Places to go in Sri Lanka – last remaining primeval rain forest Sinharaja

Places to go in Sri Lanka – last remaining primeval rain forest Sinharaja

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is the last remaining primeval rain forest in Sri Lanka. It considered being the most valuable natural wealth of the island. Sinharaja is declared as a World heritage site and Biosphere Reserve Biosphere Reserve from the UNESCO owing to its importance as Bio-diversity hot spot in the world. Continue reading Places to go in Sri Lanka – last remaining primeval rain forest Sinharaja

Tons of silver recovered from the sea bed-places to dive in Sri Lanka

Tons of silver recovered from the sea bed-places to dive in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the island was known to be a very popular trading point among ancient sea farers. For example Godawaya was a port located in south-west Sri Lanka and traders from Greece, India, china as well as Arabian countries were calling this port very often. The sea route which extended from the Red Sea to East Africa, India, China, and Southeast Asia, was known to be silk path, located just south of Sri Lanka. Since the country is located in this East-West shipping route country has been famous host for ships visiting ancient ports of Southern, South-West, West and Eastern part of the country. The traders who were using East-West shipping route were calling to these ports in order to collect water, food and coal that they needed during their journey.

The coral reefs known as great and little basses reefs of southern Sri Lanka (approx 6 to 7 miles away from main land Sri Lanka) was the reason for many ships to be perished in the region. This hazardous region was called ‘Iron Pincer Island’ in the early days by Chinese Navigators while it was known to be a region with magnetic power for the Persians. There was a well illustrated Navigational map to avert the hazardous region in the first decade of the fifteenth century. In the well known fairy tale of ‘Arabian Nights’, it is described how the nails of the wooden ship were attracted toward the magnetic rocks and how the ship was destroyed.

Until the lighthouses established in 1970 the great and little basses reefs of southern Sri Lanka was a death trap for thousands Navigators. Sea around the great and little basses hold tremendous amount of valuables such as gold, silver and coins, which contained in the perished merchant ships.

Even though the underwater treasure in the region is not fully explored yet, a team of divers have discovered sacks of Indian silver coins in the very early 1960’s. These coins were contained in a ship, which was belongs to Indian Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb, who was the king of India from 1658 to 1707 and his father was well known Emperor Shar Jahan (who built Taj Mahal). Ill-fated ship was heading to China from India and it was sailing for silk trade as it was sank in the southern Sri Lankan water due to an unknown reason. Some of the artifacts recovered from the scene are now being displayed at the Galle Marine Archeology Museum Sri Lanka.

Archeologists have discovered remnant of another ship, which sank more than 1000 years back and was, belongs to firm by the name Clark and Company. Most of the bottles that sank with the ill-fated ship were removed by the treasure hunters, leaving very little from the consignment at the sight. Another ship, which was made of wood and carrying a large collection of brass bricks also sank in the hazardous region. This ship wreck is also being looted by the treasure hunters.

Now the archeological site around the great and little basses is protected and under the supervision on Sri Lanka naval. Unauthorized diving in region is prohibited. However interested people can receive the permission from the Sri Lankan government in order to explore ship wrecks in the region.

Some of the silvers that recovered from the sea bed were in “1000 Coins” bags and now the bags decay and coins in “lumps” of 1000 coins each.

Practicing meditation and learning Buddhism during your holiday in Sri Lanka

Practicing meditation and learning Buddhism during your holiday in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a multi religious, multi-ethnic country in southern Asia. But nearly 75% of the population in the island is Sinhalese and they believe in the teaching of Buddha. Therefore the main culture of the island is recognized as Sinhalese Buddhist culture. Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country is one of the best places to explore the teaching of Buddha. Sri Lanka is popular Buddhist holiday destination among the Buddhist pilgrim from all over the world.

Buddhism is the most deep rooted religion in the island of Sri Lanka and it has become a part of the life of average Sri Lankan. Buddhism was introduced in 2nd Century B.C, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. Since then Buddhism is the state religion of Sri Lanka. The archeological sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mihintale provides ample evidences of the dedication of ancient Sri Lankans for Buddhism. What they have done in the name of Buddhism is astounding and it has led the nation to a one of the most advanced civilized nations in the early period.

