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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tallest artificial Christmas tree

Image result for christmas tree in sri lanka

The Sri Lankan Christmas tree is claimed to be the world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree.[3][4][5] It is located on the Galle Face Green in ColomboSri Lanka. The tree is 238 feet (73 m) tall and opened on 25 December 2016 during Christmas eve night.
The cone-shaped tree is steel-and-wire frame made from scrap metals and woods and covered by plastic nets. It decorated with approximately one million natural pine cones painted gold, green, red and silver colors. It has 600,000 LED bulbs which illuminate the tree at night. On the top of tree there is a 20 feet (6.1 m) tall Christmas star with bulbs, weighing about 60 kg (130 lb). The tree cost Rs 12 million (about US$ 80,000). The tree was constructed by 150 employees of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Ports and Shipping with support from other parties.
Construction work began in August 2016 but was abandoned in first week of December after Catholic Church criticised it as "waste of money", and added "Construction work should be abandoned. Christmas is an occasion for sharing funds with the needy, not to waste money on lavishness... The market economy is using religion as a tool for selling Christmas." Later, work on the tree recommenced after a meeting with Catholic Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo.[6][7] Originally the tree was planned to be 100 metres (330 ft) tall but the height had to be reduced to 73 metres (240 ft) due to the delays in construction. A 20 feet (6.1 m) Santa Claus with a sled is placed near the tree.[8]
It is believed that the tree broke the previous record of the world's tallest artificial Christmas tree, which was 56 metres (184 ft) tall and constructed in Guangzhou, China in 2015 by GZ ThinkBig Culture Communication Co. Ltd

Friday, October 28, 2016

The blues are back in Trinco

Image result for blue whale jumping out of water

Since the lost whales of Trinco were rediscovered in 2010, by a team of naturalists at ‘Cinnamon Nature Trails', numerous sightings of blue whales, sperm whales and dolphins have taken place making the season up in the East a rewarding experience. The great blue off the coast of Trincomalee seems to be a popular playground for these marvellous marine mammals during March through April each year.

As in previous years, the Cinnamon Nature Trails team is ready to take guests on a voyage that will almost guarantee a sighting of Whales and Dolphins including a glimpse of a super pod of Sperm whales often seen in Trinco during this period. With all safety measures in place and a crew well experienced to make your cruise pleasurable. The Eastern whale watch is set to begin shortly off the city by the sea.

Head of Eco Tourism for John Keells Resorts Chitral Jayatilake mentioned that all guests who will flock to Trinco this season for whale watching are welcome to submit tale fluke images for an ongoing Blue whale ID programme, while clear images once selected will be uploaded to a Flickr site with picture credit.

Chaaya Blu Trincomalee is situated just a few kilometres off Trincomalee and was built to reflect a retro chic design. Its strategic location gives guests the opportunity to experience these large marine mammals and the acrobatic spin of Dolphins just a few minutes away from the resort, or perhaps if one is lucky enough just at the very shores of the sea at Chaaya Blu. A selection of Beach Chalets, Superior rooms and two Suites make up a total of 81 rooms, with two restaurants; one specialized in seafood and two bars which cater to your every whim.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Cinnamon Wild Yala introduces ‘Dining in the Dark’ for the first time in South Asia!

Image result for cinnamon wild yala

Imagine taking a night time stroll in the forest. The sounds and smells of nature accompanied by a refreshing breeze, the tingling sense of awareness from the quiet, the tangible dark that blankets your surroundings and sets your senses to an exquisite sense of consciousness; that thrill of the unexpected.  Now imagine dining in that darkness.  Exploring unchartered waters, Cinnamon Wild Yala stirs the mysterious territory of dining in the dark, personifying the day to day fine dining experience with a heady twist of sensory awareness. It is a sensual feast to the daring diner; a moment to feel completely alive with that special someone.  Upon arrival the property’s main bar ‘Pug Marks’, the diners are escorted to a secluded unlit dining area in the wilderness within the hotel guided by well-trained staff and offered a signature cocktail customized to the individual palates of the diners or the option of selecting from an extensive list of fine beverages. The dinner itself is a five course Prix fixe dinner that is a mystery menu that has the diners discovering the subtleties of flavors never thought of but taken for granted due to the distraction of sight.  With the flowing wine and the heady scents of food combined with the calls of surrounding nature, it is an experience that sets lasting impressions which are more of a soulful memory than an actual recollection, a moment to be felt than remembered.  

