Dehiwala, Sri Lanka founded in 1936. And the Colombo zoo is one of the oldest zoological gardens in Asia.

The zoo has 3000 animals and 350 species as of 2005 and also the zoo is very popular amongst tourists and this is proven in the income of LKR 40 million.

Dehiwala Zoological Garden is one of the oldest zoological gardens in Asia and one of the most abusive. It has a substantial collection of worldwide animals. It is open all year long and can be reached by public transportation. Diversity of the zoo is indicated by the presence of an aquarium, walk through aviary, reptile house, butterfly garden and many small, dilapidated cages and enclosures, housing starving, bored animals, living in prison-like conditions.

The butterfly garden is small but beautiful. It is decorated with small shrubs, trees, creepers and small streams. The temperature and humidity is controlled by artificially created mist. The butterfly garden has 30 species of butterflies. All stages of their life are measured for educational purposes.

The zoo puts on a number of performances including the elephant show. It is held at the elephant arena at certain times of the day. Visitors can refer to the timetable for actual times. Tricks include wiggling their backs to music, hopping on one foot and standing up on their hind legs, fully enjoyed by both adults and children.

Watching the sea lions perform is another memorable experience. They perform at the sea lions pool, again according to the time table which can be viewed upon visiting. It is lovely to see them being fed by their keepers.

As well as visiting the animals and birds, visitors have access to a souvenir shop so they can buy an item to help them remember their experience at the zoo. Elephant rides and pony rides are available also and very popular by tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in Sri Lanka

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara or Kelaniya Temple is a Buddhist temple in Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, seven miles from Colombo. The Chief Incumbent (Chief Priest) is Venerable Professor Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkhitha Thera. Buddhists believe the temple to have been hallowed during the third and final visit of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, Accoding to the chronicles, Lord Buddha on the 8th year after enlightenment on full moonday of Vesak, visited Kelaniya on the invitation of Maniakkhika the Naaga King of Kelaniya, seated on the gem throne the Blessed one preached the doctrine.

The gem studded throne is enshrined in the dagaba. This Vihara was built by King Yataalatissa. The height of stupa is 80 feet, circumference is 180 feet. The dagaba is in shape of a heap of paddy. In the temple premises are devales dedicated to Gods Kataragama, Vishnu, Naatha and Vibhishana.The original Temple and the Stupa or the Dageba was built in 5th Century BC, but none of the earlier structure survives today.

Mentioned in the Sri Lankan chronicle”Chulavansa” is that, the Kelaniya Temple was five stories high with traditional styling and roofing. It also states that the temple was rebuilt by King Vijayabahu III, (1232-1236) and King Parakrama Bahu II (1236-1270).

The temple flourished during the Kotte era but much of its land was confiscated during the Portuguese empire. Under the Dutch empire, however, there were new gifts of land and under the patronage of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha the temple was rebuilt. It was refurbished in the first half of the 20th century with the help of Helena Wijewardhana.

The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the native artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales.

According to the Galpotta records King Nissanka Malla visited Kelaniya to pay homage. It is recorded that Kalinga Maagha raided the temple and plundered all the wealth. The Portuguese set fire to the temple and destroyed it. Kelani Vihara is one of the 16 sacred shrines in the island. Duruthu Perahera is conducted in the month of January with pomp and glory.

 

 

 

  • Painting of kelani raja maha viharaya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mihinthalaya in Sri Lanka

Mihintale is a mountain peak near Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It is believed by Sri Lankans to be the site of a meeting between the Buddhist monk Mahinda and King Devanampiyatissa which inaugurated the presence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is now a pilgrimage site, and the site of several religious monuments and abandoned structures.

8 miles east of Anuradhapura, close to the Anuradhapura – Trincomalee road is situated the “Missaka Pabbata” which is 1000 feet in height and is one of the peaks of a mountainous range. Though this was called Cetiyagiri or Sagiri, it was popularly known as Mihintale, the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Thera Mahinda came to Ceylon from India on the Full moon poya day of the month, of Poson (June) and met King Devanampiyatissa and the people, and preached the doctrine. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is revered by the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. Therefore in the month of Poson, Buddhists make their pilgrimage to Anuradhapura and Mihintale.