There is large number of historical Buddhist monuments in the island. There are 16 Buddhist religious sites in the island named as “Solosmastana”, they are being considered as the most important sites for Buddhist in the country. Few of these 16 places are visited by Buddha as he was in the island in the 6th Century BC. The 16 places are Mahiyangana, Nagadeepa, Kelaniya, Sripada, Diva Guhava, Deegavapi, Muthiyangana, Tissamaharama, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Mirisavetiya, Ruwanweliseya, Thuparama, Abhayagiriya, Jetawanarama, Sela Cetiya, Kiri Vehera, Seruvila. Almost all Buddhist visit these places at least once in the life time.

Poya day

Every full moon day or the Poya day is a public holiday in the island. The day is reserved for the Buddhist religious activities. On the full moon day, Buddhists are gathering in the nearby Buddhist temple and engage in religious activities throughout the day.

Learning the Buddhism

Sri Lanka offers plenty of opportunities for people, who are interested in studying Buddhism. Sri Lanka had been a leading center of teaching of Buddhism since the very early days. There is large number of Buddhist teaching centers, even today, providing possibility of studying this religion and related subjects. Universities such as Buddhist and Pali University provides opportunity for higher studies as well as short courses on Buddhism and related subjects. Large number of Pirivenas and Buddhist temples provides the opportunity to study the teaching of Buddha.

Meditation centers

Meditation centers in the island provide the possibility of learning and practicing the meditation. There are large numbers of mediation centers dedicated to people, who wish to practice the different types of meditations. Most of these meditation centers are managed by the Buddhist monks. Duration of meditation courses may expand from several days to several months depending on the requirement and progress.

Accommodation

Some of the leading Buddhist temples provide the accommodation facilities for the pilgrim that coming from the remote areas. These accommodations can be obtained for a very reasonable price. Normally the temples provide only lodging and food has to be arranged elsewhere.

Publications and Language

Most of the educated monks in Sri Lanka can converse in English. There are several monks, who are also very proficient in other popular languages such as French, German, Russian and Italy. If you need to learn Buddhism in a language other than English, you have to find a proper place before arriving in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist publications can be obtained in national languages as well as English. Most of the books shops in cities such as Colombo and Kandy distribute the English version of most Buddhist publications.

 

Wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka – asian female tusker recorded for the first time in the history

Wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka – Asian female tusker recorded for the first time in the history
Authorities of the wild life Sri Lanka has made a very rare discovery of female tusker in the recently concluded elephant census in the island. Survey was conducted in August 2011 covering the whole island. Reports of the survey revealed that the number of tuskers of the island to be 122 while the elephant population of the island to be 5879 elephants. Based on the survey Sri Lanka recorded the highest number of wild elephants in the region. Continue reading Wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka – asian female tusker recorded for the first time in the history

Sri Lanka island for holidays in southern Asia

Sri Lanka island for holidays in southern Asiasrilanka world mapMarco Polo considered Srilanka the finest island of its size in all the world. Tiny island Sri Lanka is located in the southern hemisphere, south of Indian mainland. What takes your fancy? Beaches? The coastal stretch south of Colombo offers palm-lined sandy expanses as far as the eye can see. One can find enough ancient and inspiring architecture in the cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa during the holiday in Srilanka. Head for the hill country to escape the heat of the plains, where the coast fades away to reveal gorgeous rolling hills often carpeted with tea plantations. The entire island is teeming with bird life and exotics like elephants and leopards are not uncommon.

Continue reading Sri Lanka island for holidays in southern Asia

Bird watching in Sri Lanka – bird migration

Bird migration

Sri Lanka is located at the extreme southern point beyond the south of India. The stretch of ocean from Sri Lanka to the South Pole contains no other land. Therefore migrant birds, which are flying in the direction of India, choose Sri Lanka as their final destination. Sri Lanka is one of most popular destinations among migratory birds in the world, merely because of the location in the world map.

There are over 460 bird species are recorded at this moment. About half of these are breeding residents. Apart from seabirds, with a peak season in the northern summer (May-October), most migratory birds visit Sri Lanka in northern winter (October-April). Consequently this is also the best time to visit Sri Lanka. Within this period the best time probably is February – March when a lot of local birds are starting their breeding season, being significantly more active.

There are 3 flying routes across India along which immigrant birds come to Sri Lanka; the western route, the eastern route and the Andaman Island route.

