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Sleepy Dambulla Of The Nineteen Sixties




by H. M. Nissanka Warakaulla

It was the year 1962 and I was getting ready to sit my final year examination of the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, in April. The University authorities had distributed a circular among us final year students asking those who’d like a teaching appointment after graduation to indicate their preferences of districts for postings. I indicated Kandy as my first preference and Matale as the second. I finished my last paper on April 26. Soon after finishing the examination, I received a letter from the Department of Education appointing me as an Assistant Teacher at the Dambulla Maha Vidyalaya from May 2. That was how undergraduates were treated then – teaching appointments even before the final results!

On the afternoon of May 1, I boarded a long distance bus from Kandy which was going through Dambulla. At that time with not much traffic on the roads and the drivers were very careful; the bus reached my destination covering 45 miles in 90 minutes and stopped at the small bus stand close to the Dambulla temple. I got off the bus and had to find my way to the school. As I was a stranger in town (if it could be called that then), I had to ask for directions and arrived at the school located between the Kandy and the Kurunegala Roads. Later, I used to carry a torch in case I arrived after dusk and the trek to the school, though short, was dangerous as there were serpents on the road.

The school then had only one building with another old building divided into two separate sections. One section there was used as the teachers’ quarters and the other as the quarters of the Overseer of the then Public Works Department. The teachers’ quarters had accommodation only for four. Fortunately, I had a bed, mattress, pillow and a mosquito net. I parked myself in that gloomy place as there was no alternative. Just before dark, one of the resident teachers would light the petromax lamp which was our only source of light at that time.

Having arrived at the school and sorted out the accommodation, the next thing was to organize my meals. Fortunately the other teachers had arranged a woman to supply us and I too joined the club. This Buth Amma used to bring our meals always on time. We did not bother to find out her real name and always called her the name associated with her work. Of course, at that stage I could not be finicky about how clean the food was as it was Hobson’s choice! There was no decent place in Dambulla town at that time for even a good cup of tea prepared hygenically, except at the dingy looking rest house.

Dambulla was famous for its cave temple, then in its original state without the hideous additions that have recently been built. From where the temple is situated, up to the Mirsgoniyawa junction, there were just three permanent buildings – the school (then a Maha Vidyalaya), the police station and the government hospital plus of course the rest house on the Kandy Road and a small building on the Kurunegala road serving as the circuit court about once in two months.

As Dambulla was bordering the dry zone, it was dry and hot especially in the afternoons most of the year. During this dry period no cultivation was possible. The farmers in most of the areas had to depend entirely on the North East monsoon and the convectional afternoon thunder showers in April and October to cultivate their paddy lands as well as vegetables, fruit and the chenas. Those with fields close to the Kandalama tank used to get irrigation water from there. When the harvesting is done, the fruit and vegetables were sold at unbelievably low prices. You could buy a pile of produce for a mere five rupees. Kandalama then was a village with a few inhabitants and remained so until the hotel designed by Geoffrey Bawa was built.

We bathed drawing brackish water from a well. The water in the Dambulla area was brackish and we had to make do with it. As a result I developed a kidney problem which was overcome with antibiotics prescribed by a reputed doctor in Kandy.

During my time in Dambulla, a group of us went to help clean the roadway leading to the Somawathi Chaitya on a shramadana basis. At that time there was no macadamized road to the chaitya which was located in a thick jungle. It was just a cart track with footprints and dung of wild elephants everywhere. We cleared the shrubs on this cart track. The chaitya was discoloured and had not been whitewashed for a long time as there was no temple near it then.

There was no laundry in Dambulla to get our clothes and linen done so that I had to take the washing home and bring back clean clothes when returning to school on Monday morning.

Dambulla developed to what it is today due to the Gam Udawa held there. By then I had left Dambulla getting a transfer to a school in Ankumbura. Thanks to Gam Udawa the sleepy hamlet gradually developed into a busy township. Now there are street lights and water on tap as well as access to electricity to light up homes. Then came the first five star hotel in Kandalama overlooking the picturesque tank and merging into the vegetation around it. A number of other hotels sprang up later. In addition the cricket stadium too was constructed just outside town limits. Dambulla developed into the main distribution centre in the country for vegetables and the town became a very busy hub with a heavy flow of traffic.

The Maha Vidalaya where I was teaching has been upgraded to a Madhya Maha Vidyalaya with a number of new buildings. The school which had about 60 students and a staff of about 10 teachers then had now developed to cater to a student population of about 600 with a staff of about 25. However, I must say that even with the few facilities we had at that time, a few students gained admission to the universities and some even joined the Sri Lanka Administrative Service. Though the facilities available at Dambulla then was nowhere compared to what we enjoyed on the Peradeniya campus, I gained a lot of satisfaction doing the work I did there.

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To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur



by Zanita Careem

WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers

“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S

“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.

The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.

“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022

“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –

“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.

The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.

The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.

“The entry kit can be downloaded from and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.

WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.

For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080

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Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!



In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.

Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.

Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.

It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.

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Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL



The next best thing in Colombo!

What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.

The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.

“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.

What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.

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