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A gem of a Monument



Ratnapura National Museum housed in the historical Ehelepola Walauwa is being renovated and conserved, the first ever exercise of its kind since its establishment. The archaeologically important monument which was closed for a few years is soon to be reopened to the public.

Story and Pix by Randima Attygalle

Nestled in a sprawling green garden of nearly eight acres is a ‘gem of a different kind’ in Ratnapura- the land of gems and the domain of God Saman. An oasis in the midst of the busy Ratnapura town, a drive canopied by its ‘forest garden’ brings a visitor to the stately mansion. The legend has it that once there was a secret tunnel to access this building, its entry point no longer to be found. Its impressive lobby replete with an elaborate wooden doorway, a high ceiling and thick brick walls reflect Dutch and British architectural influence. A dolawa (palanquin) and a wooden oruwa, both several centuries old, are exhibited here today.

Originally built between 1811 and 1814 for the occupation of Ehelepola Maha Adikaram when he was serving as the Disawe of Sabaragamuwa, the building known as Ehelepola Walauwa, was later used as the official residence of the government agents of the Sabaragamuwa Province during the British administration, earning the common reference of Disapathi Medura. Its spacious rooms with high ceilings enabling natural ventilation today serve as the seven galleries of the National Museum of Ratnapura dedicated to the historical and cultural heritage of the Sabaragamuwa Province.

The history of the Ratnapura National Museum goes back to 1946. ‘The exhibition of the first set of museum objects took place in April, 1946. These were brought from the Colombo National Museum, particularly for their safety from any possible danger in Colombo during the Second World War,” says the Director, Cultural, Department of National Museums, Senarath Wickramasinghe. The museum objects were initially exhibited in a private residence in Weralupe, close to the Ratnapura town. In 1957 it was shifted to a building near the old CTB Depot in the town. The museum was opened to the public on May 18, 1988 in the present Ehelepola Walauwa, after the premises were acquired by the Department of National Museums. It was officially declared as an archaeological monument on September 3, 1993 under a special gazette notification by the Department of Archaeology.

The seven galleries of the museum are dedicated to the gems, rocks and minerals of Ratanpura, extinct fauna of Ratnapura, pre-history of the region, History of Ratnapura, textiles, ceramics and jewellery, Sabaragamuwa dance form and rituals and traditional industries and customs of Ratnapura respectively. Among the special objects on display are the sword of Ehelepola Adikaram and the four-poster bed used by Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maithriya Thera.

Besides the objects of antiquity are newly done models reflecting Ratnapura’s well known gem mining, Balangoda man from the pre-history and Sabaragamuwa dance. Modern lighting systems in place enhance the finer intricacies of the objects on display. The gallery, ‘Extinct Fauna of Ratnapura’ features bones of some of the animals which lived in the Quaternary Period (the period between 2 to 500 million years before present) unearthed from gem pits in the area and replicas of some of these animals are found in the Paleo Biodiversity Museum Park- the first of its kind in the country, Wickramasinghe explains.

“Certain fossilized parts of large mammals which lived in the Quaternary Period have been found in the Ratnapura District among the layers of deposits in the areas such as Getahetta, Eheliyagoda, Kuruwita, Kalawana, Pelmadulla, and Kahawatta. These deposits are referred to as ‘Ratnapura deposits’ which belonged to the latter stages of the geological history; Pleistocene and Holocene (two million years before present) periods, found in wet soil layers of gem mines,” he said.

The fossils of the extinct species of animals in the Ratnapura District were first studied by the late Director of the Colombo National Museum, Dr. P. E. P. Deraniyagala. His research had confirmed that three species of elephants, two species of unicorns, one species of hippopotamus, buffalo, hunting dog, lion and wild pig had inhabited this region. The replicas which are exhibited in the Ratnapura Museum are based on the fossil data obtained from such studies.

It has also been recorded that Ratnapura district claims evidence representing all ages of prehistory in Sri Lanka. It is presumed that the stone tools that have been unearthed from wet layers of ‘Ratnapura mines’ represent lower and middle stages of the pre-history and also presumed that those tools belong to the period between 250,000 – 125,0000 years from today. The oldest skeletons of Homo sapiens who lived in South Asia have been found in Fa Hien Caves (Pahiyangala Caves) in Bulathsinhala and Batadombalena in Kuruwita. “These findings take us back to a definite time frame of 40,000 years from today and the findings of Batadombalena takes us back to 35,000 years, offering us clear evidence that prehistoric men continuously lived in these places up to 3500 BC,” points out Wickramasinghe. The excavations conducted in Bellanbendipelassa, an open space in the Ratnapura District located in the Walawe Valley had uncovered a burial ground of pre-historic men. The Pre-History Gallery of the Museum visually presents these findings.

