Sri Lanka tourism to lure Indians on a legendary trail

Dec 17, 2007(LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to attract more Indian tourists next year on the trail of a legendary tale where an Indian prince was said to have come to the island to rescue his kidnapped wife, officials said. Sri Lanka’s Tourism Promotion Bureau says Sri Lanka has 34 sites related to the ancient epic of ‘Ramayana’.

“In India sometimes elections are won on the Ramayana platform and it is a huge thing,” Renton De Alwis chairman of tourism promotion bureau told reporters.

“We will be getting the Indian government to assist us in developing some of these products [sites].”

According to legend, Prince Rama’s wife Seetha, was captured by King Rawana of Sri Lanka who had flying machines known as a Dandu-Monera or a ‘large peacock’.

S. Kalaiselvan, SLTB’s director general says places of interest include Wariyapola in the Matale district. Wa-riya-pola literally means air-craft-port and could be the world’s oldest airport.

Seetha Eliya, Ramboda and Ussangoda have also been identified with the Ramayana legend, Alwis says.

Rama with the help of Hanuman, a giant monkey, is said to have bridged a string of islands stretched across the narrow sea straits between India and Sri Lanka t