Category Archives: pilgrimages

Vale Dr. Siran Deraniyagala: Assiduous Archaelogist & A Savant Servant for Lanka

Chryshane Mendis

It is no easy task to pen down few words on the life history of a colossus like Dr. Siran Deraniyagala, but nevertheless I will try. Life has its ways, its own twists and turns at times one would not expect; such was the shocking yet inevitable demise of Dr. Deraniyagala. The mystery of life will take us on many paths, and in the case of Dr. Deraniyagala, it took him to explore the mystery of life itself! While digging the earth to unravel humanity’s origins, perhaps he too realized where his journey would end, in the earth; and it eventually did come to pass on the 5th of October 2021. The Man who studied the past, of the lifeways of past peoples, now himself joined them; Siran Upendra Deraniyagala is now a person of the past! But what of his legacy? Will he be only a person of the past or will he be remembered in the present? Unlike the mystery of life, this is an easy question with a simple answer. Yes. Siran Deraniyagala will live on! Decades later even after fading from living memory, his name will be remembered even centuries on. Such is his legacy. Therefore let us briefly marvel at the amazing life of of Dr. Siran Deraniyagala.

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An Exemplary Teacher at Ussangoda: Philanthopy topped with Genius

Siri Ipalawatte of Canberra writing in The Island, 23 October 2021, where the title reads An amazing Sri Lankan  – ‘the power of one’ 

From Tidbinbilla to rain forests, red wines to thelijja, cappaccino to kurumba, five-stars to homestay…. Just when I thought I had touched every nook and cranny of Sri Lanka, it sprung yet another surprise. An old Uni friend suggested ‘why not visit the unusual and weird landscape called Ussangoda—the place in Hindu Mythology where King Ravana landed his air machine, dandu-monara? And off came another nugget! He said a batchmate of ours lived in a century-old house in a village called Kiula — an exotic name from the fact that the water in the area is kiul as it gets mixed with an underground seashell bed and salt water —very close to Ussangoda. This chance encounter led to a number of texts and mobile calls, and a few days later, a memorable sleepover in his house located between the 217 and 218t kilometre-post on the A2 highway between the sleepy towns of Hungama and Ambalantota in the southern Sri Lanka.

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Stefan D’Silva: Intrepid Cameraman, Adventurer and Sri Lankan

Michael Roberts … in introducing his latest treasure trove of photographs in and around the Batticaloa Lagoon let me point readers towards previous items in Thuppahi …

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David Paynter: Consummate Painter, A Ceylonese and A Trinitian

“The Transfiguration” Image credit: shehansilva.wordpress.comThe Transfiguration. Image credit: shehansilva.wordpress.com

The chapel at S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia is, without exaggeration, the finest feature of the school premises. Displaying Byzantine (Later Roman) architecture, the limestone structure is both stately and imposing. But anyone with even a little exposure to S. Thomas’ College will know that it is the contents of the Chapel, and not simply its structural elegance, that gives it its value. Dedicated in 1927 to the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Chapel, with its high and wide nave, its great roof-beams and solid pillars, is known as the ‘Chapel of the Transfiguration.’ The word “transfiguration” means to be spiritually transformed or metamorphosed. It is a phenomenon which is hard (if not impossible) to describe in words, much harder still, to depict in art. But when you walk through the great arched doorway of the Chapel of the Transfiguration and into the sanctuary, you will be faced with a vast and powerful image, spanning across its east wall, behind the altar, which captures, by its astonishing simplicity, the essence of the transfiguration.

