Sri Lanka keen to extend India's Ramayana circuit

Sri Lanka keen to extend India's Ramayana circuit

Sri Lanka keen to extend India's Ramayana circuit

Sri Lanka is preparing to be part of the ambitious Ramayana circuit India is planning for tourists. The Indian government is identifying places connected with the Ramayana, while Sri Lanka has already identified 71 locations across the island nation for inclusion in the circuit.

The Ramayana describes how Sita, Rama’s wife, is kidnapped by Ravana and taken away to Sri Lanka. Hanuman then launches a grand operation, building a stone bridge across the sea, to rescue her.

Sri Lankan has appointed a committee to identify more places, John A E Amaratunga, minister of tourism development, told DH.

He was speaking on the sidelines of  the 99th edition of the India International Travel Mart, organised by Sphere Travelmedia and Exhibition, which concluded on Sunday.

Hallowed spots
Amaratunga said his government had entered into an agreement with the Indian government to create a full circuit.

“We are closely working with various Indian state governments to link all places. The two countries share a 5,000-year-old relationship,” he said.

Excavation is on for more places described in the Ramayana. "We aim to complete the entire circuit by the end of this year. Just like prime minister Narendra Modi, we look at Sri Lanka and all south Indian states as one unique unit, housing the maximum Ramayana spots,” he said.

The two governments are also working closely on the Buddhist circuit. Not many know that Buddha visited Sri Lanka three times. The spots he visited are not so well known either, said V Krishnamoorthy, Deputy High Commissioner, Sri Lanka. He said Sita stayed at Sita Vyasa in Sri Lanka, and was taken to Ussangoda.

More than 3.20 lakh tourists from south India visited Sri Lanka last year and a similar number of Sri Lankans visited India, he said.

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