Short stories, Travel and Health Information
Book Review: World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka by Siri Ipalawatte
Sarasavi Publishers (Pvt) Ltd. (2013) RRP: Rs. 6000
I have just been reading a wonderful book.
The only comprehensive account of all eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka, Siri Ipalawatte’s book is a well researched guide that is beautifully illustrated with photographs of these sites taken by himself and his son Dudula. I admired the gorgeous photos of the animals and plants of the Sinharaja forest and the Central highlands – and was particularly impressed by one picture of Kandy showing the Temple of the Tooth of an early morning, with a backdrop of misty hills and the tranquil Kandy Lake in the foreground.
Accompanied by a wealth of information backed by appropriate references, Ipalawatte’s prose conveys to the reader his genuine love for the island and its heritage. He describes Polonnaruva as “a poem in stone’ and talks about the special relationship of the ancient capital’s buildings with the natural environment. In addition to the ‘natural sites’ of Sinharaja and the Central highlands, Ipalawatte also provides useful information, interspersed with lovely photographs, of the cave temples of Dambulla, the monastery/palace complex of Sigiriya, the Dutch Fort of Galle, the sacred city of Kandy and the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruva.
One criticism I have of an otherwise excellent production is that in many places the text lags behind the pictures – for example, his description of the Gal Vihara comes seven pages after the illustrations, and the explanation of the Satmahal Prasada appears six pages after the caption-less picture of this edifice. For those like me who are familiar with these sites, this is not a problem – but for those learning about them for the first time it can detract from understanding and appreciation.
That said, I can wholeheartedly recommend World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Browse through it – the book will open your eyes to the remarkable contribution made by our small nation to the civilization of our planet. If you have friends overseas, tell them about the book – or better still, send it to them as a gift – so that they too may be inspired to visit and experience the Wonders of Sri Lanka.