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When Tamilnadu’s LTTE Stalwarts attacked Thiru Nadesan at Rameswaram Temple in 2012 –DBS Jeyaraj

 D.B.S.Jeyaraj, in his website on 9th October 2021 with the following title “Revisiting the Attack on Thirukumar Nadesan in India”

Though Thirukumar Nadesan is a well-known businessman, it was the Rajapaksa connection of his spouse Nirupama that captured headlines in national and international media

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Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail from Yesteryear with Julia Margaret Cameron

Juliet Coombe

Sri Lanka’s Tea Country Trail. 582 likes · 9 talking about this. The Tea Country Trail is a proposed 310 km long-distance hiking trail through the Sri Lankan Tea Country. The trail winds its way…

https://www.facebook.com/teacountrytrail/

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Exploring the Etymological Strands of the Word “Thiruketheeswaram”

Chandre Dharmawardana

The word stub “ket,”, கேத, in the place name:  Tiru-k-keteeswaram,  திருக்கேதீசுவரம்

In finding a meaning for the component –ket– in Tiru-ket-heesvaram, well known Engineer Thiru Arumugam has quoted an interpretation given in 1849 by Pridham which leans on a mythological tale of Vishnu’s exlir of mortality that fell into the hands of a demon. The demon was said to be cut into two and became Rahu and Ketu (.இராகு கேது) recognized in astrology.  Predham stretches his imagination very far to convert the Tamil -கேத- sound to கேது in finding  an “explanation” or rationalization for the stub  -கேத- found in the place name.

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Thiruketheeswaram: the Site of a Temple from Pre-Historic Times

Thiru Arumugam, being an article presented recently in The CEYLANKAN, Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia. No. 3, August 2021

Thiruketheeswaram is located about eight km north of Mannar Town. It is on the coastal mainland of Ceylon, near the seashore on the direct coast road from Mannar to Jaffna. It has been the site of a Temple dedicated to Siva from pre-historic times. The place name of Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram has been devised as follows.  ‘Thiru’ means sacred or holy and “Iswaran” is another name for Siva. As regards ‘Kethu’, Charles Pridham in his 1849 book A Historical, Political and Statistical account of Ceylon and its Dependencies describes how the gods asked Vishnu to prepare an elixir which would make them immortal. The elixir was prepared by churning the oceans but a demon who was a bystander also managed to drink the elixir. When Vishnu realised this, he cut off the demon’s head, but he was too late as the elixir had already made him immortal. The two parts became Rahu and Kethu, which are significant planets in the Hindu astrological system. In order to propitiate his sin, Kethu (Fig. 1) wandered from place to place and ultimately reached the shores of Lanka. He performed severe penances and he   was ultimately blessed with the Lord’s vision and the place where this occurred was named Thiru-Kethu-Iswaram or Thiruketheeswaram.

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Tendulkar’s Palace in Mumbai: An Inside View

A NOTE from one Skandakumar in UVA

This is the outcome when talent and opportunities are combined with discipline and  hard work. Vinod Kambli and Sachin Tendulkar started together.
If my memory serves me right, the left handed Kambli had an equally  impressive  start to his career, but coming from a far less fortunate background,  it was a pity he did not have a good mentor. The mental challenges and the physical stress  gave way to alcohol and Kambli lost his way and eventually faded away.A lesson for our talented and errant cricketers , particularly the recently suspended ones of what is possible and what is not……..SS

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Sinhalaness in Pre-British Ceylon: Issues and Pathways

A Review Essay by Alan Strathern** dissecting a Book by Michael Roberts published in 2004

This item was located by Thuppahi in the web-site Colombo Telegraph on 26 December 2012 (see https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-royal-we-sinhala-identity-in-the-dynastic-state/). However, it appeared initially in 2005 in the prestigious journal Modern Asian Studies,  39: 1013–1026.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE by Michael Roberts, 7 August 2021

This item is a review essay not a standard review. Alan Strathern is an accomplished historian who happens to be the son of a leading social anthropologist, viz., Marilyn Strathern of ANU and Cambridge University. You will find that his prose is as refined and clear-cut as demanding. After some hesitation, I decided to adhere to my normal policy of highlighting some parts of the text with blue colourfor the benefit of readers facing the difficulties posed by complex issues in historical sociology. On occasions I have also imposed a break in extra-long paragraphs. The illustrations too are my impositions intended to promote reader interest.

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