Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sri Dhalada Maligawa


At night


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Travel Sri Lanka ( peradeniya botanical garden)

Over 1.4 million people visit Sri Lanka’s botanic gardens every year. And that is in addition to the 5% of the nation’s schoolchildren who visit annually. Peradeniya Botanical gardens, the finest of its kind in Asia, the largest of the three botanical gardens in the island, couldn't be better located. In the Mediterranean climate of Kandy, the gateway to the central highlands, the Gardens were bounded on three sides by a loop of river Mahaweli.

Sri Lanka is one of the most startling and beautiful island countries in the world. It has a very rich and diverse culture, something that dates back to centuries. The natural beauty of the country is without parallel. There are unending coastlines, tropical forests, wildlife sanctuaries and high mountains. This diverse topography is the reason behind the equally varied flora and fauna of the country. There are several wildlife parks and gardens in the island country and Peradeniya Botanical Gardens must be mentioned in this context.

All the botanical gardens are full of ornamental flowers and exotic plants, are like emerald jewels adorned in the striking landscape of the island. These gardens have are veritable store houses of a variety of trees and flowers collected from all over the world. Peradeniya Botanical Garden is located in Kandy one of the most important places in Sri Lanka. A large variety of decorative plants and other creepers that are used to produce the special spices of Sri Lanka are found in Peradeniya Botanical Garden. Huge tropical trees are found through the length and breath of the lawns. The orchid house in the garden is really worth a visit.
It is renowned for the collection the variety of Orchids,and has more than 300 varieties of Orchids, spices, medicinal plants and palms trees attach it is the National Herbarium. Total land mass of the botanical garden is 147 acres, 460 Meters above sea level with a 200 day annual rain fall, it is managed by the Division of National Botanic Gardens of the Department of Agriculture. The spice garden in the park has trees and plants used for preparing traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The magnificence of the garden is heightened by the Mahaweli River which flows through its outer edge.
As the largest in Sri Lanka ideal for walkers, you can also bike or drive through it. They have a comprehensive collection and a scientific programme in biotechnology, ecology, conservation and taxonomy. The gardens are open every day and have flowers in bloom all year round. To mark their visits to Sri Lanka, many distinguished visitors, including royalty and heads of governments, have planted trees at the gardens. Today these gardens have acquired a worldwide reputation, for their history and plant collections. Among others, the gardens contain the tallest bamboos in the world and also the oldest tea plant in Sri Lanka.
Situated to the North of the City of Kandy, this reserve has deep forests with many endemic birds, butterflies and plants. Udawattakele also has a Buddhist meditation centre.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Travel Sri Lanka ( Lion Flag )

The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and her heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race.

The Flag of Sri Lanka, also called the Lion Flag was adopted in 1950 following the recommendations of a committee appointed by the 1st Prime Minister of Ceylon, The Rt Hon D.S. Senanayake.

Lion Flag consists of a gold lion, holding a sword in its right fore paw, in front of a crimson background with four golden boo leaves in each corner. Around the background is a yellow border, and to its left are 2 vertical stripes of equal size in saffron and green, with the saffron stripe closest to the lion. The lion represents bravery, and the four bo leaves represent meththa, karuna, muditha and upeksha. The orange stripe represents the Tamils, the green stripe represents Moors, the crimson background represents European Burghers and is also a reference to the rich colonial background of the country and the yellow border represents other ethnic groups such as Malays etc.....

The National Flag of Sri Lanka represents the country and its heritage as rallying device that integrates the minorities with the majority race. Most symbols in the flag have been given distinctive meanings.

