Arundathie Abeysinghe

Belumgala – defense fortress of Kandyan hills – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Located in *Kadugannawa Gap approximately 10 kilometers from *Pilimathalawa, Belumgala Rock offers spectacular vistas of the environs as far as the eye can see including surreal vistas of Kadugannawa valley. Many visitors hike the adjacent small rock, believing it to be Belumgala, mistakenly. Belumgala is visible from *Pahala Kadugannawa viewpoint too. Also spelt as “Balumgala”, the mountain was thus named due to its strategic location as a place of defense. Considered as a silent defender of Kandyan hills, Colombo-Kandy Road can be seen clearly for many kilometers from the summit of Belumgala. As the location was a great boon for Sinhalese soldiers tracking enemy invasions, the mountain was known as “Belumgala” (meaning viewing mountain in Sinhala) for centuries. During the *Kandyan Kingdom, Sinhalese soldiers had been dispatched to this location and it had served as a major checkpoint when ...

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“Kota Vehera” – commemoration of a royal birth – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Situated approximately 15 kilometers from *Kegalle, Dedigama “Kota Vehera” also known as “Suthigara Seya” or “Suthigara Dagoba” (“suthikagaraya” meaning place of birth) is a dome-shaped shrine comprising relics of the Buddha or an *Arhat. According to *Mahawamsa, King Manabharana, a sub-king of *Ruhuna lived in exile in Dedigama. He has used “Punkhagama” (present Dedigama) as his capital city during his reign. The Suthigara dagoba (or stupa is a shrine that contains sacred relics) gets its name from the word “suthikagaraya” (meaning place of birth). Queen Rathnavali gave birth to a baby boy (who later reigned as King Parakramabahu I also known as King Parakramabahu the Great – 1153-1186) in the place where the stupa is located. This stupa has been constructed by King Parakramabahu as a memorial for the location, he was born. According to typical architectural style ...

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Golumale – unique geological formation – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Located in Meegolla in Yatamedura approximately 23 kilometers from *Walapane in the Nuwara Elya District, Golumale is a breathtaking hamlet bordering *Victoria, *Randenigala and *Rantembe Sanctuaries as well as the boarder of Central and Uva Provinces. One side of the hamlet borders a thick forest, whereas the other side has paddy fields, a unique breathtaking scene. Golumale is a unique geological formation with a series of rock pools on the banks of a river created by years of erosion. There are also natural rock carvings and rock formations of various shapes and sizes at the location. Golumale is considered as a wonderland due to its picture post card scenes, surrounded by splendid evergreen vegetation and a wildlife sanctuary one side of the river there is dotted with tree-houses that are constructed along this human and wildlife interface to enable the locals ...

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Thanthirimale Rajamaha Viharaya – location of pre-historic frescoes – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Surrounded by huge boulders and thick forest, a prominent Buddhist sacred place situated approximately 40 kilometers north-west of Anuradhapura, peace and serenity prevail in Thanthirimale Rajamaha Viharaya (Viharaya meaning temple in Sinhala). Constructed in the 3rd century BC and utilized by *King Devanampiyatissa as a one-day shelter for *Arhath Theri Sangamitta on her way to Anuradhapura, the Temple has developed from a small temple to a large monastery by the end of the *Anuradhapura Period. The easiest access from Anuradhapura is to travel along Mahavilachchiya road. The Temple and the surrounding area are full of ruins including two stone statues and several stone ponds. There is also an archaeological museum at Thanthirimale. Initially, known as “Upastissa Gama” as the area was first occupied and developed by Upatissa, a minister of King Vijaya (c.543-c.505 BCE) who chose the location ...

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Round Island Lighthouse – beacon to daring seafarers – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Located on top of a small rocky island in Round Island *Trincomalee in the outer harbor of *Trincomalee bay, Round Island Lighthouse also known as Trincomalee Lighthouse or Kevuliya Lighthouse is a round cylindrical masonry tower, 21meters high with a lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is painted in white color. The Lighthouse is accessible only by boat. Yet, the island and lighthouse are closed to the public. But visitors can see the lighthouse at a distance from *Marble Beach. The lighthouse is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. In 2016, Round Island Lighthouse was renovated and the tower was repainted. The light in Round Island Lighthouse is fixed and can be seen for 16 kilometers (10 miles). The lighthouse on the Island was constructed in 1863 and has a focal plane 21 meters (61 feet) ...

