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Thousands to throng shrines for Vesak

by Wijitha NAKKAWITA, Lanka Daily News, May 29, 2010

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Vesak, the holiest event among Buddhists marks the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing away of the Buddha who was born at Kapilavastu in Nepal twenty six centuries ago. The Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi 2555th year of the passing away and the 2635th year of the Buddha falls tomorrow.

There is much enthusiasm about Vesak this year since the defeat of terrorism had given freedom to people to move about without fear and hundreds of thousands pilgrims were reported visiting the holy shrines especially in the North like Nagadipa or Somawathi Chaitya in the East.

All main Buddhist shrines like the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the eight ancient shrines in Anuradhapura including Sri Maha Bodhi, Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya, Mahiyangane and Muthiyangana Raja Maha Viharayas and shrines like Kataragama Kirivehera and Tissmaharama shrine will have unprecedented numbers of pilgrims, senior members of the Buddhist clergy said.

Religious observances will take place in all the Buddhist villages and towns across the country and some of the events have received state patronage including the State Vesak Festival held at the ancient Mahiyangane Raja Maha Viharaya held with Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratna taking part as the chief guest on Monday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will also participate in religious rites at Temple Trees and most of the Ministers and Parliamentarians will take part in Vesak events in their hometown electorates.

Several Vesak pandals including the Nawaloka Pandal at Peliyagoda, the Grandpass pandal put up by the traders at Totalanga and one at Galle Face green will be among the main illuminations in the city.

Three special Vesak zones, one at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo, with many religious observances and a competition for lantern makers, another opposite the Colombo Town Hall and one opposite Lake House organized by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited will also be among the main events in the city.

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