Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Arhant Mahinda, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa.

Sri Lankan Inscriptions

The earliest trace of epigraphy in South Asia is said to be found in Sri Lanka. A piece of pottery, dated to circa the 4th century B.C. has been discovered from the Anuradhapura citadel.

Architecture of Sri Lanka

The architecture of Sri lanka has a long history and shows diversed forms and styles, mainly infuenced by their religions and traditional beliefs.

Sri Lankan Antiquities

Inherited from the past, Sri Lanka has a large number of antiques with cultural and historical significance which reflects the glory of past era.

Visit Sri Lanka

Located in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island blessed with a large number of attractons which has made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Mudalidu Amarasekara

Mudalidu Amarasekara
Mudaliyar Abraham Christopher Gregory Sooriarachchi Amarasekara or A.C.G.S. Amarasekara (1883-1983) was a well known Sri Lankan painter and amateur magician (Gunawardena, 2003).

Life events
Born on 2 March 1883 in South Sri Lanka, as the son of Rev. Abraham Sooriyarachchi Amarasekera, a scholarly minister of the Church, Amarasekara completed his education at the Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa and St. Thomas’ College, Mutwal. In 1903, his watercolour painting named Kitten won the first prize at the Ceylon Society of Arts Annual Exhibition.

In 1907, after completing his schooling, Amarasekara joined H.W. Cave & Co. to study Commercial Art while serving at St. Joseph’s College and later Ladies College as an Art Master. He then joined the staff of the Ceylon Technical College, Maradana as a lecturer in fine arts. Later, he established Atelier, the first private art school in Sri Lanka to teach the western style of painting (Dharmasiri, 1990). Several pupils of this school such as Justin Deraniyagala and Harry Pieris later became renowned painters (Dharmasiri, 1990; Gunawardena, 2003). In 1959, Amarasekara became the President of the Ceylon Society of Arts. He also served as the President of the Ceylon Association of Magicians until his death in 1983.

Amarasekara has exhibited his works at the Royal Academy, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in London. He was awarded the fellowship of the British Empire in 1924 and was honoured with the title Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1939 for his services for the arts in Ceylon. He was appointed Gate Mudaliyar in 1952. 

Amarasekara married Mable Beatrice Pereira in 1908 and they had one son, Douglas Amarasekara.

Paintings
Some of the paintings by Amarasekara are listed below (Dharmasiri, 1990);
1) Kitten (1903) - Watercolour.
2) The Storm - Copper-plate etching.
3) Bullers Road, Colombo - Watercolour.
4) A Colombo Road - A watercolour painting exhibited at the Royal Academy and in Paris.
5) Bathers (1925) - A watercolour painting exhibited in London and Paris.
6) Steps to Shrine (1932) - A watercolour painting depicting the Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy.
7) Unemployed (1932) - Oil on canvas.
8) Devil Dancer's Daughter (or Yakeduru Diyaniya: 1936) - Oil on canvas. This painting is considered to be his most renowned pictorial composition. Exhibited in 1939 at the Royal Empire Society, London and between 1940 and 1942 at the Royal Academy. Now preserved in the National Art Gallery.

Amarasekara was also a popular portrait painter (Dharmasiri, 1990). Some of the personalities he painted include (Dharmasiri, 1990);
#) Sir James P. Obeysekara, J.P. (1925)
#) Mrs. D.S. Senanayaka (1926) - The wife of D.S. Senanayaka, the first Prime Minister of Ceylon (1948-1952).
#) Sir James Pieris (1929) - Member of Legislative Council.
#) Rev. A.S. Amarasekara (1930) - Father of Amarasekara.
#) Anagarika Dharmapala (1930) - Buddhist revivalist and a writer.
#) Sir Baron Jayatilaka (1931) - Member of Legislative Council from 1924 to 1931 and President of National Congress.
#) G.A. Willie (1935) - Member of Legislative Council and President of Ceylon Society of Arts from 1929 to 1942.
#) Sir Andrew Caldecott (1939) - 28th Governor of Ceylon (1937-1944).
#) Sir Francis Molamure (1950) - Speaker of State Council (1931) and House of Representatives (1947-1951).
#) Ven. Baddegama Piyarathana Nayaka Thera (1957) - Principal of Vidyodaya Pirivena from 1936 to 1958.
#) Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan - Member of Legislative Council from 1911 to 1924.
#) Ananda Samarakoon - Musician and author of Sri Lanka National Anthem.
#) A lady in red - This painting was discovered on 12 December 2021 by the curators of the National Art Gallery and conservation expert Jennifer Myers, hidden behind the portrait of "Ananda Samarakoon" during a conservation project.

