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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Kshetrarama Purana Viharaya, Ahungalla

Kshetrarama Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Ahungalla in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established in 1891 (Ranchagoda, 2015). Some old paintings belonging to the maritime style of the Kandyan art tradition are found in the inner chamber of the image house (Ranchagoda, 2015).

A protected site
The ancient Bhikku shrine and the Dagoba with the Vatadageya and the Vishnu Temple within the precincts of Middharamulla Kshethrarama Purana Vihara situated within the Grama Niladhari Divison No. 18-A-Ahungalla in the Balapitiya Divisional Secretary Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008. 

References
1) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.18-19.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.524.
 
Location Map
This page was last updated on 31 August 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

Monday, August 30, 2021

Mihiripenna Ariyakara Viharaya

Ariyakara Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Mihiripenna Talpe village in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to have been established in 1778. According to folklore, an aristocratic Dutch lady who was suffering from paralysis had taken treatments from a local doctor and subsequently got cured. Becoming happy, the lady gifted a land at Mihiripenna to the doctor as a deed of gratitude. That land was later bestowed for Buddhist monks and the present Ariyakara temple is said to have been built on it.

The name Mihiripenna is mentioned in ancient Sandesha Kavyas (message poems) composed in Kotte Period such as Mayura, Thisara, Paravi, Kovul (Ranchagoda, 2015). It is said that this temple was known in ancient times by several names like Padumaramaya, Piyumaramaya, Pushparamaya etc. According to the belief of some, the limestone for building the ramparts of Galle Fort has been taken from Lansiyawatta, an area located near this temple.

In 1796, a Buddhist monk named Dhammarathana Thera began constructing the components of the present temple. The Dhamma Shalawa (the preaching hall) was built in 1807 (Ranchagoda, 2015) and the Stupa was built in 1810. 

Paintings & sculptures
Although many have been repainted or altered, some old paintings belonging to the maritime style of the Kandyan tradition are found in the inner chamber of the image house (Ranchagoda, 2015). The standing Buddha statue in the image house shows features of the Kandyan art tradition (Ranchagoda, 2015). Some paintings depicting Jataka tales such as Mahasara, Nigrodhamiga are found on the walls of the preaching hall (Ranchagoda, 2015).

References
1) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.32-33.
 
Location Map
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Eluketiya Bimbarama Viharaya

Eluketiya Bimbarama Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Eluketiya village in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

History
This temple is said to be the place where the bronze statue for Yatagala Viharaya was made during the reign of King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe [(1798-1815 A.D.) Ranchagoda, 2015]. The wooden octagonal-shaped Pirith Mandapaya (Pirith chanting pavilion) of this temple is considered a special creation (Ranchagoda, 2015). It is said to have been created in 1870.

References
1) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. p.32.
 
Location Map
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Ambagahapitiya Mula Maha Viharaya

Ambagahapitiya Mula Maha Viharaya or Welithota Mula Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Welithota village in Galle District, Sri Lanka. It is the headquarters of the Amarapura sect of Buddhist monks (Gunawardena, 2005).

History
This temple was established in an aristocratic house called Ambagahapitiya Walawwa in around 1750 (Ranchagoda, 2015). It is considered the first such kind of house in southern Sri Lanka that was later converted into a Buddhist temple (Ranchagoda, 2015). The Amarapura sect of Buddhist monks was established at this temple in 1803.

References
1) Gunawardena, C.A., 2005. Encyclopedia of Sri Lanka. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p.36.
2) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.19-20.
 
Location Map
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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Rahath Gal Vehera, Embalawa

Embalawa Rahath Gal Vehera or Maluwewatta Purana Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Maluwawatta village in Galle District, Sri Lanka.

History
Available archaeological evidence proves that the history of this site runs back to the medieval Anuradhapura era. It is believed by locals that this is the ancient Embalawa Rahath Gal Vehera which is mentioned in Sinhala Bodhivamsa where the Sela Chaitya existed and one of the 32 saplings of Sri Maha Bodhi was planted (Ranchagoda, 2015).

Recently, ruins of a Pilimageya (an image house) that belonged to the post-Kandyan era and a structure believed to be a Bodhighara (a Bodhi-tree shrine) of the Dambadeniya Period were unearthed from this premises by the Department of Archaeology. It is accepted that this temple received the patronage of Devapathiraja, a minister of King Parakramabahu II of Dambadeniya [(1236-1271 A.D.) Ranchagoda, 2015]. As happened to the other temples in the area, this Buddhist site may also have been destroyed by the hands of the Portuguese who controlled the coastal areas of Sri Lanka during the 16-17th centuries A.D. (Ranchagoda, 2015).

In ancient times, this temple is said to have been connected with nearby Kothduwa Viharaya through a walking pathway (Ranchagoda, 2015). The present image house of this temple has been built in 1726 (Ranchagoda, 2015). H.C.P. Bell, the first Commissioner of Archaeology visited this place and reported about an illegible inscription at this place (Bell, 1913). In the 19th century, this place was inhabited by Buddhist monks. Many archaeological ruins located in the vicinity of this temple have been destroyed or displaced due to the activities of newly colonized people.
 
References
1) Bell, H.C.P., 1913. Galapate Vihara inscription. Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. pp.lxix-lxxvii.
2) Ranchagoda, T. O., 2015. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Galla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-53-4. pp.14-15.
 
