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DateLine Sunday, 25 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Finest hours of May

Low country dancers

Vesak which signifies the birth, enlightenment and Parinibbana (death) of the Buddha is celebrated all over the world. A festive atmosphere and vibrancy prevail during Vesak where lanterns and giant pandals with sparkling lights decorate major towns in the country.

The month of May sees the biggest Buddhist celebrations. This time however the focus fell on Bentota-Beruwela area where the Tourist Hotel’s Association of Sri Lanka along with Bentota Beruwela Hoteliers Association in association with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, organised Vesak celebrations for the first time on a grandiose scale at the UDA ground at Moragalle Beruwela.

Although it was a customary practice for inhabitants of Beruwela to celebrate Poson every year, Vesak was celebrated this year with the participation of serval local organisations.

Many religious events were organised to mark the occasion. A meditation session at the Island temple Beruwela, Sermons on Buddhism delivered in English, a Bakthi Gee competition on an illuminated barge afloat the Bentota river, a Lantern competition, Vesak card making competition, and a mini Perahera were some of the highlights.

As pre arranged we visited the meditation centre at Aluthgama. We took a boat ride in the sea to reach the hillock temple.

After getting off from the boat we had to scale several steps to reach the jungle Aarannya surrounded by shrub and Venerable Dr. Talawe Sangharatha Thera was already seated there when we arrived. He was about to begin his discourse on meditation. He was surrounded by several foreign European tourists and by foreign and local journalists.

The Perahera

Bhakthi Gee competition

The elderly couple, from Bristol United Kingdom sat next to me. I noticed Mr. Jones struggling to sit on the mat with his legs crossed. There were few European women tourists as well eagerly waiting for the meditation session to begin. All of us sat on mats laid on the ground. The Thera began by explaining some of the basic tenets of Buddhism.

He said every thing was subject to change according to Buddhist teaching. He then went to explain cause and effect and said many people led stressful lives today due to many factors which they were ignorant of.

As a result many suffered from mental illnesses and other ailments. People could not sleep and lay awake the whole night. They went to work on the following day thoroughly exhausted and could not concentrate on their work.

Taming the mind through meditation

The Thera stressed the importance of meditation and said it was the only answer to tame the mind. When evening fell there was a colourful mini Perahera with several low country dancers clad in colourful costumes dancing along the main road to the rhythm of the drums. When night fell what captured our eyes were the serene women Bakthi Gee singers clad in spotless sarees on a barge floating down the Bentota river.

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Renton de Alwis said when Sri Lanka celebrated the Buddha Jayanthi 52 years ago, a huge celebration was held in Sri Lanka to commemorate the occasion. He said tourists these days want to experiment and experience something unique when they visit other countries.

Vesak was one such cultural festival where tourists could take back unique and happy memories with them.

“We decided to host the event at Beruwela to showcase Beruwela not only as a destination for sea and the sun alone. Despite Beruwela being a predominantly muslim town, all communities had joined hands to organise the event, he said. He said organising events of this nature in many parts of the country adds a different dimension to the marketing strategy of tourism.

President of the Bentota Beruwela Hoteliers Association Chang said when they were entrusted with the task of organising Vesak at Beruwela they sought assistance from the local community including the Pradeshiya Sabbawa, the Divisional Secretariat, the Kande Viharaya and all the Buddhist temples in Bentota-Beruwela areas and from the Lions Club to make it a success.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Mount View Residencies
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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