The Esala Perahera in Kandy is one of the oldest and grandest of all Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, featuring dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire-breathers, and lavishly decorated elephants. This is held in Esala (July or August) which is the month that is believed to commemorate the first teaching given by the Buddha after he attained enlightenment. The Kandy Esala Perahera lasts for ten days while various festivities can be witnessed right throughout. The Sinhalese term ‘Perahera’ means a parade of musicians, dancers, singers, acrobats and various other performers accompanied by a large number of caparisoned Tuskers and Elephants parading the streets in celebration of a religious event.
The Esala Perahera in Kandy is celebrated to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic and the four ‘guardian’ Gods Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini. The Kandy Maligawa Perahera is followed in order by those of the Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini ‘Devales’ (Temples dedicated to these Gods) which are situated in the vicinity of the Kandy Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth).
After the Kandyan Kingdom fell to the British in 1815, the custody of the Tooth Relic was handed over to the Buddhist Clergy. In the absence of the King, a lay custodian called the Diyawadana Nilame was appointed to handle routine administrative matters. The purpose of the Kandy Esala Perahera Procession is to beseech blessings of the gods to obtain rain for the cultivation of crops and to enrich the lands of the kingdom.
This ritual is performed by carrying the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha through the streets of the Kandy city which is done with exceptional panache. This is considered as one of the most beautiful pageants in the Asia.
The first ritual ‘Kap Situweema’ (planting of a sanctified young Jackfruit Tree) will be held to commence the rituals that start off Perahera. The ritual is performed according to an auspicious time decided by astrologers. The Jackfruit tree is sprinkled with sandalwood scented water and offerings are is made of nine kinds of flowers and an oil lamp with nine wicks. The priest of the Maha Vishnu Devale (Vishnu Temple) recites his prayers to all the gods.
Old Ceylon Kandy Perahera – the Kandy Perahera originates with the arrival of Prince Dantaha and Princess Hemamala, the son-in-law and daughter of King Guhasiva of Kalinga in India to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna (305-331 AD). Following the decree of King Kirthisiri Meghawanna that the Relic should be taken round the city of Anuradhapura once a year, the Esala Perahera had been followed by the succession of kings, though with interruptions caused by foreign invasions.
The most revealing narration of the Esala Perehera is found in the book written by the Chinese pilgrim ‘Fa Hien’ who visited Sri Lanka in the 5th century A.D. The sporadic invasions by the Dravidian Kingdoms resulted in the shifting of the seat of the kingdom from Anuradhapura to Polonnaruwa, then to Dambadeniya and thereafter to other cities. In each retreat, a new temple was constructed to enshrine the Sacred Tooth Relic. Finally, after the shift of the capital to Kandy, the Relic has been undisturbed. ever since and the Esala Perahera has been held annually to rejoice and honour the Sacred Tooth Relic.
The Kandy Esala Perahera is believed to be a fusion of two separate but interconnected Perahera’s – The Esala and Dalada. It is a very grand affair with elegant costumes and is celebrated either in July or August depending on the Full Moon Poya Day. The Esala Perahera which is thought to date back to the 3rd century BC, was a ritual enacted to request the gods for rainfall. While the Dalada Perahera is believed to have begun when the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to Sri Lanka from India during the 4th Century AD.
The Kandy Perahera features five processions organized by the Sri Dalada Maligawa , which is the most venerated Buddhist temple of Sri Lanka and four shrines dedicated to Hindu Gods and a Goddess, i.e. the Shrine of God Natha, the Shrine of God Maha Vishnu, the Shrine of God Katharagama and the Shrine of Goddess Pattini. By 8pm, the Maligawa Perahera or the procession of the Sacred Temple of the Tooth takes the lead and are joined by the processions of the four Hindu shrines. The second procession is from the shrine dedicated to God Natha. The 14th Century shrine that faces the Sri Dalada Maligawa is said to be the oldest edifice in Kandy.
The third is from the shrine dedicated to God Vishnu. The Vishnu Devale also known as the Maha Devale is located close to the Natha Devale. The fourth procession is from the Kataragama Devale dedicated to the God of Skanda, the deity of Kataragama. The Kataragama shrine is located along Kottugodalle Street of Kandy. This procession includes Kavadi, the peacock dance, in which pilgrim dancers carry semicircular wooden contraptions studded with peacock feathers on their shoulders. The fifth and final procession is from the shine dedicated to goddess Pattini. The Pattini shrine is located towards the west of the Natha Devale.
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Gem merchants, Jewelers, private gem collectors and people who are curious to know about Gem stones. Here is your chance to tour in Sri Lanka to view how they are mined from the deep pits, identified, polished, valued and sold.How can identify them?
