With more than 50 ancient sites associated with the Ramayana located in its territory, Sri Lanka is developing some of these places to narrate to the world the story of the revered epic and attract tourists from abroad, especially India.
“Sri Lanka is the proud custodian of more than 50 sites related to the epic Ramayana. Now, the Government has started developing these sites to attract more number of tourists from India,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner C R Jayasinghe told PTI.
Sri Lankan Tourism has designed a ‘Ramayana tourist package’ for the benefit of travellers
, especially those from India, to visit those places, the envoy said.
The package includes sites from the place of Sita’s captivity to the battlefields and to the ultimate theatre of war where Lord Ram killed Ravana.
Sri Lankans believe that King Ravana ruled the country and Ramayana has it that he brought Sita from India in a ‘Pushpakavimana’ which is known as ‘Dandu monara yanthraya’ in the island country.
The envoy said the Sri Lankan government has developed infrastructure in the areas and is promoting the ‘Ramayana sites’ through an aggressive advertising campaign.
‘Seetha Kotuwa’, a palace where Sita is believed to have been kept until she was moved to ‘Ashoka Vatika’ and Sita Amman Temple, a temple built for Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, have been developed and included in the package.
Other sites which are being developed are Ravana Cave-Ravana Falls, Divurumpola, Ishtripura and Chariot Path and Seetha Tear Pond.
Nearly 200 tourists from India took part in a special ‘puja’ at the Sita Amman temple in Sita Eliya, around 200 km from capital Colombo, on January 28, 2008.
The island nation is referred to as Lanka in Valmiki’s Ramayana and ‘Ilangai’ in Kambaramayanam, Tamil version of the epic, written by poet Kamban.
Jayasinghe said this will go a long way in promoting people-to-people contact between India and Sri Lanka, which share warm and friendly relations.
Sri Lanka’s inspiration to promote the sites associated with Valmiki’s Ramayana came from India, which has a large number of Buddhist sites.
“A large number of Sri Lankans come to India to visit the historical sites associated with Buddha and Buddhism. So, we thought why shouldn’t we promote the Ramayana sites too,” the High Commissioner said.