An assortment of kitchen and agricultural objects of antiquity, exquisite jewellery worn by the Ratnapura aristocracy, ancient Buddha statues from temples, old coins, ceramics, garments and swords add to the grandeur of the museum. The Medicinal Garden, Bamboo Garden and Endemic Plant Garden surrounding it afford a tranquil setting to the stately building housing the museum meriting promotion among local and foreign visitors.

The first ever ‘conservation-renovation’ exercise since the establishment of the Ratnapura National Museum was a demanding task resulting in closure for several years during which the work was completed, remarks the Director General of the Department of National Museums, Sanuja Kasthuriarachchi. “In the process, while being conscious of the original architectural features of this archaeological site, we also had to do justice to Ehelepola Maha Adikaram who occupied this mansion as well as the historical and cultural heritage of Ratnapura,.” she explains. “The conservation project also aspires to be aligned with the proposed five-year Gem City Master Plan of the Urban Development Authority..”

“Here, we will be taking measures to conserve and develop the Bio Diversity Park of the museum as well, so that the premises can be promoted as a sustainable tourist attraction under the Master Plan,” she added.


Ehelepola Maha Adikaram

He was born to a noble family from the village of Ehelepola, nine miles from Matale and was educated by the Yatawatte Maha Thera before joining the Royal court. His first appointment was to the post of Paniwidakara Nilame by the King and later succeeded Meegastenne Adikarama as the Second Adikaram. Ehelepola was also appointed as Disave of Sabaragamuva which was held by Meegastenne. Following the death of Pilimatlawe Nilame, Ehelepola was appointed as the Maha Adikaram in 1811 under the reign King Sri Vikrama Rajasinha.

Following the brutal execution of his entire family by the King, (including his eldest son, the child hero Madduma Bandara), he aided the British in launching an invasion of the Kandyan Kingdom. Ehelepola became part of the British administration of Kandy but soon came under suspicion during the Great Rebellion of 1817–18.  The royal courtier was arrested by the British and exiled to Mauritius Island along with several Kandyan Chiefs in 1825. He died on April 4, 1829 in Mauritius Island. His tomb, which is a protected Monument, bears the inscription: ‘Sacred to the memory of Ehelepola Wijesundara Wickramasinghe Chandrasekara Amarakoon Wahala Mudianse, late First Adigar or Prime Minister to the King of Kandy, who died on 4th April 1829 aged 57 years”.

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How Celebrities Influence Fashions



Celebrities have always shaped and influenced the ongoing fashion trend.

Celebrities both Hollywood and Bollywood influence fashion by wearing whatever is in fashion and also sometimes they create their fashion trend by wearing something enormous, created by the world’s leading fashion designers.

Some of them are known to having better knowledge with fashion than other celebrities, we look to them as fashion icons. They are numerous ways celebrities can influence fashion.

Celebrities set the rule on how to dress to a certain event or how you should dress at a certain age. A lot of times celebrities will promote certain fashion trends. People dress a certain way because their favorite celebrity that they stalk on social media is wearing the same thing.

Fashion can be influenced by social media, the person wearing a certain type of designer or a piece of clothing from that designer.

Research says the some individuals who are referred to as opinion leaders has a major impact on what society thinks of a certain type of fashion. With having celebrities as a fashion opinion leader it leads to higher percentage of market sales. It is agreed that they tend to have more knowledge about fashion than a regular person would, even though if they do not dress accordingly to society at the time. The key aspect of fashion on celebrities is to be seen in the public eye which helps the consumer/designer get more clients or fame.

When it comes to celebrities and trends, clothing is one of the easiest ones to follow. It doesn’t matter what article of clothing celebs have on, if it’s in a magazine or on an Instagram feed, the next day stores are selling the same piece of clothing that said celebrity wore in a photo. It is easier to keep up with the changing trends because of Instagram and TikTok where many celebrities will post videos of their outfits when going out for an event or just spending the day at home. Everyone has their own unique sense of style but how do celebrities influence our style, and are we really dressing in the clothes we choose because we like them, or are we doing it to follow a trend?Celebrities have been known to popularize trends even after they go out of style. One of the reasons why people are so drawn to the styles celebrities wear is because many will choose to dress in a style that brings back nostalgia.

For example, some fashion trend that has been in and out of style for the last couple of years. Various stores and clothing brands have been selling items from tthis fashion collection for a while such as Hot Topic, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters. But the downside to clothing trends is that we realize “I’m never gonna wear this again,” or “I don’t even like this style, why did I buy this?”

Celebrities are good at advertising the clothing items they’re given because it’s part of their job, but sometimes they don’t even like the items they wear. So, why do we continue to follow clothing trends? They have been given lots of beautiful pieces of clothing to wear and when we see them in it and how people respond to them, we want the same reaction they get, so we choose to follow the trend people say

These celibritiescan also influence where clothing is sourced from. Some of the clothes that we wear are made from animals and harmful products that we don’t even realize are made from insects (silk), goats (cashmere), and sheep (shearling). Numerous celebrities have taken a stand against animal products in clothing, and have chosen to wear clothing that is vegan and animal-free.

