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Quote - Joseph Pulitzer

"PUT IT BEFORE THEM BRIEFLY SO THEY WILL READ IT, CLEARLY SO THEY WILL APPRECIATE IT, PICTURESQUELY SO THEY WILL REMEMBER IT AND, ABOVE ALL, ACCURATELY SO THEY WILL BE GUIDED BY ITS LIGHT" ***** JOSEPH PULITZER *****
DISCOVER - SRI LANKA: PROLOGUE

IN PRAISE OF MY BEAUTIFUL ISLAND,
INFORMATION, PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEO.

THE 13th CENTURY VENETIAN TRAVELER MARCO POLO DESCRIBED THE ISLAND AS 'THE JADE PENDANT IN THE INDIAN OCEAN'. THE ABUNDANCE OF GEMSTONES, SPICES, RAIN FORESTS AND WILDLIFE; THE MAGNIFICENT BEACHES, ANCIENT RUINS AND A WRITTEN HISTORY OF OVER 2500 YEARS MAKE THIS ISLAND A TOURISTS' PARADISE.

THE RUINED CITIES OF ANURADHAPURA AND POLONNARUWA ILLUSTRATE THE GLORY OF THE ANCIENT KINGDOMS. THE GIGANTIC STUPAS AND BUDDHA STATUES ARE AMONG THE BIGGEST MAN MADE STRUCTURES OF THE WORLD. THE MASSIVE RESERVOIRS, BUILT BY ANCIENT KINGS TO IRRIGATE THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF LAND, ARE MARVELS OF HYDRO ENGINEERING. THERE ARE EIGHT UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN SRI LANKA

THE ISLAND WAS KNOWN TO THE GREEKS AS 'TAPROBANE' AND TO THE ARABS AS 'SERENDIB'. EARLY MERCHANTS VISITED THE ISLAND IN SEARCH OF GEMSTONES AND SPICES, MAINLY CINNAMON AND PEPPER. COFFEE AND TEA PLANTATIONS WERE STARTED BY THE BRITISH COLONIAL RULERS. CEYLON TEA IS FAMOUS THE WORLD OVER.

TOURISM INDUSTRY IS A MAJOR MONEY SPINNER FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL ISLAND. THE VAST EXPANSE OF BEACHES, RAIN FORESTS AND NATIONAL PARKS WITH HERDS OF WILD ELEPHANTS, THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS WITH LITHE WATER FALLS, BRING IN THE TOURISTS. THE ISLAND IS DOTTED WITH HUNDREDS OF HOTELS TO ACCOMMODATE THE TRAVELER. AN ISLAND OF 25,000 SQ; MILES HAS 103 RIVERS AND 25000 RESERVOIRS, MOSTLY MAN MADE. WITH VARYING CLIMATIC CONDITIONS THIS IS TRULY A 'SMALL MIRACLE'.

" THE ISLAND OF SRI LANKA IS A SMALL UNIVERSE, IT CONTAINS AS MANY VARIATIONS OF CULTURE, SCENERY AND CLIMATE AS SOME COUNTRIES A DOZEN TIMES ITS SIZE........I FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS ANY COUNTRY WHICH SCORES SO HIGHLY IN ALL DEPARTMENTS - WHICH HAVE SO MANY ADVANTAGES AND SO FEW DISADVANTAGES. LOVELY BEACHES, BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES, IMPRESSIVE RUINS, A VIBRANT CULTURE AND CHARMING PEOPLE- NO WONDER SRI LANKA IS A SMALL MIRACLE ".***** Arthur C. Clark *****




MY SHOTS SRI LANKA

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Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

10 April, 2017

SRI LANKA - ALL SAINT'S CHURCH, GALLE - 1871

The Anglican church in the Fort of Galle, All Saint's Church, built in a Victorian Gothic style of architecture, was consecrated on the 21st of February, 1871. The magnificent stained glass windows, with the mosaic pictures, are in a well preserved state.






Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony  NEX 6

12 December, 2016

SRI LANKA - THE SIGIRIYA SAGA

  THE SIGIRIYA SAGA   -  (Part 1).
The year is 481 AD.  The Persian Ambassador and his entourage at a loss for words at the spectacle before them, stood staring in amazement. Before them was the gigantic stone figure of a crouching lion. In order to reach  the palace on the summit of the rock of this fabled city, they had to first enter the mouth of this monstrous animal and follow the steps which led through its body to the beginning of the staircase leading to the top. They had never seen anything like it in the western world. Of course they had heard of the 'Hanging gardens of Babylon' built on the orders of  King Nebuchadnezzar in 591 BC which ranked as one of the wonders of the ancient world. The ambassador had in fact visited the site, Babylon being in proximity to his own country, Persia.  But this was the year 481 AD. and they were in the royal city of Sigiriya on a diplomatic mission to present letters of accreditation to King Kasyappa whom they heard being referred to as "The God King".  Still gazing at the palace on the summit of the rock, the ambassador thought that this was a king who had defied gravity !  In the Persian entourage there was a young diplomat named Shapur Kavad.  Only 26 years of age, young Kavad had a meteoric rise in the Persian foreign service, and had been specially nominated by King Peroz to join this mission.  But political considerations temporarily forgotten, young Shapur's thoughts were of a romantic nature.  Travellers from the East and West who had visited Sigiriya related wondrous tales of this many splendoured city. They also spoke in rapturous terms of the beauty of Princess Uppalavanna and Princess Bodhi, King Kasyappa's daughters.  The thought that he might get a glimpse of these two beauties during their audience with the King, set his youthful heart racing with excitement, and the blood pulsating through his veins.
 