The lion -The Sinhalese ethnicity and the strength of the nation.
The bo leaves - Buddhism and its influence on the nation. They also stand for the four virtues of Kindness, Friendliness, Happiness and Equanimity.
The sword of the lion - The sovereignty of the nation
The curly hair on the lion's head - Religious observance, wisdom and meditation
The beard of the lion - Purity of words
The handle of the sword - The elements of water, fire, air and earth
The nose of the lion- Intelligence
The two front paws of the lion - Purity in handling wealth.
The vertical orange stripe - The Tamil ethnicity
The vertical green stripe - The Muslim faith and Moor ethnicity
The yellow border round the flag - People from other cultures living in Sri Lanka
The crimson background - Other minor religions and ethnic groups, Portuguese/Dutch Burghers Also refers to the rich colonial heritage and background of the country.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Travel Sri Lanka ( waterfalls)

Dunhinda Waterfall
"Dunhinda" is one of the mostly spoken-about waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Although she couldn't come even close to the highest waterfalls of the planet in height she rivals many of them when it comes to the natural beauty that it bestows on the environment . Situated about 2 km distance from the main road which runs to Taldena from the remote city Badulla in the Uva Province this is easily accesible and frequently visited by local and foreign visitors. On the way can be seen the "Kuda Dunhinda" ( "Kuda" means small in Sinhala ) which is the prologue to its mighty brother . In native tongue "Dun" means mist or vapour which is the ideal explanation for a waterfall creating wreathes of mist on its way down.

Devon Waterfalls
With a peculiar appearance imparted to it by its formation in three continuous cascades this waterfall christened "Devon Falls" pours down to the valley beneath not a long distance away from its brother the "St. Clairs". On the main road opposite to it there is situated a modern tea centre finding its abode thankful to this "Veil ( Bridal ) of the Vale ( i.e. valley )". Driving from Colombo, the capital, via Avissawella one suddenly catches this unearthly sight which is to be soon enhanced by the grandeur of the "St. Clairs". This beauty too is endangered by the above-mentioned power plant beast

Bambarakanda Waterfall
Sri Lanka is blessed with over one hundred waterfalls. The tallest is the Bambarakande Falls which cascades down 263 metres like liquid light. It is only four miles away from the Colombo-Bandarawela road in a forest glade, but it is not visited often, though well worth the trip.

Bambarakande is taller than the famous Diyaluma falls which is only 220 metres but thought to be the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka. The Diyaluma or Diya Haluma collects its water from the Poonagala Oya in the vicinity of Koslanda and Wellawaya. Located six miles from Koslanda and 13 miles from Wellawaya, its waters originate from the Mahakande Pass in Koslanda. You can see this waterfall if you stop a while on your way to Haputale and detour.

Due to the geological formation of Sri Lanka, the central highlands are surrounded by peneplains, plateaus and valleys. Rainfall sends a large volume of water hurtling down the precipitous edges of the highland mass. The up thrust millions of years ago has caused several peneplains to form, the highest being well over 6000 ft. It is in this area that the water is collected when there are showers and flows down along tributaries down the mountain slopes.

Bopath Ella Waterfall
"Bopath Ella", not like many of the others of her kind , finds her abode in a busy surrounding in the village called Devipahala off Kuruwita on A4 High Level road close to Ratnapura. Being within 3 hours driving distance from the capital, it thus claims the honour of having the highest turn-over of enthusiasts seeking respite from the grimy and monotonous town life .Nevertheless, it has the notorious reputation of devouring its visitors off and on who , attracted by the surroundings ,indulge in over-enjoyment .Here again, the falls take the shape of a "Bo" leave ( "Bo" tree is a sacred tree here ) from which the name has been derived.

Olu Ella Waterfall
This is situated in a remote village called Malalpola off Yatiyantota on the High Level road from Avissawella to Nuwara-Eliya. Dancing its way through several cascades before finding its way under a wooden bridge along the road, this waterfall adds to the rustic scenery of the village . Not very famous among the people here, it still attracts a considerable number of people going there informed by locals. During the periods when the foliage gets covered by lush greenary and the air gets cooly one is greeted with a momentary drizzle when traversing the wooden planks of the bridge.

Rawana Ella Waterfall
Situated in the Dry zone off Welimada this beautiful water fall is a continuous stream of life to the villagers. It provides much needed water for the cultivation of vegetables, their main income. The life-line role of this tiny, yet beautiful waterfall is seen when we first arrived the village. While the surrounding mountains were dirty and dry this particular mountain was greenish and cultivated. According to villages the water of this stream has to be protected from smugglers day and night and for that they have " a shift duty". It is 40m (131ft) tall and in the Uduhawara village .