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Phra Phuttha Sihing

Phra Phuttha Sihing
Phra Phuttha Sihing (also known as the Phra Sing, Sihinga Buddha, Singhalese Buddha, Sihalapatima) is an ancient image of the Gautama Buddha currently placed in Bangkok National Museum, Thailand. It is considered one of the most famous Buddha statues in Thailand (Chiu, 2017).

History
The story about Phra Phuttha Sihing is mainly found in two Thai chronicles, viz; Jinakalamali, and Phra Buddha Sihing Chronicle (Tambiah, 1982). The Jinakalamali chronicle is said to have been written in the second decade of the 16th century (1515-1516 A.D.) during the reign of King Tilakapanattu of Chiengmai [(1495-1525 A.D.) Tambiah, 1982]. The Phra Buddha Sihing Chronicle was written in the 15th century (ca. 1417 A.D.) by a Buddhist monk named Bodhiramsi from Chiang Mai or Lumphun (Stratton, 2004; Tambiah, 1982).
 
According to the Jinakalamali chronicle,  this bronze image was cast in Sri Lanka around 156 A.D. and later brought to Thailand (Stratton, 2004). After that, it was placed and revered in a number of locations in the country including Nakhon Si Thammarat, Jayanada, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Kamphaeng, Phet, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen (Stratton, 2004). 

Prince Damrong, an administrator and a writer of the reign of King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910 A.D.) mentions the first landing of Phra Phuttha Sihing on Thailand at Nakhon Si Thammarat and its subsequent removal to Sukhothai by King Ramkhamhaeng [(1279-1298 A.D.) Tambiah, 1982]. Then its removal to Ayutthaya in 1378, to Kamphaeng in 1382, to Chiang Rai in 1388, to Chiang Mai in 1407, and finally to Bangkok in 1795 (Tambiah, 1982).

Three Buddha images?
The old Phar Phuttha Sihing statue that is mentioned in chronicles is now unidentifiable (Stratton, 2004; Tambiah, 1982). However, three (or six) statues in Thailand today claim the title; one at Hor Phrabhut Sihing, Nakhon Si Thammarat, one at Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, and the one now placed in the Bangkok National Museum (Chiu, 2017; Stratton, 2004; Tambiah, 1982). Of them, the last statue is popularly identified as the Phra Phuttha Sihing (Stratton, 2004; Tambiah, 1982). 

The statue at Bangkok National Museum
Phra Phuttha Sihing
This statue is considered one of the finest examples of the Lan Na statuary (Stratton, 2004). It has been sculpted in classic Lan Na and Sukhothai style but using Singhalese (Sri Lankan) iconography (Stratton, 2004). The long fingers on hands are the same length as found in many classic Lan Na and post-classic Sukhothai images from the mid-15th century (Stratton, 2004). The hooked nose and full cheeks are characteristics of the Sukhothai images (Stratton, 2004).
 
The seating position of most of the statues of Lan Na and Sukhothai are Virasana and Maravijaya (Stratton, 2004). However, the Phra Phuttha Sihing statue deviates from those. The hands of this statue are quietly folded in meditation, an attitude commonly associated with the seated Buddha statues of Sri Lanka (Stratton, 2004).

The original provenance of this statue is uncertain (Stratton, 2004). It is believed that this statue has its origin in the North of Thailand (Stratton, 2004). According to Stratton, the statue presently kept in the museum is probably the one that reappeared in Chiang Mai during the reign of King Tilokraj [(1441-1487 A.D.) Stratton, 2004]. The style of this statue is closely related to the Lan Na Thai Ping I type (Stratton, 2004).
References
1) Chiu, A.S., 2017. The Buddha in Lanna. University of Hawaii Press. p.20.
2) Stratton, C., 2004. Buddhist Sculpture of Northern Thailand. Serindia Publications, Inc. pp.89,91,274-275,279-280.
3) Tambiah, S.J., 1982. Famous Buddha Images and the Legitimation of Kings: The Case of the Sinhala Buddha (Phra Sihing) in Thailand. Res: Anthropology and aesthetics, 4(1), pp.5-19.
 
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Friday, August 27, 2021

Danthure Raja Maha Viharaya

Danthure Purana Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Danture village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The area where the present temple stands is known as Danthapura in ancient times (Abeyawardana, 2004). It is believed that this locality had been gifted to Prince Dantha who brought the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Kithsirimewan [(304-332 A.D.) Abeyawardana, 2004]. It is said Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala had stayed here for seven weeks before they left for Anuradhapura (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). To honour this event, King Kitsirimewan constructed a temple at this site and bestowed it to Buddhist monks (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). 
 
Campaign of Danthure
The battle between King Wimaladarmasuriya I (1590-1604 A.D.) and the Portuguese occurred at Danture in 1594 (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The Tempita Viharaya
The Tempita Viharaya or the two-storey image house of this temple is said to have been built during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe [(1747-1782 A.D.) Rajapakse, 2016]. It has two parts; the Ihala Viaharaya (upper image house) and the Pahala Viharaya [(lower image house) De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009]. The upper image house has been built on stone columns while the lower image house on a raised platform on the ground floor (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The inside walls of both image houses are adorned with paintings of the Kandyan Period.

A protected site
The Tempita Viharaya in the premises of Danture Raja Maha Vihara situated in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Yatinuwara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 4 May 1971.

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.91.
2) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4. p.23.
3) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.88-89.
3) The Government Gazette notification: No: 14958. 4 May 1971.