For example, Ariana Grande’s wedding dress was made from stating vegan which, according to VeganFashionWeek, has “the soft and lustrous texture of satin to create the perfect wedding gown for Arianna Grande. Satin is made from synthetic materials (polyester, nylon, rayon fibers…)” The choice to buy ethically can influence fans’ styles because they may be inspired to purchase clothing that is made from vegan materials and animal-free products.

Another reason could be because many items that celebrities wear can be used on various occasions. Because celebrities have millions of fans who follow everything that they do, some celebrities have their own clothing lines designed to fit every size and every occasion so that they’re fans can dress comfortably and stylish. Cardi B partnered with Fashion Nova, Kendall and Kylie Jenner have a namesake clothing line, as do many other celebrities. It gives fans the confidence to expand their wardrobe, and it has made people feel comfortable in their own skin.

More positively, celebrities can influence our style by advertising to their fans to dress as themselves and not for anyone else. Angelina Jolie shared her views on fashion in an article last year, saying, “I think we all know boldness when we see it. Nothing makes me smile more than when I see someone being fully themselves, with their own individual style and character, whatever that is.”

Remember: celebrities have their own individual styles that match their own unique personalities and so do you. They can influence our styles because we might like how they look in movies, TV shows, and Tiktoks. It is worth mentioning that celebrities have stylists who dress them for special occasions, and designers who want them to wear their clothes. Style and clothing should be about self expression and instead it has become about trends and influence. Clothes are the reflection of the person you are on the inside so instead of following a clothing trend that’ll be over in a few weeks, dress for yourself.

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Sade Greenwood Miss Sri Lanka world 2022, speaks about Fitness and lifestyle 



by Zanita Careem

The reigning Miss Sri Lanka world Sade Greenwood gives insight into the importance of a balanced and healthy lifestyle for achieving goals and overall wellbeing.

Sade is currently a student at Tokyo International University in Japan where She studies International Relations. She hopes to make a difference in her country using her degree, where she hopes to be involved in youth programmes and education. When Sade is not studying she is usually doing her charity work which involves environmental services and animal welfare. .

Sade with her sparkling personality and penchant for positivity personifies ‘beauty with a purpose’. She has brought immense pride to us all with her ‘walking the talk’ through her numerous charitable endeavors.

Q• Sade tell us about your journey from modelling to competing nationally, and winning the coveted Miss Sri Lanka World 2022 title?


It’s been a surreal journey! Definitely a lot of adjusting as it was a huge shift in my life but all the same I’m so grateful and blessed to be able to represent my country on the  international stage. 

Q• You have always been in model shape. Have You had to change your workout routines when focusing on the beauty industry? 

A• I think I more so needed fitness to help me balance my busy schedules. It was always great to have a release from everything through fitness, it’s definitely something I used more for my mental and physical health in becoming a stronger version of myself.

Q• Being a part of The Fitness Connection Family and working out at the Gym what do you feel has been the biggest change? 

A• I think learning to achieve my goals. One thing about fitness is that consistency plays a huge role but so does diet! Learning to cut out on some of my favourite food is a little tricky!

Q• I know You have a hectic schedule and many commitments. How have your workouts at the gym impacted you positively? 

A• It’s impacted my mental and physical health and overall helped me balance my life and find a release from all the stress and strain.

Q• As you and your pathway have inspired so many, what advise would You give to those looking to balance their goals with their everyday lives? 

A• Make sure you love what you do! That makes it easier to balance anything in life because you’re putting your heart and soul into what you do. It doesn’t feel like ‘work’ then, so train your mind!

Q• What motivates you the most, and gets you moving even on the most tiring of days? 

A• My goals and how the future version of myself would be proud that I made the decision to do something then and there.

We are all looking forward to your next chapters in what is definitely going to be an exciting and fulfilling journey. I will surely be speaking with you again soon!

*Sade Greenwood photographed at The Fitness Connection,

Racecourse Colombo 07

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The Little Black Dress: Never out of style



It is the women’s wardrobe staple that always manages to capture the spirit of the times. Katya Foreman from BBC examines the enduring appeal of the Little Black Dress.

The little black dress, that Christmas party staple, is a bit of an enigma. It is both one of the blandest elements of a woman’s wardrobe – as the default option when stuck for what to wear for an occasion – and a stubbornly  timeless, persistently revisited icon. Essentially a simple black cocktail dress, the garment goes by the affectionate nickname of LBD, which has its own entry in the dictionary.

