Monday, September 28, 2009

Abheyagiri Dagoba, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

King Vattagamini Abheya 89-87 BC, constructed this Dagoba, 350 feet high, at Anuradhapura the then capital of Sri Lanka. It reportedly contains some of the relics of Lord Buddha, in a chamber decorated with gems. The relics were enshrined inside a golden vessel shaped like a bull. The Abheyagiri was vandalised for being part of a heretic 'vaithulyavada' sect it is said on instigation by members of the Maha Vihara. Abheyagiri Dagoba is being restored now. Fa Hsien, the Chinese traveller of the 5th century AD refers to this place. Abheyagiri had a good library and Fa Hsien took copies of valuable documents from here to China for translation. They may still be available in Buddhist monasteries in China, and could be valuable material for research. Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ruwanvelisaaya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

Ruwanvelisaaya was a project started by King Dutta Gamini around 150 BC. It along with the Sri Maha Bodhi - the sacred Bo tree grown from a sapling of the tree of Enlightenment at Buddha Gaya in India - are objects of foremost veneration for pilgrims going to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It contains the sacred relics of Lord Buddha. Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka.

I took this picture of Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka at around 9 pm. It is said that this former British Governor's mansion, got the name Lavinia from the Governor's daughter. The picture shows the entrance to the hotel.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A stone trough, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

"Kandha-oruwa' - a stone trough at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. This stone trough was reputedly used to hold rice gruel for 5000 monks at a time, as part of a 'dhana'. There were two such troughs at Anuradhapura. Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Part of old stone bridge, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

Bridges were constructed out of cut pieces of granite and supported on columns of granite. These were held in place by mortise type of locks, cut in the granite slabs themselves. The photo shows a stone bridge of the Anuradhapura period (5th Century AD)m in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waterfall, Sabaragamuwa. Sri Lanka.

The province of Sabaragamuwa was named so in ancient times because of the presence of a village of Gypsies (Sabara - Sinhalese). It also had the name 'Denawaka' in Sinhalese literature. It aquired the name Rathnapura because of the presence of gems in its soil. It is the most beautiful part if Sri Lanka. Rivulets, streams, rocky mountains and innumerable waterfalls with an abundant flora and fauna make it unique. This picture shows one of its numerous unnamed water-falls.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Materials used in packaging, Sri Lanka.

Old newspapers and part of the stem of the arecanut leaf is shown in this photo being used to pack some vegetables. The vegetables are kept fresh in this way during transport in a dry climate.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Foot-print in stone, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

In the early centuries after the 'Parinibbana' of Lord Buddha, His memory was celebrated using signs. Thus foot-prints, an empty chair, a parasol or a chamara were the articles used in worship. This had a good theological foundation for the Lord Buddha 'ceased to exist' when he attained 'Parinibbana'. Around the first century BC, images representing   Lord Buddha began to appear. The Jains also worshipped foot prints of their leader. This photo was taken by Charaka Wickremasinghe in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A loving couple in stone, Isurumuniya, Sri Lanka.

The 'loving couple' is a famous stone sculpture belonging to the 5th century AD, at the Isurumuniya rock temple, Sri Lanka. The stone slab bearing this has been moved into a protected area now. The picture on top was taken in the late 1950s. Various interpretations have been given to the poses of the couple ranging from shyness of the female, to invitation for sexual congress as expressed by the posture of the fingers of the female's hand. Note the decorative stone jar on the top right corner.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 'moon-stone' - Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

The 'moon-stone' is shaped like a half-moon. It depicts the progression towards liberation. This it is claimed, was an object very sacred. Some sects of Buddhism when they gained the upper hand, used it as a door-step to denigrate the concepts depicted by it. Look at the image of the dwarfs carrying the steps of the stairway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guard-stone, ('dwara-paalaka' - Sinhalese), Isurumuniya, Sri Lanka.

The 'guard-stones' were erected at the entrance to buildings in ancient Sri Lanka. They were called 'Dwaara Paalaka' in Sinhalese and mean what they say in Tamil - namely 'administrators of the opening' - guards of the entrance. They were in pairs facing each other across the entrance. They were chiseled in granite. Each figure carried a 'pun kalasa' - Sinhalese or 'nirai-kudam' in.Tamil. This latter represented prosperity and was an auspicious sign. The seven headed cobra protecting the crowned head of the figure means, that the figure represented was a 'Naga' king. This was photographed at Isuruminiya by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another view, Isurumuniya, Sri Lanka.

You can see in this picture, the elephant figures cut on the rock, the man and horse and two beautiful guard-stones at the entrance to the rock temple.  Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Isurumuniya rock and tank, Sri Lanka.

Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe of the Isurumuniya rock temple, tank and dagoba..

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Elephants sculpted on rock, Isurumuniya, Sri Lanka.

Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe - Olympus digital.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Isurumuniya, stone carvings, 6th Century AD, Sri Lanka.

The Isurumuniya rock temple dates from 3rd century BC. It is situated in Anuradhapura. The rock carvings are of a later date probably 6th century AD. Various interpretations are given for the figure of the horse and a man positioned looking at a lake nearby. It has been suggested by some that it could be the figure of the God Ayyanayake, who looks after forests and lakes. Photo by Charaka Wickremasinghe.

Storm drain leading to Seethawaka Oya, Weralupitiya, Sri Lanka.

A storm drain to carry the large load of rainwater caused by the monsoonal rains, leading away from the Seethawake Free trade zone, at Weralupitiya, Sri Lanka.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flock of birds, Weliweriya, Sri Lanka.

Egrets - Little, Intermediate and Great, a Great Cormorant (black), Open bill, and a black headed Ibis, are the birds that you can identify in this picture. I took this picture on 4/9/2009 at a wet paddy field, being plowed at Weliweriya close to Gampaha, Sri Lanka. They formed a beautiful sight.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Taking flight, Weliveriya, Sri Lanka.

I was getting ready to take this photo close to a paddy field when they got disturbed and took flight. You can sere the egrets and a single open-bill taking off the ground.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Asian open-bill, Weliveriya, Sri Lanka.

Large flocks of birds gather in paddy-fields being plowed. I saw this beautiful sight at a roadside paddy field in Weliveriya on the Kaduwela Gampaha road. I picked out this Asian open-bill among them in this photograph.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Stray cattle, Durampitiya, Sri Lanka.

Stray cattle on the roads are a regular road hazard, in Sri Lanka. The owners let the cattle roam throughout the day, seeking fodder. They return to the owners home in the evenings. I took this picture on the Rathnapura road.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Antique cupboard, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka.

It is claimed that it was the Portuguese who introduced the art of furniture making into Sri Lanka. It is hard to believe this, when one finds the exquisite designs seen in the stone carvings in the Sri Lanka of ancient days. Furniture made of quality timber like ebony and mahogany, with inlays of ivory and brass are items treasured in rich Sri Lankan house-holds, up to the present time. It is a tradition nowadays, for the bride's parents to donate items of furniture to a newly married couple, to start their new home.
I took the above picture of an item of antique furniture, placed in the lobby of the Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A small, fast, bullock cart used for transport of people, Sri Lanka.

Bullock carts were used for 'comfortable' transport of people in the South Asia region, from time immemorial. The 'Thirukkal' - Tamil, 'Thirukkale' - Sinhalese, was used extensively in Sri Lanka till recent times. The above is a picture of a Thirukkal, kept as an exhibit at the Mount Lavinia Hotel, Sri Lanka. You also see an exquisitely carved wooden cupboard, next to the Thirukkal.