Culture - Discover Sri Lanka with Bruno

Yoga & Meditation

Yoga is a mind and body practice. Various styles of yoga combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation.

It is an art and scince of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature.

There is a variety of practices under the term “Yoga” including Jain and Buddhist practices. In Hinduism Yoga falls into Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Laya Yoga and Hatha Yoga. The more well-known types of yoga are Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga.


Ayurveda / Spa

Ayurveda is a unique branch of medicine being an indigenous form of treatment using natural herbs, barks, roots, flowers, buds of medicinal plants and trees. Decoctions, pastes, ointments, applications, oils are made by grinding, boiling and grating parts of medicinal plants according to ancient recipes found recorded in ancient scripts called “ola leaves”. In Sri Lanka the science of Ayurveda is handed down from generation to generation and many patients have experienced incredible cures where western medicine did not produce results particularly for snake bites, skin rashes, gastric, flatulence ailments and orthopedic conditions.

Ayurveda is also native to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine has set up a Department of Ayurveda and established hospitals in various parts of the country providing all facilities for study and qualification in this ancient branch of medicine.


Anuradhapura

This sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again.

The city, now a World Heritage Site, was the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km (127 mi) north of the current capital of Colombo in the North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu River. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and one of the eight World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka.

Among the sights of Anuradhapura, the sacred Bo Tree is one of the most sacred relics in Sri Lanka and is the most revered site for pilgrimages of Buddhists. It is one of the oldest trees in the world which has been tended devotedly for 23 centuries. The Sri Maha Bodhi as it is known was grown from a sapling of the original Bo Tree of Bodhagaya in India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. This sapling was brought to Sri Lanka around 245 BC by Sanghamitta Theri.


Dambana

One of the lesser known areas in Sri Lanka, Dambana is a quiet village located in the scenic Badulla district. Most proximate to the city of Mahiyangana, it draws its significance from the fact that it is home to the indigenous Vedda community and their accompanying language and culture. The area is also known for its promising eco-tourism prospects, given that Dambana is predominantly a jungle village. Tourists visiting the area can immerse themselves into the lifestyle and activities of the Vedda people, who engage with visitors who venture into the confines of their fiercely guarded way of life.

Located about 300 km from Colombo, Dambana Sri Lanka is a remote jungle village of indigenous people. Since of late, the Veddah population is confined to a reserve in the district of Monaragala and consists of only about 350 families - a number significantly reduced from a once thriving community. The dominant culture has influenced their way of life, and they risk losing the traditions and what has been their livelihood for centuries. However, they remain determined that their heritage will continue into future generations.


Dambulla

A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 m2 ) are of particular importance, as are the 157 statues.

The shortest way, from Colombo to Dambulla lies via Kurunegala, one of the capitals of the medieval Sinhalese kings. The other rock temple of equal fame, Aluvihare, where, according to tradition, the Buddhist scriptures were first committed to writing about The first century B.C., list about twenty-six miles to the south on the Kandy Dambulla road. And the famous fortress of Sigiriya with its beautiful frescoes rises aloft like a gigantic cylinder at a distance of about twelve miles to the north-east of Dambulla.


Polonnaruwa

Sri Lanka’s second most ancient kingdom, Polonnaruwa, became the capital of Sri Lanka following the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993 AD. Built by King Parakramabahu I, this urban green city has seen numerous civilisations journeying through this kingdom including the Cholas, South Indian Hindu and Buddhist Sinhalese, between the 12th and 13th centuries.

An impressive collection of ruins forms the sacred quadrangle and in the middle is the vatadage (ancient structure) with four entrances leading to the place where the Sacred Tooth Relic was once housed. Explore the large stupa (hemispherical structure containing relics) Rankot Vihara and the monks’ quarters.

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