Sri Lanka has long been renowned for its gems. The history of the gems of Sri Lanka can be traced back some 3,000 years or so. They are part of many legends, folk lore and literary works. In the chronicles, reference is made to gems being brought from Ceylon to the court of Solomon. The “Mahawansa ” the great historical record of the Island refers to the singular reputation of the Island for its gems. Sri Lanka’s gems are much written about by early travelers from Europe, Arabia and Asia. They have adorned many a Crown, Scepter and Throne. These gems are the prized possessions of royalty and the rich and famous through the age’s right up to this day.
Sri Lanka ranks with Myanmar, Brazil, South Africa and Thailand the top five worlds’ most important gem bearing nations. The story of Sri Lanka’s gems is as old as civilization itself. Legends, myths and the occult have been associated with the long history of the island’s precious stones. During the past few decades, many new gemstones and hitherto unknown, yet interesting, gem quality minerals have been discovered. The gem fields of Sri Lanka contain about 75 varieties and sub-varieties of gemstones, some in abundance and some as rarities, which occur both among gem gravels and as components of numerous rock types.
TCorundum (Ruby, Star Ruby, Star Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire, Golden Sapphire, Padparadscha and White Sapphire), Chrysoberyl (Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye, Alexandrite, Alexandrite Cat’s Eye and Chrysoberyl), Spinel (Blue Spinel, Red Spinel and Mauve Spinel), Topaz (White Topaz), Beryl (Aquamarine, White Beryl and Pearl Green Beryl), Zircon (Green Zircon, Yellow Zircon, Brown Zircon and the very rare Red and Blue Zircon) Garnet (Rose red colored, Red, Mauve, Hessonite Garnet and Spessartine Garnet), Tourmaline (Green and Brown varieties), Quartz (Yellow, White, Brown, Rose and Purple or Amethyst) and Feldspar (Moonstone) The Blue Sapphire is Sri Lanka’s gem supreme. And her blue sapphires are the finest in the world. The highly prized of all gems, it is second only to the diamond in hardness. The world’s largest known sapphire weighing 42 pounds was found in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka. The Blue Giant of the Orient weighing nearly 500 carats and the 400-carat Blue Belle of Asia, which a British multi-millionaire purchased, were also from this country.
Ekanite is green to brown colored rare stone with chemical composition calcium thorium silicate. Thorium is a highly radioactive element and due to this element Ekanite is converted to metamict state. In metamict state Ekanite almost acts like amorphous. By applying heat at certain temperature the metamict state of Ekanite can be restored to crystalline state.
Serendibite was discovered at Gangapitiya, near Ambakotte, Sri Lanka, in 1902 by G.T. Prior and A.K. Coomaraswamy. Prior and Coomaraswamy named the mineral ‘serendibite,’ which is derived from ‘serendib,’ an old Arabic term for Sri Lanka. Serendibite is rarely found as facet-grade material. Before the 2005 discovery of serendibite in Mogok, Myanmar, there were only 3 known faceted serendibites, which were from the original Sri Lankan find. The serendibite from Sri Lanka and Myanmar is believed to be the only sources for facet-grade material. Sri Lankan Serendibite was an attractive greenish or violet-blue, while the stones from Myanmar are dark black. Dunilite belongs to the olivine group of minerals, it is a rare mineral and discovered at the Katukubura Hills in the Kolonne area, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka. The Dunilite crystals has found in Gem pit on top of Katukubura Mountain, Kolonne, Sri Lanka, in a deep hole about 5m in length, 3m in width, and about 3m deep. Ferroedenite, Hercynite (Balck spinel) and some iron oxide were finding inside a white calcite rock. In crystal structure some Crystal are very large, some are aggregate crystals. The Dunilite Occurrence at a contact metamorphic mineral in Calcite, associated with Ferro edenite hornblende crystals (MON), Iron oxide and hercynite.
The Bead was probably the first gemstone cut used by man, dating back several thousand years. Limited by the tools available at the time, as well as the hardness of most gemstones, the simple bead or ‘cabochon’ were the logical choice for jewelry making and ornamentation. Stones where shaped by rubbing them with other stones, then polished using ‘sand’ as and abrasive. Intricately carved cabochon cuts known as ‘Glyptic‘ gem carvings, date back to the 7th millennium BC, and were popularized throughout ancient Egypt (scarabs), Indus Valley, and China (carved jade). Engraved ‘Glyptic’ gems were used as personal signets or seal-stones which could be impressed into wax or clay to create a signature. The examples above are of early Roman gemstone cuts using the pre-renaissance cabochon cut with several variations of cameo and intaglio styles.
The simplest form of gem cutting is tumbling. This is where the rough material is put in a revolving barrel with abrasives. Progressively finer abrasives are used, until a polish is obtained. This process closely resembles what happens to rocks in a stream or on the beach, except that the level of polish is much higher. There are a number of inexpensive settings available so the tumbled stones can be turned into jewelry. These make wonderful, homemade gifts.
Cutting en cabochon, or as it is more commonly known, cutting cabs, is probably the most common form of gem cutting. Cabs are gems that are cut with a flat bottom and a curved or domed top. Cabs have distinct resale value, based on the material they are cut from and their cutting can be profitable.
