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President handed over ‘Sandeshaya’ as Esala Perahera concludes (Pics)

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The Diyawadana Nilame of Sri Dalada Maligawa Pradeep Nilanga Dela, handed over the Esala Perahera ‘Sandeshaya’ (scroll) to President Ranil Wickremesinghe this afternoon (31). 

The ‘Sandeshaya’ highlights the meticulous execution of the annual Esala Perahera at Kandy’s Sri Dalanda Maligawa (Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), a magnificent cultural festival celebrated with great reverence for ancient traditions.

Accompanied by the Nilames of Sathara Maha Dawala and Pitisara Dewala, including the Diyawadana Nilame of Sri Dalada Maligawa Pradeep Nilanga Dela,  the procession made its way to the Kandy President’s House. The President warmly welcomed them at the main gate of the premises.

Following the acceptance of the ‘Sandeshaya’, the President offered a fruit treat to the baby elephant “Sindu”, who represented elephants that graced the Perahera procession. Continuing the tradition, a group photo was taken with the Nilames and the President. 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe took the opportunity to honour the artists who participated in the Perahera by presenting them with traditional gifts and awards. 

Additionally, he extended financial support to ‘Pitisara Devala’ through the “Esala Perahera Trust” and shared the book “Sacred Dalada Culture,” a compilation by the Central Provincial Ministry of Culture.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, expressing his deep gratitude to all those who supported the Perahera, including the Diyawadana Nilame and led by the Nilames of the Sathara Devala, emphasized the significance of safeguarding the historical Kandy Esala Perahera. He highlighted that this event was not only a religious and national celebration, but also a grand cultural festival that showcased Sri Lankan heritage to the global stage. President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of carrying this legacy forward.

Acknowledging the importance of elephant protection, the President also underscored the need to preserve and uphold our ancient customs. He called for the resolution of challenges such as acquiring tame elephants for the Perahera through constructive negotiations. Additionally, President Wickremesinghe noted that Kandy’s esteemed Esala Maha Perahera would hold a special place in a program designed to enhance progress in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector by the upcoming year.

The event saw the participation of several notable figures, including Central Province Governor Lalith U Gamage, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, State Minister Dilum Amunugama, Member of Parliament Gunathilaka Rajapakse, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, Secretary of the Ministry of Buddhasasana Religious and Cultural Affairs Somaratne Vidanapathirana, as well as various government officials and the chiefs of the three armed forces. Additionally, the Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela, along with Basnayake Nilames representing the Sathara Maha Devala, Pitisara Devala and other Nilames were also present at the event.

(Pics : PMD)

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10-day Yoga Mahotsav launched in Sri Lanka (Pics)

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A 10-Day Yoga Mahotsav celebrating the 10th International Day of Yoga (IDY) was launched today (June 13) at Colombo National Museum. 

The event was celebrated under this year’s IDY theme ‘Yoga for Women Empowerment’ with over 200 students participating from different schools in Colombo.
Yoga Mahotsav 2024 is being organised by Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), the cultural arm of High Commission of India, Colombo in collaboration with about 30 organisations of Sri Lanka from 13th to 22nd of June 2024.

Day-II of the Yoga Mahotsav on the focus area ‘Yoga for Health’ will be organised on 14 June at Mc Heyzer Stadium, Trincomalee in collaboration with the Eastern Province Tourism Bureau. Yoga Mahotsav will proceed under various focus areas, such as Yoga for Family, Yoga with Spirituality, Yoga for Humanity, Yoga for Well-being, Yoga for Ayurveda, Yoga for Peace, Yoga for Harmonyin different iconic locations across the country. The Mahotsav will conclude with a grand event at Galle Face Green in Colombo on 22 June.

As a prelude to IDY, approximately 100 yoga events will be organized across Sri Lanka by the High Commission of India and its posts in Hambantota, Kandy and Jaffna. A series of these will be organized in the backdrop of iconic locations in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Lands, Government of Sri Lanka.

In December 2014, the United Nations declared 21 June as the International Day of Yoga through resolution 69/31, recognizing yoga’s holistic approach to well-being and its ability to provide a sanctuary from modern life’s stresses. Since then, millions of yoga practitioners worldwide celebrate IDY on 21 June each year. Yoga is an ancient practice that harmonizes mind, body, and spirit through physical postures, breath control, and meditation. It fosters self-discovery, inner peace, balance, flexibility, strength, mental clarity, emotional stability, and spiritual awakening.

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President Ranil meets Bangladesh Prime Minister

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning (June 10), according to the President’s Media Division.

The Bangladesh PM had assured President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Bangladesh’s support for Sri Lanka’s agricultural modernization program, the PMD adds.

Meanwhile, the President had also met with Dr. S. Jaishankar in New Delhi earlier today.

This was in the backdrop of the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi. The event was also attended by regional leaders such as Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

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“Ravi”, a cinematic self reflection of half a century (Pics)

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The “Ravi – Cinema Half-Century Self-Reflection” ceremony was held yesterday (June 05) at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo to honour veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya for his five decades of service to Sri Lankan cinema.

Randeniya, who began his career with the 1974 film ‘Taranga,’ has appeared in over 100 films and received numerous awards, including the Swarna Sankha O.C.I.C. Best Actor award and the Darshan Suri Award. 

Two biographies of Randeniya, written by Gamini Weragoda and Uditha Devapriya, were launched during the event.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who presided over the event, praised Randeniya’s contributions to cinema and recalled their political collaboration.

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