References
1) Dharmasiri, A., 1990. Section V: Painting Modern Period (1815-1950). Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative series; Vol. V. Painting. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). pp.133-134.
2) Gunawardena, C.A., 2003. Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd. ISBN: 81-207-2536-0. p.14.

Disclaimer
By accessing this website, we hope that you are accepting the following disclaimer notice.
The information published in this biography has been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assume no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content on this page.
This page was last updated on 26 May 2022
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Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Gunadasa Amarasekara

Gunadasa Amarasekara (b. 1929) is a Sri Lankan poet, novelist, critic and short story writer (Dharmadasa, 1987; Gunawardena, 2003). He is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Sinhalese literature.

Life events
Born in 1929, Amarasekara grew up in Yatalamatta village in Galle (Gunawardena, 2003). He had his education at Nalanda College in Colombo and graduated from the Medical School at Peradeniya (Gunawardena, 2003). He did his postgraduate studies in Britain (Gunawardena, 2003).

Amarasekara served as a director, at the Institute of Dentistry from 1971 to 1987 (Gunawardena, 2003). In the 1980s, he entered the arena of political philosophy as a proponent of Jathika Chintanaya [(loosely translated as National Consciousness) Gunawardena, 2003; Kestler, 2014].

Publications
Novels
# Karumakkarayo (The Wretched, 1955: this novel was made into a film by Tissa Abeysekara in 1980)
# Yali Upannemi (I was born again, 1960)
# Gandhabba Apadanaya (1969)
# Asathya Kathawak (1981)
# Premaye Sathya Kathawa (1983)
# Gamanaka Mula (1988)
# Gamdorin Eliyata (1990)
# Vanka Giriyaka (1992) 
# Inimaga ihalata (Up the Ladder, 1992)
# Yali Maga Vetha (1993)
# Duru Rataka Dukata Kiriyaka (1999)

"Out of the Darkness", the English version of two of Amarasekara's novels, "Asathya Kathawak" (1981) and "Premaye Sathya Kathawa" (1983), won the Gratiaen Prize (The Gratiaen Prize is an annual literary prize for the best work of literary writing in English by a resident of Sri Lanka) for creative writing in English for 2002 for Vijitha Fernando, the translator and the author (Gunawardena, 2003).

Short stories
# Rathu Rosa Mala (The Red Rose, 1953)
# Jeewana Suwanda (1957)
# Ekama Kathawa (1972)
# Katha Pahak (1975)
# Gal Pilimaya saha Bol Pilimaya (The Stone Statue and the Hollow Statue, 1989)
# Marana Manchakaye Dutu Sihinaya (1993)

Amarasekara's short story Soma was selected to represent Sri Lanka in a world short story competition organized by the New York Herald Tribune. 

Poems
Bhavagita (Songs of Sentiment, 1955)
Uyanaka Hinda Litu Kavi (1957)
Amalbiso (1958)
Gurulu Watha (1972)
Avarjana (1972)
Asakda Kava (2003)
Mathakawatha (2014)

Plays
Pavuru Padanam (1970)
Kavandhayaka Kathandaraya (1991)

Literary criticism
# Vinodaya saha Vicharaya (Enjoyment and Criticism, 1955)
# Aliya Saha Andayo (1966)
Abuddassa Yugayak (A Topsy-Turvy Time, 1976)
# Anagarika Dharmapala Marxvaadida? (Is Anagarika Dharmapala Marxist?, 1980)
# Ganaduru Mediyama Dakinemi Arunalu (1988)
# Arunaluseren Arunodhyata (1991)
# Jathika Chinthanaya saha Jaathika Aarthikaya (National Ideology and National Economy, 1993)
# Sinhala Kawya Sampradaya (1996)

Awards
#  Honorary Doctor of Literature degree by the University of Peradeniya (2021)
 
References
1) Dharmadasa, K.N.O., 1987. Two faces of elitism: The changing critical stances of Gunadasa Amarasekara. Journal of South Asian Literature, 22(1), pp.75-84.
2) Gunawardena, C.A., 2003. Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd. ISBN: 81-207-2536-0. pp.12-13.
3) Kestler, R., 2014. Jātika Cintanaya und Sozialcharakter–Zum Einfl uss Erich Fromms auf Guṇadāsa Amarasēkara. pp.1-11.


