Historical Ramayana epic saga linking India and Sri Lanka now the centerpiece of new tourism drive
The Ramayana is an epic historical Hindu saga of princely strife, family betrayal, duty and vengeance linking India and Sri Lanka both figuratively and—perhaps—literally.
The ancient story centres on the travails of Rama, an Indian king’s exiled son, and the abduction to Sri Lanka of his wife Sita in a power struggle over who would succeed the ailing king.
And it is now the focus of a Sri Lankan tourism drive to create a ‘Ramayana Trail’ of Sri Lanka locations linked to the saga in a bid to attract more Indian travellers.
Nearly 385,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka last year, 8% up on the previous year, an increase fuelled by weddings, honeymoons and spiritual experiences linked to Buddhism.
Says Chitranganee Wagiswara, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India: “We plan to have more cultural exchange and joint promotions this year to leverage the growth further.”
And notes Destination Reporter: “The Ramayana trail is being given a new look and HD documentaries are being shot. The trail comprises 50 sites, 25 of which are accessible by road”.
Legend has it that Rama and his army built a land bridge between the northern point of Sri Lanka and the south-eastern coast of India, the remains of which can still be seen today.
The International Business Times reports that “Hindu religion’s theorists had held for long that the bridge was constructed by Rama and his Vanara Sena during the abduction of Sita as per the epic Ramayana”.
It recently made headlines during talks on whether it would be possible to create a shipping channel through the sandbars rocky outcrops that are all that remain of the link.