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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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Over: 60 Pages, 500 Posts, 1000 Photographs and 700,000 Pageviews
Showing posts with label heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heritage. Show all posts

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.

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

08 May, 2014

SRI LANKA - TEMPLE DRUMMERS


The temple drummers of Mahiyangana performing a daily ritual, the troupe is
made up of two drummers and a flute player.



Video by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

10 April, 2014

SRI LANKA - KING NISSANKAMALLA [ 1187 - 1196 ]


King Nissankamalla ruled the country from 1187 to 1196,  the Council Chamber of King Nissankamalla had been a structure built of stone on a brick foundation. The unique Lion Throne, carved of stone, stands majestically at
one end.




Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

18 October, 2012

SRI LANKA - KANDYAN DANCERS AND DRUMMERS


This dance form originated in the Kandy region [up country] and it is performed whilst reciting sweet verses called Vannams, there are 18 Vannams in all describing the movements and behavior of animals, serpents, birds etc: etc:. The elaborately designed costume and head gear of a Kandyan or up country dancer with beads covering the chest area add glamour to this dance.The rhythmic movements and beating of drums associated with this ancient dance form make it unique.

Photographed at a religious procession in a Kandyan village.


Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

29 September, 2012

SRI LANKA - UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY OF KANDY


Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage City, picture shows school children and teachers among devotees at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of The Buddha.




Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

17 September, 2012

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

A reservoir or tank is called a ' wewa ' in the Singhalese language.The Sorabora wewa was built by King Dutugemunu in 102 B.C. in the Mahiyangana region. The water released from the tank for irrigation purposes flows along a  twenty meter sluice cut into solid rock 


Pics : Nelsonlanka

Sony DSC H7


03 June, 2012

SRI LANKA - RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS


Buddhist clergy being escorted to the village temple by drummers and Kandyan dancers at a ceremony in Kandy.


Pics by : Nelsonlanka

Sony  DSC H7

31 May, 2012

SRI LANKA - PERFORMING ARTS


The Channa - Upuli Performing Arts Foundation dance troupe brought fame to Sri Lanka by being placed first in The Carnival of Cultures, held in Berlin on the 27th of May, 2012. There were 99 dance troupes competing from round the world.


Pics by courtesy : Channa

20 April, 2012

SRI LANKA - RUINS OF YAPAHUWA


Yapahuwa was the capital of ancient Sri Lanka from 1273 to 1284, ruled by King Buwanekabahu. After the demise of the King Pandyans from South India invaded the country and Yapahuwa was abandoned and served as an abode for Buddhist monks.




Pics : Courtesy Ashan

08 April, 2012

SRI LANKA - HISTORY [ THE UNSUNG HEROES ]




Over a thousand years before artistists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michaelangelo worked on their classic works of art   - The Last Supper and the Sistine Chapel to mention just two  -  an unknown artist or artists, created a dazzling world of colour and wonder in a pocket of rock in the palace complex of Sigiriya. These paintings which are the earliest surviving examples of Sri Lankan art have delighted the world for over 1500 years. Still retaining their original colour, and shrouded in mystery, these paintings are silent witnesses to the grandeur of Sigiriya's golden age.  What is not widely known is that amazing techniques in painting these frescoes were used  by the artists in King Kasyappa's court. Wet plaster was first applied on the surface to be painted after which the artists began their labour of love. This meant that they had to be 100% accurate because if a mistake was made, it could not be corrected once the plaster had dried.  The painters of the famous Ajantha frescoes in Indian on the other hand painted on hard dry plaster leaving room for any corrections, if mistakes were made !

Sri Lankan had her own "Sistine Chapel" in the rock pocket at Sigiriya before that of the Vatican in Rome. Originally there were 500 frescoes. These beautiful paintings fill one with emotion . The eye is never wearied and the heart never sated. That they were painted by the hand of man is hard to imagine. I almost believe they were painted by the Gods ! Living, lovely breathing women.......How sad that while the artists of the western world are known to us, the artistic geniuses of Sigiriya will forever remain anonymous.....Unsung heroes.





 
Written by : Bernard VanCuylenberg 
                 Melbourne
                 Australia


Pics by : Gerrit, Netty, Hans and Hanneke
             Belgium 



06 January, 2012

SRI LANKA - LOW COUNTRY DANCERS


Low country dance is a dance form of the Southern province of Sri Lanka, 'pahatharata netum', or low country dance costumes and moves differ from the more elaborate costumes and rhythms of up country Kandyan dances.



Pics : Courtesy Channa Wijewardene

01 January, 2012

SRI LANKA - KANDYAN VES DANCERS


The most popular dance form of Sri Lanka, the Kandyan Ves Dance, originated from an ancient ritual - The Kohomba Kankariya and is performed only by male dancers.

The elaborate costume with the silvery headgear and the rhythmic movements of the performers make this dance form unique.





Pics, courtesy : Channa Wijewardene

29 November, 2011

SRI LANKA - ANTIQUES [ ANCIENT FANS ]


The overhead fan made of thick cloth fitted to a plank, which has to be moved to and fro, by an aide, to send cool air to the diners at the table. Photographed at a house of an aristocrat of the 1920s.


Pics by : Nelsonlanka
Sony  DSC  H7

Photoshoot co-ordinated by : Udumbara Mapitigama

13 November, 2011

SRI LANKA - ANTIQUES [ DUTCH FURNITURE ]


Ebony has a very high density and will sink in water, this high density lends a fine smooth finish to any ornamental object made of this wood of high value. The intricately carved furniture belong to the Dutch period of Ceylon.


Pics by courtesy : Asoka

27 October, 2011

SRI LANKA - ANTIQUES [ EBONY FURNITURE ]


Well over 100 years old, these exquisitely carved antique furniture have been turned out by carpenters with dexterous hands. These fine works of art are made entirely of wood from the once abundant Ebony tree.


Pics, courtesy : Asoka

22 October, 2011

SRI LANKA - JADE PENDANT OF THE INDIAN OCEAN [ COLLAGE ]


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.


Pics by : Nelsonlanka
            
             Gerrit,Netty,Hans and Hanneke [ Belgium ]

30 September, 2011

SRI LANKA - PHILATELY [ TEMPLE PAINTINGS ]


Paintings of the ancient Wewurukannala Temple, a magnificent example of the ingenuity of artists of yesteryear.



Pics by : Nelsonlanka
Sony  DSC H7


First Day Cover     : By courtesy, Ana
Pics optimized by : Gerrit van Pommeren [ Belgium ]

12 September, 2011

SRI LANKA - WORLD HERITAGE SITES [COLLAGE ]


THE RUINED CITIES OF ANURADHAPURA AND POLONNARUWA ILLUSTRATE THE GLORY OF THE ANCIENT KINGDOMS. THE GIGANTIC STUPAS AND BUDDHA STATUTES 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

Pics by : Gerrit,Netty,Hans and Hanneke [ Belgium ]


Sri Lanka Tour, May 2011

06 September, 2011

SRI LANKA - ABORIGINES [ COLLAGE ]


The original inhabitants of the Island, Aborigines or Veddas, have been absorbed into the mainstream Sinhalese society, as a result dwindling jungles due to rapid development. Their deep knowledge of the forest and ancestral beliefs will be lost for ever in time to come. Today only a few clans of these ancient people live scattered in remote jungles.

Pics by : Nelsonlanka


LW

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