The western route

This route lies along the western coast of India. Those birds using this route begin their journey from the northern and northwestern parts of the world. After reaching extreme south of India, which is called commarin point, they fly further across the southern coast of India and arrive in Sri Lanka; most of these birds enters the island between Mannar and Kalutara.

The migrant birds from Europe, West Asia including western Siberia, & from the western regions of Himalaya including Kashmir are known to be using the western route.

The Eastern route

This migrate route starts from the northern and northeastern parts of the world and lies along the Eastern coast of India, towards the southern India. Birds using this route flying further in the direction of Sri Lanka and reach the island passing the Indian coast between Kalmier point and Ramesvaran. Most of these birds are flying from East Asian countries such as eastern Siberia and Mongolia. Birds from eastern regions of Himalaya including Tibet are also known to be using this route.

Andaman Islands route

Apart from the above-mentioned two migrant routes some of the birds are using the Andaman Islands route. This route falls across the Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. It is believed that these migratory birds, which are using the Andaman Islands route, start their journey from south East Asian and East Asian countries.

From October to April falls the main migration season of the birds in the island. It is believed, that birds are using the same route, on the return journey. However some birds are known to be using the different routes on the return journey. Sri Lanka proved to be a top birding destination. All different types of birdwatchers will be able to find their likings here. This small island contains descriptions of 435 bird species including 110 migratory species. It is 26% of the total number of birds. During the Migratory period from November to February birds visit Sri Lanka.

Wildlife holidays in Sri Lanka – disappearing slender loris

Endangered animals

Sri Lanka is a beautiful tiny island located in the Indian Ocean in Southern Asia, Sri Lanka is a land faced with many environmental challenges, including deforestation and the erosion of coasts due to mining. In addition to these issues, the CIA World Factbook reports that the wildlife is threatened by poachers, pollution and the expansion of urban areas

Slender Loris

The slender Loris has extremely thin arms and legs. Its face is dominated by huge round eyes which give it excellent night vision and enable it to hunt for insects during the night. Populations of this small primate are declining because their forest habitats are being destroyed for logging, agriculture and development.

The Lorisidae comprises the African angwantibos and pottos and the Asian lorises. These species are thought to share a common ancestor with the bushbabies of Africa (the Galagidae) and the lemurs of Madagascar. The fossil record of the lorids extends back to the Early Miocene (20 million years ago). In the past there has been considerable confusion over slender loris classification. Most authorities now recognize two species of slender loris: Loris tardigradus (with 2 subspecies, both occurring in Sri Lanka) and Loris lydekkerianus (with 4 subspecies, occurring in both India and Sri Lanka).

The name slender loris derived from its slender arms and legs. L. tardigradus is smaller than its relative the grey slender loris (L. lydekkerianus). Its small face is dominated by huge round eyes and prominent ears, which are thin, rounded and hairless at the edges. The soft dense fur is a grey or reddish-brown color on the back, depending on the subspecies. The underside is whitish-grey. The species has no tail. The highland slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) has shorter, thicker limbs relative to body length, a larger head, and thicker fur which completely cover the ears. It superficially resembles the Asian slow loris (Nycticebus coucang).

This species is among the most social of the nocturnal primates. During daylight hours the animals sleep in groups in branch tangles, or curled up on a branch with their heads between their legs. At night the animals go their separate ways, moving slowly and silently through the trees in search of food. The red lorises differ from their grey congeners in their frequent use of rapid arboreal locomotion, despite their reputation of being slow and sloth-like. Their large eyes provide them with excellent night vision. Although they are primarily insectivorous, lorises also eat gum, bird’s eggs and small vertebrates, such as geckos and lizards. They consume every part of their prey, including the scales and bones.

Very little is known about the social organization of this primate. Mating takes place throughout the year, with no reproductive seasonality. The gestation period is 166-169 days, after which time the females give birth to one or two young. The young are nursed for 6-7 months. The lifespan of this species is believed to be around 15-18 years in the wild.

Endemic to Sri Lanka. The red slender loris (Loris tardigradus tardigradus) is distributed in the south and southwestern parts of the country, in the tropical rain forests and inter-monsoon forests of the wet zone of Sri Lanka.

The highland slender loris (L. t. nycticeboides) is known only from the central highlands of Sri Lanka. It has been observed in five forest patches to date: Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Sanctuary, Haggala Strict Natural Reserve, Pattipola forest reserve, and Bomuruella forest reserve.

