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A stroll through the Forbidden City (Pics)

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The most majestic palace in the People’s Republic of China is located in the center of its capital, Beijing.

This palace is also known as the ‘Palace Museum’.

However, this place, which is now known as the Palace Museum, was referred to as the ‘Forbidden City’ in the past.

The Forbidden City’s history dates back to more than 600 years.

The palace was built between the period of the Ming Dynasty which was in power from 1368 to 1644 BC and the Qing Dynasty which was in power from 1644 to 1911.

The Forbidden City was the home to 24 emperors of China.

The construction of the palace began by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Yongle, in 1406 and was completed in 1420.

Fourteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty ruled the empire from the palace until it was taken over by the Manchus in 1644.

Chinese history says the Manchus moved the capital to Shenyang for a few months after they conquered the palace.

The Forbidden City later fell to the hands of the Qing Dynasty and has been home to 10 emperors of the Qing Dynasty ever since.

The city was the seat of the Qing dynasty until the last emperor abdicated in 1912 following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Considered to be the world’s largest imperial palace, it is said to be three times larger than the Louvre Palace in France.

The Forbidden City which is 7,750,000 square feet in size has been completed with the contribution of a million laborers.

It consists of more than 90 palace quarters and courtyards, 980 buildings and over 8,728 rooms.

The architects have designed it in a way that birds are unable to roost on the roofs of the Forbidden City.

The spaces between the tiles on the high roofs have been widened in order to retain the cleanliness and splendor of the city.

It is said that the colors of the Forbidden City are based on Feng Shui, and therefore, yellow and red colors can be seen often.

Buildings of European and Arabian architecture are also located within the premises. 

It was said that part of the old collection at the museum is still in Taiwan as a result of removing some national treasures from the Forbidden City during the Japanese invasion in 1933.

Following the end of World War II, part of the collection was returned from Taiwan, but some of the artefacts are kept in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Many people here believe that a visit to the Forbidden City is incomplete without a visit to Jingshan Park.

If you wish to see just how enormous and majestic the Forbidden City is, you must visit the nearby Jingshan Park where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire complex from top of a hill.

(Kelum Shivantha reporting from Beijing, China)

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ASLCSCC holds Chinese Cultural exhibition in Colombo (Pics)

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An exhibition of Chinese Culture kicked off in Colombo yesterday (May 09) at the exhibition hall of the Public Library, Colombo.

The exhibition, organised by the Association for Sri Lanka – China Social and Cultural Cooperation (ASLCSCC), showcases photographs, art, crafts and calligraphy and will be held today as well.

The event kicks off a series of events which will be held to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China, which will take place on October 01.

Speaking to ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’, ASLCSCC Chairman – Mr. Indrananda Abeysekera said that this event will be the first of 75 events planned by SLCSCC.

Officials of the Cultural section of the Chinese embassy, ASLCSCC members and school children attended the exhibition opening yesterday morning.

(Pics : Shanika Jayasekara)

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India holds artificial limb camp in Sri Lanka (Pics)

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A Camp to provide artificial limbs to 1000 Sri Lankan beneficiaries was jointly inaugurated on May 07, 2024 by the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr.  Santosh Jha and. Premitha Bandara Thennakoon, State Minister of Defence in the presence of Secretary Defence, Gen Kamal Gunaratne and Commander of the Sri Lankan Army, Lt Gen Vikum Liyanage at the Ranaviru Seva Authority premises in Gampaha district.

The Camp will be conducted roughly over a period of two months at two locations viz Colombo and Vavuniya, and will serve civilians and defence personnel from different regions of the country. The civilian beneficiaries have been identified with the support of All Ceylon Buddhist Congress.

The Camp is supported by the Government of India and is being conducted by an Indian NGO Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), which works for physical and socio-economic rehabilitation of the physically disabled. The Jaipur-based NGO, which was founded in 1975, is also the world’s largest organisation for the differently abled in terms of fitment of artificial limbs and other related aids.

It may be recalled that, BMVSS had organised four such camps in Sri Lanka earlier – Vavuniya in March-April 2010; Jaffna in September 2011; and Colombo and Jaffna in Feb 2022. More than 3100 people had then benefitted from these camps with more than 2200 alone getting the ‘Jaipur Foot’.

In his speech during the opening ceremony, the High Commissioner Jha reiterated India’s deep and abiding commitment to the people of Sri Lanka. The Artificial Limb Fitment Camp exemplifies the persistent endeavour of the India-Sri Lanka partnership to deliver tangible impact on the lives of people.

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75th Foundation Day of ICCR celebrated in Colombo (Pics)

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, cultural arm of the High Commission of India, Colombo, commemorated the 75th Foundation Day of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at the Viharamahadevi Park Open Air Theatre in Colombo on April 29, 2024. 

The event unfolded with a vibrant showcase of Indian classical dances and musical performances, painting a tapestry of cultural harmony and universality.
High Commissioner of India H E Santosh Jha was joined by Minister of Education – Dr Susil Premajayantha as the Chief Guest and Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs – Vidura Wickramanayaka as the Guest of Honour in inaugurating the event. High Commissioner Jha in his address congratulated the ICCR family for being the pillar of India’s cultural diplomacy for 75 years and counting. Minister Premajayantha thanked ICCR for offering over 200 fully-funded scholarships annually for Sri Lankan students to pursue Under Graduate, Post Graduate and doctoral degrees in diverse subjects in more than 120 leading Universities and institutions of India.

On this occasion, High Commissioner jointly with the Minister of Education Dr Susil Premajayantha and the Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayaka felicitated the winners of the second edition of the Pratibha Sangam competitions. An initiative of ICCR to commemorate 75 years of Indian independence, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, Pratibha Sangam (Confluence of Cultures) shines spotlight on the invaluable contributions of foreign nationals and overseas Indians to Indian classical art forms.

ICCR was founded in 1950 by India’s first Education Minister, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. The 75th Foundation Day of ICCR holds immense significance as it commemorates 75 glorious years of an institution that has been at the forefront of India’s cultural ties, fostering understanding, goodwill, and cooperation between India and the world. The ICCR centre in Sri Lanka, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre under the aegis of High Commission of India has also completed 25 Years. Established as a testament to the enduring friendship between India and Sri Lanka, the Centre serves as a hub for cultural exchange, appreciation, and dialogue.

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