Archive for Heritage

To generate optional power…..

 

 

 

Balangoda has been identified as an area which is moneyed of natural resources. The main are one is the Gem industries which is carried out during the long time. In addition to that Calcite, feldspar, Dolomite and gold are collected from Balangoda.
In addition to that there have medicinal herbs and plants like sandal wood. Balangoda is surrounded by hills which are begun from central hills and close to world famous Mahawalatenna plateau. Balangoda has been selected to generate electricity by using wind power.
Smanalwewa hydro electric power project is situated in Kapugala near to Balangoda. Hydro electricity power was considered as the main source of power in Sri Lanka. Hydro electricity was used to giant development projects. But it is not sufficient to fulfill the power need of Sri Lanka. There for Attention has been given to generate optional power.
There is several optional power generating projects in Sri Lanka. They are heat power stations, Coal power stations, wave water power stations and wind power stations etc…
Wind power was generated in coastal areas and hilly areas. Balangoda Damahana was selected as a suitable area to generate wind power. Firstly they established a tower with fan to test the wind requirements in this area. It is very was successful. Therefore it is suggested to establish six wind power towers.
It is planned add 900 kW electricity to natural electricity system from this project. In this area, we get wind from north eastern monsoons and south west monsoons. Therefore the authorities plan to generate wind power electricity throughout the year.
Power energy is an essential factor to a developing country. It is bless to our area because we have get the chance to fulfill the national need. As villagers we consider it as a great bless.

 

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Sabaragamuwa Dance Traditions

Those of the Veddah tribe also known as the ‘Sapara’ tribe mostly lived in the region called Sabaragamuwa, named after them. Because of its ancient history the dance traditions of the veddahs are older than considered to be much older than other dance traditions in the country. Not as advanced as the low and up country dance traditions, the Sabaragamuwa dance tradition still plays the most vital role at certain cultural and traditional festive occasions. They are:
The Perehera, Yaktovil, Kirimadu, Pahanmadu, Gam-madu, Clergy processions and festival drums, are some of these.
There are certain features that are unique to the Sabaragamuwa dance tradition:
Hands and feet formations
Musical instruments and style of play
Singing style
The costumes
A two-way positioning of the hands is required in the Sabaragamuwa tradition. The palm of one hand is turned inward facing self and the other palm will be turned outward. This formation requires much skill that only comes with practice. The training is carried out in twelve stages called ‘Thei Wattam’. Only an experienced tutor will poses the necessary skills to train others. Usually the training period requires 3-4 months.

Costumes used in Sabaragamuwa dance Tradition

According to ancient records the dancer is required to adorn a costume similar to that worn by god Saman of the Saman Devalaya,

The Costume:
The cloth (Selaya)

Red cloth (Pachcha wadama)

Waste cloth

Hattaya

Athpota

Forehead band


Ralipatiya


Wasteband

Initiation Ceremony

This ceremony is held when the teacher at the appropriate time decides to formally introduce his students. This is done when he symbolically wraps the waste band around the pupil and then follows it by placing the remaining parts of the costume on his pupil. This is usually done at an auspicious time and the student is expected to demonstrate his newly acquired skills by performing before their parents.

With this, the pupils receive a license to perform in public at processions, pinkamas, kirimadu and pahanmadu as the occasion may require.

Pahanmadu Shanthi Karmaya

The Sabaragamuwa dance tradition is one of the oldest surviving art forms in Sabaragamuwa. Together with other dance traditions, the Sabaragamuwa

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On manufacturing iron, ancient Balangoda history.