From ancient times a large number of large steps were constructed to climb Mihintale. It is stated that King Devanampiyatissa constructed a vihara and 68 caves for the Bhikkhus to reside in. At Mihintale there gradually grew a number of Buddhist viharas with all the dependent buildings characteristic of monasteries of that period.

 

  • Ambasthala Dagaba

Is situated on the plain close to the peak of the mountain, and is said to have been built by King Makalantissa. The ruins show that there has been a house built encircling the stupa. The Dagaba is said to enshrine the relics of the great Apostle Mahinda. The traditional spot where this meeting took place is marked by the Ambasthala Dagaba.

 

  • The cave of Arahanth Mahinda

When proceeding from Ambastala dagaba along the narrow road, on the slope is the cave knows as Mihindu Guhawa or the cave of Arahanth Mahinda, where he resided. Out of the caves the most famous and incidentally the most sacred to Buddhists is this cave with its flattened slab on which Thera Mahinda was accustomed to rest.

 

  • Naaga Pokuna

Passing Ambasthalaya on the western side is a flight of steps. When going down the steps one could see the Naaga Pokuna. This has been constructed by King  Agbo I and its name is derived as there are figures of snakes with their hoods spread-out in the back ground and is one of the most famous ponds.

 

  • Kaludiya Pokuna

Is also one of the famous ponds at Mihintale. The name is derived from the fact that the water in the pond appears to be black in colour. It is believed that on new moon day, Kalu Buddha Rakkhita Thera sat under the Thimbiriya tree, close to the Kaludiya Pokuna, preached on sermon based on kaalakaaraama Sutta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an Orphanage, nursery and Captive breeding ground for wild Asian Elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 10965 elephants, including 4643 males and 968 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.

This is just as the name suggests holds a unique disposition in the ex-situ animal care. It’s success and fame has travelled not just within the country but throughout the world to an extent where Pinnawala synonymous with the Sri Lankan Elephant.

It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation Currently being a home to 93 elephants the concept was actualized by the late Hon. Minister Kalugalle on the 16th of February 1975.  Pinnawala at the time was a very remote area with lush coconut plantations and most importantly an area where the availability of mahouts was not lacking. Also the immense amount of water required by the elephants is supplemented with the availability of “Ma oya” running close by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambuluwawa Viharaya in Sri Lanka

Located in the Galboda Korale close to Hatara Korale on the Egodagoda Pattuwa is Ambuluwawa Viharaya. This is also on example of the Kandyan period architecture, where the vihara is constructed on stone pillars. It is said that the Tooth Relic was placed here during a certain period. King Parakramabahu VI who ruled from Kotte, is supposed to have lived here in his childhood. This vihara would have been built here to commemorate it.

On a foundation of 26 x 18 feet are rows of granite pillars. The granite pillars of the inner row are 9’10’’ feet in height, while the granite pillars of the outer row are 8’9’’ feet in height. The image house is on wooden pillars and planks and is 10-1/2 feet, in length and7 feet in breadth. A verandah is built round the image house from the base up to the ceiling is 8’3’’ feet in height.

Ambuluwawa was built as a symbol of religious harmony in Sri Lanka and you can find a temple, a church, a Hindu kovil and a mosque there. The great thing is you can go to the top of the Dagaba in the mountain giving you a feeling of being in the sky.

Ambuluwawa Mountain is hard journey; some people do climb the mountain on foot. However the journey is worth it because it offers one of the most beautiful scenes you can ever see.  Although not considered a top tourist attraction in Sri Lanka it does attract some tourists and everyday lots of locals visit there. There is a beautiful landscaped garden for you to spend some time and you can get some amazing picture from the top of the mountain.

Ambuluwawa

Ambuluwawa

Ambuluwawa

Ambuluwawa

Katharagama in Sri Lanka

Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka People from South India also go there to worship.

The town has the Kataragama temple, a shrine dedicated to Skanda Kumara also known as Kataragama deviyo. Kataragama is located in the Monaragala District of Uva province, Sri Lanka. It is 228 km ESE of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Although Kataragama was a small village in medieval times, today it is a fast-developing township surrounded by jungle in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka.

There are five main places of worship located at Kataragama. They are Kirivehera, Maha Bodhiya, Kataragama Devale, Sella Kataragama and Vedihitikanda.

