arundathie-abeysinghe

Strategic significance of Trincomalee Harbor By Arundathie Abeysinghe Located on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, in *Trincomalee, approximately 350 kilometers north of the key East-West shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean, Trincomalee Port is formed by a large natural deep-water harbor, the fifth largest natural harbor as well as one of the finest natural harbors in the world. It is the most valuable asset of Sri Lanka. According to historical data in *Mahawamsa, the great Chronicle, Trincomalee Port had been first occupied in the 5th century and was known as “Gokanna”.  Trincomalee Harbor has been a sea port from the period of ancient Sri Lankan Kings and has attracted sea farers such as Marco Polo and Ptolemy as well as Sea Traders from China and East Asia. As such, during early and medieval period, sailing ships had found a haven in Trincomalee Port. Situated on a peninsula in Trincomalee Bay, formerly called ...

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Situated about nine kilometers from Nuwara Eliya town, Sandatenna (translated as Moon Plains) is an epitome of pristine beauty in the Central Highlands. Pidurutalagala, Horton Plains National Park and Hakgala Botanical Gardens are the most visited sites in Nuwara Eliya, whereas Moon Plains is a site rarely visited by the majority of tourists. Yet, it is an ideal site for those who like to admire spectacular vistas and capture the aura of magical splendor. This is an ideal place for nature enthusiasts as well as average tourists as the view from the summit of Moon Plains is similar to an epic scene, a place described in fairy tales.  A magnificent platform has been constructed at the summit. Hence, visitors can see breathtaking vistas of the surroundings as well as the valley below. According to some foreign tourists, standing on the summit is similar to being on top of the world ...

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Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve – a habitat island in Kandy City By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve also known as Wakara-watta (known by locals for decades) or Walker Estate (its former estate name) is a forest cover overlooking Kandy City (part of the forest reserve is within Kandy City) located at a height of approximately 548- 875 meters (1800 -3200 feet) above sea level. Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve is a semi-isolated, hill country wet-zone forest reserve situated in Kandy City. There are 13 endemic bird species, 29 endemic subspecies and 10 restricted range bird species in the forest reserve. As there are endemic as well as restricted species, Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve is considered as a habitat island in the midst of a city. As such, environmentalists are of the view that the forest reserve should be conserved due to its biological significance and unique features. The forest reserve has an area of approximately ...

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  Situated in Trincomalee, Kanniya hot water springs also known as Kanniya hot wells is a popular tourist site visited by a large number of tourists daily. According to visitors and locals, water of these hot wells is renowned for their therapeutic healing powers. Due to the mineral composition of the water, there is a belief that the water cures skin ailments as well as arthritis. Locals believe that these healing properties are due to the ever present gods in the surroundings of these wells. According to archaeologists, the hot water springs had belonged to the Buddhist Monastery Complex of Velgam Vehera (Temple) Monastery also known as Vilgam Vihara (Temple) Monastery which spans over a large area. During archeological excavations, the foundation of the Buddha Statue, an old dagoba (stupa) and ruins of the Temple Complex had been found. According to scholars, the hot water springs had been used by ...

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18 hairpin bend road with spectacular vistas By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Mist-clad mountain ranges, spectacular vistas, hamlets, waterfalls, scenic valleys, endemic fauna and flora…Viewing platforms with vistas of rivers, lakes, valleys as far as the eye can see…18 hairpin bends snaking through the mountains rendering a picture postcard effect… Popularly known as “Daha Ata Wanguwa” in Sinhala, the 18 hairpin bend road is the famous asphalted Kandy- Mahiyangana Road, a six kilometer drive set amidst a breathtaking landscape in the *Central Province of Sri Lanka, the road that links Kandy and *Mahiyangana. The beginning of the road starts approximately after 60 kilometers from Kandy City. In the past, this road was considered as the most dangerous road in Sri Lanka. A few years ago, the road was renovated and widened and the last bend of the road was removed, yet travelers as well as locals living in the vicinity call ...

