The second largest town in the Puttalam district is Chilaw. It is one of the few towns in all of Sri Lanka to be known by three names; “Halāvata” in Sinhala, “Cilāpam” in Tamil and of course “Chilaw” in English. Travel Guides introduce Chilaw as the city famous for its three C’s – Coconuts, Crabs and Coreas!
December 26th 2004, a day forever etched in our memories as the day the sea swallowed the coastline. The amount of destruction caused by the rampaging sea was a phenomenon that was beyond comprehension. I remember sitting at home, watching the Boxing Day Cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand when the breaking news interrupted the live telecast; Sri Lanka was hit by a devastating Tsunami.
According to the “Great Chronicle”, popularly referred to as the Mahavamsa, a similar phenomenon had occurred during the reign of King Kelani Tissa. The ancient scripture mentions that King Kelani Tissa sentenced a monk to death by immersing him in a cauldron of oil. This act of cruelty angered the gods who unleashed their wrath by making the sea flow inland submerging Kelaniya. Soothsayers, who advised the king during times of distress, asked his royal highness to sacrifice his daughter to the sea. Thus, the King’s daughter Devi, was cast in to the sea in a beautifully decorated Golden vessel.
The vessel with Princess Devi aboard washed ashore on to the beach near the area which is today known as Pottuvil. The Princess later became the main consort of King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna, Vihara Mahadevi. She was the mother of King Dutugamunu and Saddhatissa.
Kind Dhatusena was the first King of the Moriyan Dynasty to rule our island nation from 455 AD to 473 AD. He defeated the South Indian invaders who ruled the country for twenty six years and proclaimed Anuradhapura as his Capital. According to the Chronicles of the Chulawansa, Dhatusena was raised by his Uncle, a Buddhist Monk named Mahanama, who ordained him as a Buddhist Monk in order to hide him from the invaders.
Like the many great Kings who ruled Sri Lanka during ancient times, Kind Dhatusena contributed immensely towards agriculture. He constructed 10 irrigation tanks during his reign; the flagship of which is the “Kala Wewa”.Continue reading
Kurunegala is an ancient city in the North Western region of Sri Lanka that was once the capital city used by four different Kings who ruled over our island nation for around 50 years. Today, the city has become the Administrative Capital of the North Western Province. Located about 94 km away from Colombo, 54 km away from Kandy, 54 km away from Puttalam and 121 km away from Anuradhapura; Kurunegala is a transportation hub that connects many roads leading to all parts of the country.
Kataragama is considered to be a sacred place of worship by Buddhists, Hindus and the Vedda people of Sri Lanka. The Kataragama Temple, a shrine dedicated to the God Kataragama, is also visited by pilgrims from South India. Many of the pilgrims who visit Katharagama also visit Kirivehera, Sella Kataragama, and Vedihiti Kanda. Yet, there is an ancient Buddhist monastery that many visitors miss due to its remote location. Thus, during our last visit to Kataragama, we made it a point visit Sithulpawwa.
Situated in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka, Badulla is the capital city of the Uva Province and the District of Badulla. The scenic route to Badulla is via a ten hour long train ride with “Podi Manike” or “Udarata Manike”. If you’re someone who is travelling for pleasure and wants to soak in the beauty of the hill country, then the train ride is definitely for you! Think the view from Kadugannawa to Peradeniya is amazing? Well then, you‘re in for a treat! The view keeps getting better and better as the engine slowly tugs the ensuing carriages up into the cold misty mountains passing the famous Demodera Station.
They say that the world is a book and those who do not travel only read one page. But we generally tend to overlook the fact that the country we live in is chapter one of the book. The first chapter of a book can either get you hooked, or regret ever reading the book in the first place. The book of the world is no different! Fortunately for us, our motherland, our first chapter, Sri Lanka, is a country like no other. This tiny island paradise is home to a variety of astonishing sights, rich history and amazing cultural heritage. Go ahead, read a few more pages from chapter one! Trust me; the chapter on Sri Lanka is much larger than you think…
On my quest to cover the coastal region of our beautiful island home, we’ve covered most of the south from Hikkaduwa to Dondra Head in Matara, as well as a few locations on the east; namely Paasikudah and ArugamBay. This travel entry is on a spontaneous trip to Ahungalla.
We came across many interesting and iconic places as we headed to Matara from Galle along the Matara-Galle main road. For someone who doesn’t plan on making any stops in between, the drive from Matara to Galle is roughly about an hour. You can take the highway if you want to get there faster, but for a more aesthetic driving experience I recommend the Matara-Galle main road.
Matara is a busy town, especially if you go there during the season. Ironically, this commercial hub isn’t exactly a tourist destination. But, there are a few attractions within the limits of this fast paced city. We, however, decided to drive through Matara and make our way to the first location in our list of places to visit in Matara.
I’ve never been interested in watching the Kandy Esala Perahara. That is, I didn’t take the time to sit in front of the Tele and watch the procession, but I always told my parents, that we should go and watch it live. My father, especially said, “If we are going to watch the Perahara we should get good seats, and good seats are expensive, we are better off watching at home, then you get to listen to the commentary”. Thus, it was quite evident that I, seeing the Perahara with my parents was a very unlikely outcome.
In 2014, after I took up Photography as a hobby, a colleague of mine said that he could get me a media pass to photograph the Perahara! Lo-and-behold I was seated right in front of the octagonal Patthirippuwa on the penultimate day of the Perahara. It was an amazing experience!!
Adam’s peak referred to as “Samanalakanda” (සමනළ කන්ද) is a 2,243 m (7,359 ft) tall mountain located in central Sri Lanka. According to Buddhist belief it contains the sacred footprint or “Sri Paadaya”(ශ්රී පාදය) of the Buddha.
We began our journey after lunch on Saturday, 21st February 2015. As we approached Nallathanniya, the village at the foot of the mountain, there was a long line of buses and vans parked on either sides of the road hinting that a large crowd was visiting Adam’s Peak over the weekend. Our bus was stopped by the police and we were instructed to leave our bus at that point and take the public transport to Nallathanniya (roughly 5km away from that point) as there was heavy traffic. We arrived at the inn we had arranged dinner around 9 pm. After freshening up and having dinner, we began the hike to the peak around 11 pm. Our objective was to reach the peak by about 5:30 am on the 22nd to view the sunrise. Judging by the crowd, this was going to be quite a challenge.