St. Clair's Waterfall
These majestic "St.Clairs" falls are close to the main road from Avissawella to Nuwara-Eliya and can well be seen from the Main Line rail track close to Talawakelle. It falls down in two cascades and is an inviting site for regular bathers because it is fairly easily reacheable from a footpath ( actually there are many ) downhill through greeny tea shrubbery. Named after a British colonist, these are one of two waterfalls threatened by a proposed hydro-power scheme in the area.

Ramboda Ella Waterfall
A gigantic water fall having three parts and very close to the 53km post along the above A-5 trunk road. The first part is above the road in the jungle (100m), second part is close to the road (3m) and the third part (100m)is below the road.

Traveler should descends to the "Ramboda basin", where the famous "Ramboda Inn" situated from where he can see the whole fall. When we were there the upper part was covered with a fog and what you see in the picture was the third part. If look carefully, one can notice a bus on the bridge over the A-5 road at the top of the photo.

Kalupahana Falls
Having several necklaces the 14m high Kalupahana Falls is situated in Dumbara Jungles in Kalupahana Mountain, Kandy District.

A sodality of falls cascading in several necklaces. The milieu of the fall comprising Pigmy Jungle is enshrouded in mist and darkness; aptly speaking its name 'Kalupahana' is Black Lantern. A lizard species, Dumbara Katussa, is found here. In addition, a snail belonging to 'Moluska' species is also found. Naturalized plants include different varieties of orchids provide more pleasure to the visitors. Spice varieties viz Ensal/Cloves and Nutmeg were introduced in 1940's. These days the consociation covers an extent of 4550 hectares, which is 1/3 of the Nuckles Forest. This area supplies about 45% of the islands spice output. However, as an outcome of this, about 600 hectares of jungle had been cleared resulting in adverse impact on the rain cycle. The depletion of the water table and threat of drying up of confined aquifers looms large. There is an outcry to spare this area from the cultivation of the spice nutmeg.

To get the Water Falls there are two routes. One is from Matale - Pannvila via Bambarella come to Ratnagiriya. From there, trek for 8km through the Dumbara Jungles and the Water Falls could be seen to the right. The other is coming to Illukumbura, 35 km from Matale and via Pitawala, Attanwala & Walpolamulla it is possible to reach the fall. The 7km track is through difficult terrain. This is ideal for eco-tourism and serves to enhance the knowledge of eco-tourists. On the way, one can also view the Dumbara Dooli Falls.

Travel Sri Lanka ( Sigiriya-The Lion Mountain )

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, which are reminiscent of the Ajanta Caves of India. The Sigiriya was built during the reign of King Kassappa 1 (AD 477 – 495), and it is one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya is located in Matale District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is within the cultural triangle, which includes five of the seven world heritage sites in Sri Lanka.The Sigiriya rock is a hardened magma plug from an extinct and long-eroded volcano. It stands high above the surrounding plain, visible for miles in all directions. The rock rests on a steep mound that rises abruptly from the flat plain surrounding it. The rock itself rises 370 m (1,214 ft) above sea level and is sheer on all sides, in many places overhanging the base. It is elliptical in plan and has a flat top that slopes gradually along the long axis of the ellipse.

Sigiriya, the spectacular 'Lion rock' fortress, stands majestically overlooking the luscious green jungle surroundings, and is one of Sri Lanka's major attractions.
The beautifully and elaborately landscaped water gardens, contain a complex network of underground water distribution system, which provides water to the Royal baths, the many little moated islands & fountains, some fountains still work during the rainy season! A superb view of the Gardens could be had from halfway up the rock.
halfway up the rock is a sheltered gallery of frescoes painted on the sheer rock face. The 'Heavenly Maidens' are similar in style to the paintings of Ajantha in India. Some of them are still in remarkably good condition. Only 22 out of an estimated 500 pictures now remain. Flash photography is not allowed at this site.