Walking through the beautiful gardens on their way to the palace accompanied by two officials of the royal court, they were surprised at the number of foreigners residing in the city. Over there some Chinese merchants were bargaining with Sinhala traders. To their right were three Roman officials in animated discussion with high ranking nobles of the court.  They were not surprised because they knew that this was a country which traded with the Roman Empire even during the reign of the Caesars, and there were Sinhala ambassadors in the imperial court in Rome. A high powered trade delegation from India bided their time patiently, awaiting their appointment with officials of the Ministry of Trade.  They were intoxicated by the grandeur of this fabulous city  -  an intoxication that was almost painful until they became sufficiently sober to contemplate the dazzling wonder of this terrestrial paradise.  One of the diplomats who happened to be a horticulturalist, noted in amazement that in the royal gardens each terrace had a different variety of plants and flowers all in full bloom  - a  masterpiece of landscape gardening  that he had never seen anywhere in his travels..........beds of flowers in dazzling hues, gardens laden with fruit alongside which ran clear water murmuring in channels..........he seemed to be in a dream world.
This was Sigiriya, reputed to be the most beautiful garden city in Asia   -  probably in the world. Who was the genius who has left us to marvel at this jewel that has fired the imagination of writers and travellers and mesmerise the world today, over 1500 years after his demise ?  History knows him as King Kasyappa the 1st, and Sigiriya is the story of this man. He was both a master and pawn of history who needed every ounce of political cunning to survive the swirling intrigue and grim spectre of betrayal while he ruled the land. He has been the victim of the usual cliched negative stereotypes  -  megalomaniac, egoist, and parricide, shunned by the clergy and his people for the barbaric murder of his father, the illustrious and much loved King Dhatusena.  
 
Nothing so evinced the brilliance of Sigiriya as its architecture as its architecture, engineering , art and landscape gardening. The palace and residential quarters on the summit of the rock almost 4 acres in extent, and in fact the entire city was engineered to inspire awe. This is truly the work of human genius for engineering miracles were created here. For example, the swimming pool on the summit. What principles of hydraulics were used to change the water in this pool ? How was fresh drinking water provided to the palace complex ? There had to be a piping system installed beneath solid rock which provided running water 24 hours a day. There are always more questions than answers.  The chronicler of the Culavamsa had no time for King Kasyappa who shifted the capital from Anuradhapura to Sigiriya once the complex was complete, to escape the revenge of his half brother Prince Moggalana who fled to India. When recording the events of that period he wrote "What man would still hanker after the pleasures of life or of fame ?"  Let history be the judge. I humbly opine that King Kasyappa had tremendous vision, and he translated this vision into action.  It is his vision that will one day accord Sri Lanka the honour of having the 8th wonder of the world   -  Sigiriya. An eternal testimony to his psyche and spirit. Everything in Sigiriya invites the mind to contemplation.  One's wonder knows no limits. It is the abode of beauty. The English poet Sir Walter Scott with all his talent for description would be at a loss for words here. Let me draw a timeline in history when King Kasyappa ruled the island. His contemporaries in the West were King Clovis of France and the legendary King Arthur of Britain, better known as Arthur and the knights of round table fame. In Constantinople (present day Istanbul) Emperor Justinian ruled the Byzantine empire. Pope Simplicius sat on the throne of St.Peter in the Vatican.  When Sigiriya entered a golden age of splendour, what history records as 'The Dark Ages'  loomed over Europe. In fact there still exists a record kept by an English monk named Gildas in which he writes of the breakdown of civilised society in Britain after the collapse of Roman rule. In the East, Sigiriya flourished to reach the peak of cultural perfection.
 
After King Kasyappa's death the city was abandoned. Virtually forgotten it lay wrapped in lush jungle foliage.Its existence had remained spectral, a memory dimmed to the point of invisibility until, thanks to the spade of the archaeologists Sigiriya bared her soul to us.
 
In the next instalment I shall commence with some insight regarding the Persian diplomatic mission, and Princess Bodhi & Uppalavanna, daughters of King Kasyappa. The late great eminent Professor Senerat Paranavitane mentions them in his epic THE STORY OF SIGIRIYA. His writings have been a source of inspiration to me.
 
To be continued.......
 
Bernard VanCuylenburg.

16 August, 2016

SRI LANKA - MARITIME ARCHEOLOGY MUSEUM

The Maritime Archeology Museum of Galle is housed in a Dutch warehouse built in 1671, this two storey building with its 3 foot thick walls withstood the impact of the 2004 tsunami.





Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony  NEX 6

28 May, 2016

SRI LANKA - DEMODARA LOOP [ENGINEERING MARVEL]

The construction of the Demodara railway line was completed in 1921 by the Ceylon Government Railway. The terrain just beyond the Demodara station was too steep to build the railway track to Badulla, the maximum inclination stipulated by the Railway was one foot per forty four feet [1/44], D. J. Wimalasurendra, the engineer in charge of design, suggested taking a path in the shape of a loop, encircling the mountain on the left of the station [applying a permittable inclination] and passing through a tunnel dug right beneath the station, at a lower elevation, to avoid the steep gradient beyond the station. The Demodara Loop is considered an engineering marvel of the Colonial era. Click on Pics to enlarge. 




Demodara railway station



Railway line, encircling the mountain, reaching the tunnel beneath the station


Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony  NEX  6

16 January, 2016

SRI LANKA - PHILATELY [FIRST DAY COVERS]

The Sri Lanka Postal Department issued a stamp to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the visit of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov to Sri Lanka.




Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony NEX 6

30 November, 2015

SRI LANKA - THALANGAMA LAKE


The Thalangama Lake is situated thirteen kilometers from the city of Colombo, covering an expanse of 95 acres, it was built by King Parakramabahu the 6th [1551-1557] A.D.. 





Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony NEX 6

01 August, 2015

SRI KANKA - SOMAWATHIYA STHUPA


The Somawathiya sthupa, on the banks of the Mahaweli river, lay in ruins 40 years back, today it stands gleaming after reconstruction at great cost.


Wild elephant, just ten feet away from the road, on the way to Somawathiya.



Reconstructed Somawathiya sthupa.

Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Canon 600D

11 August, 2014

SRI LANKA - 12TH CENTURY MASTERPIECES OF STONE


King Parakramabahu 1 established the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa in the 12th century, this was a period of ultimate development and prosperity. Exquisite stone carvings adorned the many places of worship constructed during this golden era.

Dragon head and lion


Sentry


Moonstone


Steps and side walls


Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Canon EOS 600D

26 February, 2014

SRI LANKA - ANCIENT ARCHITECTURE [ KUMARA POKUNA ]

The Kumara Pokuna [pond] in Polonnaruwa [1070 A.D.] is  a magnificent example of an ancient Royal bath, built entirely of smoothened stone. Water was brought to the pond by two underground stone pipes and directed to the pond through two dragon head [makara] gargoyles. Ruins of an ancient changing room can also be seen nearby
Kumara pokuna


Dragon head gargoyles



Changing room [ foundation ]


Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

02 January, 2014

SRI LANKA - FOUNTAINS


Erected by the coffee planters of Ceylon in 1875, this cast iron fountain is in pristine condition. One of only two in the world, made by George Smith & Company of England, can be seen in the city of Kandy.





Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

26 December, 2013

SRI LANKA - RAN KAHAVANU [ ANCIENT GOLD COINS ]

Ran Kahavanu currency of Sri Lanka dates back to the 11th century, typical of coins from around the 11th century, no date is indicated. These gold coins were in circulation during the reign of king Vijayabahu [ 1055 - 1110 ].



Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

Photographed at The Economic History Museum

05 December, 2013

SRI LANKA - ECONOMIC HISTORY MEUSEUM


The National Mutual Building, built in 1911 and opened in 1914, was refurbished and opened on  11th November,2013, as the Economic History Museum of the Central Bank Of Sri Lanka. The  interior marble columns and stairs to the five floors lend a majestic look to this ancient building.
                                                                                                                                                                  




Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7


27 December, 2012

SRI LANKA - SOROBORA WEWA [ 102 B.C. ]


Sorabora wewa [ tank ], built in 102 B.C., is not a very large tank but the location is breathtaking, the many species of birds that inhabit Sorabora area and the fishing boats add to the beauty of this magnificent, ancient, phenomenon.





Pics by : Nelsonlanka - Sony  DSC H7

            Chathula      - Sony Ericsson Experia [ Panorama ]

04 December, 2012

SRI LANKA - PHILATELY [ FIRST DAY COVERS ]


The first Ceylon stamps were issued on 1st April, 1857 during British colonial rule. Photographs from a collection of First Day Covers.



Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony DSC H7

First Day Covers : By courtesy, Ana

Pictures optimized by : Gerrit van Pommeren, Belgium

15 November, 2012

SRI LANKA - MAMMOTH TREES [ SORABORA ]


Sorabora tank was built 2114 years ago by King Dutugemunu to irrigate the surrounding low lands for the cultivation of paddy, these centuries old  mammoth trees can be seen on the tank bund.


Pics by: Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

08 November, 2012

SRI LANKA - MAHIYANGANA TEMPLE


The Mahiyangana temple is believed to be the site of The Buddha's first visit to the country. The Sthupa stands at a height of 120 feet and a decorative gateway adorns the entrance to the temple.



Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

LW

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