Mysterious proofs of Ramayana events in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a proud custodian of around 68 Ramayana sites, the whole region has mysterious proofs of the entire epic in different Khandas . From Sita's abduction by the demon king Ravana till the coronation of Vibhishna.These sites Shrouded in mystery has made Sri Lanka, a religious site.
According to the sources, it all happened ages ago. King of Lanka abducted Sita, the wife of Prince Rama and thus the events of Ramayana extended from present-day India to Sri Lanka. Many of the places mentioned in this more than 5000-year-old Indian epic can still be found in Sri Lanka. We are on a journey to uncover some of the mysterious proofs that are associated with Ramayana in Sri Lanka.
Let us start with the journey of King Ravana back to Lanka after the abduction.
5000 years ago, Ramayana talked about a modern-day invention - the airplanes. King Ravana used one of his flying machines known as Pushpaka Vimana to travel to India and back to Sri Lanka during his Mission: Kidnapping.
Flying Machines of Lanka
If you own an aircraft, you should also have access to an airport and Ravana was no different. In fact, he had more than one airports. There are at least 6 places in Sri Lanka that have been identified as the airports of Ravana. Weragantota, a village in present-day Sri Lanka was where Ravana’s giant peacock looking flying machine landed with Mata Sita. Weragantota means the “place of aircraft landing” in the Sinhala language. Apart from airports, Ravana had a place for aircraft maintenance as well. Gurulupotha was considered to be the flying chariot repair center as well as a port for the aircraft.
But probably the more popular aircraft landing place would be the one at Ussanagoda, the place which was burned down by raging Lord Hanuman whose tail was set in fire by the Asuras. This ancient airport which was set ablaze by Hanuman and completely burned down in the fire still hasn’t recovered yet. Even now on the vast expanse of land, there is no vegetation that grown here except for the grass. The soil itself looks dark in color as if it’s been burnt.
If the soil at Ussanagoda has a burnt color, the one at Yudaganawa has the color of blood! According to the legends, the deep red color of the soil was because of the bloodshed during a massive battle. One version of the story tells that the battle was between Rama and Ravana.
Sanjivini mountains of Sri Lanka
Lack of biodiversity is not the only proof for the past incidents from Ramayana. In fact, diverse and exotic species found in Sri Lanka also give proof to Ramayana stories. During one of the fierce attacks Lakshmana, brother of Lord Rama was badly wounded and needed very special herbs to restore his life. Those herbs were found only in the Himalayan ranges. So Hanuman was sent to find Sanjivani, the life-restoring herb. As he couldn’t find the exact herbs, he uprooted the whole mountain and flew back to Lanka. But on his way back some pieces of the mountain fell in a few places.
Ritigala hills is one such place. One can still find exotic Himalayan flora and abundance of medicinal plants amidst sharply contrasting tropical vegetation of Sri Lanka. According to legends at five places, pieces of Dronagiri from the Himalayas fell while Hanuman was carrying it to Lanka. These five places are known as Sanjivani drops. The five Sanjivani drops are at Dolukanda, Ritigala, Rumassala, Kachchativu, and Thalladi. Out of these Rumassala hills are close to Galle and easier to visit compared to other sites. It is also part of the short Ramayana trail provided by TravelKosh.
Beautiful Garden called Ashoka Vatika
It was not the first time Hanuman was flying over Lanka. The first time he did was in search of Mata Sita. That is how he reached Ashoka Vatika, one of the most beautiful gardens in Lanka at that time. Present-day Ashoka Vatika is housed next to Hakgala botanical garden near Nuwara Eliya.
It was here Ravana had kept Mata Sita under his captivity. Though Ravana had a palace here, Sita preferred to stay under the Ashoka trees. These Ashoka trees were said to have removed ‘shoka’, the grief of Mata Sita. The flower of this tree is known as Sita flower. The peculiarity of this flower is that on closer observation the flower resembles a man carrying a bow and it is said to represent Lord Rama. But what is more interesting is that irrespective of the rich biodiversity of Sri Lanka, it is only here one can find Ashoka trees even today and nowhere else in Sri Lanka. Footprints said to be of Lord Hanuman can also be seen at this location.
After meeting Mata Sita, Hanuman wanted Ravana to know his presence. So he gave himself in so that Asuras, the demons would take him to their king. They did take him to Ravana and later set his tail on fire. Provoked Hanuman destroyed half of the Ashoka Vatika by setting it in the fire. Even now the soil at Ashoka Vatika looks dark like ash. Another evidence to prove this story.
Ravana knew that Rama would come looking for Sita and such incidents would happen. So he constantly shifted Sita from one palace to another. Ashoka Vatika was one of the last places where Mata Sita was kept. Before taking her to Ashoka Vatika, Ravana wanted to impress Sita by showing the beauty of his kingdom. So he took her on his chariot and went on top of a hill where the view was the best.
On the way, Ravana gave nutrient-rich rice balls to Sita as refreshments. As it was given by Ravana, she didn’t want to consume it. Hence she scattered it all over the track. These are found on the chariot track even today and the villagers call it Sita Goli. They use it as a remedy for children’s stomach disorders and other minor illnesses. Farmers also keep it with them to attract prosperity.
On top of the mountains, Ravana’s chariot track is still very visible as no vegetation, except grass grows here. Along the chariot track, at one place a pond is formed which is said to be from the tears of Mata Sita. It is called the Sita tear pond. According to the locals, this pond never dries up even during the harshest summer. Near Frotofot estate from Pussellawa, after a decent hike, one can reach the chariot path and Sita tear pond. From the top of the mountain, looking at the view probably you will also agree that Ravana’s kingdom is indeed beautiful.
Ravana’s palace: Sigiriya Lion’s Rock
If the kingdom is beautiful, the palace must also be beautiful. Many people consider Sigiriya Lion Rock as the palace of King Ravana. This ancient construction is definitely amazing. There is no wonder why Sri Lankans call it the eighth wonder of the world.
On top of a massive boulder lies an ancient palace and fortress. To reach the top one has to climb more than 1200 steps. These steps are made in the modern times for tourism purposes. So the question of how did they built a massive palace on top of a huge rock which didn’t even have any proper access, raises many questions.
Some even say Ravana was part of an advanced extraterrestrial race. Well, at least we heard the story that he had a flying machine more than 5000 years ago. If Ravana was an alien or not, Sigiriya Lion Rock is a marvelous architectural construction that you shouldn’t miss visiting while in Sri Lanka.
Construction of Rama Setu
Talking of interesting constructions, another mystery that needs no introduction to all those who know about Ramayana is the construction of Rama Setu, the ancient land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
When Rama and his army wanted to cross the ocean to reach Lanka, they constructed a bridge, according to the stories of Ramayana. They used special floating stones to build the bridge. They wrote the name of Lord Rama on each stone and it magically started to float. Recently the scientists behind the show ‘What On Earth’ broadcasted on Science TV say 7000 years old floating stones are found on Ramsetu!
Talai Mannar is located on the northwestern coast of Mannar Island of Sri Lanka, the closest point between India and Sri Lanka. From here one can see what is remaining of the ancient land connection between these two countries. Man-made or naturally created, mysteries surrounding this place are still unanswered even today.