Traditional Net Fishing on the Beach at Paraliya Hikkaduwa

The rhythmic chanting was matched by the lockstep motion of feet pounding along Peraliya beach outside Hikkaduwa on the South coast of Sri Lanka. It is a common sight along the coastline of this island nation to see two rows of fisherman laboriously pulling in large nets that are left floating out at sea.

Early in the morning, large nets are pulled out to into the ocean by boats and left to sit there for a few hours as they gather the day’s catch. The boats that pull them out sit at the end of the net and eventually, when the time is right, they stand up and begin waving their shirts or a piece of clothe in the air.

Then the work begins.

The fisherman hanging out in their beach huts come out from the comfort of the shade to the scalding sand and grab hold of the lines that extend out from both sides of the net. Then the pulling begins. They begin marching in lockstep, decades of family knowledge passed down to their skinny legs and scarred hands.

The pulling begins on the edge of the ocean and slowly they march along the scalding surface to the end of the beach. Then the last one in line walks to the front to start the whole process over again.

Slowly, slowly the nets come closer. Eventually, after around an hour the prize also comes closer and the singing and chanting becomes louder and more furious as the two sides cajole each other to keep working.

As the nets get a few meters from shore the yelling reaches a fever pitch as the fishermen run into their sea, yelling with tribal ferocity, to grab their booty.

Nets are pulled onto the sand then crowds gather to the see the haul and women in bright dresses pick up errant fish that have fallen out of the nets.

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Magul Maha Viharaya Lahugala , Ampara

Magul Maha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Lahugala, Ampara District of Sri Lanka. The temple lies on the northern edge of the Lahugala National Park, about 22 km off from Siyambalanduwa town and about 11 km off Pottuvil town. Lahugala has been part of the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. The ruins of Magul Maha Vihara are one of the major tourist attractions of the Eastern province. This temple is also an archaeologically protected monument of the country.

History and legends

The history of Magul Maha Vihara possibly dates back to the period of King Kavantissa (205-161 BC) who ruled the Kingdom of Ruhuna in ancient Sri Lanka. There are evidence that suggests that the king has built this temple in the 2nd Century BC on the exact location where he married the princesses Viharamahadevi, the daughter of king Kelani Tissa. Other sources claim that King Dhatusena (463-479 AD) built this temple while many other monarchs renovated it through the centuries later. There is a stone inscription at the site of this temple that dates back to the 14th century which supports the latter view.

According to legend Viharamaha Devi, the daughter of King Kelanitissa volunteered to sacrifice herself to the sea to appease the gods who were enraged at the King for punishing an innocent monk. The princess was safely carried over the ocean waves, reaching ashore at a place near the Muhudu Maha Viharaya in Pottuvil, where the encounter between king Kavantissa and the princess took place which later led to their marriage. The legend also tells that the marriage ceremony was conducted at the premises of Magul Maha Viharaya in Lahugala, where the King had later built the temple to celebrate the auspicious event. The foundations of the Magul Maduwa where the wedding ceremony took place can still be seen at the temple premises. Magul is a word in native Sinhala language which gives the meaning wedding or auspicious.

Magul Maha Vihara had been renovated by several monarchs after its establishment. A 14th century stone inscription, located within the temple premises, reveals about a queen who also had the name Viharamaha Devi, wife of King Buvenekabahu IV of Gampola and Parakramabahu V of Gampola, who renovated and donated many acres of land to this temple. Magul Maha Viharaya is inscribed in this stone inscription as Ruhunu Maha Viharaya. Some other sources reveals that king Dappula I (661-664 AD), constructed this temple after listening to the preachings of Buddhist monks. It is speculated that around 12,000 monks inhabited the complex at some stage in history, which is evident to the largeness of the ancient temple.

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Biso Pokuna (queens pond)

Biso Pokuna (queens pond) is an archaeological site which has the remains of a palace and an amazing solid rock pond which made for princess "Sugala" in 12th century AD. worth visiting this masterpiece just paying few minutes of your time. you have to stop your vehicle beside road, gate is always closed, just few meters walk. search on google maps easy to find.

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The Ancient Kingdom of Yapahuwa

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Kurunagala and Anuradhapura was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands.

In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics.

Yapahuwa served as the capital of Sri Lanka in the latter part of the 13th century (1273–1284). Built on a huge, 90 meter high rock boulder in the style of the Sigiriya rock fortress, Yapahuwa was a palace and military stronghold against foreign invaders.

History

The palace and fortress were built by King Buvanekabahu I (1272–1284) in the year 1273. Many traces of ancient battle defenses can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway, is its biggest showpiece. On top of the rock are the remains of a stupa, a Bodhi tree enclosure, and a rock shelter/cave used by Buddhist monks, indicating that earlier this site was used as a Buddhist monastery, like many boulders and hills in the area. There are several caves at the base of the rock. In one of them there is a shrine with Buddha images. One cave has a Brahmi script inscription. At the southern base of the rock there is a fortification with two moats and ramparts. In this enclosure there are the remains of a number of buildings including a Buddhist shrine. There is also a Buddhist temple called Yapawwa Rajamaha Vihara built during the Kandyan period.

The Tooth Relic was brought from Dambadeniya and kept in the Tooth Temple built for the purpose at the top of the third staircase. The relics were carried away from the temple here to South India by the Pandyas, and then recovered in 1288 by Parakkramabahu III (1287–1293), who temporarily placed them in safety at Polonnaruwa.

Yapahuwa was one of the ephemeral capitals of medieval Sri Lanka. The citadel of Yapahuwa lying midway between Anuradhapura and Kurunegala was built around a huge granite rock rising abruptly almost a hundred meters above the surrounding lowlands.

In 1272, King Bhuvenakabahu transferred the capital from Polonnaruwa to Yapahuwa in the face of Dravidian invasions from South India, bringing the Sacred Tooth Relic with him. Following the death of King Bhuvenakabahu in 1284, the Pandyans of South India invaded Sri Lanka once again, and succeeded in capturing Sacred Tooth Relic. Following its capture, Yapahuwa was largely abandoned and inhabited by Buddhist monks and religious ascetics

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Koneswaram Temple - Trincomalee

Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee  or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple – The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical -medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Built significantly during the reign of the early Cholas and the Five Dravidians of the Early Pandyan Kingdom atop Konesar Malai, a promontory overlooking Trincomalee District, Gokarna bay and the Indian Ocean, its Pallava, Chola, Pandyan and Jaffna design reflect a continual Tamil Saivite influence in the Vannimai region from the classical period. The monument contains its main shrine to Shiva in the form Kona-Eiswara, shortened to Konesar and is a major place for Hindu pilgrimage, labelled the "Rome of the Gentiles/Pagans of the Orient". Connected at the mouth of the Mahavilli Ganga River to the footprint of Shiva at Sivan Oli Padam Malai at the river’s source, the temple symbolically crowns the flow of the Ganges River from Shiva’s head of Mount Kailash to his feet.

The complex was destroyed in colonial religious attacks between 1622 and 1624 and a fort was built at the site from its debris. A 1632 built temple located away from the city houses some of its original idols. Worldwide interest was renewed following the discovery of its underwater and land ruins, sculptures and Chola bronzes by archaeologists and Arthur C. Clarke. It has been preserved through restorations, most recently in the 1950s. Granted ownership of villages in its florist to form the Trincomalee District, Trincomalee village is located on the cape isthmus within the compounds. The modern temple has been a source of conflict between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils due to its position in a Geo strategically important area. Revenue from the temple provides services and food to local residents.

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