It is a process of eating, identifying, connecting the by identifying the distinctive flavors and textures that signify one dish from the other. The mystery menu is a careful selection of dishes bursting with flavor and is only constrained by dietary restrictions of the diners if any and informed by the client in advance inclusive of any vegetarian or vegan meal preferences. Even the table setting is arranged to heighten the culinary experience of the diner with much effort taken to minimize the visual impact. All culinary selections are tailor made to suit the nationality and individual preferences of the diners to create an exciting sequence of dishes designed to enliven and mystify.  At the end of the dinner, the guests are presented with photographs of the dinner which can then be used to compare and contrast with the wild guesses and the impressions of the diners. Each diner is presented with a token signifying the experience, a tangible memory of the moments spent in the dark. What can be most exciting is the sudden disregard to the mundane rituals of dining. A guest is at complete liberty to prod and poke at their food, sniff at the surrounding scents or even abandon their cutlery altogether. ‘Dining in the dark’ at Cinnamon Wild Yala is a personification of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ flair for exciting and exhilarating experiences, always the first to engage their clients with memorable, lasting experiences.  The lights are out. Let your senses run wild.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Flamingos are back to Sri Lanka.

The Flamingos are back to Sri Lanka.

Slowly and surely the migratory Flamingos are flocking to north Sri Lanka, although they are shunning the south.
There are about 750 Greater Flamingos in Mannar, about 150 in Jaffna and about 100 on Kayts island this season, says the Joint Secretary of the Ceylon Bird Club, Kithsiri Gunawardena, who has made many a trip up north recently.Although not swelling to the 5,000-6,000 Flamingos recorded in 2003-04, he is happy that the numbers which dropped to about 200 in Mannar between 2007 and 2009 are now on the increase.
The south of Sri Lanka particularly Bundala which used to be colourfully adorned by the beauty of 1,500-2,000 Greater Flamingos.
Going into the intricacies of the sensitivity of the eco-system, in which the balance may be tilted by even mild changes, this avid bird-watcher explains that seven to eight years ago Bundala saw large flocks of Greater Flamingos as the lure was the tiny insect-larvae they preyed on. These larvae thrived in the brackish water-bodies of Bundala but when fresh water got mixed with the brackish water due to the Lunugamvehera project, the salinity dropped and the insect-larvae were not able to survive.No food meant there would be no Greater Flamingos, is the obvious conclusion, and if only environmental experts were called in to minimise the effects, Sri Lanka’s south would still attract these beautiful birds, it is understood.
Lamenting that Flamingos which make their way from the Rann of Kutch in Pakistan where they breed and then migrate south during the winter, have one less habitat now with the loss of Bundala, he urges the protection of what is left – Mannar, Jaffna and Chundikulam.It is a lesson on the exotic birds, both migrant and resident, that Mr. Gunawardena gives when the Sunday Times asks about speculation that the migrants have not come in their usual numbers to Sri Lanka this season.
Sri Lanka has 453 species of birds of which 237 species are resident birds which means that they breed here. The balance 216 bird species are migrants among whom 72 species are considered “vagrants” coming on and off unlike the others which are regulars. Sri Lanka which is at the tip of India shares 89% of all bird species with India but 11% of the resident birds here are endemic.This has come about due to different climates and elevations within our tiny country.. The endemism is due to montane and low-land forests.
Referring to speculation that migrant-bird numbers have dropped, he points out that climate change and the recent floods which have inundated large tracts of land have scattered the ducks and waders. It will only be the Water Fowl Census which is carried out in February that would indicate whether the numbers have dropped or there are fluctuations.Climate change, according to him, which has far-reaching effects has also had an impact on the migratory patterns. Usually, the migrant-season in Sri Lanka is from end-September (2012) to end-March 2013, but the severe winter in the Arctic had brought in its wake, the migrants here as early as March 2012.
Unfortunately, March to August is when the resident-birds breed, but due to the migrants coming in early, the residents have had to face food issues. Some of the waders which arrived in June-July instead of September-October are Black-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels.Getting back to the statistics, that of the 237 resident species, 33 species are endemic and for 90% of these the only home is the low-land forests mainly Sinharaja, Samanala kanda and Knuckles.
This is why there needs to be stringent protection. It is vital to safeguard this endemism by prevention of encroachment into their habitat.The same solution is relevant with regard to migrants – the challenge is to preserve the pristine environment that flagship species such as Flamingos and rare birds such as the Pintail, the Wigeon, the Shovellers and even the Common Teal have made their second home for six months of the year.