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Diyakelinawala Kithsirimewan Viharaya

Diyakelinawala Kithsirimewan Raja Maha Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Imbulmalgama village in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
According to local tradition, this temple has been built during the days of King Valagamba (103, 89-77 B.C.) and restored during the reign of King Kithsirimewan [(c.304-332 A.D.) Rajapakse, 2016]. The name of this temple is mentioned in the Nampotha, an ancient text written after the 14th century.
 
The sculptures and paintings in the cave temple indicate artistic features of the Kandyan Period (Rajapakse, 2016).

A protected site
The ancient Buddhist shrine situated in Muruthalawa Diyakelinawa Raja Maha Vihara premises in Lower Dodamwela Grama Niladhari Division in Yatinuwara Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.
 
References
1) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.86-87.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.524.

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Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal (meaning: The Palace of Winds or The Palace of Breeze) is an iconic palace situated in Bari Chaupar in Jaipur, India. It is a five-storey pyramid-shaped monument with 953 small casements with screened windows called Jharokhas (Devashish, 2011). It forms part of the east wall of the City Palace Complex. Today, Hawa Mahal has become one of the most recognizable monuments in Jaipur city.

History
This palace building was constructed in 1799 by Swai Pratap Singh, a Kachwaha ruler of Jaipur from 1778 to 1803 (Devashish, 2011; Hoskote, 2020; Taknet, 2016; Tillotson, 2006). He was a grandson of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1699-1743 A.D.), the founder of Jaipur. Hawa Mahal was built as a majestic facade and designed so that the wind blowing from the west blew through all five storeys of the structure (Taknet, 2016). Lal Chand Usta, the chief architect of Hawa Mahal was awarded a Jagir (a large grant) for this magnificent work (Taknet, 2016). Gopal Swami Khetanchi, a popular artist at the time is said to have painted the structure (Taknet, 2016).

Located on the periphery of the palace compound, on the boundary between the royal and public space, the palace has been exclusively designed for the royal queens who could watch proceedings, fairs, festivals, and everyday life on the road through the Jharokhas (Devashish, 2011; Hoskote, 2020; Tillotson, 2006). As it is connected to Zenana (women's chambers) through long screened latticed tunnels, loyal ladies could ensure their privacy since they had to obey the strict rules of Purdah, which forbade them from appearing in public without face coverings (Taknet, 2016).
 
The palace building
Built at an elevated location as compared to its neighbouring buildings, this pink sandstone five-storey palace building resembles a honeycomb structure (Devashish, 2011; Tillotson, 2006). It is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices. The top three storeys are just a room deep while the base floors are connected to the rooms and courtyards of the City Palace (Devashish, 2011). There are no stairs to reach the upper floors but ramps. The front section of the building has no ornamentation but the back, the section that faces the public space, has many elaborate and decorative elements.

The first storey of this building is called Sharad Mandir and the autumn celebrations are said to have been conducted here. The second storey is called Ratan Mandir because of the dazzling glasswork on its walls. The third which is known as Vichitra Mandir is said to have been used by the Maharaja to worship his deity. The fourth and fifth stories of this building are called Prakash Mandir and Hawa Mandir respectively.

Part of this palace building has now been converted into a museum.
References
1) Devashish, D., 2011. Tourism marketing. Pearson Education India. p.5.
2) Hoskote, A., 2020. Heirloom Treasures: The Cultural Tapestry of India: A compilation of selected articles from India Beckons: Volume 1. Notion Press. ISBN: 9781648996900. pp.23-
3) Taknet, D.K., 2016. Jaipur: Gem of India. Lustra Print Process Private Limited, New Delhi. pp.198-203.
4) Tillotson, G.H.R., 2006. Jaipur Nama: Tales from the Pink City. Penguin Books India. pp.68-69.
 
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Purana Dharmagara Viharaya

Purana Dharmagara Viharaya
Photo credit: Google street view

Purana Dharmagara Viharaya is a Buddhist temple situated in Henawala near Kadugannawa town in Kandy District, Sri Lanka.

History
The credit of building this temple belongs to a village chief named Sundara Police Muladeniya, who lived during the Kandyan Period (Rajapakse, 2016).

A protected site
The Dhamma discourse hall and the Bhikku dwelling belonging to Kadugannawa Dharmagara ancient Vihara premises in Grama Niladhari Division No. 362-Kadugannawa in Yatinuwara Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.
 
References
1) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.84-85.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.525.

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Church of Santa Engrácia

Church of Santa Engrácia
Church of Santa Engrácia (widely known as the National Pantheon) is an ancient monument in Lisbon, Portugal. It is located on a hill in the eastern part of the historical centre of Lisbon (Santa Engra ́cia parish) and in the vicinity of the River Tagus. It was originally a church but later converted into the National Pantheon in which the tombs of Portugal’s major historic celebrities are placed.

History
The present building is located on the original site of the church of Santa Engrácia. It was founded in 1568, by Princess Maria (1521-1577 A.D.), daughter of King Manuel I (1495-1521 A.D.), following the plan of Nicolau de Frias (Figueiredo et al., 2010). However, nothing remains that dates to this time (Figueiredo et al., 2010).
 
