Sunday, March 27, 2011

A 'dazzling' campfire

Dazzle-2011, the annual campfire organised by the Girl Guides of the Anula Vidyalaya, Nugegoda was held on March 12, at the school premises with the participation of 10 schools: Ananda College, Thurstan College, Devi Balika Vidyalaya, Samudra Devi Vidyalaya and Pannipitiya Dharmapala Vidyalaya.

The chief guest was the Principal of Anula Vidyalaya, Mrs. Kalyani Gunasekara. The assistant principal in charge of extra-curricular activities, Mrs. P.K.P. Pieris, Guiding Commissioners, teachers and parents were also present to witness this grand event.

The Guides and Scouts in action at Dazzle 2011.
The guides and scouts who were divided into 12 teams after the registration participated in many events. The main event was a treasure hunt which was like a hike around the premises. Each team had to find their way through the signs given at various points. There were also checkpoints to test their knowledge on the history of guiding and guiding signs as well as their ability to think rationally, and ascertain how vigilant they are. After completing the tests at the checkpoints, they had to find the treasure following the given trails. After the treasure hunt, the teams had to face yet another challenge; the cooking challenge. Each team had to cook a meal using the ingredients, the twigs and a saucepan made out of a tin.
The team that cooked in the least amount of time won the game.
The lighting of the campfire which followed the games was the grandest moment of the day. The theme of the day was 'The Journey to the Pathfinders Fiesta'. The organising committee took all the participants on a journey to Mars. The King and Queen of Mars warmly welcomed the visitors and the witch lighted the campfire using her spells. Everyone cheered when a ball of fire rolled along a string, and lit the campfire. Then the King of Mars invited the schools to display their talents through creative activities.
A member of the Old Scouts and Guides Association Abeetha Edirisinghe along with other members of the Association gave immense support to the organising committee to make this event a success. The committee was also thankful to the teacher-in-charge, B.S. Tennakoon for her guidance and support.
According to the marks obtained from the treasure hunt and the cooking challenge, Thurstan College won the trophy of the games. After singing campfire songs, the event concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.

PET DEN Some common diseases affecting canines

Canines are one of the favourite pets for most of us. They are like part of the family. Unlike cats and other varieties of pets, canines or dogs are very close to humans. Sometimes, they are our best friends who are there for us in good times and bad. To keep these friends in good health at all times, we need to know the illnesses that could affect them and disturb their lifestyle. Today, we enlighten you about some common canine diseases and guide you on general caring methods.

Common dog diseases

A dog can be your companion, an award winning show animal, just a guard dog or your loving pet. The best thing you, as its kind and responsible owner can do for it is to provide proper health care. A good knowledge about the various dog diseases and an awareness of the appropriate prevention and treatment methods will help you provide that care. The best way to treat a disease is to prevent it through vaccines. However, even the dogs that are vaccinated are still prone to various diseases if they are not immunized properly, through regular vaccines . Puppies are usually vaccinated as soon as they open their eyes; just two weeks after birth. These initial vaccinations have to be given at regular intervals until six weeks after birth. Thereafter some vaccinations have to be given on a yearly basis. The disease-fighting antibodies puppies receive through mother’s milk lasts for 6- 16 weeks. Then the vaccinations take over protecting the dog from disease causing germs.


A highly contagious, airborne virus causes canine distemper. It affects the respiratory system, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of the dog. Symptoms in the early stages of the disease are a common cold, runny eyes and nose, fever, cough, and often diarrhoea. However, in later stages there may be nervous twitching, paralysis, and seizures (convulsions). Unfortunately, there is no successful treatment for distemper. Many dogs die from this disease.So, make sure you protect your pet from this dreaded disease.


Hepatitis is a viral disease transmitted by urine, or saliva of infected animals. This affects the liver, kidney, and blood vessels. Fever, tissue swelling, and hemorrhage are the common symptoms of the disease. When treating the sick dog blood transfusions and intensive care will be required. However, very often those are not successful.


A bacteria spread through contact with nasal secretions, urine, or saliva of infected animals causes Canine leptospirosis. It should be noted that humans could also be infected with this disease. Lepto infects the kidneys and causes fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and jaundice. Treatment for this disease requires antibiotics, intensive care, and fluid therapy. Dogs that recover may be left with permanent kidney damage.


Parvo is very common among dogs. Canine parvo virus is a deadly contagious viral disease that is spread by contact with infected fecal matter. The virus is difficult to kill and is easily spread. It attacks the gastrointestinal system, causing fever, lethargy, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, and rapid dehydration. Treatment requires fluid and supportive therapy and has a variable rate of success. Mostly young dogs are prone to be infected with parvo.


Rabies is a viral infection that affects all mammals,including man. It is transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. The virus infects the central nervous system, causing a brain infection, which is always fatal. There is no treatment for dog or man after symptoms appear. However, vaccines are effective in preventing the disease in people if it is administered soon after their possible exposure.


Ticks are most commonly found on outdoor dogs. Ticks can transmit several diseases and should be removed with care. Grasp the tick near its head with a pair of tweezers and pull away from the skin with a firm tug. Disinfect the area with alcohol to prevent infection. Ticks should be controlled by daily inspection and removal.
Some important tips
* Never buy a puppy, which is less than at least eight weeks old.
* A healthy dog is active, has a wet nose and bright eyes. The dog’s behaviour and appetite are normal.
* If your dog is lethargic, inactive and has a dry nose, immediately take it to a veterinary surgeon.
* Dogs with long fur must be bathed once a week and during a hot weather, twice a week.
* Use mild shampoo or soap when bathing. It helps to preserve the fat layer of the dog’s skin.
* Soap or shampoo should be washed away properly and then towel dry the dog’s coat.
* Vitamins and other nutrients are essential for a healthy coat.

Bloggers Meet....

Human beings are social animals. They like to communicate and connect with the world all the time. Through telephone calls, text messages and social networks, people keep in touch with one another. Blogging has become the latest and popular trend of expressing ideas.

Many have become published writers through this novel concept. They exchange their experiences, views, and opinions through these blog sites. Another plus point of blogging is that writers get instant comments for what they write or post. This encourages budding writers. Not only writing, there are blog sites dedicated to photography as well. Many popular websites hosts blog sites free to provide the foundation for these upcoming bloggers.
When blogging became popular around the world, we, Sri Lankans, customised that concept according to our standards by starting Sinhala blogging. Lankan bloggers typed Sinhala, using various keyboards and converters, on popular blog sites.
This method reached the common man. Anyone who can type Sinhala and English and who can handle a computer can start reading and writing blogs. When the number of blog writers and blog readers increased, many people formed groups to support writers and increase traffic to these sites. Day by day, many got addicted to the habit of reading and writing blogs. It has now become a part of their daily routine.
When time passed, these blog writers and readers made many virtual friends in this virtual world.
Keeping these friends in mind, a few months ago a group of blog writers decided to meet at an event to bring writers and readers from the blog world to one common point.
For many months, they discussed it. When one of their fellow blog writers and a television program editor, 23-year old Dilum Bandara needed a large sum of money for an operation, they realised the value of having a gathering. Since the Sinhala New Year was round the corner, they decided to hold a ‘New Year festival’.
“We thought of organising a ‘New Year Festival’ to fulfill two wishes, one is to meet virtual friends we met in the cyber world and the second is to find the money needed for the operation,” said the event organiser Pasan Maduranga.
This is the first ‘Sinhala New Year festival’, organised by bloggers for bloggers. Therefore, it will be a historic event. The ‘festival’ will be held on April 3 at 9.30 am at the Henry Pedris grounds and will continue till 3.30 p.m. “We welcome anyone who wishes to participate,” said Pasan.
Participants can take part in many traditional games and some new fun games. They can also meet famous Sinhala blog figures at the event,” he said.
The games planned for the day, include tug-of-war, eating buns, Wheelbarrow race, selecting the Avurudhu Kumari and Kumaraya and counting the number of seeds in a fruit are sure to attract many competitors. For those who have the ability to run, they can participate in the 100 metres men and women’s race.
They can also take part in the couple event titled. ‘The three-legged race’. For those who love mystery, games such as ‘finding the hidden guest’ and ‘the secret of the box’ will bring loads of fun.
At the end of the day, the organisers have planned a musical evening and a meeting for bloggers. “If you make it on that day, you are sure will have no regrets. You will have a fun-filled day and at the same time you will contribute to a good cause,” Pasan said.

Korathota Raja Maha Vihara: Oldest and longest cave inscriptions

This stone inscription is proof to say that 2500 years ago, a king ruled this area. According to Senarath Paranavithane, it belongs to between the third century B.C. to second century B.C.
The long flight of steps

Inside the Viharage
Turning off the old Colombo-Ratnapura Road, from Kaduwela heading towards Homagama, a few minutes’ drive brings us to Korathota Raja Maha Vihara, an ancient temple that radiates its splendour amongst the quarries in Kaduwela. This temple, which dates back to 2000 years, is one of the few ancient temples found in the Western Province, sited on the top of a mountain next to the Belungala Rock in Kaduwela. This temple boasts of having the oldest and longest cave inscriptions in the Colombo district. In addition to the historic artefacts, the ‘show off peacock’ and the ‘white porcupine’ add extra colour to the place.

The historic caves

The history of the temple runs to the era of King Valagamba and King Mahathissa. The historic cave inscriptions and the six caves are the focal points of the temple. The caves give a hint of the good times of this place. After climbing a long flight of steps, devotees are welcomed by a Sandakadapahana or a moonstone, which has carved motifs of tuskers, lions, horses and bulls in one arc and the other arcs with motifs like Liyavela and flower petals Palapethi. After the moonstone, the path leads us to the caves with Kataram carving, something that is carved on the top of the overhanging rock to prevent water dripping into the cave.
Among the caves at the temple, the largest cave is 25 metres in length, 15 metres in width and 18 metres in height. This cave houses a recently built Vihara Geya. A large statue of the reclining Buddha, five large standing Buddha statues and two smaller ones can be seen inside. However, these do not have a significant archaeological value as those have been reconstructed after the Kandy era. There are also some murals and two devalas in it. To the right of the cave temple is a smaller cave with the Chetiya in front.
The decorations around the pagoda
Towards the left of the Viharage, there is another cave, which is 16 meters long, 10 metres wide and 22 metres high. This is used as the Pattini Devalaya now. There is a smaller cave towards the left from this cave, which is 12 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high. The overhung rock of this cave has a stone inscription belonging to the third century B.C. The smallest cave lies further away from these caves in front of the bo-tree. The last cave is located about 350 metres north of the Viharage. It is at the extreme west of the temple premises. The way to the cave is rough and steep.
The entrance naturally hewn into the rock is almost covered with a thick growth of foliage. This would have resembled the original environment of the caves. Here, one could imagine the monks of yore, meditating, performing their religious rites and living their simple lives in these forest caves, with only the rustling of leaves and the call of birds to disturb them.
The tunnel inside the third cave and behind the reclining Buddha statue there are entrances to a tunnel, which is said to be leading to the Kelaniya temple. Legend also states that this leads to the Kaduwakkalama via Kaduwela Rankadu Devalaya. It is said that a Portuguese slave lived in the cave. However, according to a resident bhikkhu of the temple, the legend mentions about a gold plate in the middle of this tunnel. “Some people, who were greedy for gold, went in search of it, but never returned. It is believed that they must have perished due to the lack of Oxygen inside the tunnel. So, now, the tunnel is sealed,” he added.

The longest cave inscription

The cave inscription, is considered as the longest and oldest inscription found in the Colombo district, can be seen near one of these Kataram carvings above the cave next to the Viharage. This inscription is written in Brahmi lettering. This states about a cave donated by the daughter of the King, ‘Mahabi’, and another cave named ‘Manapadassana’ donated by the son of ‘Parumuka Sumana’, ‘Sumana’.
Kataram of the cave temple
It is proof to say that 2500 years ago, a king ruled this area. According to Senarath Paranavithane, this stone inscription belongs between the third century B.C. to second century B.C. However, inscriptions talk about an anonymous king, who remains a mystery to-date. It is said that the person known as Sumana is Velusumana - one of the 10 great giants of King Dutugemunu.
“According to legend, during the Anuradhapura era, Viharamaha Devi, the daughter of King Kelanithissa and Sumana had attended a pooja at the Korathota temple. Later Sumana had become popular as Velusumana, because he had risked his life to bring some bees' honey from Anuradhapura to fulfil a pregnancy craving of the queen,” explained Habarakada Sumanasara Thera.
According to historians and archaeologists, Korathota Raja Maha Vihara had owned more than 3000 acres of land, which encompassed several tanks and a prosperous paddy cultivation. Apart from ancient artefacts, there are many animals roaming freely in the temple premises.
The peacock at the temple opens its decorative feathers very often. “When there is a crowd, it opens its feathers and shows off,” said the resident bhikkkhu.
The white porcupine is another attraction of the temple. In addition to these animals, there are deer, ducks, hens, turkey, and lovebirds. Korathota Raja Maha Vihara is one of the treasures of the country. It must be protected for posterity.
Though the caves are preserved with care, other parts of the temple are somewhat commercialised. With shops here and there, we were a bit confused at first whether we arrived at the correct temple. The area where the cave temples are situated is closed during the day and it is opened only around 2 pm.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The mother-in-law conundrum

A marriage made in heaven is the ultimate wish of every human being. During a time when the divorce rate is high, a perfect marriage is bliss. A couple is in love. The excitement is high. They spend a fortune and celebrate their matrimony in grand style.

Party for two days, at the wedding and the home-coming, they get back to their normal life. The future holds so many promises to this newly wedded couple. Some lovebirds live in their own separate houses and some continue to live with parents. When the latter happens, what can happen under normal circumstances, is some amount of displeasure. The legendary mother-in-law - daughter-in-law conflict begins with a little spark and then continues for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, this is something very common in homes all around the world. However, everything turns upside down when they live together. Why does this happen? Is there a solution? What is the role of the husband in such a situation? We interviewed some of our readers to seek their opinion on this popular issue.

“As I feel, the main reason for this conflict is jealousy and the lack of mutual understanding,” said Sanath, a 31-year-old technician. “Once I heard a story related to this issue, there was a mother-in-law in a family, who is said to be the jealous type. One day, the husband and wife decided to go out on a trip on their own during the weekend. When the day arrived, the mother-in-law had gotten ready before anyone else, with the intention of joining the couple on the trip. Luckily, the daughter-in-law was understanding and tolerated the mother-in-law. If not it would have ended up in a huge issue," he said.

According to Nalika, a 25-year-old schoolteacher, in many houses mother and son relationships are stronger than the relationship between a father and a son.

When the son ties the knot, and brings a wife to the house, his attention is divided between the mother and the wife. Things, which the mother used to do before have been taken over by the wife. When these chains of incidents occur, the mother begins to feel left out. This spurs the conflict.

"My mother is no more, but I have a stepmother. I spend every day of my life with quarrels between my wife and stepmother. I thought a million times to leave the house and live separately. However, I somehow keep my patience for the sake of my poor father. It is not easy to balance," lamented Dulip, a 34-year-old, Quality Assurance Officer.

"When the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law see each other often, the spark, and mutual respect diminishes over time. Then jealousy and anger comes into the scene. The best thing a husband can do at this point is to be unbiased. Else, it will be unfair on one party," Nimsha, a university undergraduate, said.

Kalhara, a father of two, opposes the idea. According to him, when a girl gets married, she gives her whole responsibility to the husband. Therefore, if he is not there when she is in need, she will feel helpless. "Living with parents can create many problems," he said. "First, the couple cannot show their love to each other while being in the house freely, they will be restricted to their room. The couple might not be able to leave the house whenever they want. They are bound to be questioned about it. This might give a feeling of dependency, making them frustrated. Often finding fault with the newly wedded wife is another problem, which can lead to major conflicts later," he said.

Once this clash is set in motion it is likely to continue for a lifetime. The best thing is, to use different tactics to prevent the conflict. The majority of people, who expressed their opinion, suggested that the best possible action to be taken is that the couple should live separately. Through this the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is distant enough not to see each other's mistakes and maintain a happy relationship. Once a relationship is damaged, it is very difficult to bring it back to normal. Therefore, think wisely about your plans before the marriage.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Old Images of Sri Lanka

 Banyan Tree- Colpetty
Boats in canal- Negambo
Bristol Hotel- Colombo
Colombo Kandy Rail
Dimbula Bungalow
Galle face Hotel - Colombo
Galle face Hotel – Colombo (1860)
Grand Oriental Hotel
House Boat – Wellawatta Stream
Matara- Polwatta Rail Bridge
Matara Station - 1895
Mt lavinia Hotel
Mt Lavinia Hotel -1865
Mt Lavinia Hotel – 1865
Colombo Museum
Ohiya Station – 1893
Peradeniya Garden Entrance
Royal Hotel – 1860
Talpe Station - 1895
Kandy Temple
Ruwanwelisaya - Anuradhapura
Samadhi Statue- Anuradhapura
Sri Maha Bodhi- Anuradhapura
Sri Pada
Sri Pada
Temple at Slave Island

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A new era in Girl Guiding 'Rally 2011' will be held to celebrate the spirit of guiding :

Girl Guiding is one of the best forms of non-formal education a girl can receive while schooling. Knowing the value of the movement, many parents encourage their daughters to be a part of the Girl Guides Association.
Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) was inaugurated in Sri Lanka in 1917. Since then the movement has been empowering girls and young women to face the many challenges of life, for over 90 years. Now the Association has more than 30,000 members in all the nine provinces of the country.
The SLGGA is divided into three main categories according to the ages of the members: Little Friends aged 7-11 years, Guides aged 11-16 years and Senior Guides aged 16-23 years.
The Girl Guides Association is hoping to start a completely new era of guiding in Sri Lanka from this year and "April will be a significant month for all the members of the SLGGA and for those who are interested in joining the Movement in the future. An extravagant event called The 'Rally 2011', will be organised by the Movement, to launch the new uniforms, new programmes and a new image for the association," says Director Communications, Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association, Dilmini Peiris.
The last time they had an image change was in 1960s. To give a local touch to the image an elephant was included.
New Sri Lanka badges for all the ranks in the three branches were also introduced in that year. Almost 50 years later , there will be another major change in the system. "We need to show the world that our Movement is changing with the world," she added.
Rally 2011 will celebrate the spirit of guiding. The members from all over the country will meet their fellow guides at the Galle Face Green in April at this much awaited Guiding event. Stay tuned with the Junior Observer for more information about this rally.

History of Girl Guiding

Lord Robert Baden-Powell popularly known as BP founded the Girl Guide and Boy Scout. He first worked with boys in South Africa during the Boer War. He had set up his headquarters in Mafeking, but soon this came under siege. Then, BP recruited a few boys as messengers during this difficult time. They divided themselves into groups or rather patrols and each of these patrol had a leader, known as a patrol leader. Since that scheme was a success, on his way to England BP decided that the boys in England, should also be taught similar skills such as camping, teamwork, and leadership, pioneering, stalking and orienteering to prepare them when they were older.Through his book "Scouting for Boys," he explained how he wants to popularise scouting among boys. The book was soon a hit among boys all over England, and they started forming their own scout companies.
In 1909, the first scout jamboree was held in London. Seeing some of the girls who attended this rally, BP realized the need for forming something similar for the girls as well. As a result, the Girl Guide Movement was inaugurated in 1910 in the UK. BP's sister Agnes Baden Powell was the first president of the Girl Guides movement.
Girl Guiding was first introduced in Sri Lanka in 1917, by Mrs. Jenny Greene and Miss. Jenny Calverley. The first Guide Company was started at the Girls' High School, Kandy with the support of its principal at that time, Miss. Sansom. At the end of that particular year, the guiding oath was altered, so that the non-Christians too can join the movement In 1918, the Ceylon Branch of the Girl Guides Association was formed and Mrs. R. W. Byrde was appointed as Sri Lanka's first Chief Commissioner.

