Country depends on tourism; 60% people come from India: Sri Lankan MP V Radhakrishnan

World Monday 20/May/2024 08:16 AM
Country depends on tourism; 60% people come from India: Sri Lankan MP V Radhakrishnan

Nuwara: Hailing the ties shared by India and Sri Lanka on the occasion of Kumbhabhishekam puja at the Seetha Amman Temple, the Sri Lankan MP, V Radhakrishnan, said that the two countries have a good relationship because of tourism, and 60 per cent of the people that come to the island nation are from India.

He added that Colombo and New Delhi should get together and work in future, and Sri Lanka is now booming to get an economic reshuffle.

While speaking to ANI, Sri Lankan MP V Radhakrishnan said, "The two countries have a good relationship because of tourism... Sri Lanka depends on tourism. 60 per cent of the people come from India. Sri Lanka is now booming to get economic reshuffle. The two countries should get together and work in future, especially in tourism."

Indian tourists have consistently topped Sri Lanka's arrival charts -- 3,02,844 or 20 per cent of total arrivals in 2023. In a bid to encourage tourism and revive the island's crisis-hit economy, Sri Lanka waived visa fees in October 2023 for tourists from India and six other countries -- China, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan.

On the Kumbhabhishekam taking place, the Sri Lankan MP said, "After eight years, the temple should be renovated and the Kumbhabhishekam should be performed... In 2016, we did Kumbhabhishekam and now it's almost eight years in 2024."

"This time the Indian community has participated in Kumbhabhishekam because recently Ayodhya had an inauguration. After that, there has been a boom in Sri Lanka," he added.

At the heart of the ceremony is a ritual known as Kumbaabhishekam, symbolising the renewal of divine energies within its hallowed confines.

Among the distinguished guests gracing the event was the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Santosh Jha, underscoring the cross-cultural significance of this sacred gathering.

Seetha Amman Temple, nestled in the tranquil village of Seetha Eliya, holds profound mythological significance as the purported location, Goddess Sita was held captive by Ravana, according to ancient lore.

Enhancing the sanctity of the ceremony, five revered Kalash filled with Saryu water from the holy city of Ayodhya have been ceremoniously brought in, infusing the proceedings with spiritual resonance and symbolic purity.

Meanwhile, G Kumar Sithambaram, Managing Director of a tour company operating in Sri Lanka, said that 'Maha Kumbhabhishekam' was a historical day for the island nation.

"Today is a historical and holistic day as Maha Kumbhabhishekam took place in Sithavanam, Ashok Vatika, Sri Lanka. This is one of the most remarkable places in the tourism industry. 98.9 per cent of Indian travellers or people who believe in the Ramayana or Bhagavad Gita visit Sri Lanka and offer prayers at Sitaman temple," he told ANI.

"Many Indian travellers have visited here since November...Because of some issues with the Maldives, I think many people have diverted to Sri Lanka and the VISA is also given free of charge or on arrival to Sri Lanka until May 31st," the tour operator said.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji also participated in the event.

On Kumbhabhishekam puja at the Seetha Amman Temple, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, "It is a great occasion that mother Sita's temple is reconsecrated... Ma Sita is an embodiment of compassion, motherhood, and endurance. This is a historical place where the entire continent recognizes how Sita Mata was here in the Ashok Van and met with Hanumanji."

"This will reconfirm our ancient connection between the civilizations. We need to bring back those values that are eroding. Ram Rajya is the value of living our lives in accordance with the laws of nature, harmony, prosperity and happiness," he said at the event.

The sacred water, drawn from the revered Saryu River in Ayodhya, India, marked the auspicious beginning of a journey destined for the Seetha Amman Temple in Seetha Eliya.

The event, which resonated with ancient traditions and divine reverence, symbolised the deep-rooted cultural ties between India and Sri Lanka. The Rath Yatra, a procession of spiritual significance, commenced amidst chants and hymns, evoking blessings for the success and sanctity of the endeavour.

The Saryu water, revered for its sanctity in Hindu mythology, holds profound significance in religious rituals, believed to purify and sanctify the surroundings. As it embarks on its voyage to Seetha Eliya, it carries with it the hopes and prayers of devotees for the prosperity and well-being of all.