By: Ajit Keshav Nair
Sri Lankan Tourism has identified some 50 sites associated with the epic Ramayana and many tour operators are enchasing on these through sightseeing tours to rediscover this Trail of Ramayana to attract tourists from India and other parts of the world.
Ramayana symbolizes Rama as “Maryada Purushottama” or a Perfect Man. An Ideal Son, King, Disciple, Brother, Friend and above all a perfect Husband. An example of patience, Justice and Logic symbolising the defeat of good over evil. An epitome of Ideology, Principles and “Dharma”.
Sita as ideal women of virtue and the ultimate commitment as a wife.
For many, it might be just an epic of myth. However, the fact remains that Ramayana is a part of Culture and literature for Indians, Sri Lankans and Hindus across the world.
Most of the sites are dotted around the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. However only a few are accessible by road which is scattered across Kurunegala, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela & Ratnapura.
Some important highlights include:
Ramboda – famous for Shri Bhakta Hanuman Temple, Home of 18 feet statue of Anjaneear Enroute Kandy to Nuwara Eliya. The famous temple situated on a hill overlooking the Kotmale reservoir area is visited by thousands of devotees from India & Sri Lanka.
Seetha Amman Temple – Located en route to Hakgala along the Nuwara Eliya Badulla Road on your way to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Ancient statues of Rama and Sita can be seen on a side of the temple. The rear of the temple overlooks a stream, while from its front can be seen the Hakgala peaks. The Hakgala Botanical Garden – is said to be one of the pleasure gardens of King Ravana. This garden was expanded during the British period and has a wide variety of flowers including an excellent collection of orchids.
This is the exotic pleasure garden where king Ravana kept the depressed Sita, insisting that she marry him. It was here where the heart-warming meeting took place between her and Hanuman, who brought her Rama’s ring with the news that Rama was looking for her. He offered to carry her back but she refused to say it would be an insult to Rama’s honour if he did so. Part of this majestic garden still exists. It is also said that Hanuman nearly destroyed it in order to prove to Ravana of the forces against him
Sthreepura also spelt Isthripura: This exotic cave still boasts the picturesque cascading waterfall that was in existence 2000 years ago. It was within this cave that Sita was held prisoner with over 1500 women to attend to her every need.
Divurumpola Temple: Although this Vihara is said to be established in the 6th A.D. Polonnaruwa period it has a long history among people of having been started in the time of Rama, Ravana and Sita. Still revered by thousands, this holy haven was the place where Sita performed her Agni Pariksha (proving her chastity) to her husband Rama. Continuing the practice for over thousands of years, villagers still pledge their fidelity or take oaths there and even in certain courts, this agreement was binding.
Since that time this place has been respected and worshipped by people down the ages. Furthermore, it is said that this place was given the name “Divurumpola” or the place of making a wow. Not only in legends but this name has been inscribed in the moonstone guarding the Devale in the premises.
Ella: A small mountain near Bandarawela, boasts three locations linked to the Ramayana where, local legend dictates, Ravana hid Sita. First, there is Ravana Ella Cave, situated in the massive Ella Rock. Then there is Ravana Ella Falls and a nearby pool bored out of the rock by the gushing waters where Sita is said to have bathed.
Seethawaka: Situated near Avissawella on a tributary of the Kelani Ganga (river). Not surprisingly it derives its name from Sita, who is supposed to have been imprisoned by Ravana in a grove in this neighbourhood.
Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya: a temple built in the 3rd century B.C. Kelaniya was one of the three places visited by the Buddha during his visits to Sri Lanka. Kelaniya is also the centre for traditional Sinhala pottery. Within the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Temple is a special shrine dedicated to Vibushana, king Ravana’s brother, who allied with Rama in the struggle to rescue Sita.
During this trail of Ramayana, the tours also take you across some of the most interesting World Heritage Sites of Buddhism including Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Sri Lanka is perhaps one of the closest holiday destinations from India offering exotic beaches, mystic mountains surrounded by tea plantations and the vibrant capital city of Colombo famous for shopping and nightlife.
A perfect Destination for everyone at an affordable price…..