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CONVERGENCE SEPT-OCT 2017

Malaysia's Airports Magazine

India Special Feature

India Special Feature Jaffna Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa Sigiriya Dambulla Kandy Nuwara Eliya Colombo Galle Weligama Now Boarding Sri Lanka A tear drop-shaped country located below India, Sri Lanka is home to over 21 million people with the country's legislative capital being Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo. A country that has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British as well as struggling to fight a civil war that lasted for over two decades and ended in 2009, today, the country is a major tea exporter, a booming tourist attraction and home to a diverse community. In this Special Feature, we bring you a personal account of the country as our writer weaves in and out of cities, soaks up on facts and trivia from UNESCO World Heritage sites and sample simplicity from smaller towns in the country's northern provincial city, Jaffna. Tuk tuks are the preferred mode of public transportation in Sri Lanka As you start driving away from the airport, there's this three wheeler that often tries to overtake your bulky tourist van and despite warnings to drive safe from other vehicles, the three wheeler continues to drive at the speed of lightning and whizzes away from sight. If you're a tourist like me, perhaps that's Sri Lanka saying "Ayubowan" which means 'welcome'. But hey, we suggest a ride in the three wheeler which is locally known as a 'tuk tuk' or 'auto' because it's an adventure on its own. As for safety, we suggest keeping that neatly tucked at the back of your mind. Kidding! Perhaps not. Sigiriya is a rock fortress during the Anuradhapura era with 1,200 steps that included caved temples, bathing pools and ponds 96

Special Feature Colombo As you move along the bustling roads with plenty of tuk tuks and Buddha statues, some hidden while most in open spaces, the weather of this city is similar to Malaysia although humidity levels are higher. The first stop is a prominent landmark and every year on February 4, the country gets a day off with many thronging the Independence Square to celebrate Sri Lanka's freedom from the British which it obtained in 1948. The Square pays homage to the event and is adorned by a large statue of the man who played a pivotal role – the country's first Prime Minister, D.S. Senanayake. The country's first Prime Minister, D.S. Senanayake Colombo Municipal Council Independence Square Buddhist statues are a common sight within the capital city Galle Fort Popular beach town, Galle Meera Mosque The 1939 Galle Lighthouse Galle Moving down south from Colombo, this place was the centre of the Dutch regime in the 17th century and the majestic Galle Fort bears testimony to this fact. The fort is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument in this World Heritage site and seaside city. Within its walls, some of the important heritage monuments in the fort are the Dutch Reformed Church, the old Dutch government house, a Great Warehouse near the Old Gate, built around 1669 to store spices and ship equipment (which now houses the National Maritime Museum), the Old Dutch Hospital, the Meera Mosque built in 1904, the Buddhist temple built at the site of Portuguese Roman Catholic church, the All Saints Anglican Church built in 1871, the 1882 Clock Tower and the 1939 Galle Lighthouse. 97