  • Kiri Vehera

It is one of the main 16 shrines. As it was dilapidated, in 1961 the foundation was laid to construct it. The work has now been completed. The original dagaba was constructed by Parakramabahu the great, at the request of queen Subadra. It is 95 feet in height and has a circumference of 280 feet.

The Buddhist Kiri Vehera Dagaba which stands in close to the Kataragama devalaya was built by the King Mahasena. According to the legend, Lord Buddha, on his third and the last visit to Sri Lanka, was believed to have met King Mahasena, who ruled over the Kataragama area in 580 BC. It is said that King Mahasena met Lord Buddha and listened to his discourse. As a token of gratitude, the Dagaba was built on that exact spot where it now stands. Thus the local Sinhalese Buddhists believe that Kataragama was sanctified by Lord Buddha.

Many Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka believe that Kataragama Deviyo is a guardian deity of Buddhism and he is the presiding deity of Kataragama temple. Kataragama is one of the 16 principal places of Buddhist pilgrimage to be visited in Sri Lanka.

 

  • Kataragama Maha Devalaya

Kataragama Devalaya is a temple complex dedicated to Buddhist guardian deity Kataragama Deviyo and Hindu War God Murugan It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and the Vedda people. For most of the past millennia, it was a jungle shrine very difficult to access; today it is accessible by an all-weather road.

God Kataragama is also known as Skanda or Kanda Kumara. The main devale is dedicated to Kanda Kumara. Various other devale have been constructed in the same premises recently. They are Gana Devale, Vishnu Devale and Suniyam Devale.

The kataragama procession is held during the month of August (Esala). Two important items are connected with it. They are fire walking and water cutting ceremonies. Offering Pooja watti, putting Panduru, breaking coconuts, Kaavadi dance, lying on steel nails, hanging from steel nails, rolling round the devale premises, pricking the body with thornes pilgrims do these acts to fulfill their vows.

 

  • Bo Tree in Kataragama

The Bodhiya is in the premises of the kataragama Devale and is one of the Bo-Trees planted from the 8 seeds of the Jayasri Maha Bodhiya at Anuradhapura.

 

  • Sella Kataragama

Connected with the Kataragama Devale are 2 other places of worship. One is Sella Kataragama. According to folk lore it is said that God Katargama met Valliamma at this place. The distance from Kataragama to Sella Kataragam is about 3 miles.

  • Vedihitikanda in Kataragama

It is believed that God kataragama resided at vedihitikanda. About 2 miles from Kataragama on a peak of a mountain is a devale and Bo-Tree. Although it is difficult to climb to the top of the mountain, the devotees never fail to climb it.

  • Thissamaharama Dagaba in Kataragama

The land surrounding Thissamaharama was a part of the temple premises hence this area is known as Thissamaharama. This is one of the 16 great shrines in Sri Lanka. It was King Kavanthissa who built the Thissamaharama Dagaba. It is 18 feet in height and 550 feet in circumference. It is said that relice of the forehead of the Buddha is enshrined in this dagaba. The relics are placed on the forehead of a golden statue. According to the chronicles, that during the 3rd visit of the Buddha to Ceylon, he attained a state of tranquility (Samadhi) at the site of the Thissamaharama dagaba.

Katharagama

Logo of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

The national emblem of Sri Lanka used by Sri Lankan government is in connection with the administrative purpose and government of the country. The current republican emblem was adopted in 1972 after the country was declared as a republic state.

The present emblem of was created in 1972 with the ideas and guidance of Mr. Nissanka Wijerathna.  At the time, he was Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Chairman of the National Emblem and Flag Design Committee. The designer of the emblem was Venerable Mapalagama Wipulasara Maha Thera and Art Work by Artist Mr S.M Seneviratne.

The emblem has a lion, holding a sword in its right for paw on a maroon background encircled with petals of a Blue lotus. And this is placed on top of a traditional grain vase that sprouts sheaves of Rice grains that circle the border reflecting prosperity.

The Crest is the Dharmachkra, symbolizing the country’s foremost place for Buddhism and just rule. Traditional Sinhalese heraldic symbols for the sun and the moon form the Supporters.  Sun and Moon, and Lion depicting Lord Buddha are given less prominence than cart wheel of English Buddhism, so it is in great discordance with National Scriptures.