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  Dating back to 246 BC, the era of King Devanampiyatissa (247 BC – 207 BC), Kudumbigala Forest Hermitage is the first Buddhist Monastery built for Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka and has immense historical value. The Monastery is also known as “Chetiya Pabbatha” and is home to the only cylindrical dagoba (stupa) in Sri Lanka. According to scholars, this is the only dagoba in Sri Lanka that had been built according to Dhammachakka Stupa in Saranath in India.  This brick dagoba is the only remaining structure, whereas the other dagobas which had existed in the past have been destroyed over the years. Situated in Panama about an hour’s drive from *Arugam Bay in the southernmost corner of the Eastern Province, sprawled across 6000 acres of a rocky outcrop and in a picturesque setting in Kudumbigala Forest, this ancient Monastery Complex had been built as cave dwellings for meditating monks ...

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    Constructed during the Colonial Era in *Ceylon the two storey colonnaded building on Prince Street, *Pettah among the hustle and bustle of Colombo City is a mine of information that showcases Dutch history and culture and had been constructed during the Dutch Colonial Era in Ceylon (1656 – 1796). The Museum building embodies unique architectural features of a Dutch Colonial town house. During the Dutch Colonial Era, they had built Dutch Forts, hospitals, military barracks, churches as well as residences for the governors. Dutch Hospital in Colombo Fort and Dutch Museum are such resplendent structures that are preserved well to date.  Originally, the residence of Governor of Ceylon Thomas van Rhee (1656 – 1701), the building had been used for diverse purposes; an orphanage under the supervision of the deacons financed by Dutch East India Company, army hospital and barracks during the second half of 1800s. This building ...

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  Sri Lanka, a small island state in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is strategically located at the crossroads of major shipping routes to South Asia, the Far East as well as the continents of Europe and America. Sri Lanka is also strategically located among the most significant sea lines of communication (SLOC).  Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean Region has been geopolitically significant for major powers for centuries. As such, Sri Lanka was colonized by Portuguese, Dutch and the British who used it as a transit hub to trade goods, a port to dock as well as refuel ships which navigated their massive empires. Enclosed on three sides by landmasses and several countries, Indian Ocean is the third largest ocean in the world which has a water area of approximately 73 million square kilometers.  According to Robert Kaplan, US Security Analyst, Indian Ocean is an important economic ...

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  Located at the intersection of Main Street and Fourth Cross Street in Pettah, the commercial hub of Colombo City, Kayman’s Gate (in Sinhala, Kaiman Dorakada) is a historic solitary grey bell tower which was an entrance to former Colombo Fort. St. John’s River, a canal that connected to Beira Lake was located outside the Gate. Waste from Colombo Fort had been dumped to this river.   An integral symbol of Old *Ceylon, “Kayman’s Gate” is derived from the Dutch word “Kaaiman” meaning crocodile as a large number of mugger crocodiles (who flocked in large numbers to eat leftover meat and bones thrown out by Colombo City dwellers who lived inside the fortified bastion) swarmed the moat of Beira Lake. Colombo Fort was built and consolidated by the Portuguese during the Portuguese Colonial Era in 1554 as a defensive fortification of their trading post in Colombo which was later captured by ...

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Pigeon Island – unique natural marvel By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Renowned as a snorkelers’ and divers’ paradise, Pigeon Island National Park with its powdery white sands and magnificent coral gardens is one of the two maritime national parks in Sri Lanka named after the endemic Blue Rock Pigeons (Columba livia also known as rock dove, rock pigeon or common pigeon) which breed there. Visitors can see hundreds of Blue Rock Pigeons which inhabit Pigeon Island National Park nesting as well as breeding amongst the rocks, a mesmerizing sight. The Island has rock pools and paths that run through thickets. But the underwater landscape is its centerpiece. Home to exotic species of fish, magnificent coral reefs and abundant tropical marine species,  reef fish including black tip reef sharks as well as turtles, this spectacular island is situated about a kilometer off the shore of *Nilaveli Beach in *Trincomalee. Pigeon Island can ...

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