At the end of the 17th century, the reconstruction of the church building was commenced by the royal architect João Antunes but it was halted by his death in 1712 (Ferreira & Cabello, 2008; Figueiredo et al., 2010). After that, the church remained without a roof until the 20th century and therefore, it was never used as a place of worship. The unfinished church became a Portuguese synonym for something that seems never-ending (Figueiredo et al., 2010; Hatton, 2018). 
 
In 1916, the building was officially designated National Pantheon but it began to serve this purpose fifty years later (1966) after several tombs were transferred here from the Jerónimos Monastery (Ferreira & Cabello, 2008). During the commemorations of the 30 years of the Estado Novo (‘New State’) regime in 1956, a decision was taken to open a competition for a program to finish and adapt the building as the national pantheon but it was António de Oliveira Salazar, the leader of the conservative regime of Estado Novo, decided to finish the works by 1966 (Figueiredo et al., 2010). As a result of this, the unfinished church building was completed to the present state with a newly added dome (Ferreira & Cabello, 2008).

The building
This building is considered an example of a 17th century baroque in Portugal (Ferreira & Cabello, 2008). It is also the first example of the strong Italian influence on this style in the country (Ferreira & Cabello, 2008). Presently the building has been listed as one of the National Monuments of Portugal.

Attribution

References
1) Ferreira, E.; Cabello, J., 2008. Lisbon: A Complete Visitorʼs Guide to the City: Discover the Cityʼs Historical Monuments and Art. Casa Editrice Bonechi. ISBN: 9788847623194. pp.17-18.
2) Figueiredo, C., Aires-Barros, L. and Neto, M.J., 2010. The church of Santa Engrácia (the National Pantheon, Lisbon, Portugal): building campaigns, conservation works, stones and pathologies. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 331(1), pp.183-193.
3) Hatton, B., 2018. Queen of the Sea: A History of Lisbon. Hurst & Company. p.79.
 
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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Uluru, Australia's Iconic Red Rock

Uluru, Australia's Iconic Red Rock
Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) is an iconic red rock situated in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Australia. It is an inselberg made of sandstone about half a billion years old. The rock stands 348 m high and has a circumference of 9.4 km (Bickersteth et al., 2020). It is home to a number of rare plants and animals as well as to important spiritual sites and caves containing ancient paintings.

Uluru together with Kata Tjuta, a group of large rock formations located about 25 km from Uluru, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 by the name Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park (UNESCO Ref: 447).

History
This rock is culturally associated with the Anangu people (includes Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people), the traditional landowners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009). They have lived and managed this area for many millennia and archaeological evidence shows that Aboriginal people have inhabited here for more than 30,000 years (Bickersteth et al., 2020).
 
Early travellers & naming the rock
Long before the arrival of Europeans in Australia, the rock is known among the local Anangu people (the Pitjantjatjara people) as the Uluru, a proper noun from the Pitjantjatjara language which doesn’t have an English translation (Twidale, 2009). It was sighted from afar by Giles in 1872 (Twidale, 2009). The explorer William Gosse, the first non-Aboriginal person visited Uluru in 1873, named it Ayers Rock in honour of the then Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers (Bickersteth et al., 2020; Everingham et al., 2021; Hueneke, & Baker, 2009; Twidale, 2009). In that same year, Ernest Giles became the first European to climb Uluru, together with Khamran, an Afghan camel driver (Everingham et al., 2021).
 
The Ayers Rock was the widely used name until 1993 when the rock was officially renamed "Ayers Rock / Uluru", the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory. In 2002, the order of the dual names was officially reversed to "Uluru / Ayers Rock" at the request of the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Spring. 
 
From a National Park to a World Heritage Site
Rock arts, Uluru
Before the 1950s, Uluru was almost unknown except to Anangu people and the first vehicular track to Uluru is said to have been not built until 1948 (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009). Located about 450 km southwest of the then tiny regional centre of Alice Springs, travelling to this site was difficult in the early years of tourism because of its remoteness from population centres (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009). In 1958, the Uluru rock along with Kata Tjuta was declared as a national park of Australia and as a result of the road improvements, airline advertising and exposure in the popular press, the number of tourists to the site rose significantly by the early 1960s (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009).
 
In 1983, the Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people, by the Australian Government with an official event known as Handback held in 1985 (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009; James, 2007). The park gained UNESCO World Heritage recognition in 1987 (as a natural heritage) and again in 1994 [(as a cultural heritage) Everingham et al., 2021].

Presently, Anangu people and the Federal Government agency Parks Australia co-manage the national park (Hueneke, & Baker, 2009).

Climbing
Uluru has been a sacred place to Anangu people for tens of thousands of years and climbing Uluru was not generally permitted under Tjukurpa, the law and culture of the Anangu people. However, since the  1950s, people who came to visit the site climbed the rock against the wishes of Anangu people who do not want visitors to climb it (James, 2007). After a number of deaths occurred due to falls, climb posts with a chain were installed on the rock in 1966 and again in 1976, to make the climb safer (Bickersteth et al., 2020).

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park's Management Plan that was released in 2010 had signalled the authorities' intention to work towards closing the climb (Everingham et al., 2021). On 1 November 2017, the Board of Management of the park voted unanimously to prohibit climbing Uluru (Bickersteth et al., 2020). The ban took effect on 26 October 2019, on the 34th anniversary of the Handback (Everingham et al., 2021).
 
