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Sunday, 12 August 2012

“India Through Sri Lankan Eyes - The Buddhist Circuit

Inauguration of a Photographic Exhibition titled “India Through Sri Lankan Eyes - The Buddhist Circuit”

Colombo, 12 August, (

As a prelude to the forthcoming exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka, a photographic exhibition titled “India Through Sri Lankan Eyes- Buddhist Circuit” organized by the High Commission of India in partnership with the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka (PSSL) was inaugurated by Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka in presence of Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India on 10th August, 2012 at the J.D.A. Perera Gallery.
India through Sri Lankan Eyes” exhibition is curated by Mr. Mithra Weerakone, Immediate Past President of the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka (PSSL). With the support of High Commission of India, Mr. Weerakone undertook an eight-day journey in December 2011 on the Mahaparinirvana train – a special train run by the Indian Railways starting from New Delhi covering various Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. The photographs display an excellent combination of natural beauty and human devotion and capture the emotions involved, through “Sri Lankan eyes”.
The exhibition is a display of popular Buddhist sites revered and visited by a large number of Sri Lankan pilgrims to pay homage to Lord Buddha.

Speaking at the inauguration, High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha highlighted that the exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics is being organized in Sri Lanka from 19 August to 4 September 2012 at the request made by H.E. the President of Sri Lanka to the Prime Minister of India to provide an opportunity to the followers of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to pay homage to the Kapilavastu Relics. The exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics is continuation of joint activities between India and Sri Lanka to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha- Sambuddhatava Jayanthi.

The exposition of Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka will be as per the following schedule:
Venue of Exposition
19, 20 &21 August 2012
Kapilawasthu Hall, Manel Watta Maha Viharaya, Kelaniya             
22 & 23 August 2012
Rajamaha Viharaya, Pelmadulla
24, 25 & 26 August 2012
North Central
Jayanthi Viharaya, Anuradhapura
27 & 28 August 2012
Agrabodhi Viharaya, Kantale
29 & 30 August 2012
Naranvita Temple, Gampola
31 Aug & 1 Sep2012
North Western
Sri Sumangala Pirivena, Wariyapola
2, 3 & 4 September 2012
Matara Bodhiya, Matara
High Commissioner also emphasized that it would be for the second time since their discovery, the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics will travel to Sri Lanka from India’s National Museum situated in New Delhi.
The first Exposition of Sacred Relics in Sri Lanka was in 1978.
High Commissioner Kantha recalled a number of other initiatives undertaken by India to jointly celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Attainment of Enlightenment by Lord Buddha – Sambuddhatva Jayanti - with Sri Lanka, which,inter alia, include:
Organization of an International Buddhist Conference in Kandy (March 2011);
Installation of a 16-foot high statue of Lord Buddha in the Sarnath style from Gupta period at the entrance of International Buddhist Museum in Sri Dalada Maligawa complex in Kandy(September 2011);
Launch of a new Buddhist pilgrimage circuit train “Damba Diva Vandana” originating from Chennai and touching key Buddhist sites in the Northern India (from February 2012);
Organizing a recital “Nirvana – The Life of Gautam Buddha” and a photographic exhibition “Buddhism in India” during Vesak celebrations in May 2011.
A Publication containing the proceedings of the International Buddhist Conference “ Cultural Interface between India and Sri Lanka- Based on Buddhist History, Art, Literature and Philosophy” , which was inaugurated by H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on 20 March 2011 in Kandy, will also be released during the exposition of the Sacred Kapilvastu Relics. Coinciding with the exposition, a set of books on Buddhism would also be gifted to the Pali and Buddhist Studies Unit, University of Colombo.
On the occasion of exposition of sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka, Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies (CCIS), Pali and Buddhist Studies Unit, University of Colombo in association with the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) would be organizing a Half- day Symposium on “Relic Worship: History, Archaeology and Religion” at LKIIRSS Auditorium on 20 August.
High Commissioner Kantha highlighted that the relationship between India and Sri Lanka is more than 2500 years old and is built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic ties. Since Prince Arhat Mahinda's arrival in Anuradhapura in the 3rd century BC which heralded the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Buddhism continues to be a common thread binding India and Sri Lanka together. The Exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Relics in Sri Lanka will reinforce the common cultural heritage shared between India and Sri Lanka and will further strengthen the multi-faceted relationship between India and Sri Lanka.
In his address, Senior Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana thanked India for sending the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics to Sri Lanka for an exposition and highlighted the common cultural heritage especially the bond of Buddhism between India and Sri Lanka. Hon. Senior Minister wrote in the Visitor's book after the inauguration of the exhibition that "It has been a great honor and privilege to open this excellent exhibition of photographs taken in the religious sites associated with Lord Buddha's life in India. Let me congratulate Mr. Mithra Weerakone and thank the Indian High Commissioner for helping to strengthen the Buddhist images that are in our minds and also the bonds of friendship between the peoples of our two countries."
The exhibition is on display at the JDA Perera Gallery, 46 Horton Place, Colombo-07 on 11-12 August form 9 a.m to 5 p.m. All are welcome to view “India through Sri Lankan Eyes”. Pictures of the inauguration of the exhibition can be seen at

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