Ecology is such a sensitive thing and many factors are inter-connected, he says, comparing it to a car. If one or two nuts and bolts are removed, the car may run for a short while but would ultimately stall and come to a standstill.There are only a few spots in the world like Vidathalthiv, between Pooneryn and Mannar where we can see as many as a million birds at the same time, he says, adding that it is our bounden duty to protect such spots.The greater Flamingos are back to Sri Lanka.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kandy Esala Perahera

There are many number of perahara festivals in Sri Lanka. Almost all perahera festivals are based on the religion, especially Buddhism. The Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist pageants in Sri Lanka. Even though it is a Buddhist event, other religions devotees also take part here. The Esala Perahera in Kandy parades along the streets to honor the sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods: Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini.
The Kandy Esala Perahera is held annually in July and August on days fixed by the Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic). The Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Ceylon in the reign of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna who ruled at Anuradhapura from 303 – 331 AD.
On the following new moon in July an Esala tree or at the present time, usually a Jak tree or Rukkattana tree is cut and ‘Kap’ planted in Natha, Maha Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini dewalas vowing that the perahera will be held. For the next four days the ‘dewala perahera’ is conducted within the dewala premises.
Following this first stage, the perahera goes in procession for ten days in succession over a prescribed route along the main streets of Kandy. On each of these days, the peraheras of dewalas proceed to the entrance to the Dalada Maligawa, where they join the Maligawa perahera and the combined procession goes winding along the prescribed route.
The first six days of the perahera is called the Kumbal Perahera, and the second phase of the perahera, the Randoli Perahera, from the randoli or the gilded palanquins of the four dewalas, which are a feature of the processions the next five nights and the last night is the grandest of all. The main perahera procession consists of five separate peraheras which are Dalada Maligawa Perahera, Natha dewala perahera, Maha Vishnu dewala perahera, Katharagama dewala perahera and Pattini dewala perahera.
All pereharas are comprised with religious and cultural items. Whip crackers lead the way and announce the approach of the perahera by cracking their whips. Whip crackers come into picture only at the commencement of the Randoli Perahera. They do not take part in the kumbal perahera. The flag bearers walk next in single file on either side of the road. After that Peramune rala rides on the first elephant.Next comes the drummers playing Hevisi or martial music on a variety of drums such as dawula, tammettam and bera and blowing horanawa.
The Gajanayaka Nilame comes next. He rides on elephant and carries a silver goad (Ankusa) which is the symbol of his authority. After that Kariyakorale, who is, next to the Diyawadana Nilame. Now comes Maaligawe tusker to carry the perahera karanduwa (golden casket) containing the sacred relics. A canopy is held over the tusker, and pavada. Those who have the privilege of going up to the octagon and watching the formation of the perahera from there still get chance of seeing the Diyawadana Nilame comes into the courtyard of the temple accompanied by drummers and dancers walking on pavada and carrying aloft the golden casket.
The Natha dewala perahera, maha Vishnu dewala perahera, Katharagama  dewala perahera, pattini dewala perahera follows the Maligawa perahera respectively. The long procession ends with the Randolis borne by the tenants of the Dalada Maligawa. The Diyawadana Nilame may, if he desires, invites the Adikarams and Dissawes to walk with him in the Perahera. Furthermore, if for any reason he is unable to officiate in the procession, he may ask one of the Basnayake Nilames to take his place.
Incidentally, the best time to see Esala Perahera is on the last two nights. This festival is a sacred festival to all of us. We have to give our respect as much as we can. As the Sri Lankans we should reserve a time to watch this colorful event lively.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kataragama Pada Yatra