Geology, topography & climate
Uluru is one of the three most prominent inselbergs in central Australia. It is a monolith of arkosic sandstone, a mixture of quartz and orthoclase feldspar, set amidst a flat plain of heavy soils (Bickersteth et al., 2020). It is lozenge-shaped in plan, steep-sided in profile, and with a bevelled crest (Twidale, 2009). The rock stands 877 m a.s.l. and rises to a height at its summit of 340 m above the surrounding plain (Bickersteth et al., 2020; Twidale, 2009). It has a circumference of 9.4 km (Bickersteth et al., 2020).

In summer, Uluru has a hot desert climate with temperatures as high as 47°C during the day. But during winter the overnight temperature drops to −7°C. The area receives an average rainfall of about 295 mm per year (Masters, 1993).

Flora & fauna
As mentioned in the Government website (web: Uluru- Kata Tjuta National Park), there are a lot of animal species in the park, including 21 different mammals, 73 reptiles, 178 birds and 4 desert-dwelling frogs. Also, more than 400 different plant species are growing in the park and many of them have traditional uses as bush foods, tools or medicine.

Attribution
2) This image (Uluru petroglyphs VIII) has been released into the public domain by its creator, Wmpearl.

References
1) Bickersteth, J., West, D. and Wallis, D., 2020. Returning Uluru. Studies in Conservation, 65(sup1), pp.P9-P17.
2) Everingham, P., Peters, A. and Higgins-Desbiolles, F., 2021. The (im) possibilities of doing tourism otherwise: The case of settler-colonial Australia and the closure of the climb at Uluru. Annals of Tourism Research, 88, 103178. pp.1-11.
3) Hueneke, H. and Baker, R., 2009. Tourist behaviour, local values, and interpretation at Uluru:‘The sacred deed at Australia’s mighty heart’. GeoJournal, 74(5), pp.477-490.
4) James, S., 2007. Constructing the climb: Visitor decision‐making at Uluru. Geographical Research, 45(4), pp.398-407.
5) Masters, P., 1993. The effects of fire-driven succession and rainfall on small mammals in spinifex grassland at Uluru National Park, Northern Territory. Wildlife Research, 20(6), pp.803-813.
6) Twidale, C.R., 2009. Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas): Inselbergs of Central Australia. In Geomorphological landscapes of the world. Springer, Dordrecht. pp. 321-332.
 
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Nelumwewa Hot Springs

Nelumwewa Thermal Springs (or Nelumwewa hot water springs) site is one of the major geothermal springs areas in Sri Lanka and is located in Nelumwewa in Polonnaruwa District.

Hot water springs
Geothermal springs are the natural springs that contain hot water (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011). Commonly, thermal springs in the world are associated with volcanic terrain but the hot springs located in Sri Lanka are not related to volcanic activities as the island is not in an active volcanic or tectonic region (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011; Premasiri et al., 2006). Therefore, the waters can get heat either from subsurface heat sources such as large bodies of hot rocks or through deep percolation under the geochemical gradient of the earth (Adikaram & Dharmagunawardhane, 2013). If these waters find weak structural discontinuities leading upward they rise to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011).

Nelumwewa springs
The Nelumwewa springs occur close to the boundary between Highland Complex (HC) and Vijayan Complex [(VC) Kumara & Dharmagunawardhane, 2014]. This boundary is a sub-horizontal ductile thrust zone where a number of geologic features are identified. They include major mineralization occurrences such as magnetite, serpentinite, gold, corundum, and calcite as well as formations of hot water springs (Widanagamage, 2011).

The area where the springs are located falls within the dry zone lowlands and has an average elevation of about 30 m above mean sea level. The surface temperature of the spring water is about 61 °C (Kumara et al., 2014).

References
1) Adikaram, A.M.N.M., Dharmagunawardhane, H.A., 2013. Diurnal temperature variations in thermal water springs: A case study at Mahaoya thermal spring cluster, Sri Lanka.
2) Kumara, S.M.P.G.S., Chandrabose, M. and Dharmagunawardane, H.A., 2014. Geothermal Power Generating Capacity of Nelumwewa Thermal Spring Region, Sri Lanka: A Volumetric Assessment. Proceedings of the 30th Technical Session of Geological Society of Sri Lanka. p.16.
3) Kumara, S.M.P.G.S. and Dharmagunawardhane, H.A., 2014. A. geostructural model for the Nelumwewa thermal spring: north-central province, Sri Lanka. Journal of Geological Society of Sri Lanka, 16, pp.19-27.
4) Piyadasa, R.U.K. and Ariyasena, P.R.E.R., 2011. Hydrogeological Characteristics in the Geothermal Springs in Sri Lanka (A case study of the Madunagala and Kinniya geothermal springs).
5) Premasiri, H.M.R., Wijeyesekera, D.S., Weerawarnakula, S. and Puswewala, U.G.A., 2006. Formation of Hot Water Springs in Sri Lanka. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. p.7.
6) Widanagamage, I.H., 2011. EMPA dating of monazite from high grade metamorphic rocks along the Highland-Vijayan boundary zone, Sri Lanka. MSc thesis, Kent State University. pp.17-18

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Kapurella Hot Springs

Kapurella Thermal Springs (or Kapurella hot water springs) site is one of the major geothermal springs areas in Sri Lanka and is located in Tempitiya in Maha Oya, Ampara District. It is considered the hottest thermal spring (over 70 °C) in the country (Fonseka & de Silva, 2013; Nimalsiri et al., 2015).

