Prestige issue 237, April 2013
Report: Pr Bassam Lahoud
Getaway to the most
After publishing an article on Sri Lanka in our March issue, Prestige continues its expedition to this resplendent island of the Indian Ocean to take you to three picturesque and touristic regions of this magnificent country: Nuwara Eliya, Sigiriya and Kandy.
Located in the south of Sri Lanka about 100 kilometers from Kandy, Nuwara Eliya is famous for tea culture, especially for Hakgala botanical gardens, the most beautiful in Sri Lanka.
At the entrance of Nuwara Eliya, one is seduced by the magic of the varied landscapes, and by the tea plantations in the heart of the city. In some plantations, one can discover the making of tea in factories, and buy a wide variety of good teas. Also known for its large artificial lake and beautiful colonial houses, Nuwara Eliya is a center of residence for both local and international presidents as well as tourists. They come to stay in nature, visit the tea and rice plantations, and climb the Adam Peak or Sri Prada, one of the highest mountains of the island to a height of more than 2000m.
Magnificent brick building, the temple of Lankathilaka is surrounded by beautiful greenery. Flowers, ivy, birds, statues of gods and old paintings embellish and decorate its interior. Besides its calm atmosphere, it attracts travelers by its irresistible beauty. In time, two imposing high pillars welcomed believers and visitors. Today, these pillars have been destroyed and reduced to half their original height.
Secular temple, Gadaladeniya, this majestic edifice built on a large rock, has an Indian style. Visitors are dazzled by the splendor of its decoration and the nature that surrounds it. Besides the imposing Buddha statue that welcomes the believers, there are drawings of gods erased with time, as well as a sanctuary dedicated to the god Vishnu who was once chosen as guardian of Sri Lanka and Buddhism.
Dedicated to the god Kataragama, the Embekke Devale temple is characterized by its delicately carved pillars of mythical monsters and geometric figures, inspired by the Hall of Audiences in Kandy. Not far from the lake Handessa, this temple is one of the most remarkable sites in Sri Lanka, where travelers can find magnificent wood engravings, masterpieces of the village craftsmen.
At Embekke Devale, there are fabulous wooden sculptures …
A wonder leading to total enchantment.
The enchanted and cultural City of Sri Lanka
Nicknamed the «mountains capital», Kandy is surrounded by mountains and green hills. Its nature and history make it the pearl of Sri Lanka. Tourists spend moments of getaway and pure relaxation, discover Sri Lankan culture and rejoice in walking in nature or from shopping at Kandy market, a convivial gathering place with beautiful objects at affordable prices.
Classified as Unesco World Heritage, this authentic city is also the largest religious center and the capital of Sinhalese Buddhism, as it is home to the temple of Dalada Maligawa, the sacred tooth of Buddha, relic preserved by the Sri Lankans.
Sri Dalada Maligawa or
Temple of the «Sacred Tooth»
Sri Dalada Maligawa, a Buddhist temple in Kandy, preserves the relic of Buddha’s tooth. In the past, this relic had an important role in the government: the one who holds it becomes the governor of the country. The royal palace is surrounded by moats and is a magnificent building on a hill. The entrance leads to a vast
Courtyard in which is the temple of Sri Dalada Maligawa or the temple of the Sacred Tooth. At the end of this courtyard, a room in the nave decorated with elephants, shelters an altar and an imposing seated Buddha, gilded and surrounded by flames. A real peaceful atmosphere!
Tourists enjoy visiting the temple museum, featuring portraits of sovereigns, photos, as well as spectacular objects such as the portable stupas offered by Thailand and the golden model of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.
Celebration of the Perahera in Kandy
As every year for the new moon of the month of Esala (July-August), and in honor of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha, the most precious relic of the island, the famous Kandy town, from August 15-25, the Perahera, the most fascinating festival of Asia. The faithful and visitors from all over the world participate in this memorable ceremony. The relic of the Sacred Tooth, enclosed in a golden coffin, is carried in procession on the back of the elephant of the temple of Dalada Maligawa in the streets of Kandy.
Besides its magnificent temples, Sigiriya, in the Kandy region, seduces tourists By its wonderful landscapes.
«The Lion rocks»
A major archaeological site in Sri Lanka, Sigiriya houses the palace of King Kassyapa, a prehistoric fortress nestled in the forests of Matale. Classified as a World Heritage site by Unesco, this fortress is today a ruined building. Of the giant statue of a lion that once guarded the entrance to the palace, there remain only the imposing paws. Visitors are amazed by the majestic ancient frescoes evoking the Ajanta cellars in India, the graffiti on the walls, the large statue of a lying Buddha dating from the 2nd century BC, as well as the numerous water jets in harmony with the natural setting. More than a monument, the fortress of Kassyapa is one of the wonders of Sri Lanka. In prehistory, it was a stone refuge hidden in the mountain with cellars carved and decorated by Buddha enthusiasts.
At the rock gallery, one is seduced by the young ladies of Sigiriya, the only female images of medieval Ceylon.
Today there are twenty-one of which ten are perfectly preserved.