Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Love Sri Lanka

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Hummanaya




The “Hummanya” blow hole is a well-known attraction in the deep South of the country and it certainly lives up to expectations. Seeing it was an exhilarating experience and one that shouldn’t be missed.

So how do you get there? Passing the Matara town and after Dickwella, one has to turn right at Kudawella and proceed about 1.1 km. Residents in the area offer to take care of your vehicle at a nominal fee.

About a 20-minute trek along newly built shallow steps brings you to the spot. All along the way little kiosks sell cool drinks and the fresh catch of the area – fish! The batter fried preparation of different kinds of fish, was delicious.

Even from far away, one can hear the sounds of the blow hole. There are intermittent periods of silence and then there are sounds similar to the faraway rumbles of thunder – “Ho-ho-ho”. This is when the pressure builds up. Then after a while one hears the delightful sound of the spray as it hisses high up-almost 120 feet into the sky at times.

Reaching our destination, what greeted us was a large expanse of rocky cliffs. In the middle, there seemed to be a split, within which was a fissure (a long narrow cleft or crack) – through which the water came shooting up, like a tall fountain that appeared momentarily with a huge ‘whooshing’ sound.

Once in every 10-15 minutes or so, the water pressure builds up to give out the stunning spray. Waiting for that moment can be quite tense, especially if one is hoping to capture it on film as it is over in a flash. I had to click many times and wait a long while to capture a few good shots. But I could have gone on waiting for hours, so special was the moment. For the hour of so that we were there, the spray reached up to about 120 feet once, while at other times it was less.

Going back down the steps one feels tempted to eat more of the delicious fish, salayas, kumbalawas and even sprats strung together on ekels- all batter fried and then wash it down with a cool Ginger Beer.

Before heading back home, we also visited the Dondra Head lighthouse. One has to turn right at Devinuwara and proceed 1.2 km to come to this, the southern most tip of the country.

The beach surrounding this area is beautiful and one can spot many rock pools with colourful fish swimming among the green seaweed.

source: wikipedia(www.wikipedia.org)

Kandy




Kandy (maha nuvara, pronounced [mahaˈnuvərə], in Sinhala, கண்டி kaṇṭi, pronounced [ˈkaɳɖi], in Tamil) is the English name for the city of Maha Nuvara (Senkadagalapura) in the centre of Sri Lanka. It lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy Valley, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka; it is both an administrative and religious city. It is the capital of the Central Province (which encompasses the districts of Kandy, Matale and Nuwara Eliya) and also of Kandy District.

The name Kandy is derived from the Sinhalese kaⁿda uḍa pas raṭa. The Portuguese shortened this to "Candea", using the name for both the kingdom and its capital Senkadagalapura. In Sinhala, Kandy is called Maha Nuvara (pronounced [maha nuʋərə]), meaning "Great City" or "Capital", although this is most often shortened to Nuvara.


source: wikipedia(www.wikipedia.org)

Anuradha pura



Anuradhapura, (අනුරාධපුර in Sinhala, அனுராதபுரம் in Tamil), is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Lankan civilization.
The city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka's North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya.
From the 4th century BC, it was the capital of Sri Lanka until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).


source: wikipedia(www.wikipedia.org)

Sigiriya




Sigiriya (Lion's rock) is an ancient rock fortress and palace ruin situated 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. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassapa I (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven 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 to the Buddhist Sangha. The garden and palace were built by King Kasyapa. Following King Kasyapa's death, it was again a monastery complex up to about the 14th century, after which it was abandoned. . The Sigiri inscriptions were deciphered by the archaeologist Senarath Paranavithana in his renowned two-volume work, published by Oxford, Sigiri Graffiti. He also wrote the popular book "Story of Sigiriya".
The Mahavamsa, the ancient historical record of Sri Lanka, describes King Kasyapa as the son of King Dhatusena. Kasyapa murdered his father by walling him alive and then usurping the throne which rightfully belonged to his brother Mogallana, Dhatusena's son by the true queen. Mogallana fled to India to escape being assassinated by Kasyapa but vowed revenge. In India he raised an army with the intention of returning and retaking the throne of Sri Lanka which he considered was rightfully his. Knowing the inevitable return of Mogallana, Kasyapa is said to have built his palace on the summit of Sigiriya as a fortress and pleasure palace. Mogallana finally arrived and declared war. During the battle Kasyapa's armies abandoned him and he committed suicide by falling on his sword. Chronicles and lore say that the battle-elephant on which Kasyapa was mounted changed course to take a strategic advantage, but the army misinterpreted the movement as the King having opted to retreat, prompting the army to abandon the king altogether. Moggallana returned the capital to Anuradapura, converting Sigiriya into a monastery complex.
Alternative stories have the primary builder of Sigiriya as King Dhatusena, with Kasyapa finishing the work in honour of his father. Still other stories have Kasyapa as a playboy king, with Sigiriya a pleasure palace. Even Kasyapa's eventual fate is mutable. In some versions he is assassinated by poison administered by a concubine. In others he cuts his own throat when isolated in his final battle.[5] Still further interpretations have the site as the work of a Buddhist community, with no military function at all. This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.

source: wikipedia(www.wikipedia.org)