Ramayana tourism in Sri Lanka

http://www.dailynews.lk/2008/01/21/news31.asp

21 January 2008

Lanka banks on Ramayana to woo tourists

Politicians may spar in India over whether Ram Setu was more than a figment of Valmiki’s imagination but for Sri Lanka, the Ramayana legends are an article of faith.

Sri Lanka Tourism has identified five “airports” where Ravana parked his fleet of pushpak vimanas, the mythological aircraft he used to abduct Sita when she was in vanvasa on mainland India. The ruler of ancient Lanka – a brilliant Brahmin and devout Shiva disciple – didn’t only excel in charting an air route, as he was a pioneer in “underground transport” as well.

No doubt then that remains of intricate tunnel networks, leading to palaces and battlefields, that Ravana spread across the island, are also to be seen. These and nearly 50 more sites, related to the “Ramayana trail”, have been showcased by Sri Lanka Tourism in its new deal to promote “spiritual tourism”, an experiment aimed specifically at Indian visitors, who, at 100,000, already constitute 20% of the country’s annual tourist inflow. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director-General S Kalaiselvam told the Times of India that these sites are not imaginary and have existed since times immemorial.

“We are simply putting all details together. People in villages have always revered these sites, which form a part of the folklore. A five-day tour would be enough to make a tourist realise what we’re talking about,” he said before launching the package with cricketers Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva. So much so, that the Board appointed a research team to trace the “trail” before formally making the findings public.

Ashok Kainth, the main researcher who began work four years ago, said 59 spots had been located which relate to various stages of the Ramayana period.

“Among them are Ravana’s palaces and dairy farm, besides several later-period temples devoted to Sita,” Kainth said.

The trail even encases a pond which is believed to have come into existence through Sita’s tears. “Evidence suggests that even during worst droughts, this pond never dried up,” the researcher said.

The various spots are spread across the island, beginning from its northern tip at Nagadeepa, believed to be Hanuman’s entry point to Lanka. The southern tip, Donara, is the place where Ram began his first attack on Ravana. The main battleground, identified as Yudagannawa, is a wildlife sanctuary now but, Kalaiselvam said, no vegetation “strangely” grows in the area except grass.

Mythology suggests that Ram, a Kshatriya, performed penance after killing Ravana, a Brahmin. The Tourism Board has identified the exact spot as Chilaw and Muneswaram where Ram carried out poojas to cleanse him of the sin.

“Sri Lanka Tourism believes that Ramayana has brought together Sri Lanka and India through the exploration of its great story backdrop, which is Ayodhya and Lankapura (Sri Lanka). We are also undertaking restoration and maintenance of these sites,” Kalaiselvam said.

Asked about cooperation with Indian Government, he said there was a general MoU over tourism.

“We have entered into an arrangement with Andhra Pradesh Tourism specifically over the trail,” Kalaiselvam added. – The Times of India.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Ramayana tourism in Sri Lanka”

  1. dr. udai narain sinha Says:

    respected sir,
    well it is a slap on those who talk ill about setu project and its identity. it is also a learned light to our archaeologist to talk about these issues without any religious bias and make a real excavation without waisting the public money. we have our archaeology department in university but none has shown interest in this regard. the government also should think in a positive manner in this regard. what i could not swallow when i watched this in zee news that there is a mummy of Ravana, because in valmiki ramayan Yuddha Kand chapter 111 shlokas 98-124 that the last rides were performed after the death of ravana, then how nagas are waiting with his mummy to have life once again.?

  2. SRINIVASAN Says:

    this smacks of Lankan conspiracy to thwart Sethusamudram project. Once completed, colombo harbour will loose its position as the transit port for major shipliners and will definitely dry up revenue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: