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
Seated at the Fort Station, waiting for the Kelany Valley Train, my attention was drawn to an announcement over the PA system informing that the train to Thalaimannar is scheduled to leave in a few minutes. Ironically, the train of thought that stemmed from what I had just heard led me to the revelation that I’ve never been to that part of the Island. That night I brought up the topic with my wife and we put in to motion the plan to visit Mannar as our next excursion.
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.
Growing up as an only child, I was always looking forward to the New Year holidays in April and the Christmas holidays in December. Why? Well, on top of being the only child, I am also the youngest in my generation; my youngest cousin is roughly 15 years older than me! It is only during the New Year and Christmas holidays that all my cousins take leave from work to rendezvous at our ancestral home in Kandy. Weren’t they the best of times! The days flew by while playing cricket, board games, goofing around and sharing stories. However, the most anticipated event was the family trip! What you have to understand is that this was a much simpler time, computers ran on MS-DOS and social media was not even invented, so going on a trip or travelling was somewhat of a luxury and not so mainstream.
As with all our trips down south, we were up early in the morning and heading down the E1 highway to Galle. But unlike many of our trips down south, this time we were traveling as a pack. Together with my cousins and cousins in law, we were speeding long the highway in the wee hours of the morning with the hope of reaching the Galle Navy Base by 6:00 AM.
The Galle Navy base is situated in the vicinity of the commercial Galle Harbour. One of the most active ports in Sri Lanka, the Galle harbour is a natural harbour that has been recognized by the International yacht societies as one of the world’s best attractions for yachting. Galle harbour has been Sri Lanka’s most important harbour until the artificial harbour was built at Colombo in 1873. Along with the construction of the Galle Fort, the harbour was one of the major ports in the Indian Ocean for over 200 years.
17 June 2013, Kithulgala
After a somewhat of a lame safety briefing I started to make my way along a narrow foot path towards the bank of the Kelani River. It was roughly 9 am on a gloomy Monday morning. We spent the previous two days engaging in various outbound training activities, and it was finally time to go White Water Rafting. The team bonded over the past two days; working together, having fun and getting to know the person behind the face that we see everyday at office. One could taste the excitement and tension in the air. We were looking forward to an awesome experience.
Geared up in safety vests, helmets, and paddle in hand, we continue down the winding foot path as the rain beat down on us. The closer we got to the river, the sound of the rain drops hitting our helmets and vests got muffled by the roar of the raging river. It was at this moment, that it struck me. I’m going white water rafting!!! I don’t know how to swim!!! I heard my mom’s voice in my head, telling me the dangers of rafting. I took a moment to clear my mind, a moment to think. We wouldn’t do this if it was that dangerous, would we? take such a big risk? My thought process was interrupted when my team mate, put his arm around my shoulder and started to talk to me. There was no turning back now, no one was backing down, everyone was anxious to get on the water. Continue reading