Monday, 7 June 2010

Sri Lanka

Another post of an island... I have a soft spot for Sri Lanka - I used to have a penpal there for years when I was younger. I got the first letter from my English teacher in school, she asked if anyone would be interested in a penpal in Sri Lanka and no one else was apart from me... I think I was maybe 13 years old at the time. We don't write to each other anymore, which is a shame, I really miss Dinushka's letters and learning more about her country and culture. We lost contact for a couple of years, then a couple of years ago I found her in facebook and found out she had got married and moved to Australia with her husband.

I did a swap with Ravindra in Sri Lanka recently. I got two postcards from him, one showing Galle Lighthouse and one a scenic view of Kalutara in south west of Sri Lanka.

Galle Lighthouse is an offshore Lighthouse in Galle, Sri Lanka and is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. It is Sri Lanka's oldest light station dating back to 1848, but the original lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1934. The light station is within the walls of the ancient Galle fort, a UNESCO world heritage site and well known tourist attraction, making this the country's most often visited lighthouse.

I also recognise this lighthouse from stamps on letters from Dinushka; I think it appeared on a number of them. I'll be posting about that more later, as well as some of the postcards she's sent me.

The other card is a view of Kalutara, a resort town located approximately 40 km south of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital. Once an important spice-trading center, the city's name is derived from the Kalu Ganga River ('Black River' in native Sinhala). In the 11th Century, the town was temporarily made a capital on the orders of a South Indian Prince. The region was later planted with coconut trees, whose by-products are used for both internal and external trade. The location also boast fortifications dating back from the times when Portuguese, Dutch and British vied for control of the area.

The 38-meter long Kalutara Bridge was built at the mouth of the Kalu Ganga River and serves as a major link between the country's Western and Southern border. At the southern end of the bridge lies the 3 stories-high Kalutara Vihara, a Buddhist temple built in the 1960s which holds the distinction of being the only stupa in the world that is hollow.

I have always loved Sri Lankan postage stamps, and these are no exception. :) I couldn't find any info about these online, but the four bigger stamps were all issued in 2010. The one on the left commemorates the 125th Anniversary of the Buddhist Flag (the stamp is upside down here, btw!), the one next to it the arrival of Lord Buddha to Mahiyanganaya. The one next to that shows a Stupa (a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics) in Mahiyangana. The stamp on the right depicts art and sculpture in Late Anuradhapura. The three smaller stamps are from a set of 16 stamps issued in 2007, representing Constellations. These ones show Aries and Aquarius.

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