Mention Sindbad the Sailor to most people and you will find that, in their minds, images are conjured up from storybooks and films of a swashbuckling hero who undergoes fantastic adventures in strange Oriental lands. An injustice perpetrated on Sindbad in contemporary adaptations is his portrayal as a young, swashbuckling adventurer. Rather, he was a resourceful, middle-aged merchant who sailed the seas to trade rather than seek treasure or rescue damsels in distress.
Coconuts have been around for millennia, but it's only in recent years that the world has looked upon this humble fruit as a miracle health food. But not Sri Lankans, who have long held the coconut in high esteem. They have devised dozens of ways to celebrate the palm: as shelter, transport, furniture and food among other things. And while it flavours practically every local dish, coconut is never sweeter than when in the form of pani pol-the perfect union of golden palm treacle and soft white grated coconut.
A barren and desolate earth stretched into the horizon. Austere in appearance, it barely offered even a diminutive glimpse of the ocean. It was the culmination of a long trek along the footprints of history, now buried in the sands of time. It was a sight that scarcely gave the slightest indication of life; it almost stood still amidst the harshness of the thorn infested shrubbery. A few donkeys indolently wandering masked a history steeped in awe-inspiring tales of the legendary Silk Route.
Built somewhere between the Seventh Century and Tenth Century, the Nalanda Gedige lies 20 kilometres north of Matale on the Dambulla A9 road. Here, on elevated land surrounded by a picturesque lake, is the quaint forgotten Buddhist temple where Hindu sculpture and Buddhist art found fusion to create a unique masterpiece of genius. There are no statues of gods in evidence except for one in a ruined state and the only image extant is a recently restored Buddha statue.
Toque macaque monkeys are a daily sight at the ruins of Polonnaruwa. Familiarity breeds contempt, hence, these monkeys are hardly the cynosure of visitors or residents, they are but subjects of compassion, with pilgrims benevolently feeding monkeys, constantly watching them to get a share of their bounty. Pests for some and gluttons for others, these simians are hardly gazed upon with delight. But, the world of toque macaques is indeed a complex one. The ‘Monkey Kingdom', a nature film by Disney Movies released to coincide with Earth Day in April 2015, exposed the intricate, highly strung and emotional world of toque macaques.
Little egrets about to take to the skies
Leafing out from the mainland to form the northern peninsular, the ‘stem' of thin strip connecting both ends, bordered by the Indian ocean from the east, and carving to create a lagoon from the west is a divine hotspot of wild creatures that's been hidden for nearly three decades. Chundikulam declared a bird sanctuary in 1938, is one of the best wildlife destinations for visitors who plan to visit the northern region of the Island. Its undulating landscapes have over the years created a large variety of habitats. From beaches laden with sand-dunes, to salt marshes, to wetlands, to thorny scrublands and dry forests, to tanks, mangroves and lagoon have all combined to produce a wild haven.
Lounge chairs with woven cane backrests and seats were popular during both the Dutch and British periods
Sri Lanka's colonial seating tradition continues to link the country's present to distant times and places.
The 1950s was the golden decade of foreign filmmaking in then Ceylon, when a number of British and Hollywood movies, mostly based on acclaimed literature, were shot within the Island's shores. It began in 1951-1952, when Carol Reed directed Outcast of the Islands, based on Joseph Conrad's 1896 novel, starring Trevor Howard and Ralph Richardson.
Today they have come, in this month of July, to participate in the annual festival of a temple dedicated to the God of Love and War: Lord Kataragama or Lord Skanda. They have arrived to share the celebratory joy of his wedding to Valli. For fifteen days this annual pageant of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya takes place in the month of July or August. This year it begins on the 17th of July and climaxes on the full moon night of 31st July.