Beyond the fresco gallery, the pathway circles the the sheer face of the rock, and is protected by a 3m high wall. This wall was coated with a mirror-smooth glaze, in which visitors over 1000 years ago noted their impressions of the women in the gallery above. The graffiti was mostly inscribed between the 7th and 11th Century AD. 685 of them have been deciphered and published. The graffiti are a great source for the scholars to study the development of the Sinhala language and script.

The Northern end of the rock the pathway emerges to a platform, from which the rock derives its name Sigiriya (the Lion Rock). At one time a gigantic brick lion sat at the end of the rock, and the final ascent to the summit was between the lions paws and into it's mouth! Today the lion has disappeared, only the paws and the first steps are visible.

Covering an area of around 1.6 hectares, the remains of the foundations show that the summit would have been completely covered with buildings. The design, layout and magnificent views that it still enjoys to this day, suggest Sigiriya would have been more of a royal palace of pleasure than a fortress. A pond scooped out of solid rock measuring 27m x 21m, looks like a modern rooftop pool. A smooth slab of flat stone, often referred to as the kings stone throne, faces the rising sun.

Travel Sri Lanka ( Sinharaje)

Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s richest treasure troves of both natural and man-made wonders. Royal and sacred cities, colonial strongholds, temple caves and virgin forests with no fewer than seven World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka declared and listed by UNESCO. Seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage namely, the sacred city of Anuradhapura ,the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the ancient city of Sigiriya, the Golden Temple of Dambulla , the old town of Galle and its fortifications, the magnificent temples and palaces of the royal city of Kandy and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
Sinharaja is a forest in south-west wet zone of Sri Lanka which contians a high Bio diversity. A large proportion of flora and fauna in this forest is endemic to the country and some endemic to the Singharaja Forest itself. This is a very good place to see many endemic birds such as Ceylon Lorikeet, Layard's parakeet, Jungle and Spur Fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Grey Hombill, Spotted wing Thrush, Rufous and Brown- capped Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White Headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Mynha, Legge's Flowerpecker. The clear cut roads in to the jungle provide easy access to the forest.
Situated in the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka, within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces. It is bounded on the north by the Napola Dola and Koskulana Ganga, on the south and south-west by the Maha Dola and Gin Ganga, on the west by the Kalukandawa Ela and Kudawa Ganga and on the east by an ancient footpath near Beverley Tea Estate and by the Denuwa Kanda. 6°21'-6°26'N, 80°21'-80°34'E

The Sinharaja region has long featured in the legends and lore of the people of Sri Lanka. Its name, literally meaning lion (sinha) king (raja), perhaps refers to the original 'king-sized or royal forest of the Sinhalese', a people of the legendary 'lion-race' of Sri Lanka (Hoffmann, 1979), or to the home of a legendary lion of Sri Lanka.

Visitors are low in number and mostly naturalists. Entry is by permit, obtainable from the Forest Department in Colombo. There are nature trails to the peaks of Moulawella and Sinhagala. Guidebooks to the Moulawella Trail and to the secondary vegetation have recently been prepared (Gunatilleke et al., 1987a, 1987b). Some accommodation is available with the Forest Department near the reserve entrance at Kudawa. Further facilities are planned.

Scientific research an Facilities Among the earliest studies are those of Baker (1937, 1938). Rosayro (1954, 1959), Andrews (1961) and Merritt and Ranatunga (1959) assessed the area's potential for selective logging, based on aerial and ground surveys. Gunatilleke and Gunatilleke (1980, 1981, 1985) examined the floristic composition and phytosociology of woody vegetation and assessed its conservation value. Research on theendemic fauna has been undertaken by WWF/IUCN (Project 1733) and March for Conservation (Karunaratne et al., 1981). Conflicts over the local use of forest resources have been examined by McDermott (1985, 1986) and Silva (1985). An annotated vegetation/land-use map (1:40,000) of the reserve has been produced by the Forest Department (n.d.). The Natural Resources Energy and Science Authority of Sri Lanka has provided a field research station in the reserve. The Forest Department building at Kudawa, outside the reserve, is used by scientists and visitors.