According to the local frictions there is evidence to say that, there was a high-tech, industry in manufacturing metal. Not only that, there is true evidence to support the above fact. One of them, among the various stones, there is a variety of stones called in the name of slag which is known among the locals of the country. They are called “ yabora in Sinhala”,.It means the rubbish / leftovers of iron, after manufacturing. The above mentioned stones are a common sight in the Balangoda area. In the recent past there has been consistent ; experiments, done by various peoples, and through that they have revealed that, sri Lanka has been manufacturing iron, using high – tech methods. Mrs. Gill Juleff, a researcher university of Exter revealed that the Sri lankans in the past have been manufacturing high – quality, and clean Iron, using local but high – tech methods. She also said that, the Sri Lankans have used the wind directions, and mountain – peaks to perfection, in order to get a good out cones. She also said that these methods can be applied even today for manufacturing iron in now a days. As the Mahavansa, Thoopawansa the poojawaliya, and various stone – plates readings reveal that Sri Lankans used various metals like, gold, silver, copper, led and iron. According to the archaeological , discoveries in Aligala, Sigiriya, people in Sri Lanka have been using, iron after manufacturing since the 9 th century A.D. By doing excavating researches in Balangoda Kumbalgama area, many significant informations in manufacturing iron in Sri Lanka has been discovered. It is sometimes said that the countryside that lies between the road running through Belihuloya and the Kaltota escarpment has `developed’ with the coming of the Samanalawewa Hydro-Electric Scheme. Discoveries made by the Samanalawewa Archaeological Project’ have however shown that, far from being a rural backwater, this area was, in the first millennium AD, the seat of technological innovations unparalleled in the ancient world. In brief, the invention of a unique wind-powered iron smelting furnace capable of producing high-quality steel sustained a large-scale industry that supplied the Islamic world with steel for sword-making. The dramatic findings of this project, described in more detail below, were recently presented to an international audience of archaeological-metallurgists at the British Museum in London with the result that Samanalawewa and Sri Lanka is now at the forefront of research in early steel-making. A temporary camp was established in the jungle close to the Kinchigune temple. From here, daily reconnaissance trips of up to 15 km were made on foot. Local villagers guided the survey team along -unmarked footpaths and contributed valuable local knowledge of place names, oral traditions and likely informants on aspects of iron-working practices. In the case of the west-facing sites the slag are elongated and sub-rectangular in form, and appear to have solidified against a straight wall or barrier. The furnace design indicated by these slag was unlike any previously recorded. A large site , located on the edge of the proposed reservoir, was selected and in 1990 a six-month excavation program was initiated. The site covered some 3000 m 2 and comprised a smelting area on the western brow of the ridge and deposits of slag extending downslope from the smelting area. Excavations concentrated on the smelting area and investigated approximately 20% of the site volume. The aims of the excavation were to examine and record the spatial layout of the site and any furnace structures which could be identified, and to resolve the stratigraphic sequence, and thus the chronology, of the site. Forty-one furnaces were revealed by excavation, all critically positioned on the western brow of the ridge and forming a near-continuous north-south line. The furnaces conform to a basic two-component design comprising a semi-permanent rear wall, terraced into the hillside or the accumulated debris of earlier smelting, aligned north-south and curving westwards at either end to form an elongated, open-fronted `stall’, and a temporary, single-smelt, straight wall across the (western) front of the `stall’ . This front wall is constructed on a foundation of re-used tapering tuyeres (clay pipes) which are telescoped one into another and laid horizontally to form a line. A series of eight charcoal samples collected during excavation have been dated by the radiocarbon and place the use of the site between the 7th and early 11 centuries AD. Excavations carried out at another site within the Samanalawewa survey area revealed a similar but smaller smelting furnace, which has been dated by radiocarbon to the 3rd century BC. In July 1994 a series of five practical trials were undertaken in an attempt to recreate the smelting process in the west-facing furnaces. In preparation for this a tonne of charcoal was produced by local blacksmiths, using traditional techniques, from tree species known to have been preferentially exploited for charcoal fuel from the 3 rd century BC up to this century. In the words of a local blacksmith. The jungle may be full of trees, but only a few of them make good charcoal. Charcoal samples collected during excavations have been identified by analysis as being predominantly of three species; marang (Syzgium Zeylanicum), path beriya (Syzygium spathulatum) and damba (Syzygium gardner) . Also in preparation, iron ore was collected from three different local deposits. The ore was then broken-up by hammering to an approximate 3 cm size. Material which was both light in weight and colour was discarded at this stage and only the heaviest material was retained for smelting. Analysis of the ore shows it to have a variable iron-oxide content of anything between 79% and 87%. This represents a high-grade ore, very suitable for smelting. A local potter was contracted to supply pre-fired clay tuyeres similar in shape and size to those found on the archaeological sites. The clay used for furnace construction was a locally recommended mixture of paddy-field and termite-hill clay with river sand and coarse gravel, charred and uncharred paddy husk and chopped paddy straw. A layer of charcoal was then added and the fire lit. Once the fire was established more charcoal was added until the furnace was full to the rim. The furnace was maintained in this way, with charcoal only, for two hours. This both heated the structure of the furnace and created a deep bed of burning charcoal.Smelting begins with the addition of the first of four pre-weighed ore/ charcoal `charges’ to the top of the furnace. These were added by first spreading the ore on top of the burning charcoal and then adding charcoal in stages as the material in the furnace burned down. After a further hour or so, the level within the furnace had burnt down to half the furnace height and at this point the furnace was opened by pushing the front wall inwards using long wooden poles.All three trials produced metal in increasing amounts. About 100 kg of ore had been charged into the furnace and final metal products were 2.0, 8.7 and 17 kg for the three trials respectively. This percentage yield is considered good for early iron smelting. with considerable amounts of slag, expected of pre-modem bloomery smelting, the Ancient Iron and Steel Production at Samanalawewa remaining material is relatively slag-free, homogeneous high-quality, high-carbon steel. In fact, so efficient is the furnace that the process of smelting and carbonization to steel is faster than any other recorded for pre-modern furnaces. The wind blowing over the furnace creates a `bubble’ on top of the furnace that seals it, trapping inside the vital hot, reducing gases. Although it is not unusual to find areas of high-carbon steel within the more customary low-carbon iron produced in bloomer furnaces, its unpredictable occurrence makes it a product not generally sought-after. It is hardly a surprise to find it capable, even in amateur hands, of producing high-carbon steel. This `furnace steel’ is comparable in quality to the crucible steels, produced in India and Sri Lanka from the 11 century AD onwards, which became famous as the material from which Islamic (Damascus) swords, were manufactured. From the writings of al-Kindi (Allan 1979) in the9th century AD we know that Sarandibi steel was much prized at the time for sword-making in the Islamic world. Al-Kindi does not specify whether, or not, Sarandibi steel was manufactured in crucibles, and the evidence from Samanalawewa now raises the possibility that `furnace steel’ may have reached the Arab world, via Indian Ocean trade routes, at a time before India gained ascendancy in the refining and Dr Gill Juleff is an Archaeologist who worked with the Samanalawewa Archaeological Project. She can be contacted at Pixton Park House, Dulverton, Somerset, TA 229 HW, England. The Samanalawewa Archaeological Project was run through the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka and was funded by ODA (the British Overseas Development Administration), the British Council, the British High Commission in Colombo, the Society for South Asian Studies (British Academy) and by agencies involved in the Samanalawewa Hydro-Electric Scheme; Balfour Beatty and Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners. Valuable assistance at Samanalawewa was also provided by CEB (Ceylon Electricity Board), KHK and by the then Sabaragamuwa Affiliated University College.