Disclaimer
By accessing this website, we hope that you are accepting the following disclaimer notice.
The information published in this biography has been extracted from reliable sources but we, Lanka Pradeepa (lankapradeepa.com) assume no responsibility or liability for any inaccurate or outdated content on this page.
This page was last updated on 25 May 2022
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Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Sapugoda Sri Maha Viharaya

Sapugoda Sri Maha Viharaya
Sapugoda Sri Maha Viharaya (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Sapugoda Sri Maha Viharaya (Sinhala: සපුගොඩ ශ්‍රී මහා විහාරය) is a Buddhist temple situated in Massalgoda village near Beruwala in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple was established by the Buddhist monk named Sapugoda Ananda Thera who moved to Massalgoda in Beruwala during the reign of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha (1798-1815 A.D.). As a make of respect for the Thera, this temple is named as Sapugoda Viharaya. 

Image house
The image house is the main monument of this temple with an archaeological value. As is mentioned on the wall, it has been constructed in the latter part of the 19th century. Kandyan styled Buddha statues and paintings showing the features of the low-country art tradition are found in this image house.

An old Vahalkada (entrance gate) and the remains of a dilapidated Kabok (laterite) wall are also found within the temple premises.

A protected site
The ancient image house of Sapugoda Sri Maha Viharaya in Massalgoda in Beruwala Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1401. 8 July 2005.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 24 May 2022
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Monday, 23 May 2022

Makandawa Forest Reserve

Makandawa Forest Reserve (Sinhala: මාකන්දාව රක්ෂිතය) is an evergreen lowland rainforest situated in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. Extending in an area of about 195 ha., it is located in close proximity to the Kitulgala town which is a major ecotourism destination in the country (see: Adventure Sports in Kitulgala) and also near the Kelani Ganga river. 

The rainforest was declared in 1903 as a reserve (Gunawardena et al., 2020). Presently, it is maintained by the Forest Department of Sri Lanka as a part of the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve System which was established to protect the Kelani Ganga watershed (Gunawardena et al., 2020). The average annual rainfall of the forest area is around 3,698 mm (Gunawardena et al., 2020).

References
1) Gunawardena, M.P., Peeris, M.K.P., Karunananda, H.T.A.R., Dharmarathna, R.D.C.C.A., Dias, S.N.C.L., Ariyawansha, K.A.T.D., Wijerathne, A.E.W.M.D.V.B. and Weerakkody, W.A.G.K., 2020. Plant diversity in Makandawa Forest Reserve, Kithulgala, Sri Lanka. pp.52-58.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 23 May 2022
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Sunday, 22 May 2022

Sri Pali College

Sri Pali College (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී පාලී විද්‍යාලය) is a government mixed school situated in Horana town in Kalutara District, Sri Lanka.

History
The school was established by Wilmot A. Perera, a well-known planter, philanthropist and politician, by following the model of Shanti Niketan, the great Indian institution of Oriental Studies (Abeyawardana, 2002). The foundation stone for the school was laid in 1934 by the great Indian poet and Noble Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) who also named the institution "Sri Palee" (Abeyawardana, 2002). The Tamarind tree planted by him on this occasion is still found on the premises of the school (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Sri Palee was registered as a government-assisted school in 1936 (Abeyawardana, 2002). Dancing, music, painting, drumming, textile, carpentry, and metalwork were some of the subjects taught at the school. The government took over the control of the school later (Abeyawardana, 2002).
References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  pp.113-114.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 22 May 2022
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Saturday, 21 May 2022

Ratnapura St. Aloysius College

St. Aloysius College (Sinhala: ශාන්ත ඇලෝසියස් විද්‍යාලය, රත්නපුර) is a government boys' school situated in the middle of Ratnapura town, Sri Lanka.

History
The school was established in 1888 as St. Peters Bilingual School by Father Pierre Bolin of the Ratnapura Catholic Mission (Abeyawardana, 2002). By 1893, the academic activities of the school had been stopped but in 1898, a new school named St. Peters & St. Pauls was commenced (Abeyawardana, 2002). However, that school was registered in 1900 as a bilingual school by the name St. Aloysius (Abeyawardana, 2002). The government took over the school in 1960 (Abeyawardana, 2002).

Facilities
At present, the school has common facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, playground etc. The Annual Big Match of the school is held every year against Sivali Central College, Ratnapura.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2002. Heritage of Sabaragamuwa: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Sabaragamuwa Development Bank and The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-077-7.  pp.18-19.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 21 May 2022
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Friday, 20 May 2022

Bees of Sri Lanka

Bees in Sri Lanka
Being pollinators, bees have become the most useful group of insects and there are over 20,000 species of described bees in the world (Karunaratne & Edirisinghe, 2012). Of them, about 152 species belonging to four (of the seven) families Colletidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae and Apidae are found in Sri Lanka (Karunaratne et al., 2005; Wijesekara, 2001).