Among the ancient living traditions that survive in Sri Lanka, few are as well known or as poorly understood as that of the Kataragama Pada Yatra. Starting from the island's far north and ending up to two months and several hundred kilometers later at the Kataragama shrine in the remote southeastern jungle, the Kataragama Pada Yatra tradition has played a major role in propagating and perpetuating traditions of Kataragama throughout Sri Lanka and South India. Predating the arrival of all four of Sri Lanka’s major religions, it is essentially a tradition inherited from the island's indigenous forest-dwellers, the Wanniya-laeto or Veddas, as the Kataragama shrine's Sinhalese kapurala priest-custodians themselves readily concede.
Traditional foot-pilgrimage or Pāda Yātra is not, as many people believe, a peace march, but an annual reenactment of espisodes related as legend and myth about Kataragama. Simple, ordinary people who say they have received a 'call', take part in this marathon walk.
Leaving everything behind but a bundle of essentials, they experience the homeless life of a beggar or religious recluse. Deep lessons about the paradoxes of life are driven into them in a sustained act of self-denial.
Sleeping and living outside, under trees and in shrines and temples; seldom knowing from where their next meal will come, braving death from animal attacks and worse in recent times; seldom knowing from where their next meal will come; braving death from animal attacks and worse in recent times; these are the factors of Pāda Yātra that make it such an intense spiritual opportunity for those who receive the 'call'.
Prior to 1950 when a motorable road was extended up to Kataragama from Tissamaharama, the only way pilgrims could reach Kataragama was on foot or by bullock cart. All that has changed since then and now Kataragama is easily reachable by regular bus service from Colombo and other districts including the Eastern Province where the pada yatra tradition still flourishes. For uncounted centuries, however, pilgrims had come on foot not only from points all over the island but also from India and even occasionally from Central Asia.
In 1988 the Kataragama Devotees Trust and Cultural Survival (precursors of the Living Heritage Trust) revived this ancient tradition that had gone into abeyance since 1983. That first year a mere 60 pilgrims dared to walk on this historic revival that has recently grown to over 30,000 annually. The devout respect of all for Skanda-Murukan,the wargod of Kataragama and ruler of the region, ensures the safety of the pilgrims.
The traditional foot pilgrimage from Jaffna to Kataragama not only serves to raise public awareness of the traditions linking North and South, but also helps to break down barriers dividing communities long separated by decades of conflict. The very sight of traditional Pada Yatra pilgrims walking from the North once again after decades of conflict has lifted the hearts and spirits of young and old alike throughout the length of the East Coast.
The multi cultural nature of the Kataragama region enables Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians and those of any other religion to practice their faith in the safety of a sacred area.
Before the escalation of the war and the termination of the ferry service across the Palk Strait wise men and women representing many lineages came to Lanka as pilgrims from all over India. The tradition of visiting Adam's Peak and Kataragama (also called Dakshina or Southern Kailasa)has its origins in mythology.
Hills, certain old trees, rocks and sacred groves along rivers are landmarks in a culture where everything is sacred and connected with mythical exploits. Indeed, the Kataragama region is also known as Deviyange Kaele ('the God's own Forest').
Panama is the home of a culture in transition from hunter-gatherer to cultivator. It is a forest village culture of commingled Sinhala and Tamil identity. This homogeneous culture is on the verge of disappearance in Sri Lanka due to absurd claims of ethnic purity in an island context.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Catching a Glimpse of the Impressive Devon Waterfall

Even though human are slashing and destroying the natural beauty of the world, still there are many wonderful nature creations are proudly standing in Sri Lanka. Among many nature wonders, Devon Waterfall is one of popular waterfalls, which has an incredible scenery and awe-inspiring power of water and is located in Talawakele, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. This dramatic waterfall is known as the “Veil of the Valley” because of its unique formation and it is with an impressive height of 97 meters.
Devon Waterfall is the 19th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka and the name of “Devon” derives from a pioneer English coffee planter called Devon. Travelers can easily reach this Devon Waterfall via Avissawella – Nuwara Eliya A7 Highway and it is located at a convenient location where anyone can make a stop. But if you want to have adventurous things, you have to find the top of the falls through Dimbula – Nawalapitiya road. The base of the Devon Waterfall is also another dramatic location there and travelers can reach it via lush tea estates. It is located some 500 meters down. However, the best, enormous and attractive views of Devon Waterfall can be captured by viewing from Dimbula, where has a dedicated viewing platform. While travelling by a train on the Kandy to Nuwata Eliya line (rail tracks closer to Waagoda) also, travelers can enjoy the fascinating views of this Devon Waterfall. Not only that, but travelers can view these amazing sceneries of this fall from the hamlet of Midigama.
Therefore, travelers those who to lost in greenery  and water world, Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura areas are some of best areas in Sri Lanka and this Devon Waterfall is one of the best destinations. And there are many other noteworthy things of bio diversity to see and enjoy there including Bambarakanda Waterfall, Bakers Waterfall, St Clairs Waterfall and Diyaluma Waterfall. And there is wide range of eco-friendly affordable and best Nuwara Eliya hotels and Ratnapura Hotels available, out of endless selection of Hotels in Sri Lanka. So, it’s time to get in touch with one of planet’s mightiest nature creations; Devon Waterfall.