Hot water springs
Geothermal springs are the natural springs that contain hot water (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011). Commonly, thermal springs in the world are associated with volcanic terrain but the hot springs located in Sri Lanka are not related to volcanic activities as the island is not in an active volcanic or tectonic region (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011; Premasiri et al., 2006). Therefore, the waters can get heat either from subsurface heat sources such as large bodies of hot rocks or through deep percolation under the geochemical gradient of the earth (Adikaram & Dharmagunawardhane, 2013). If these waters find weak structural discontinuities leading upward they rise to the surface and emerge as naturally discharging hot water springs (Piyadasa & Ariyasena, 2011).

Kapurella springs
The Kapurella springs occur in a low laying flat and open landscape of Mahaoya flood plain located in the boundary between Highland Complex (HC) and Vijayan Complex (VC). The boundary is a sub-horizontal ductile thrust zone where a number of geologic features are identified. They include major mineralization occurrences such as magnetite, serpentinite, gold, corundum, and calcite as well as formations of hot water springs (Widanagamage, 2011).

The spring site is located in a part of the conservation area administered by the Forest Department (Ekanayake et al., 2015). It is in the form of a cluster of springs found in a marshy uninhabited area (Nimalsiri et al., 2015). Like other hot water springs in the country, the geothermal water of Kapurella stems from much shallower depths and unlikely to reach several thousand meters (Ekanayake et al., 2015). The surface temperature of the water is 58 °C and the highest surface temperature recorded so far from this spring is 73.5 °C (Ekanayake et al., 2015; Fonseka & de Silva, 2013; Nimalsiri et al., 2015).

References
1) Adikaram, A.M.N.M., Dharmagunawardhane, H.A., 2013. Diurnal temperature variations in thermal water springs: A case study at Mahaoya thermal spring cluster, Sri Lanka.
2) Ekanayake, S.P., Ranawana, K.B., Chandrajith, R., Jayaratna, S. and Karunarathna, S., 2015. Preliminary observations on ecological aspects of Kapurella thermal spring (thermal marsh) at Mahaoya. Sri Lanka Naturalist, Vol : viii, No : 1-2. pp.4-12.
3) Fonseka, C.B. and de Silva, S.N., 2013. Study of the Near-Surface Resistivity Structure in Kapurella Area Using Transient Electromagnetic Method. Proceedings to 29th Technical Sessions of Geological Society of Sri Lanka. pp.13-16.
4) Nimalsiri, T.B., Suriyaarachchi, N.B., Hobbs, B., Manzella, A., Fonseka, M., Dharmagunawardena, H.A. and Subasinghe, N.D., 2015. Structure of a low-enthalpy geothermal system inferred from magnetotellurics—a case study from Sri Lanka. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 117, pp.104-110.
5) Piyadasa, R.U.K. and Ariyasena, P.R.E.R., 2011. Hydrogeological Characteristics in the Geothermal Springs in Sri Lanka (A case study of the Madunagala and Kinniya geothermal springs).
6) Premasiri, H.M.R., Wijeyesekera, D.S., Weerawarnakula, S. and Puswewala, U.G.A., 2006. Formation of Hot Water Springs in Sri Lanka. Engineer: Journal of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. p.7.
7) Widanagamage, I.H., 2011. EMPA dating of monazite from high grade metamorphic rocks along the Highland-Vijayan boundary zone, Sri Lanka. MSc thesis, Kent State University. pp.17-18

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This page was last updated on 26 August 2021
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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Visovac Monastery

Visovac Monastery
Visovac Monastery is a Catholic monastery located on the island of Visovac in the middle of the Visovac lake in the Krka National Park, Croatia.

History
Visovac is mentioned in the 14th-century documents. However, the monastery was established by Franciscans who settled on the island in 1445 after fleeing the Ottomans (Dorbić et al., 2017). The present church dates from the end of the 17th century (The Natural Heritage of Croatia, 2015).

The monastery has its own museum, library, 17th-century paintings, liturgical vessels, clerical clothing and votive offerings. An illustrated 15th-century copy of Aesop's Fables which is said to be one of only three of its kind in the world can be found preserved in the monastery's library.

Attribution
1) Krka01167 by Nerijp is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

References
1) Dorbić, B., Samodol, A., Temim, E., Gugić, J., Šarolić, M., Delić, Ž. and Friganović, E., 2017. Dendrological landscape valorisation of gardens of the Franciscan monastery on the Island Visovac. Naše Šume, 16(46/47), pp.35-41.
2) The Natural Heritage of Croatia, 2015. Buvina Limited. p.347
 
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This page was last updated on 29 August 2021

Monday, August 23, 2021

Vianden Castle

Vianden Castle
Vianden Castle is a fortified castle situated in Vianden town in the North of Luxembourg. It is considered one of the largest feudal residences of the Romanesque and Gothic periods in Europe (Baker, 2013; Sheehan, 2017).

History
Built over the foundations of an ancient Roman castellum and a Carolingian refuge, the Vianden Castle was constructed during the period between the 11th to the 14th century A.D. by the Hohenstaufen dynasty and seat of the Counts of Vianden until the beginning of the 15th century (Baker, 2013). The Counts of Vianden were influential in this region (between the rivers Rhine, Mosel and Maas) and were related to the Royal Family of France and the German imperial court.