Dalla Torre (1896) is considered the first one who recorded bees in the country (Karunaratne & Edirisinghe, 2012). He was followed by C.T. Bingham (1897) who documented the keys for 42 species of bees in 15 genera from Sri Lanka (Karunaratne & Edirisinghe, 2008; Wijesekara, 2001). Thereafter, investigations made by Smithsonian Institution, Washington during the 1978-1998 period and by several other taxonomists in the modern period resulted in the identification and documentation of 152 bee species in 38 genera and four families (Karunaratne & Edirisinghe, 2012; Karunaratne et al., 2005). 

Attribution

References
1) Karunaratne, W.I.P. and Edirisinghe, J.P., 2012. The Taxonomy and Conservation Status of the Bees  (Hymenoptera: Apoidea)  in Sri Lanka. The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka. Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. Weerakoon, D.K. & S. Wijesundara Eds., Ministry of Environment, Colombo, Sri Lanka. pp.65-99.
2) Karunaratne, W.I.P. and Edirisinghe, J.P., 2008. Keys for the identification of common bees of Sri Lanka. J.Natn.Sci.Foundation Sri Lanka 2008 36 (1). pp.69-89.
3) Karunaratne, W.A.I.P., Edirisinghe, J.P. and Gunatilleke, C.S., 2005. Floral relationships of bees in selected areas of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Journal of Science, 34, pp.27-45.
4) Wijesekara, A., 2001. An annotated list of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Apiformis) of Sri Lanka. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie, 144(1), pp.145-158.


This page was last updated on 20 May 2022
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Thursday, 19 May 2022

Land Snails of Sri Lanka

Land Snails of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is situated in one of the world’s 34 "biodiversity hotspots". Its land snail fauna is very diverse and at least 80% of the 253 recorded species are endemic (Raheem et al., 2008; Ranawana, 2006; Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). These include 5 endemic and relict land snail genera (Ranawana, 2006). Land snails are not a monophyletic group and they comprise about 65% of the snail fauna in the country (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

The highest diversity and endemism of land snails are recorded in the rainforests of the southwestern part of the country,  the so-called wet zone (Naggs et al., 2005). Many are confined to the mostly small remaining areas of fragmented rainforest where snail endemism is close to 100% (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

Samuel Woodward (1856) is considered the first to recognise the distinctive composition of Sri Lanka's snail fauna (Naggs & Raheem, 2005).

Classification
Snails along with slugs are a part of the phyla Molluscs, the second most diverse animal phyla after Arthropods (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). Class Gastropoda is the largest class of Molluscs and it is divided into subclasses Prosobranchia, Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata.

Of the 253 species of the land snails of Sri Lanka, 166 belong to the subclass of Pulmonata and are represented by 28 families (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). The remaining 87 species belong to the subclass Prosobranchia which is further represented by 4 families (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012). The families Ariophantidae with 50 species and Glessulidae with 22 species are the largest of Pulmonata while the family Cyclophoridae with 54 species is the largest of the Prosobranchia (Ranawana & Priyadarshana, 2012).

Attribution
1) A snail family by Jestin peter is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Naggs, F. and Raheem, D., 2005. Sri Lankan snail diversity: faunal origins and future prospects. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement, 68, pp.11-29.
3) Naggs, F., Raheem, D., Ranawana, K. and Mapatuna, Y., 2005. The Darwin Initiative project on Sri Lankan land snails: patterns of diversity in Sri Lankan forests. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 12, pp.23-29.
4) Raheem, D.C., Naggs, F., Preece, R.C., Mapatuna, Y., Kariyawasam, L. and Eggleton, P., 2008. Structure and conservation of Sri Lankan land‐snail assemblages in fragmented lowland rainforest and village home gardens. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(4), pp.1019-1028.
5) Ranawana, K.B., 2006. Land snails in Sri Lanka. CNB Bambaradeniya, ed, pp.84-99.
6) Ranawana, K.B., Priyadarshana, T.G.M., 2012. The Taxonomy and Conservation Status of the Land snails in Sri Lanka. The National Red List 2012 of Sri Lanka. Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora. Weerakoon, D.K. & S. Wijesundara Eds., Ministry of Environment, Colombo, Sri Lanka. pp.65-99.


This page was last updated on 19 May 2022
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