Disney-like museum at bottom followed by incredible historic Buddhist statuary in the grottos on top of the mountain. My Sri Lankan hosts suggested I make the pilgrimage barefoot - ouch! Non Sri Lankans must pay LKR 1,500 (US$12) at base. (at Dambulla Rock Temple and Golden Temple)
As I travel through Sri Lanka, covering the nation as it seeks reconciliation among its diverse population after decades of conflict, I am receiving e-mails from my friends at home asking me to review the basics.
Rare treat to be invited to The Nelung Arts Centre (NAC) on Hyde Park Corner in Colombo to watch Niloufer rehearsing her dancers for a Tribute to her mother’s Birth Centenary, an interesting group of young artists who the NAC sponsors and promotes. Dance is historically important in Sri Lanka, from Kandy to Colombo. Niloufer told me, “Dance is at a cross-roads here and I am very concerned at some of the modern trends which, I feel in the long run, may damage the rich cultural traditions of Sri Lanka - in particular the ritual aspects. Classical Ballet is totally different and secular in nature. However, we do preserve our fundamental structure - otherwise there would be no foundation to build on.” Jonathan Hollander of NYC’s Battery Dance Company was nice enough to introduce me to this large and awe-inspiring four-story South Asian cultural facility.
Coinciding with celebration of Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence Day, I am returning to that ‘resplendent island’ (Sanskrit) south of India for the next several weeks. After the Tsunami, we were heavily involved there with orphan care in Unawatuna outside Galle in the Southern District. On this trip I hope to revisit Galle, see Kandy for the first time, and tour the conflict zone of the northeast — including Jaffna — where we are assisting build the Technical Institute of Trincomalee. I will blog about the trip – “Jim Luce on Sri Lanka.” I look forward to adding to my stories on Sri Lanka that may be seen at http://stewardshipreport.com/jim-luce-on-sri-lanka-2/