Saturday, February 2, 2013

Manalkaadu beach, Sri Lanka.

Houses destroyed by the Tsunami.

New buildings close to the beach.

The fury of the Tsunami which wiped out the residents close to the beach. Similar occurrences are  recorded in tales and legends going back more than two millenia. The shorelines facing the eastern parts of the Island and of the Indian sub-continent have these tales. Prosperous trade emporia like Vallipuram in Sri Lanka and Kaverippooom Pattinam in South India were wiped out in a matter of minutes. Indra was the God of the Oceans and the destruction of Kaverippoom Pattinum in South India was attributed by the populace, to a failure to hold the annual festivities - called Indra Villaa - to this God. This is related in the Tamil Buddhist epic 'Manimekalai' written about the 2nd Century AD.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Manalkaadu beach, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

The road to Manalkaadu beach.

House destroyed by the Tsunami.

The wind-blown beach.

Pickings from the net.
Sand and more sand is what greets the eye at Manalkaadu (Sandy desert -Tamil). The remnants of houses destroyed by the Tsunami are much in evidence.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Vallipuram - Manalkaadu, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka, birds

A varied collection of birds.

Ibises in flight.

Black-winged Stilt.

The road from Vallipuram temple to Manalkaadu has a lot of small collections of water near paddy fields  where birds come to feed. I took these pictures there in December 2011.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vallipuram Temple, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

'Pura-veedhi' - outer road surrounding the Vallipuram Temple.

Palmyra tree with branches.

Open-bill feeding.
Video of the Open-bill feeding. Click on the web-link below:-

Egret and a Black-headed Ibis feeding in a paddy field.
A sense of peace and serenity comes over one in the surroundings of one of the few Vaishnava Temples in the Jaffna Peninsula. The rise and fall of this large sea emporium by cataclysms nearly two thousand years ago and its present state boggles one's imagination. Only the temple survives. The surrounding once prosperous villages of a large emporium, of nearly two millenia ago survive as 'foot-prints in the sands of time'.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vallipuram Vishnu Temple, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

Building housing the 'Ther'

The 'Mandapam'
A devotee

The 'Gopuram'

Sir Paul. E Pieris, who also discovered Kadurugoda, made important discoveries here, which have subsequently been identified as belonging to the period of the first Lambakarna King, Vasaba (65 - 109 AC). An inscription on a gold plate records the words "Hail in the reign of the great king, Vasaba and when the Minister Isigirayan was governing Nakadiva, Piyagutikatissa caused a Vihara (temple) to be built at Badakara Atana". The origin of this temple, like most, is founded in legend. The story says that Lavalli Ammaiyar, a pious lady, had been afflicted with nagadosham (a curse) and was hence unable to have children. She was advised to go to this place which was sacred to Vishnu and beseech him for the remission of her sins. She performed tapas (prayed) daily with arms outspread facing the sea in the hope that Lord Vishnu would appear before her, arise from the ocean and grant her desire. One day when the fishermen of the village were fishing they cast their net and caught a large fish which leapt into the arms of Lavalli Ammaiyar. As she held it, it turned into the shape of an infant looking like the Lord Vishnu himself. When the infant vanished an old soothsayer who was present gave to the people a Vishnu Cakkaram (a disc, symbol of Vishnu), which they decided to install at this place and venerate in commemoration of the event. 
The place name Valli or Vali is a Ramayana name, and it is also a clear toponymic from "Valli", or "sand" in Tamil and Sinhala. The Vishnu temple here was constructed around the 13th century. Tamil Buddhist and Hindu cults co-existed easily, even when the rulers did not, and hence a Vaishnava tradition may have
existed in early times as well. The deity of the temple is called Vallipura Azhvar. Azhvar names are common in Vaishnavite tradition. This place is the first place of settlement in Sri Lanka. Rest of Sri Lanka was populated from this landing place.
Vallipuram (Sandy City) has a recorded history from the 2nd century BC, in the gold inscription, where the local ruler is named as "Azhagiri", a name confirmed in the Nelugala stone inscription (2nd Century BC). King Vasaba is also thought to be mentioned. The Buddhist list of holy places ("Nampotha") names it as "Vallipuram" or sand city. The exact details of the temple complex are not known, and the famous 'Vallipuram" Buddha statue built with Dravidian sculptural traditions from Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh was found in excavations below the Hindu Temple. The language of the inscription is Tamil-Prakrit, which shares several similarities with script inscriptions used in Andhra at the time. This cultural exchange between the Jaffna Tamils and Andhra Pradesh occurred at the height of Tamil trade in the Sangam period, continuing when the Telugu Satavahana dynasty was at the height of its power from 230 BCE right through when its 17th monarch Hāla (20-24 CE) married a princess from the island.[1][2] Professor Peter Shalk (University of Uppsala), writes " Vallipuram has very rich archaeological remains that point at an early settlement. It was probably an emporium in the first centuries AD. From already dated stones with which we compare this Vallipuram statue, we can conclude that it falls in the period 3-4 century AD. During that period, the typical Amaravati-Buddha sculpture was developed". The Buddha statue found here was gifted to King of Thailand by the then British Governor Henry Blake in 1906. The descendants of Arya Chakravarti married into Kalinga Magha family and created a dynasty of Singai-Aryans and ruled from Vallipuram and renamed it as Singai Nagar. However, no historically useful objects, e.g., inscriptions, art or literary works were left by these rulers, and Paranavithana and other historians claim that they paid tribute to the main ruler of the country. See also S. Paranavithana, ``Vallipuram Gold-Plate Inscription of the Reign of Vasaba. Epigraphia Zeylanica, 4 (1936) 229-236. A full discussion has been given recently by Karthigesu Indrapala, Evolution of an Ethnic Identity,(2005), and in an earlier work, 1965 where Dr. Indrapala argued for a flourishing pre-Christian Buddhist civilization in Jaffna, in agreement with Paranavithana, and Mudliyar C. Rasanayagam's Ancient Jaffna. (

Monday, January 28, 2013

Point-Pedro, Thumbalai, to Vallipuram, Sri Lanka.

This old road which led to Maruthankerny by bus in the 1950s is tarred. This leads to the real old outback in the Jaffna Peninsula. These would have been thriving communities when 'Singai-nagar' (Vallipuram) was the capital of Jaffna nearly two millenia ago.The last picture shows the turnoff to Katcovalam.
Click on web-link below to watch video:-

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sculpturers in stone, Hindu Temple, Point-Pedro, Sri Lanka.

I found these stone-sculpturers at work in renovating the temple close to the 'Theru-moody madam' at Point-Pedro. Jaffna is of limestone rock. Granite was imported by 'Vallams' - sailing boats - from South India from time immemorial, for construction of Hindu temples.