According to André Leon Talley, a contributing editor at Vogue who recently staged an exhibition dedicated to the LBD, the term ‘little black dress’ first appeared in 1926, in an American Vogue illustration of Coco Chanel’s first black ‘Ford’. Vogue editors had named the dress after the era’s democratic black Model T automobile, predicting that the straight, long-sleeved design in unlined crèpe de chine accented with four diagonal stripes would “become sort of a uniform for all women of taste.” They were spot on.

The garment cut a radically modern figure, as much for its stark design as its sober shade, which since the Victorian era had been associated with mourning. For Chanel, black was the definition of simple elegance and, ever disregarding of conventions, she helped bring the colour into everyday wear. Among the displeased, rival couturier Paul Poiret is said to have sniped at Chanel in the street, “What are you in mourning for, Mademoiselle?” The equally scissor-tongued designer is said to have retorted: “For you, dear Monsieur.”

Frock and awe

To put it in context, three decades earlier, John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Madame Gautreau, better known as Madame X, in a black dress had provoked outrage in Paris. The jet-black look, with its skimpy straps and plunging décolleté, was considered indecent. “Displayed in the huge jury-selected exhibition, the Salon, in 1884, it horrified Parisians so much that the ignominy drove Sargent across the Channel to take refuge in Britain,” wrote the Guardian’s Jonathan Jones..

“In this case it wasn’t anything about the style, or the flash of naked shoulders, that upset a public used to ‘modern nudes’. It wasn’t the morbid paleness of the New Orleans-born high society personage Madame Pierre Gautreau… or even the impressionistic way in which Sargent, a friend of Monet, rejects the crispness of academic naturalism. No, it was the dress that caused distress.”

Fellow independent style maven, Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, who owned several LBDs, once said of the versatile garment: “When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.” And, swiftly embraced as a staple of French elegance in the 20s, the shape-shifting LBD nearly 90 years on is still going strong, with a family of icons still fuelling its myth. Notably, there is something about the slim sleeveless black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s that continues to mesmerise generations. Accessorised with black elbow gloves, a pearl choker, dark glasses and a cigarette holder, on Hepburn the gown transcended the sum of its parts.

“I am absolutely dumbfounded to believe that a piece of cloth which belonged to such a magical actress will now enable me to buy bricks and cement to put the most destitute children in the world into schools,” a tearful Dominique Lapierre told BBC News after auctioning off the dress for charity at Christie’s London in 2006, for £467,200 ($765,000) to an anonymous telephone bidder. Lapierre, a French writer and philanthropist, had been given the dress by its maker, French couturier Hubert de Givenchy. According to Christie’s, a second version of the dress remains in the Givenchy archives in Paris, while a third is in the Museum of Costume in Madrid.

Stitches in time

Deceptively simple, the LBD, with its morphing silhouettes and features, can be seen as a marker of shifting social codes. The va-va-voom black Versace safety pin dress worn by Elizabeth Hurley to the 1994 premiere of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, for instance, encapsulated an era, as did Catherine Deneuve’s prim LBD by Yves Saint Laurent in Belle de Jour (1967), with its white silk French cuffs and collar.

 “The little black dress has managed to adapt to all of the socio-political changes,” vintage specialist Didier Ludot has noted. He has been championing the cause since 1999, the year in which he created his line, La Petite Robe Noire, with a dedicated store in Paris’s Palais Royal. And designer Miuccia Prada, quoted in Talley’s aforementioned book said: “To me, designing a little black dress is trying to express in a simple, banal object, a great complexity about women, aesthetics, and current times.”

From the wearer’s stance, nothing is more flattering and versatile than the LBD. Offering new personalities in the tweaking of a neckline or sleeve length, it smoothes contours, serving as an inky frame to exposed areas of flesh. All lines and shadows, the LBD is an ally to curves. To Ludot it is “an iconic, magical garment as it enhances a woman’s features and erases imperfections”.

As the epitome of the blank canvas, the LBD has become a rite of passage for generations of designers, and a fixation for some, such as cult couturier Azzedine Alaia, whose roots lie in architecture.  “The little black dress is interesting to designers because it is a wardrobe classic that we can experiment with and twist. The cut and the volume form the foundations, with the fabric bringing it to life. It’s a real creative exercise,” commented French couturier Alexis Mabille who was among five designers tapped by French lifestyle chain Monoprix to design a little black dress for this Christmas season, along with Giles Deacon, Hussein Chalayan, Anne-Valérie Hash and Yiqing Yin. Suited to all types, the affordable capsule, which premiered at the style emporium Colette in late November, once again reflects the codes of the black Ford Model T.  From Hash’s split-personality design, which melds two styles of dress in one piece, to Deacon’s black satin t-shirt style with an oversized satin bow at the neckline, each offers a new take on a perennial wardrobe classic whose capacity for reinvention seems inexhaustible.– BBC

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