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



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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Indian High Commissioner visits Northern Province (Pics)




High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka – Mr. Santosh Jha undertook his first official visit to the Northern Province from Feb. 15-17, 2024. 

Diverse engagements during the visit attest to the deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India’s firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province, a media release by the Indian High Commission notes. With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India’s multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India’s unwavering commitment to the people of the region, it adds.
The High Commissioner paid special emphasis to furthering connectivity initiatives, the central theme of the bilateral economic partnership vision document issued in July 2023. He visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. He expressed confidence regarding earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram. During his visit to Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport.

Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India. He prayed for well-being and prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka as he paid respects at the Nagapooshani Amman Temple and Nagavihara in Nainativu island; revered Madhu Church in Mannar; and Nallur Kandaswamy temple. Further, he attended Thyagaraja Aradhana at the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, a gift from the people of India. 

Reaffirming India’s commitment to diverse sections of the society, the High Commissioner distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar towards enhancing their livelihood opportunities. He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with special focus on those headed by women. 

In India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early roll out of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. It may be recalled that this project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India. 

The High Commissioner paid homage at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial. 

The High Commissioner had engaging discussions with a wide cross section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development. 

(Pics : Indian High Commission in Colombo)

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Mace handed over to new Serjeant-at-Arms (Pics)




Outgoing Serjeant-at-Arms of Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando traditionally handed over the Mace and the Sword of the Serjeant-at-Arms to his successor Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne this morning (Jan. 30) near the Chamber Door of the Parliament.

As the Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament Mr. Narendra Fernando is going to retire today (30) after serving in the Parliament for over 42 years, the Mace and his Sword were traditionally handed over to the successive Serjeant-at-Arms. 

Mr. Narendra Fernando, the 6th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament, took over the duties of the Serjeant-at-Arms from the year 2018.

Accordingly, Mr. Kushan Sampath Jayaratne is scheduled to take over duties as the 7th Serjeant-at-Arms of the Parliament tomorrow (Jan. 31).

(Pics : Department of Communication, Parliament)

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75th Indian Republic Day celebrated in Colombo (Pics)




The Indian High Commission of Sri Lanka celebrated the 75th Republic Day at the India House today (Jan. 26), with members of Indian diaspora in Sri Lanka.

The Indian High Commissioner – Mr. Santosh Jha unfurled the Indian flag to mark the event.

Patriotic tunes were performed by the Sri Lanka Navy band, followed by the students of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, who staged vibrant folk dances, including Garba, Kummi, Bhangra and Southali.

Earlier in the day, the High Commissioner had paid his tribute at the IPKF memorial.

Photos of this event are shown below.

Meanwhile, India ushered in its 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi today with French President Emmanuel Macron gracing the occasion as the chief guest.

The theme of this year’s Republic Day is ‘Viksit Bharat’ and ‘Bharat: Loktantra ki Matruka’, symbolizing India’s aspirations and its role as a nurturer of democracy.

Despite gaining Independence in 1947, India celebrates Republic Day on Jan. 26, marking the adoption of the constitution on this day in 1950.

(Pics : X feed of Indian HC in Colombo)

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