There are several types of carving. One of the best known is cameo. These are usually cut from sea shells or agates, but they can be carved from almost any material. Often cabochons are carved. If the design is cut into the top, it is called an intaglio, or a relief carving. If the design is carved on the back, it is a reverse intaglio. Some carvings are not designed to be used in jewelry; they are cut simply for their beauty. These are classed as standalone carvings. Faceting is the style of cutting that has the greatest profit potential. If you can envision a diamond, you are looking at a faceted gem. The surface of a diamond is covered with several geometrically arranged, flat surfaces. Each of these flat surfaces is called a facet. The gem is faceted, by a faceted on a faceting machine. This is also where we get the expression, “a multifaceted question.” The purpose of faceting is to bring out the brilliance of a gem. That is where the light entering the stone is reflected off the bottom facets and returned to the viewer. Brilliance should not be confused with dispersion or fires, which are the multicolored flashes you see coming out of diamonds and some other gems.
Sri Lanka’s city of Gems, Ratnapura, is the world’s richest treasure house of gems is a picturesque town attracting tourists from all around the world is also one of the most prominent gem mining destinations in Sri Lanka. Rare sparkling precious and semi-precious stones are found in the rich soil that covers the entire district. It is situated around 100 kms south-east of Colombo and is a major junction and a link between the southern plains and the hill destinations in the east of the country. The fame of this small city in the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka is as old as history and many are the legends that surround the glittering city of gems. Its name appropriately means (Ratna – Gems + Pura – City) “city of gems” in Sinhalese. The winding roads in Ratnapura, revealing every backyard and agricultural field has at least one small operating mine. Some mines are located alongside the road. In fact, the rather unsettling observation that miners have burrowed tunnels under the road itself. Today, as in those distant days, this small city continues to remain one of the world’s biggest exporters of gems which are both rare and of the highest quality. Some major gem miners of Sri Lanka operate from Ratnapura .
Buying gemstones from Sri Lanka, is cheaper than buying Sri Lankan gemstones in a foreign country. You can definitely get it at half the price and sometimes even for about 20% of the price or even less than that. There is thousands of gemstone shops sprinkled throughout Sri Lanka. Some are elegant (luxury hotels and museums), while others may be small and unassuming. Normally one’s purse dictates which sort of shop to deal with. Generally, gem dealers are courteous, friendly, helpful, and rarely get offended when a customer walks out without buying. For Gems, Ratnapura has been the main source for many centuries and most of the Country’s gem dealers are located in this town. Most gem cutting centers also offers gems to be set into jewelry by the visitors. Apart from the shops, and with a great deal more fun (and often much frustration) are the street gemstone hawkers of Ratnapura and other mining towns. Some things you should consider when buying gemstones or jewelry with gemstones. a. Make use of gem testing centers – Most major towns have gem testing centers, if you are looking spend a considerable amount of money on buying gems, it is always advisable to get them tested. You can also get your gems tested free of charge by visiting test centers of National Gem and Jewelry Authority. b. Buy from a gem dealer with a valid license – Gem dealing is regulated by National Gem and Jewelry Authority and the issues a license for creditable gem dealers. Since they cater to mostly tourists the price is a bit higher but you are certain of a quality product. c. Get Local help -If you are going to buy gems, always try to take a trustworthy local with you. This is the best way to buy gemstones for a low cost, but it depends on the trustworthiness and the expertise of the local guide. d. Be informed – Spend some time doing research and comparing prices. There are plenty of guides about Sri Lankan gems and spending a few dollars on them would be a worthy investment if you looking to spend some money buying gems.
We have much kind of Readymade Gem Tours and we are the specialists in arranging tailor-made holidays and business tours to Sri Lanka. We understand the different demands of clients and tailor-make arrangements to suit exact needs and budgets which will turn your tour into something totally unique. We aim to get to know our clients and their desires and offer them a high quality product and an efficient and very personal service. It’s your tour, you say exactly what you want, whether you may be a gem buyer who hunt for your requirement to get the best value for your money ,or you may be a gem lover who likes to visit mining sites tour or buying tour , or you just like to discover hidden mysterious places, or just simply relax on a secluded beach somewhere, we know how to make it happen, and at a price to suit your pocket.
When you travel with us, you are in the hands of experienced Sri Lankan enthusiasts who are focused on providing you with the best value for money tour within your budget – We are here to genuinely offer you the best service and advice possible to ensure that satisfy your travel requirements. To get the most out of your tour, local knowledge is crucial. We can answer all your questions beforehand and give you all sorts of travel tips. You can therefore totally relax before your tour starts knowing that you are in the hands of experienced professionals. All our local Sri Lankans staff who have worked for many years in the tourism industry – their local knowledge and friendly enthusiasm to share their country with you their guest is a real highlight of the tour.