Meditation Centre at Hindu pilgrim site will be symbol of SL-India close ties: PM Gunawardena

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Colombo– Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has said that the planned International Meditation Centre at the Sita Amman Temple in the central hills, one of the top destinations for Hindu pilgrims in the island nation, will be a symbol of the close ties between Sri Lanka and India.

“I have the fullest confidence that this Centre for Meditation will be a great strength to uplift the human minds not only of the Sri Lankan society but also of the people of India and other nations to instill positive thoughts and ethical values. It will also be a symbol of the close ties between Sri Lanka and India since ancient times,” Gunawardena said while laying the foundation stone for the Centre at Sita Amman Temple at Sita Eliya in Nuwara Eliya on Sunday.

Situated in the Nuwara Eliya valley in the central hills of Sri Lanka, the Sita Amman Temple, which also known as Seetha Amman Kovil, has become the number one destination for Hindu pilgrims from India travelling along the Ramayana Trail.

The temple is believed to mark the grove Ashoka Vatika or Ashoka Vana in the Ramayana epic, the place where Sita was held in captivity on the island of Lanka. After Sita had refused to stay in King Ravana’s palace, she was brought to this grove where she lived under Ashoka trees.

While thanking the Government of India for the support given to Sri Lanka to fight the unprecedented economic crisis, Gunawardena also expressed gratitude towards India’s support to build the meditation centre.

He thanked Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Delhi Rotary Club and its President Pradeep Jain, Sita Amman Temple Committee President V. Radhakrishnan and philanthropists from India for providing generous assistance to build the proposed meditation centre. “It is not merely the financial assistance, but the thought of helping such a project is highly appreciable,” he asserted.

Gunawardena said that the great religions of Asia — Buddhism and Hinduism — coexist in Sri Lanka to enhance positive ethical values to the society. “Followers of these religions lived and worked together making our society stronger and progressive.”

A special stamp depicting the history of the Sita Amman Temple, together with a commemorative cover was issued to mark the event on Sunday.

Besides Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay, Sita Amman Temple Committee President V. Radhakrishnan and President of Delhi Rotary Club Pradeep Jain, a large gathering of foreign and local devotees was also present at the ceremony. (IANS)



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