INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis, September 2015

Sri Lanka’s rare martial art.
An item in a local newspaper has set me on a discovery of a unique Sri Lankan martial art. The report reads: “A presentation and display on Angampora was conducted by the Sri Lankan Air Force Angampora team in Colombo last month, marking yet another significant milestone in history of the indigenous art of Angampora.


“The event was made colourful by a performance of both Angam and Illangam by members of th RSF/SABF, the Angampora Display Team and the instructors of the ‘Ange Medilla Ranapila’ including the main Guru, Deshamanaya Dr Ajantha Mahantharachchi himself.”


Angampora, I discovered, is Unarmed Combat with Angam refering to the body while pora refers to combat.…

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INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis, July 2015

Perahera Season
Next month, August, the world famous Perahera takes place in Kandy. It’s a 14-day event open to the public as spectators, beginning on 17 August culminating in the glorious evening Perahera on the night of the Full Moon, Saturday 29 August and followed by a less elaborate day Perahera on Sunday 30 August. It’s well worth visiting Kandy on the Full Moon evening, to be thrilled by this annual parade of dancers, acrobats, jugglers, drummers, singers, elephants, and the sacred relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth.


Officially known as the Kandy Esala Perahera it is a grand affair of street pageants to honour the Sacred Tooth Relic and the guardian Gods: Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Goddess Pattini.…

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INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis, September 2014

Colombo Renewal

The rejuvenation and expansion of Colombo continues at an incredible pace. Last month I wrote about the opening of the converted old Auditor General’s building by Independence Square into an ornate and upmarket shopping arcade. Now the downmarket area of Pettah opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station is being gentrified with the conversion of a forgotten and stagnant waterway into an inspiring floating market.


The waterway is suspended between the Beira Lake and a tip of a tributary of the Kelani Ganga (river) by Bastian Mawatha (road) near the bus station, reached by walking to the right after exiting the Fort Railway station.…

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INSIDE SRI LANKA A monthly insider’s report by Royston Ellis

Christmas in Sri Lanka
Season’s Greetings! Sri Lankans love to party and happily join in the celebrations of the feasts or holy days of all religions. December 25 is a public, bank and mercantile holiday throughout Sri Lanka. Even though it is a Christian festival, the government sometimes regards Christmas Day as equivalent to a (dry) Poya (Full Moon) Day and bans the sale of alcohol then, so visitors need to make advance arrangements if planning a traditional Christmas wassail.


Since Sri Lanka is within six degrees of the Equator, Christmas Day is usually sunny and hot, making an unusual experience for visitors from the West accustomed to cold and even snow.…

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