Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birds seen on the way to Manalkaadu, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

Black-headed Ibises


An Egret in flight

The road from Vallipuram temple to Manalkaadu beach is littered with small ponds where swarms of beautiful birds come to feed. I took these pictures there in December 2011.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Environs of Vallipuram Temple, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

Area in front of the 'Gopuram'

Palmyra tree with branches in its trunk.
The road to Manalkaadu.

Egret near a pond roadside.
In the battles between Veera Saivaism and Vaishnavaism, Saivaism triumphed in the Jaffna Peninsula. This is one of the few Vaishnava temples left behind. There is a 'Konesar' temple at the Thondamanaru junction but in a very low profile. The Vallipuram temple has a lot of devotees and an annual festival is held on a grand scale.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vallipuram Aallvaar Temple, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

The Gopuram of the Vallipuram temple.

The mandapam


As Zen Buddhism started spreading all over the world, Kanchipuram was the capital of Pallava Dynasty and the great centre for Buddhist learning. A small city in between Kanchi and Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) on the banks of the river is still called Vallipuram. People started migrating to Jaffna during the time of Bodhidharma (400 AD) and created a city with the same name on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. Although it was first a Buddhist civilization and later transformed into a Vaishnavaite civilization.
Valli or Velli refers to water or river in most languages. Veri, Vadi or Wezi is a derivative of the root word meaning river or water. Mahaweli means great river. Kaveri means black river. Thus Vallipuram means 'City of Water' or 'City of River'.
The Vishnu temple here was constructed around the 13th century. Tamil Buddhist and Hindu cults co-existed easily, even when the rulers did not, and hence a Vaishnava tradition may have existed in early times as well. The deity of the temple is called Vallipura Azhvar. Azhvar names are common in Vaishnavite tradition. This place is the first place of settlement in Sri Lanka. Rest of Sri Lanka was populated from this landing place.
Vallipuram has a recorded history from the 2nd century BC, in the gold inscription, where the local ruler is named as "Azhagiri", a name confirmed in the Nelugala stone inscription (2nd century BC). King Vasabha is also thought to be mentioned. The Buddhist list of holy places ("Nampotha") names it as "Vallipuram" or sand city. The exact details of the temple complex are not known, and the famous 'Vallipuram" Buddha statue built with Dravidian sculptural traditions from Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh was found in excavations below the Hindu Temple. The language of the inscription is Tamil-Prakrit, which shares several similarities with script inscriptions used in Andhra at the time. This cultural exchange between the Jaffna Tamils and Andhra Pradesh occurred at the height of Tamil trade in the Sangam period, continuing when the Telugu Satavahana dynasty was at the height of its power from 230 BC right through when its 17th monarch Hāla (20-24 AD) married a princess from the island.[1][2]Professor Peter Shalk (University of Uppsala), writes "Vallipuram has very rich archaeological remains that point at an early settlement. It was probably an emporium in the first centuries AD. […] From already dated stones with which we compare this Vallipuram statue, we can conclude that it falls in the period 3-4 century AD. During that period, the typical Amaravati-Buddha sculpture was developed."[3] The Buddha statue found here was gifted to King of Thailand by the then British Governor Henry Blake in 1906. The descendants of Arya Chakravarti married into Kalinga Magha family and created a dynasty of Singai-Aryans and ruled from Vallipuram and renamed it as Singai Nagar. However, no historically useful objects, e.g., inscriptions, art or literary works were left by these rulers, and Paranavithana and other historians claim that they paid tribute to the main ruler of the country. See also S. Paranavitana, ``Vallipuram Gold-Plate Inscription of the Regin of Vasabha. Epigraphia Zeylanica , 4 (1936) 229-236. A full discussion has been given recently by Karthigesu Indrapala, Evolution of an Ethnic Identity,(2005), and in an earlier work, 1965 where Dr. Indrapala argued for a flourishing pre-christian buddhist civilization in Jaffna, in agreement with Paranavithana, and Mudliyar C. Rasanayakam, Ancient Jaffna.
This place is similar to Nagapatnam where all Asian vessels used it as a stopover point and the Buddhist and Hindu Dagobas are just a resting and worshipping places for the sailors and international traders. Both Nagapatnam and Vallipuram served the powerful kingdoms of China, Siam, Cambodia, Champa (Vietnam) and Java.(Wikipedia).
Vallipuram to this day has a 'Theertham' - ritual bathing of the Idol of Vishnu - in the sea. This is claimed to be an old tradition where the ritual bathing tank of the temple the -'kulam' - was swallowed up by the sea. I met a devotee at this temple who told me that Lord Krishna stopped the sea advancing to land at this point. It recalls to me a Tsunami nearly two thousand years ago. A pilot of the RAF during the Second World War recalled seeing submerged buildings in the sea near this area. A large sea-emporium must have vanished during this cataclysm.

Click on web-link below to see video:-

Monday, January 28, 2013

The road to Vallipuram via Thumbalai, Sri Lanka.

Goats with restraints put around their necks to prevent them entering into fenced areas where crops are grown.

A wayside chat of two bicyclers.

'Nellandai Pillayaar Temple', Thumbalai where a 'Kaaththavaraayan Kooththu' was held annually.

The turnoff to Katcovalam an old village.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stone sculpturers at work, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

The artist.

Work on a pillar for the temple.

Steel chisel used to shape the granite stone.
These stone artisans have a tradition going back nearly two.  Granite stones for carvings in temples are imported from India and these artisans work on the stones with skills acquired from their elders spanning many generations.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thumbalai road, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

'Theru-moody madam' - a 'madam' (resting place) covering the road.

The adjoining temple.

The 'Theru-moody madam' and the adjoining temple were landmarks I knew in Point-Pedro from the 1940s. They are still intact and the temple is undergoing renovation.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

'Odakkarai' famous for its luscious'Appam'. Note the small window in the wall at ground level. This opening was used to trade the 'Appam, Thosai, Pittu, Idiappam' with 'Sambal'. It is still operational but the goods are sold out by 7am in the mornings and 6pm in the evenings.

'Amman' temple at 'Odakkarai'.

Well near the Kovil near the 'Therumoody madam'

Water reservoirs around a well. Fresh-water is a precious commod is used to irrigate the trees adjoining a well.ity and is not wasted. Even the water from bathing

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vallai, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Black-winged Stilt, Vallai cemetery.

Wild dog eating a carcass, Vallai cemetery.

Fisherman in the Vallai lagoon using a car tube float to collect his catch.

The temporary 'Bailey bridge' at Vallai.
The Lagoon at Vallai  is the crossing point from Jaffna to Point-Pedro. There is a cemetery there where carcasses of slaughtered animals are dumped. This attracts stray dogs. There is a lot of bird life in the swamps around.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Puththur to Vallai-vely, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Puthur to Aaverankaal
Aaverankaal to Vallai

Black-headed Ibises adjoining the Vallai cemetery
Bird-life at Vallai - Click on Web-link below:-

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Manipay to Kopay and Puththur, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

Vegetable plots

Taking bunches of bananas to the market

Road between Maruthanamadam and Kopay

Somaskanda College, Puththur.
To watch Video of area covered click on web-link below:-

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Keerimalai, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

The sea-shore

The fresh=water pool adjoining the sea-shore.

A newly constructed hall near the sea-shore.

The childrens play-ground.
 Keeri- malai (Mongoose hill - Tamil) is a fresh water spring where legend says that a Chola Princess was miraculously cured of her 'mongoose shaped face' when she bathed in it. It had a famous temple where festivals were held annually over centuries. It is a tourist attraction.