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Monday, August 24, 2015

Esala Festival

Esala Perahera festival is as colourful as the story of its origins. Taking place in August on the ten days leading up to the full moon, the time-honoured elephant parade takes place in Kandy, the Sri Lankan centre of Buddhism. For more than 400 years, the city's Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic) has housed the revered dentistry. A replica casket is used in the parades, but that doesn't stop thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from breaking out their drums, dancing shoes, whips and fire.

This spectacle can be seen, by torchlight, at the nightly elephant processions, which are actually formed of five separate parades. In the 18th century, the South Indian Nyakar dynasty introduced a Hindu element to proceedings, and four of the parades start at temples dedicated to the religion's principle deities, Vishnu, Natha, Kataragama and Pattini. The Hindu hoe-downs spill into the main parade, where the Jumbo of honour is the mighty tusker from Dalada Maligawa, carrying the golden casket. All the elephants are dressed up to the nines, clad from trunk to toe in silk costumes, glittering thread and embroidered cloth, even chains of fairy lights.
Between the elephants, the religious participants perform all kinds of devotional acts to the booming drums. Some show their faith by walking barefoot or, in the case of the Hindus, with spikes in their backs. The procession is headed by banner carriers and whip crackers, whose weapons clear the path of both evil spirits and the crush of humanity. Kandy is the country's main arts centre and the city's performers add to the chaos. Acrobatic fire performers juggle, twirl and eat oily flames, their glow reflected by palanquins teetering on elephant back.The most riotous parade happens on the last night. The following morning, preparations for next year are already underway at the 'water cutting' ceremony. A religious official draws a sword through the Mahaweli Ganga river, in a ritual designed to divide pure and impure and ensure a plentiful supply of water. Some water is kept and used in the next opening ceremony, when breadfruit trees are planted outside the temples.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The blues whales and dolphins are back in Nilaweli beach

Since the lost whales of Trincomalee 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. 

Sri Lanka Tourism to take Tea theme at World Travel Mart London 2015

The leading travel industry event staged annually in London- World Travel Mart that attracts around fifty thousand tourism professionals which recorded an $244 million for the British economy and deal making at $2.5 billion dollars plus globally, Sri Lanka tourism together with the private sector will be making a strong statement given the 16.8% cumulative growth and 31.2% growth in visitor arrivals in July said Dr. Rohantha Athukorala. Sri Lanka Tourism Pavilion taking a cutting edge position of a Tea theme that will include the launch of Loolkadura- where the 1st tea bush was planted by James Taylor and Dabatenna estate of Lipton fame will be announced as World Heritage sites submissions for UNESCO certification apart from show casing the 8 wonderful experiences in 8 wonderful days he said.  The Guinness Record bid of plucking 1000kg by amateurs in Nuwara Eliya and serving 35000 cups of tea at the Esala Perahera in partnership between Sri Lankan airlines, Sri Lanka tea board and APOT will add to the statement we will make from the Sri Lanka tourism Pavilion said Market Head for UK Chameera Peiris. Given the strong imagery of Ceylon tea associated with a typical British this cutting edge theme will help attract Guests from Royalty, Chairmen of top global tea houses that will set the stage for the leading tour operators and destination marketing companies to come to our Pavilion he said.  We must find creative ways to make Sri Lanka Tourism cut through the aggressive competition apart from the Beaches that we are known for as we are up against stiff completion given that a typical British traveller googles island nations like North Atoll Male, Seashells as per the latest consumer insights of Trip Advisor. We must attract the top spending potentials British traveller as even now almost 22% of the revenue from tourism come from UK said Peiris. As at July Sri Lanka has attracted 93,223 visitors at a growth of 12.6% and we are targeting two hundred thousand guests which accounts for higher revenue per traveller than any other destination he said. Sri Lanka Tourism took a wild life theme at the Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) this year in Dubai and a Festival- Esala Perahera theme at KOTFA- Seoul, Korea.  Last edition of WTM recorded 51,500 participants with business deals worth more than £2.5 billion were triggered by the event whilst £244,340,223 million has been pumped into the economy through money spent on hotels, restaurants, flights and other discretionary spend by those visiting England’s capital city which beats the acclaimed London Fashion week said the Tourism a Promotions Bureau communique. The British Fashion Council’s London Fashion Week generates around £100 million for the London economy while hosting of seven games at the Rugby World Cup will generate £316 million to the economy.  WTM - London will showcasing around 200 countries and  5,000 exhibitors which gives indicates the entrenched competition that exists in the market so we must find unique ways to bring out the DNA of the country- Diversity, Authenticity and Compactness said Chairman Dr Athukorala. - See more at: