By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka has issued a commemorative stamp marking a site in the epic Ramayana in the island’s central highlands, in a ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene and India’s High Commissioner to Colombo Gopal Bagalay.
The stamp commemorates the Sita Amman Temple, which is believed to be in the site known as Ashok Vatika in the Ramayana, where Sita was held captive by the island’s native King Ravana.
Sri Lanka has issued a commemorative stamp marking a site in the epic Ramayana in the island’s central highlands, in a ceremony where Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardene and India’s High Commissioner to Colombo.
A foundation stone was also laid for a meditation centre at the location, the Indian High Commission said in a twitter.com message.
The area in the Nuwara Eliya district, around present day Hakgala Gardens is known as Seetha Eliya.In the epic, Sita, the wife of Rama is kidnapped by Ravana and held at Ashok Vatika.
Sri Lanka has identified 50 sites linked to the Ramayana epic which will be used to promote tourism in Sri Lanka mainly targeting India, along with Buddhist tourism, an official said as the island is trying to revive the sector to get out of the worst currency crisis in its post-independent history.
“Sri Lankan authorities have identified 50 Ramayana sites in the country, and they are promoting it in India while also targeting to go to the UK, France, Canada and South Africa,” s top official of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion disclosed.
“When Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau considers its product diversity there are so many which could attract the pilgrims in India and also from other Buddhist countries, ”he added.
So far 13,759 tourists from India visited Sri Lanka in January 2023, being one of the largest markets for tourism in Sri Lanka.
“Last year and the year before we had several promotions in India for Ramayana tourism. For Buddhism promotion we live streamed the Kandy Esala Perehera in 7 languages,” he said.
In 2022 Sri Lanka welcomed 719,978 tourists. India was the top generating market with 123,004 visitors visiting the Island.
“Most of the Indians are coming here for leisure travel and they visit at least one Ramayana site in Sri Lanka, ” he said adding that there will be more tourists to visit Ramayana sites in the future than Buddhist places in the country.
o the Hindu devotee it is a pilgrimage of awe and inspiration; to the uninitiated it is a trail through Sri Lanka visiting some of the most beautiful natural sites – quaint temples, majestic monuments, each confirming a unique aspect of Sri Lanka’s ties to Valmiki’s epic evoking a devotion beyond faith.