The Vianden Castle became a property of the House of Orange-Nassau in 1417. They owned it until the French Revolution (1789-1799) and by 1820, the castle was in the hands of King William I of the Netherlands [(1815-1840 A.D.) Sheehan, 2017]. He sold it to a businessman named Wenzel Coster, who sold the castle piece by piece including its roof tiles, doors and windows. As a result of this, the castle fell into a state of decay.

During World War II (1939-1945 A.D.), this place served as a defence location for the Luxembourg Resistance fighting the Nazis in the Battle of Vianden in 1944 (Sheehan, 2017).
 
Restoration
The restoration works of this ruined property were started in 1966 and in 1977, the family of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg transferred it to State ownership. After that, major restoration works were carried out to restore the castle. Presently, it is used as a museum and as a venue for official State occasions.

Vianden Castle
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Attribution
1) Burg Vianden 2009 by Roland Struwe is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE
2) Burg Vianden 015x by Wolkenkratzer is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) Baker, M., 2013. Beyond Our World: The Exciting Story of a Treasure Hunter, Historian, and Adventurer. Dorrance Publishing. p.183.
2) Sheehan, P., 2017. Luxembourg. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. p.11. 
 
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Sunday, August 22, 2021

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Mylapore (Tirumayilai) in Chennai, India. It is one of the oldest Saiva places of pilgrimage in Chennai (Paramasivanandam, 1981).

History
It is said that once this temple was near the seashore (Paramasivanandam, 1981). However, after that old temple near the seashore fell in the hands of the Portuguese during the 16th and 17th centuries A.D., the temple was built at the present location about three centuries years ago (Kamath, 2000; Paramasivanandam, 1981). The remnants of the old temple are said to have been seen immersed in the sea 100 years ago (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
 
The temple as it stands today is said to have been erected during the time of the Nawabs and the Vijayanagar rulers are credited with having built it (Kamath, 2000; Paramasivanandam, 1981). Some fragmentary inscriptions from the old temple near the seashore are said to have been found in the present temple and in St. Thomas Cathedral.
 
Legends
It is believed that Tiruvalluvar, the author of the Thirukkural [a classic written in the post-Sangam era (c. 500 A.D.)] was born here (Paramasivanandam, 1981). According to a popular legend, a girl named Poombavai had been brought to the life back from her ashes by the saint Tirugnanasambandar at this place in the 7th century A.D. (Paramasivanandam, 1981). The Lord Siva of this place is mentioned in hymns sung by Nayanasrs (a group of 63 saints living in Tamil Nadu during the 3rd to 8th centuries A.D.) such as Tirugnanasambandar, Tirunavukarasar and Sundarar (Paramasivanandam, 1981). As Uma (or Parvati) is said to have worshipped the Lord Siva in the figure of a peacock, this place was started to known as Mayilapuri, Maylapore or Mayilai (Paramasivanandam, 1981). It is said that Lord Vishnu worshipped the Lord Siva here and received his blessings (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Also, Lord Muruga had been gifted with his Vel after worshipping Kapaleeswara (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
 
The temple
The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is considered one of the two oldest and important shrines in Chennai (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Its sanctum (Sannadhi) contains a Lingam, the symbol of Siva. Normally the sanctum faces the east in all Hindu temples but in this temple, it has been position towards the west (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Around the Praharas, the images of 63 Nayanars, Sandeeswara, Dakshinamurthy and Lingothpava have been placed. A sculpture that depicting Uma worshipping Lord Siva is found in the north courtyard of the temple (Ayyar, 1920). In the south courtyard is a shrine dedicated to Vayelar Nayanar, one of the 63 saints. A sculptured representation of the story of Poombavi is found in a shrine in the west courtyard of the temple (Ayyar, 1920).

Attribution
1) Kapaleeswarar1 by Nsmohan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

References
1) Ayyar, P.V.J., 1920. South Indian shrines: illustrated. The Madras Times Printing and Publishing Co. Ltd. pp.18-20.
2) Kamath, R., 2000. Chennai. Orient Blackswan. ISBN 978-81-250-1378-5. pp.28-30.
3) Paramasivanandam, A.M., 1981. Ancient temples of Tamilnadu. Tamil Kalai Publishing House. pp.26-30.
 
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Saturday, August 21, 2021

Parthasarathy Temple, Chennai

Parthasarathy Temple
Parthasarathy Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Thiruvallikeni (Triplicane) in Chennai, India. It is classified as one of the famous 108 Vaishnava places (Divya Desam) of pilgrimage (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Pilgrims who return from Tirupathi are traditionally said to take their holy bath in the sea and worship the Parthasarathy temple (Paramasivanandam, 1981).

History
According to a Pasura of Tirmangai Alwar, this temple has been built by a king named Tondayarkon who is believed to have lived some 1,700 years ago (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). After that, the temple was renovated and developed by many kings and wealthy devotees from time to time. Three of the twelve Alvar saints who lived between the 5th century to 10th century A.D. have honoured this temple in their songs (Paramasivanandam, 1981). According to the Brahmanda Purana, King Sumati has worshipped Parthasarathy in this place after worshipping the Lord at Tirupathi (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
 
Evidence is there to prove that this temple was restored in about 1564 by a pious citizen (Ayyar, 1982). For some time in the 17th century, the Dutch-owned this temple and then it had passed on to the East India Company (Paramasivanandam, 1981). The temple had internal conflict from the 1750s onwards to the end of the century between the two subjects of Vaishnavism, namely Thenkalai and Vadagalai (Mukund, 2005). In 1843, the temple was recorded as the property of the local public (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
 
Inscriptions
A number of inscriptions have been found from the temple premises (Ayyar, 1982). Most of them have been written in Tamil while there is one in Telugu (Paramasivanandam, 1981). They reveal information about many charitable endowments to the temple by several kings including Dantivarman (795-846 A.D.) of Pallava Kingdom (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Inscriptions of the later Cholas, the Pandiyas, and the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire have also been found (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). Some of the ancient inscriptions by Cholas and Pandiyas are said to have been misplaced and scattered in the course of renovations done in Vijayanagar times (Ayyar, 1982).
 