Travel Sri Lanka (Ambuluwawa peak)

Ambuluwawa peak situated in the center of Gampola Kingdom established by the great Sinhala King Buvanekabahu IV (1341-1357 AD). Mayura Sandesa, the messenger poem written in the 14th Century describes this enchanting rock and the surroundings. Some millions of years ago Sri Lanka was a part of the Indian peninsula and was connected to Godwanaland. Later it was pushed away towards north as an island. Sri Lanka lost this geographical connection some thousands of years ago but it has resulted in creating a rich biodiversity here comprising a large population of fauna and flora.

Sri Lanka is considered to be the country in Asia which has the richest biodiversity in a single area. Biodiversity in this country spreads through a wider range of area as a result of its inter relationship with Indian peninsula. Significance of living beings, variety of forests and the natural freshness of the soil have created the bio land environment inherited to Sri Lanka and the mid country hills occupy a significant place in the fonnation of biodiversity. As we mentioned above Ambuluwawa peak situated in the center of Gampola Kingdom.

Biodiversity at Ambuluwawa has a more complexed expansion than that of the common examples of biodiversity. Ambuluwawa is a rock mountain but it is different trom rock mountains commonly seen in Sri Lanka . It is made of special type of rock known as "Inselberg" and is least subject to erosion caused by natural forces.
Experiments on the diversity of vegetation at Ambuluwawa are still in progress. According to the research work so far done, there are about 200 varieties of plants belonging to 80 plant families. The soil here is red or brown and belongs to the latezoic type. Medicinal plants known as 'iramusu ', ' muva kiriya ' and ' nawa handi ' are the common plants grown in the area.

Surrounding the mountain there are uniformly spread ever green forests, groves of blossomed flower plants and creepers which make the breeze around the mountain cool. Panoramic view of the mountain ranges is enticing and impressive. Clearly visible mountains such as Pidurutalagala in the east, Bathalegala rock in the west, Sri pada or adams peak in the south and Knackles range in the north enrich the scenic beauty of the place. Apart from these, mountain ranges associated with Alagalla and Kadugannawa, mountains like Hanthana and Hunnasgiri and mountains in Nuwara Eliya district are also clearly visible and they add beauty to the surroundings.
is no other summit than Ambuluwawa which is surrounded by a large number of mountain ranges of scenic beauty in Sri Lanka . The precious water of the Mahaweli the life blood of up country people and the long tracts of paddy fields fed by Mahaweli water make the
Ambuluwawa rock more attractive. Thousands of rival, houses and the crowded streets of Gampola town can be seen at a single place - Ambuluwawa and the view is unique and impressive.

Modern development of Ambuluwawa has converted it to a reserve for folk museum based on a clear cut vision. Three tanks built on the Summit provide water down to the bottom of the mountain. Stones being an essential element of the environment the Stone Park which displays a collection of stones is a new experience. Local and foreign scholars who wish to conduct research can have necessary facilities here in a calm and quiet atmosphere. The Bo sapling obtained from the Sri Maha Bodhi grows upon the summit offering a sense of tranquility to everybody.
Beautiful entrance, twin ponds, water parks and stone parks are unique features of the Ambuluwawa summit. Herb gardens and nature bring immense relaxation both to mind and body. Spine plantations and orchards are fine examples which tell us that local agro economy should be developed. International Conference Hall is equipped with all the necessary facilities for conferences. Area above the tank is a forest haunted by deers and sambhars making the environment lively. Roads with sleeps and precipices give you frightening experience. The sub-way below the summit gives you excitement. A restaurant is run in an enchanting location. "Govi Sevana" has been established for the farmers to congregate. An image house of the latest style is being constructed to place the Buddha statue made of stone. The observation room on the top of the mountain provides facilities to admire the superb panorama. An inscription has been installed explaining the objective of the biodiversity complex. Hon. D.M. Jayaratne, Minister of Post, Telecommunication and up country Development deserves nations homage for creating this wonderful biodiversity complex with relentless pursuit.