Related Articles
http://www.chandrage.com/personal/sbarrkum/newsgroups/juleff/juleff.htm
http://discovermagazine.com/1997/jan/aneleventhcentur980
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v379/n6560/abs/379060a0.html

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THE FLORA OF SRI LANKA.

The flora of Sri Lanka means the plant life of Sri Lanka. Our country being a tropical one with plenty of rain and sunshine, we have an abundance of green life. The island almost throughout the year is covered by a green carpet of grass. There are then, the herbs, bigger plants, trees, palms and the jungle giants.
The herbs and smaller plants form the category of medicinal plants and vegetables and even creepers. The bigger plants provide fruits, the palms yield food and drink and the giants of the jungle give wood for furniture and fuel.
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Some of the Sri Lanka herbs are so rare that it is said many medicine men come to Sri Lanka for certain herbs found here, but absent even in the Himalayan hills.
With nearly every Sri Lankan meal, vegetables come from the plants and creepers. Toddy and fruits come from the palms like the coconut, Palmyra and kithul.
The giants of the jungle, some over 500 years old as ebony, satin, teak and mahogany etc. provide wood for furniture, some of which are exported.
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Animal life has protection from our flora and the tall trees bring down the rain which otherwise would have passed over without giving the life – giving waters from the heavens above. The thousands of birds and myriads of insects find a safe shelter in, on, among and under our wide and varied flora.

OUR URL: http://www.0as0sdamahana.org

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OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE

The people of Sri Lanka have inherited a great culture and a civilization. Archaeological evidence exists to prove that Sri Lanka has been populated for over 3000 years. There is also confirmed archaeological evidence to say that in about 800 B.C. the Sinhalese had settled down in the citadel area in Anuradhapura with a highly developed culture.

There are many places of historical and cultural importance. Lot of ruins can be seen at these places. Some of these places are Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Yapahuwa and Panduwasnuwara. We should protect the remains of these ruined cities because they are the monuments that symbolize the great past of our country. We can imagine the skills and talents of our ancestors through these buildings, structures, and images. We should preserve them for our future generation. One day they too will look at these monuments with pride.