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Significance of Antarctica to Australia – By Arundathie Abeysinghe   There are some regions in the world where there has never been a war and the environment fully protected, instead has priority for scientific research. Antarctica is one of the most remote locations on Earth, the southernmost and fifth largest continent, twice the size of Australia Antarctica is the only continent without a permanent native population and there are no countries in Antarctica, although seven nations claim different parts of it: Australia, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. The only permanent human settlements are scientists and support staff approximately 1000 people who live for many months of the year on a rotating basis. Yet, during summer, there approximately 5000 people (excluding hundreds of tourists who briefly visit in tourist ships). The British Antarctic Survey maintains eight research stations and operates several field camps during summer, every ...

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Nil Garunda Rock – unique rock deposit  By Arundathie Abeysinghe Located in the remote hamlet of Rupaha in Walapane in Nuwara Eliya District approximately 74 kilometers from Kandy, Nil Garunda Gala (meaning Nil Garunda Rock also known as Marble Rock or Serpentine Rock) is a unique rock deposit, considered as the only such rock deposit in South Asia.  Some scholars are of the view that there is no such type of rock anywhere in the world. Although, Nil Garunda Rock is similar to *Rose Quartz Mountain Range in Namal Uyana, this is a relatively unknown and rarely visited sight. The uniqueness of the Rock is its bluish green color that glitters due to sunlight. The surface of the Rock is soft and shiny, unlike a piece of granite. According to folklore, this unique “rock is growing” and mending and has healing properties too. Hence, a lot of damage has been ...

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Baththalangunduwa Island – ideal destination for beach camping – By Arundathie Abeysinghe A tiny island of approximately five square kilometers in size, located approximately 38 kilometers (20 nautical miles) away from *Kalpitiya in the Puttalam District of the North Western Province of Sri Lanka, Baththalangunduwa is popular as a beach camping site. It is an island located in the Dutch Bay (also known as Portugal Bay).  Baththalangunduwa is one of the few inhabited islands to the north of Puttalam Lagoon. Battalangunduwa is a fishing village with a population of approximately 3000 inhabitants. The majority of them are Catholics, mostly from *Chilaw and *Negombo with a substantial population of Tamil Catholics from Jaffna. Hence, the culture in Battalangunduwa is a stimulating mix and the language is a mixture of Tamil and Sinhalese, similar to residents of Negombo. The one and only livelihood within the Island is fishing. The Island borders the ...

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Marble Beach – a pristine beach in a sheltered bay – By Arundathie Abeysinghe Situated approximately 17 kilometers from *Trincomalee, Marble Beach also known as “Marble Bay” is a spectacular pristine beach with crystal blue shallow waters and minimal waves and considered as an excellent bathing spot monitored by Sri Lanka Air Force. There is a resort with beach front accommodation and a restaurant operated by the Air Force located at the north end of the cove of Marble Beach. Considered as one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, unlike many other beaches in Trincomalee, Marble Beach is located in a sheltered bay and has excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities… With serenity at its utmost, the stretch of sand alongside the light blue ocean seems to go on endlessly as far as the eye can see… The allure of the Beach is its untouched, pristine splendor… Besides the magnificent ...

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Rose quartz mountain range – largest in Asia – By Arundathie Abeysinghe   Nestled in the vast ironwood forest (popularly known as “Na Uyana” or “Jaathika Namal Uyana” due to its vast range of Na trees – Mesua ferrea), the oldest and largest man-made forest in Asia and situated in close proximity to *Dambulla, the rose quartz mountain range also known as “pink quartz mountain” (known as rosa thiruwana kanda in Sinhala) comprises seven mountains. According to scholars, the rose quartz mountain range enclosed in Namal Uyana is over 500 million years old. The rose quartz mountain is the most well-known and unique attraction of the heritage site. Vistas of the breathtaking splendor of the pink quartz mountain range is a unique experience. There is no presence of common black rock in the entire area. Although, quartz crystals are common in many parts of the world, this deposit is renowned ...

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