Caring for fine hair...

Many women around the world, dream of having long dark bouncy and silky hair. Companies all over the world make money by selling various types of shampoos, conditioners and medications to improve hair type.

Flat and dull fine hair is a menace to every hair owner. This hair type does not enhance the beauty of a person, if not handled properly; it will ruin your image. However, if you know the trick, you do not have to live with unappealing locks.

Beautiful styles are within your reach. Today, let us enlighten you on some styles to pump up the volume of a fine hair.

Fine hair can be maddening. When you look around, everyone seems to own full, luscious locks, while you seem to be cursed with a thin, lifeless strip of hair, which does not add anything to your image. However, if you know how, there are ways to make hair look like the long, fat tresses of Rapunzel’s. Something you first need to realise is that, there is a difference between fine hair and thin hair.

Fine hair is when each individual strand is thin, and the number of strands per square inch is more. However, thin hair is when the spaces between the hair is bigger. A person can possibly have both fine and thin hair. The best way to convert the baby-fine hair to a gorgeous mane is to have the right cut. Discuss with your stylist about the styles that appeal most to your hair type and to the shape of your face. Bobs look great for people with fine hair; vary the length of the cut based on the shape of the face.

A modified bob with uneven ends rather than rounded edges will also do the trick. Bangs work well with fine hair. Try a short, tapered cut. Angles can add volume to your hair. If you are interested in longer hair, try layers. If you wish, you can go shoulder length or a bit longer than that. If you make it too long, you will lose the effect of fullness. Having irregular edges can lighten the hair and add a bit of volume. Having your hair angled for longer cuts, which is longer in the front and shorter in the back, will give your style a better shape.

Trying styles, which push behind the ears, will also make your hair appear full. Pulling the long hair into a high ponytail or a bun while you sleep and letting it down in the morning will help you to give some volume to the hair, while braiding the hair when sleeping can give a wavy look, which will last all day.

Both short and long hairstyles need regular trims to keep up with the shape, to keep their appearance up and to clean up the split ends. There are shampoos, conditioners, and styling products on the market designed especially for fine hair. The habit of washing your hair every two or three days and applying a conditioner only on the ends will stop weighing down the hair.

Fine hair can be oily, as the oils produced at your scalp can easily work their way down the fine, straight strands. If you are seeing greasy strands, use products designed especially for oily hair. Mousse or gel can add volume too. Apply these products to the roots and then blow-dry the hair upside down for maximum volume. Spraying the roots with hairspray will also add long-lasting fullness.

A hair stylist can help with treatment that can add volume to fine hair. Coloured highlights add depth to your hair visually, and can increase your hair texture. Perms are not the horrors you remember from the 80s. Talk to your stylist about how a perm might add body to your hair. With the right cut and care, you will find a fine-hair style that shines.

Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya

Decorated entrance to the tunnel
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Nugegoda metropolis, a 20 minute drive towards the Pita-Kotte junction leads the way to Kotte Raja Maha Vihara, one of the ancient temples of the city. The tranquillity of the temple invited us for a journey towards a life full of peace and happiness. Since it was almost twilight, the temple was crowded with many worshippers. The light of the oil lamps and the aroma of the incense sticks took us to an incredible world, making us forget that we are at the edge of a busy town.
"When King Parakumbha VI (1415-1467) ruled the country, he built this temple closer to his palace, with the intention of doing the necessary duties to the Sangha regularly," the Chief Incumbent of the Kotte Raja Maha Vihara, Ven. Aluthnuwara Anuruddha Thera explained. With the arrival of the Portuguese, the Kotte Kingdom faced a tragic situation.
The fate of the temple was no difference. It was in 1813, when Ven. Pilane Dharma Keerthi Sri Buddha Rakkhitha Thera found this ancient temple in ruins and restored it to the present condition. "The Thera found the place, with some ruins of the present Chethiya, foundation of the Vihara and the Katharagama Devalaya, and some stone pillars here and there," said Anuruddha Thera. "However, most of the artifacts had been taken away by the foreigners leaving only a few ruins at this place," he lamented.