The temple
The Parthasarathy temple is considered one of the two oldest and important shrines in Chennai (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). It has five idols (Murthis) and the Saptarishis (seven sages) are said to have worshipped these idols here (Paramasivanandam, 1981).

In the inner sanctum of this temple, the images of Parthasarathy, Rukmani, Balarama, Satyaki, Sankarshana, and Aniruddha are found (Ayyar, 1982). Several small shrines dedicated to Narasimhaperumal, Rama, Hanuman, Gajendra Vardarajaswami, Andal, Alvars and Acharys are also located within the temple (Paramasivanandam, 1981). In a Mantap called Tiruvaymoli Mantap, the idols of great religious teachers and exponents such as Alavandar, Ramanuja, Manawala Mamunigal, Vedantha Desikar and Tirukkachi Nambi have been placed (Paramasivanandam, 1981). There is a pond named Kairavini Pushkarani to the east of this temple.

Attribution
1) Tiruvallikeni1 by Nsmohan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

References
1) Ayyar, P.J., 1982. South Indian shrines: illustrated. Asian Educational Services. pp.27-29,39-40.
2) Mukund, K., 2005. The View from Below: Indigenous Society, Temples, and the Early Colonial State in Tamilnadu, 1700-1835. Orient Blackswan. pp.64-70.
3) Paramasivanandam, A.M., 1981. Ancient temples of Tamilnadu. Tamil Kalai Publishing House. pp.23-26.
 
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This page was last updated on 22 August 2021

St. Thomas' Church, Ginthupitiya

St. Thomas' Church, Ginthupitiya
St. Thomas' Church is an Anglican Catholic church situated in Ginthupitiya in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is considered one of the oldest Anglican churches in the country (Manathunga, 2016).

History
The construction work of this church was started in 1815 by Sir Robert Brownrigg (1758-1833), the Governor of Ceylon from 1812-1820 (Chitty, 1834; Manathunga, 2016). A building previously used as a Portuguese church and then as a Dutch barrack is said to have been removed from this site to take the space for the new construction (Manathunga, 2016). Built for the Tamil Christians who lived in the Ginthupitiya area, the church was maintained under the Church of England after its first service was held on 28 July 1916 (Chitty, 1834; Manathunga, 2016).
 
Some refurbishments were done to the church building in 1903 (Manathunga, 2016). A few gravestones dating from the 1700s are found in the church premises.

References
1) Chitty, S.C., 1834. The Ceylon Gazetteer: Containing an Accurate Account of the Districts, Provinces, Cities, Towns... &c. of the Island of Ceylon. Cotta Church Mission Press. pp.75-76.
2) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.82-83. 
 
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This page was last updated on 22 August 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

George Wall Memorial Fountain

George Wall Memorial Fountain
Photo credit: Google street view

The George Wall Memorial Fountain is located in the middle of the Lipton Circus in Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It has been built in commemoration of George Wall (1821-1894), a British merchant, politician, and botanist.

History
Born in England, George Wall moved to Sri Lanka in 1846. He worked as the acting manager of the Ceylon Plantation Company in Kandy until he established his own business, George Wall and Company, Coffee Merchants and Estate Agents in 1954. With the success he achieved, Wall became the chairman of the Planters' Association of Ceylon and a member of the Legislative Council of Ceylon. However, following the outbreak of the coffee bright disease, Wall's business eventually suspended operations in 1879. His business, George Wall and Company was subsequently taken over by Bosanquet and Company (Wright, 1999).

After falling ill in 1894, Wall returned to England for treatment at St. Thomas' Hospital, where he died in December that year. In commemoration of Wall, his friends in Sri Lanka built a memorial fountain at the present location (Manathunga, 2016).

References
1) Wall, George (1821-1894) on JSTOR. Global Plants. Retrieved 21 August 2021.
2) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.54.
3) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. p.435.

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This page was last updated on 22 August 2021
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Colombo Racecourse

Colombo Racecourse
Colombo Racecourse (or Colombo Racecourse Sports Complex) is located in Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

History
The racecourse stadium was built at this place by the Ceylon Turf Club in 1893 after the racecourse at the present Galle Face Green was closed (Manathunga, 2016). During the period of the Second World War (1939-1945), the ground was used as a temporary airfield. The horse racing events were conducted at this place till 1958 and after that, the stadium building was used by various institutes for their activities (Manathunga, 2016).

In 2012 the ground was redeveloped by the Urban Development Authority as the Colombo Racecourse Sports Complex to become the first International Rugby Union ground in the country.

The stadium building
The three-storied stadium building has a pavilion sloping towards the ground (Manathunga, 2016). The portico, the corridor with arches in the ground floor have been built according to the Victorian Architectural style (Manathunga, 2016).

Attribution

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. p.56.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 22 August 2021
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map