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Sri Lanka to promote 'Ramayana' sites to attract tourists

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Dec 26, 2007

Colombo (eTN) - Tourists visiting Sri Lanka can now have a feel of the 'Ramayana' as the government has decided to develop the sites associated with the epic for which it has sought India's assistance.

Hindu devout and those interested in mythology would get an opportunity to visit the sites in the island nation which the epic suggests was ruled by the great demon-king Ravana.

A team of Sri Lankan tourism department is now in India to resurrect and sequence with impeccable accuracy the revered epic.

"Our team is currently in India to study the project. We have sent our experts to seek assistance in India for developing the sites in Sri Lanka which once witnessed (events of) the historic Ramayana," Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTD) chief S Kalaiselvam told PTI.

The tourism authorities are planning sound and light show, proper logistic facilities and other amenities at the sites to attract Indians and other tourists from world over but, Kalaiselvam said, nothing has been finalised yet.

"We have not yet decided on the knitty-gritty of the Ramayana site package," he said.

According to the Ramayana, Ravana abducted Sita to Sri Lanka in a flying machine called "Pushpaka Vimanam" by the Hindus and "Dandu Monara Yanthraya" by the Sinhalese Buddhists.

Detailed documents prepared by the Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry said the "Pushpaka Vimanam" could have landed at Werangatota, about 10 km from Mahiyangana, east of the hill station of Nuwara Eliya in central Sri Lanka.

Sita was then taken to Goorulupota, now known as Sitakotuwa, where Ravana's wife Mandodari lived. Seetakotuwa is about 10 km from Mahiyangana on the road to Kandy.

Sita was housed in a cave at Sita Eliya on a highway that links Colombo with Nuwara Eliya, another exotic hill station.

A temple dedicated to her exists there. According to the document, Sita is believed to have taken bath in the mountain stream flowing beside the temple.

These are not the only sites in Sri Lanka associated with the Ramayana, the Tourism Ministry document said.

North of Nuwara Eliya, in Matale district, is Yudhaganapitiya, where the Rama-Ravana battle took place.

According to a Sinhalese legend, Dunuwila is the place from where Rama shot the "Bramshira" arrow (Brahmastra) that killed Ravana. Ravana was making battle plans in a place called Lakgala when the killer arrow struck him.

Since Ravana was a Brahmin, it was considered a sin to kill him, even in battle. To wash off the sin, Rama prayed at the Munneswaram temple in Chilaw, 80 km north of Colombo.

Rumassala and Ramboda, also in the tea-growing central highlands, are associated with Hanuman. Believers say that Hanuman dropped the Dronagiri mountain, which he brought from the Himalayas, at Rumassala. At Ramboda, known for its massive waterfalls, a temple for Hanuman has now sprung up.

The documents state that at the Buddha Vihara at Kelani, near Colombo, there is a representation of Rama handing over the "captured" Sri Lanka to Ravana's brother Vibheeshana, who sided with him in his conflict with Ravana.

hindu.com

Sri Lanka to promote 'Ramayana' sites to attract tourists
exoticindiaart.com



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