Both subspecies are declining as a result of habitat degradation and fragmentation. Forests in Sri Lanka are rapidly being cleared for logging, agriculture (particularly tea, rubber, cinnamon and oil palm plantations) and human settlement, leaving slender loris populations stranded in poor quality forest fragments, where there is often insufficient food and shelter. The use of agricultural pesticides may be reducing the quantity of insect prey in some areas, and accumulation of some insecticides is thought to be negatively affecting lorises. Current geological surveys have reported that the Horton Plain and other montane peaks contain high levels of lead pollution and there are fears that this may be leading to decreased fertility in the lorises that occur there. Over-collection of firewood is also causing a problem because villagers are not only collecting dead wood but also cutting down the under-story plants, many of which contain seedlings of important cloud forest trees. There are also reports of the slender lorises being electrocuted on power lines, or killed while crossing roads.

The species is protected by law in Sri Lanka, and is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

The red slender loris (Loris tardigradus tardigradus) is distributed in the south and southwestern parts of the country, in the tropical rainforests and intermonsoon forests of the wet zone

Sri Lanka’s top scenic rail journeys

Sri Lanka’s top scenic rail journeys

The origin of Sri Lanka rail is going back to the first half of 1800’s. It was initiated by the British colonial rulers as a convenient method of transporting goods between Colombo and the mountains. Today, Sri Lanka railway is considerably developed and serves the country as a leading method of transporting goods and passengers. It has become one of the best transport methods with luxury, value for money and time saving. The modern trains are designed to provide more comfort for the commuters. Especially the trains, which are on the long distant journeys, provide the best comfort and services. Taking a train ride would definitely create some of the beautiful memories of your Sri Lanka holidays.

Colombo-Badulla

The railway track between Colombo and Badulla can be described as the most scenic railway track in the country. You will be able to have an awe-inspiring train journey with “Udarata Menike” Express train. You can enjoy the mountain of the upcountry on this journey. The train goes through the valleys, mountain slopes and along the jagged rock faces.  The train crosses the Mahaweli Ganga and many other leading rivers, you will trace the beautiful waterfalls arises due to the windswept plateaus in the mountains.  Be prepared to experience the lowest temperature in the country at the highest elevated region of Sri Lanka. Thanks to the engineers in the past, this railway track goes across the most difficult terrain in the country, it winds through the mounting, and sometimes the train is penetrating the mountain through tunnels.

If you travel in the direction of Badulla, the latter half of the journey is full of mountains and the train is straight up on the steep mountains.  This is the most picturesque part of the journey and steepest railway line. You can have a glimpse on the misty hills and unique landscape dominated by mountains and escapement. They are covered with tea plantations, vegetable gardens and patches of forests; looks like the mountains are concealed by a green blanket.

You will see the Horton plains when the train rolls through the Pattipola Railway station. Pattipola is the highest elevated station in the country, which is more than 1800 meters above the sea level.  Take time and enjoy the healing climate of the health resorts of Bandarawela or Nuwara Eliya. If you love to have some adventure holidays, Ella is the destination for you. The railway track ends in Badulla, which is another popular holiday destination among local people of Sri Lanka.

Colombo-Galle

This certainly a beautiful scenic route: the train, “Ruhunu Kumari “rolls along the borders of the Indian Ocean giving you the flashes of coastline. Take a look at the beautiful geographical formations along the coastal best such as coves, bays, sand dunes, and rock formations. enjoy gentle breeze coming from the ocean.  You also have the opportunity to see the calm, serene country side of the west and southern coast. Enjoy the low country vegetation. The isolated mountains that are formed by geographical upheaval of the earth also make beautiful scenery along the way.

Colombo-North Sri Lanka

This is the most controversial railway track of Sri Lanka. Great portion of the track was abandoned during the last 30 years, due to the civil war. Today it is safe to travel to north Sri Lanka and people are using the trains more usually than other form of transport such as land and air transportation. The track goes through the picturesque country side, which is dominated by coconut plantations and paddy fields. Isolated forest patches make beautiful scenery along the way. The train starts in Colombo and roll in to the interior of the country.  The train, which popularly known as “Yal Devi Express” takes you to the northern direction. Enjoy the fascinating wild life of Habarana forest. You will be greeted by large number of wild elephants as you travel through the reserve.

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