Kabok tunnel

A kabok tunnel situated at the Kotte Ananda Shasthralaya premises is another important artefact that belongs to the temple. This tunnel has three openings. One doorway leads to the palace and another to escape safely during an enemy attack. It is noticeable that during the past the entrance to the tunnel had been decorated with a 'Makara Thorana'. The outline of the decoration still remains at the doorway. It is said that there was another tunnel connected to this one. That is for the purpose of enabling the Queen and her maids safely reach the other nearby temples.
Inside the tunnel
A bronze plate kept at the temple, with the engraving 'vaasala' (palace), is one of the historic artifacts found at this premises. It is said that this plate was sent from the palace during alms-givings. Now the plate is restored at the Vihara.

Ancient drawings

The 'Viharage' of the temple has many ancient drawings and one of the old 'Devala' contains a drawing of a Portuguese Mudliyar or a soldier, with a bronze-buttoned shirt, a sarong with some designs, and a hat. One of the wall paintings depicts this Portuguese man holding a bird and a devil dancing nearby and another show the Mudliyar pointing a finger at something. The paintings are almost vanishing. It gives some signs of colour, however, now it is visible in black and white. The Sandakadapahana or the moonstone of the temple is adorned with swans, horses, elephants, and leaves (liyavel). The centre of the moonstone is decorated with some coloured glass beads, to give the effect of the seeds of the lotus.
The land towards the east of the temple is another important part of the ancient temple. It had been a place named 'Kota Vehera', a place that was worshipped by the kings, ministers as well as the public.

Na tree

Unlike other temples, this temple has an ironwood (Na) tree instead of a bo tree. History of this tree dates back to the era of the prince Sapumal Bandara, the prince who defeated Aryachakravarthis and won the administration of Jaffna. Before leaving for this war, he had worshipped this ancient naa tree and made a vow.
ancient na treeVihara GeMoonstone
He returned to Kotte as a winner and national hero. From that day onwards, people had the habit of worshipping the tree before attending any of their major tasks. The kings during that era paid a visit to the temple after their coronation ceremony to pay homage to the Buddha. H. C. P. Bell an Archaeological Commissioner of Ceylon once said, "At the village of Pita-Kotte, which consisted of the outer city stood the Dagaba and temple to which according to tradition, before the coronation the monarchs of Kotte used to ride on horseback for the ceremony of cutting the tali-pot tree that sprang into life again like the golden bough of Virgil with student of each successive ruler. The temple had vanished centuries ago, with the other Buddhist buildings. The Dagaba, which had remained in facet, spaced alike by conqueror and by time, has recently been exploited and the bricks of the dome daily abstracted to build a house. Now, only the basement is left of it, and that too is fast disappearing"
"Later this land was handed over to a mission by the Dutch," says Anuruddha Thera. "They cut off the Bo-tree and built a church on that place," He added. To date, the main temple of the Kotte Vihara does not have a Bo-tree.
MuralPainting of a mudliyar
The area with the Bo-Tree is situated a few metres away from the main temple. C.M. de Silva states in his book 'Antiquities of the Kingdom of Kotte', "The Rajamaha Vihara is the meeting point of thousands of devotees from all parts of the neighbouring towns and villages.
The perehera of the temple is viewed with a spirit of devotion and happiness evoking a sense of national pride is perpetuation a historic event of the bygone days of Kotte." Explaining further he wrote, "The Rajamaha Vihara in Pita-Kotte was constructed by Sri Parakramabahu VI about the year 1415. For the upkeep of the temple, considerable lands yielding and the King had endowed adequate income. Under the Portuguese rule the temple was reduced to ruins and for nearly one and a half centuries the palace was under the jungle."
According to the Department of Archaeology, there is no other place in the country like Kotte, where most of the ancient buildings, artefacts, and ruins were lost.
The chief incumbent of the temple, humbly requests the public to present voluntarily whatever the artefact they have, which is related to the history of the temple. It would be a social service for the betterment of the future generations.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ideas for an article


Again I need your opinion for an article.

