Merit award winner - (Mawbima)media | best web awards | | Last updated three minutes ago


A place for Sita

In Nuwara Eliya, a steady flow of pilgrims visit a quaint temple known in brochures as the ‘only Sita temple in the world’. The complex which is patterned on the modern south Indian temple is set in idyllic countryside beside a clear stream.

Ceylontoday, 2013-04-21 16:06:00
Read 482 Times

A place for Sita

Pix by Ashan Gamage

In Nuwara Eliya, a steady flow of pilgrims visit a quaint temple known in brochures as the ‘only Sita temple in the world’. The complex which is patterned on the modern south Indian temple is set in idyllic countryside beside a clear stream. Adjacent to it is another new temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god who, according to mythology, was instrumental in rescuing Sita from Lanka.

The Seetha Amman Temple is built at a spot believed to be the exact place where Sita was held captive by the demon king Ravana in the Lanka of the epic, Ramayana. Myth has it that Sita, the wife of King Rama, was imprisoned in the Ashoka forests of the region.

The evidence for this belief that Sita once stayed in these parts, they say, are the concentration of Ashoka trees – various versions of the Ramayana state that Sita's home in Lanka was inside a thick Ashoka forest (Ashoka Vana) – and the discovery about a century ago of three idols, one of which was that of Sita. It is believed that the idols have been worshipped at this spot for centuries. There is also a belief that Ravana's palace existed somewhere in the vicinity.

The temple complex is situated approximately five kilometres from the Nuwara Eliya town on the road to Kandy. One temple is dedicated to Sita, and the other to Hanuman. The Sita temple looks like any modern-day temple with a multi-coloured dome filled with mythological figures. Three new statues – of Rama, Sita and Laxman – have been installed in the new structure. On the side closer to the river bank is a small shrine with the three darkened idols, which were found a century ago.

There is also a belief that at a particular point in the stream, the water has no taste, apparently at the spot where Sita cursed it. People could also see the spot where Sita bathed, the stone she sat on and where she prayed. Beliefs here are strong and devotees are convinced that this episode of the Ramayana epic did indeed take place here.

However, many historians of ancient India and Ceylon are of the view that the Lanka of the Ramayana lay no further south than the Vindhyas, and that the geographical position of Sri Lanka as reflected in the Ramayana was an interpolation made after trade routes with the island were opened.



Ceylon FT

Ceylon Finance Today: Sri Lanka's troubled Lanka Ratings Agency Limited ('LRA') has begun negotiations for the sale of its majority stake in India's CARE Ratings,
Ceylon Finance Today: Markets, buffeted by inflows drying up and outflows increasing, saw money printing being the overarching cause for infusing excess liquidity
Ceylon Finance Today: The exchange rate (ER) continued to be defended at the Rs 133.70 level to the US dollar in interbank spot trades yesterday, with Central Bank
Ceylon Finance Today Leading consumer electronics brand Samsung launched their new SUHD curved TV at a function held in Colombo this week.

Focus

When Parameswari Uthayakumaran saw her house last month for the first time in 25 years, she stood in the rubble and wept. All her belongings, the doors, even the
Mahinda Rajapaksa says he will contest August elections that could determine the fate of his successor's reform drive. Six months ago, Maithripala Sirisena pulled
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has joined hands with the Eksath Lanka Maha Sabha Party to form their political force, the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), under which they will
The former Chief Inspector of Police of Vavuniya Station who had allegedly rendered assistance to the unlawful digging for treasure supposedly buried near the conservation