 

Artist Mr. S.M Seneviratne

National Anthem of Sri Lanka

The National Anthem of Sri Lanka “Sri Lanka Matha” is believed to have been written by Mr. Ravindranath Tagore and later composed by the musician Mr. Ananda Samarakoon in 1940 before the island nation’s independence from the British. In 1951, it became the national anthem of Sri Lanka. Firstly, it was written in Sinhalese and translated to Tamil. The first performance of the anthem was held in the fourth anniversary of Independence Day on 4 February 1952.

The National Anthem is sang completely when the state leader, participate any occasions. At that time the whole nation should respect and honour. They should stand without moving and respect obediently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Ravindranath Tagore                                                                                  Mr. Ananda Samarakoon

 

 

  • National Anthem in English..

 

Sri lanka maathaa……

Apa sri lanka, namo namo namo namo maathaa…

Sundara siribarini, suredi athi sobamaana lanka…

Dhaanya dhanaya neka mal palathuru piri jaya bhoomiya ramya…

Apahata sepa siri setha sadanaa jeewanaye maathaa…

Piliganu mena apa bhakthi poojaa…

Namo namo mathaa……

Apa sri lanka, namo namo namo namo maatha…

Oba we apa vidyaa -obamaya apa sathyaa…

Oba we apa shakthi – apa hada thula bhakthi…

Oba apa aaloke – apage anuprane…

Oba apa jeewana we -apa mukthiya oba we…

Nawa jeewana demine nithina apa pubudu karan maatha…

Gnana veerya wadamina regena yanu mena jaya bhoomi karaa…

Eka mawakage daru kela bevina…

Yamu yamu wee nopamaa……

Prema wadaa sema bhedha durera daa namo namo maathaa…

Apa sri lanka, namo namo namo namo maathaa……

 

 

  • National Anthem in Sinhala – ජාතික ගීය

 

ශ්‍රී ලංකා මාතා…………..

අප ශ්‍රී ලංකා, නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා…

සුන්දර සිරිබරිනී, සුරැඳි අති සෝබමාන ලංකා…

ධාන්‍ය ධනය නෙක මල් පලතුරු පිරි ජය භූමිය රම්‍යා…

අපහට සැප සිරි සෙත සදනා ජීවනයේ මාතා…

පිළිගනු මැන අප භක්ති පූජා…

නමෝ නමෝ මාතා………….

අප ශ්‍රී ලංකා, නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා…

ඔබ වේ අප විද්‍යා – ඔබ ම ය අප සත්‍යා…

ඔබ වේ අප ශක්තී – අප හද තුළ භක්ති…

ඔබ අප ආලෝකේ – අපගේ අනුප්‍රා‍ණේ…

ඔබ අප ජීවන වේ – අප මුක්තිය ඔබ වේ…

නව ජීවන දෙමිනේ නිතින අප පුබුදු කරන් මාතා…

ඥාන වීර්ය වඩවමින රැගෙන යනු මැන ජය භූමි කරා…

එක මවගේ දරු කැල බැවිනා…

යමු යමු වී නොපමා………….

ප්‍රේම වඩා සැම භේද දුරැර දා නමෝ නමෝ මාතා…

අප ශ්‍රී ලංකා, නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ නමෝ මාතා…

National Clothes in Sri Lanka

There is no official national costume in Sri Lanka. But the most popular items are sari for women and sarong for men. The traditions in men’s clothing are simpler and clearer – men of any age wear sarongs or trousers. It is a little bit more complicated with women. Their national costumes depend on the age, marital status and the event. Mostly women use sari or half sari. But there are different regional peculiarities.

People use various types of clothes for various functions. For instance, wear white clothes for religious function. The Tamil, Muslims and Christian have peculiar costumes for different occasion.

National Gemstone in Sri Lanka

The blue sapphire was declared the national Gemstone of Sri Lanka in October 2003. A postage stamp worth LKR 4.50 was issued on 2 October 2003 to mark the announcement. Sri Lanka is famous for blue sapphires, especially known for their size.

The blue sapphire belongs to the Corundum family. While pure Corundum is colourless, the red variety is called ‘Ruby’. Blue Corundum is called Blue Sapphire. ‘Pathmaraga’ is another variety. There are others identified by the different colors like Yellow Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Green Sapphire and so on. Sri Lanka is world famous for Blue Sapphires with most of the largest sapphires in museum collections from around the world being from here. They are widespread and occur mostly among the secondary sedimentary deposits as water worn pebbles.