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‘Don’t disturb Sigiriya’s beauty and tranquillity’

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The government is to illuminate Sigiriya at night to attract tourists.

One recalls the attempt made by the previous government to implement a similar project which was stopped due to protests made by the public. It seems the present government is back with the same or some amended plan. Details are not known.

Sigiriya is unique. It is widely regarded as one of the most magnificent architectural and garden complexes found anywhere in the civilised world. Its frescoes are the finest and the oldest in the island. The graffiti on the mirror wall is the earliest Sinhala recorded poetry. Sigiriya epitomises beauty, both natural and man made. Apart from its secular importance it also has its religious significance as evident from the cave inscriptions dating back to pre- Christian times found at Sigiriya and the ruins at nearby Pidurangala. The rock, nestling amidst a vibrant green carpet of tropical vegetation itself is magnificent. Fauna, including the dreaded ‘bambaras’ and the ‘vahilihiniyas ’ find peace and tranquillity in and around Sigiriya.

Sigiriya no doubt is a tourist attraction. But they come to enjoy the beauty of the place not to enjoy the illuminations. If they have nothing to do, as the government spokesman says, illuminating Sigiriya is not the answer. It will only disturb the environment. I wonder whether the environmental and archeological authorities have endorsed the project.

What is worse, the country is facing an energy crisis and according to a news item in ‘The Island’, the country may even have to face black-outs. But just to attract some tourists the country is siphoning off its power to illuminate Sigiriya. What are our priorities?

Beauty and the tranquillity of Sigiriya should not be sacrificed for the sake of some Yens ,Dollars or Euros.

C. B. Punchibandara

 

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