Buddhism has not only molded the lives and thoughts of the people, but also has served as the chief source of inspiration to the cultural and social achievements of the nation. During the long and eventful history the island was subject to numerous foreign invasions. But our people were able to protect almost all the objects that were of cultural value.

We have many traditional arts and crafts. We should protect them. In cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa we can see huge stone pillars, Buddha Statues, Moonstones, Guard stones and ruins of ancient Dagabas. These cities have become very popular places of tourists. We should never forget our traditional customs and practices. We follow these customs at our National festivals such as Sinhala and Hindu New Year and lndependence day celebrations. We should pass on these customs and practices to our younger generation. We should make them aware of the value of such customs and practices.

We should also protect aesthetic arts and clothing native to us. It is said that a race could be identified by their dress. We should were such clothes at important events, cultural festivals and religious ceremonies. We should give priority to our traditional music. But today most of our youth have compelled to respect Hindi and Western Music. This is a very sad state of affairs.

Written By Lasantha Jayanath
Our URL: http://www.oasisdamahana.org

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WILD ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA.

Giant animals like elephants can be regarded as an asset to a country. But there is a limited number of elephants in our forest reserves today. Wild elephants are faced with the dangerous threat of extinction. This situation has been arisen due to several reasons.
During the past few decades a large forest cover was cleared for development purposes, farming and human settlement. Under this situation elephants lost their natural habitat. As a result of this elephants resorted to raiding plantations for food, sometimes causing human deaths. According to the statistics of the Wild Life conservation department, nearly 75 – 100 elephants are killed in our country every year. Also nearly 25 – 35 people are killed by elephants every year. This is a very sad state of affairs.
The government should find ways and means to solve this man – elephant conflict. Particularly, during the drought season elephants rampage in village in search of water. Sometimes they damage house too. When the cultivations and houses are damaged by wild elephants, farmers compel to kill elephants. Some people kill elephants for their valuable tusks. Even their hair and skin are used to produce various items.
The wild life department alone cannot rescue elephants from danger. All the voluntary organizations should extend their co – operation towards the department to make their effort a success. Although the government has passed laws to stop hunters from killing wild elephants, they do not seen to have been effective.
When we go through the newspapers, we can see reports on killing of wild elephants in somewhere in Sri Lanka almost everyday. It is a heart rending scene to see the pictures of dead elephants published in them.
What can we do to stop this destruction? The government should take steps to prevent people from encroaching into areas where elephants live in large numbers. These areas have to be protected and stern should be taken against those who hunt elephants. As citizens of Sri Lanka we too should assist the government in this connection. Re – a forestation schemes should be introduced to ensure that they have enough foot and water. More elephant orphanages should be set up in such reserves to enable the elephants to live in security. Another way to preserve elephants in the country is to create more public awareness of their fate through the print and Electronic media.
Most of the tourists, both local and foreign are attracted by our sanctuaries where there are herds of wild elephants. It is the bounden duty of everyone to protect these animals.
Statistics of the Department of wild life reveal that the total number of wild elephants in Sri Lanka today is between 3 000 and 3 500. Statistics also reveal that the elephant extinct rate per week is three together with one human demise. Let’s protect our wild elephants.

OUR URL :- http://www.oasisdamahana.org
Reported By :-Lasantha jayanath

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Sri Sankhapala the Ancient Temple.

Sankhapala the historical ancient temple can be seen when we travel along the Rathnapura Embilipitiya road after passing 5k.m from the Pallebedda town towards Embilipitiya. The main entrance which we can see at the left hand side of the main road is the beginning to this site.


It is mentioned in legends that the king Dutugemunu fought against the king Elara with the help of his ten giants and defeated the king Elara and unified Sri Lanka. One of these ten giants was Phussadewa. The king appointed him to gather soldiers. He had used a conch for this. According to that since this place was named as Sankhapala.
The king had gifted this conch to Phussadewa after the war. And this conch has been hoarded in a high rock of this premises it is seen even today.
Any way, when Phussadewa saw the dying people because of the war he has thought of becoming a bhikku. Then Phussadewa has asked permission for becoming a bhikku and the king has built a temple and handed over it to Reverend Phussadewa. Later this Reverend Phussadewa meditated and enlightened.


This sacred place is always filled with as well as local and forign devotees. Today many people who newly bought vehicles come to this temple to make vow for their vehicles. Many Sinhala and Buddhist people believe that this historical temple gives protection to their lives and they regard this temple as sacred place.

Our URL:- http://www.oasisdamahana.org

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