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Buddha Rashmi’ Vesak festival inaugurated (Pics)

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the ‘Buddha Rashmi’ Vesak Zone, which is the National Vesak celebration organized by the Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple in Colombo on May 03. 

The Vesak program includes various events organized at the Galle Face Shangri-la Green and Presidential Secretariat Premises on May 03, 04, 05, and 06.

During the inauguration, the President switched on the lights to mark the start of the Vesak program and attended the ‘Bhakthi Gee’ event on the steps of the Presidential Secretariat. After that, he offered flowers to the Buddha statue and participated in religious rituals at the Seemamalakaya of the Gangarama Temple.

The President also illuminated the “Buddha Rashmi Vesak Kalapaya” electric lights to inaugurate the Vesak celebration. The South Asian Embassies and High Commissions had created exhibition booths at the Vesak Zone to showcase the Buddhist heritage of the Vesak region, which the President visited. He observed the designs and asked for details from the designers.

The President also made a note in the commemorative book at the exhibition hall of the Pakistani Buddhist heritage. Later, he visited the Gangarama Temple and received blessings from Venerable Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the Temple. Additionally, he had a friendly conversation with the local and foreign devotees who had come to visit the Buddha Rashmi Vesak program.

The Venerable Sangha community, including Ven. Kollupitiye Prof. Mahinda Sangharakkhita Thera of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Ministers Bandula Gunawardena, Manusha Nanayakkara, Naseer Ahmed, Minister of State Suren Raghavan, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayake, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General Kamal Gunaratne (Retired), Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Mr Gopal Bagle, Pakistan High Commissioner Major General Umar Farooq Burki, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Army Commander Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Inspector General of Police C D Wickramaratne, Foreign Ambassadors, High Commissioners and several others also participated in this event.

(President’s Media Division)

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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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