Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 March 2015





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Beautiful spaces in Sri Lanka:Mannar island

Donkeys of Mannar

The Mannar island occupies an area of 1505.4 square kilometres. It has been known historically by names such as Manthei, Mathota, Mahathiththa, Mahaputu and Mawatuthota. Mannar has a dry desert climate.

There are two main roads leading to Mannar. One is the road passing through Anuradhapura and Madawachchiya along which 80km should be travelled to reach Mannar. The other is the recently opened road through Puttalam, Eluankulam, Silawatura and the Wilpattu National Park. Today we enlighten you about a few of the attractions which include fauna, flora and strategic places of the island.

The Venkalai bridge connecting the Mannar Island is the longest bridge built in Sri Lanka. The bird-sanctuary is located on either side of the bridge between Paliyanthiv and Thirikenilwert. It is 4828 hectares in extent. This place which is a sanctuary of migratory birds is a retreat for about 200 types of birds. Siyakkaraya, Kabiliththa, Ranpath tharawa, Ulpeda Tharawa and Petamathabatta are the main types. Apart from them very rare species of animals have made this place their home. They are the Geta Kibula and Muhudu oora.Mangrove plans and stretches of sand are found all over the Venkalai Sanctuary.

The Biobab tree

Thiruketheeswaram kovil

Adam's bridge

The Mannar fort

Thiruketheeswaram Kovil is one of the famous Kovils built to worship God Eeswara.

This Kovil is situated near the A-32 road. There is a legend that the Kovil was built by Mayan, Ravana's uncle. It is also believed that Rama had worshipped at this temple before travelling to India with Seetha. Another belief among the villagers is that a Brahmin of King Vijaya had worshipped at the temple. The temple is one of the legendary sites where Eeswara had performed many miracles.

Donkeys had been imported to Mannar from Somalia for draft purposes. These donkeys were transported to Puttalam and Kalpitiya too. They can still be seen in herds in the streets of Mannar.

The Mannar Fort had been built by the Portuguese. After 1696 the Fort has been controlled by the Dutch. The English captured the fort on October 5, 1975.

The Mannar port could be described as one that linked Sri Lanka to the world. There are details about the Mannar port and fort in a stone inscription at Thamanhil island.

The Biobab is a huge tree found on the Mannar island. The largest Biobab tree in Mannar is found about 2km from the entrance to Mannar island.The Biobab tree had been the favorite food of Camels brought to the island for draft purposes.

A beautiful beach called Urumale is situated on the Mannar island. The light of the light-house situated in Rameshwaram, India could be seen at Urumale beach. The only place in Sri Lanka from which another country could be seen is the Urumale beach. The closest beach to India is the Urumale beach. The sand-hills of the Adam's bridge which the legendary Hanumatha had used are seen at Urumale. A variety of fish are present in this sea-strip. Beautiful corals are also seen.

Adam's bridge is also known as Rama's bridge or Rama Setu. This is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island, off Southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu and the Mannar Island. According to geologists, this was a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.

The bridge is 30km long and is believed to have been a continuous structure during the olden days. However now it is separated into 18 parts.The Sri Lankan Navy governs nine of them and other nine belongs to the Indian Navy.

The bridge separates the Gulf of Mannar from the Palk Strait. Some of these sandbanks are dry and the sea around them is very shallow. It is said that during the bygone days people reached India on foot along the bridge. First mention of the bridge is in the ancient Sanskrit epic, Ramayana of Valmiki. The Navy conducts boat trips every day. The boat trip is 15 km from the mainland to the sea. People can walk on the sand bank and spend their time.

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