This is about the famous Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law fight. Why do you think it happens? What can each party do to avoid the conflict and what's the role of the husband in this problem?

Comment with your name, job and age. Just to give a rough idea about who you are, to the readers. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A haven for elephants

The lost, orphaned and injured are well taken care of at the Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home
The largest land animal on the planet, the elephant, is loved and adored by many of us. However, during the recent past with the increase of the population, many elephants have lost their habitats ( living spaces) and food sources. Therefore, they come to villages looking for food.
This has created a conflict between humans and elephants. A large number of elephants and humans have died as a result. Some elephants, especially baby elephants lose their parents and become orphaned. We cannot let these little ones die. Keeping this tragic situation in mind, the Department of Wild Life Conservation initiated a pilot project in 1995 to take care of the elephants that are in need of help and later release them back into the wild when they are ready.
'Ath Athuru Sevana' or the 'Elephant Transit Home' was built on a 22-hecatare land with the sole objective of saving our endangered elephants.And do you know who the first resident of this transit home was? An elephant named 'Komali',found from Meegallawa, Galgamuwa.
Today there are 43 elephants between the ages of two months to five years at this home. Since the inception, around 73 orphaned, lost or injured elephants had been found from various parts of the country .
When such elephants are brought to the home, the transit home officials take good care of them before releasing them back into the wild. So, to date 73 elephants have found their new homes in the various wild life parks such as Udawalawa, Maduruoya and Lunugamwehera. Of these, the majority had been released to Udwalwawa National Park , as it is the closest and also has enough resources for the elephants to roam and grow up freely.
"We find orphaned baby elephants from all around the country. These elephants can be orphaned due to an injury or death to the mother or as a result of straying from their herd.
Some small elephants which get along with the buffaloes in the vicinity are in the habit of walking around with these buffalo herds ," said the veterinary surgeon at the Elephant Transit Home, Dr. Udaya Kumara.
"As soon as we find these elephants , we check whether they need any emergency medication. Thereafter we take good care of them until they are strong and old enough to live on their own ," he added.
According to Dr. Kumara adult elephants are fed milk every three hours and baby elephants every two hours. A veterinary surgeon and other officials work round the clock (24 hours a day) to take care of them.
"Sometime these little elephants behave like children .They fight with each other and injure themselves . Then we need to treat them and give them medication. They also suffer from stomachaches and phlegm problems just like human babies. Therefore, we need to be vigilant about them all the time," said the senior veterinary surgeon at the home, Dr. B. Vijitha Perera.
Even though they are big in size, their behaviour and needs are very similar to those of an infant. Someone has to keep an eye on them all the time. However, it is strictly prohibited for anyone to pet these little ones, unlike at the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela.
You may think it is strange or cruel to do so because these baby elephants are so cute nad lovable. But the authorities have a very good reason for doing this.'These elephants are not going to be at the Home for their entire life. They have to be released into the wild, so they need to get used to the life in the wild. “Therefore, we make sure that human contact is at a minimum. We never pet them," said Dr. Kumara.
Once these elephants reach the age of four or five years they are released to the wild. At this point, home officials fix a radio belt or collar with a transmitter, around the neck of the elephant.
By this the officials can identify the location of these elephants once they are back in the wild.They closely monitor the elephants released from the transit home for a period of three years. During this time, their behaviour and the way they adapt to the wild is observed.
"When we release these elephants to the wild, some of them tend to return to the home, and then we have no other option than relocating them to another national park," explained Dr. Kumara.
These giants pachyderms are maintained mainly by Government funds. However, people who love elephants can contribute to the well-being of these majestic animals, threatened with extinction today.
The Elephant Transit Home also has a 'foster parent' scheme. An organization or a person too can become a foster parent to anyone of these elephants.
These foster parents pay Rs. 25,000 per month to maintain an elephant. Musaeus College, Colombo is also the foster parent to an elephant named Kanthali at the home.
The Wild Life Conservation Project of the school holds various fund-raising campaigns to collect this amount.
The public, yes even you can contribute any amount as a general donation for the development of this one and only elephant transit home we have in Sri Lanka.