From Sunday 29 April to Wednesday 02 May 2018, the Buddha Rashmi National Vesak Festival, coordinated by Gangaramaya Temple, will be celebrated at the Hunupitiya, Gangaramaya Temple and at Temple Trees premises, both in Colombo.

During this Festival, Lord Buddha’s relics from Saranath (India), Gandara relics from Taxila (Pakistan) and historical Buddhist artefacts from Nepal will be exhibited.

About Vesak

At the first conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists, which was held in 1950 in Sri Lanka, it was decided to celebrate Vesak as Lord Buddha’s birthday. This important holiday is also known under the designation of Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day and is observed by Buddhists all over the world, following a centuries-old tradition. Also United Nations are observing Vesak at its headquarters and offices since 1999.

Devotees are not only celebrating the birth of Gautama Buddha, but also his enlightenment and his passing away. Therefore, they bring simple offerings as there are flowers, joss-sticks and candles which by their nature will remind them transiency of life. Moreover, on those days, birds and other animals may be released by devotees to symbolize giving freedom to the ones who are in captivity. Buddhists are also reminded that they shall live in harmony with and respect of the faiths of other people, according to the Buddha’s doctrine.

Buddhists are celebrating Vesak to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.

In Sri Lanka, devotees will light colourful lamps (Vesak Kuudu) along the streets and in front of their homes. Those lamps signify enlightenment and freedom from darkness. Believers also set up food stalls (Dansälas) and give free food and beverages to passers-by.

Platforms available for the Public to lodge complaints regarding any forms of illegal surveillances and harassment

The Ministry of Law & Order has, from time to time, been made aware of alleged incidents of harassment and illegal surveillance of the public, including human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations including members of the families of missing persons.

The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all its citizens, at all times, and will ensure that any incident brought to the notice of the Sri Lanka Police is treated with utmost seriousness and investigated in keeping with the applicable laws.

Accordingly, if any member of the public is subjected to, or is made aware of instances of intimidation, illegal surveillance of civilians, or harassment by any individual or group of persons, kindly use the following mechanisms to lodge a complaint with any or all of the following.

• National Police Commission -1960 (hotline), 0115 107722
• Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka - 1996(hotline) 0112 505 575
• Special Investigations Unit of the Sri Lanka Police - 119 (hotline)
• TELL IGP - online complaints portal -

The original Media Release published by the Ministry of Law and Order can be downloaded here in EnglishSinhala and Tamil language.


Update on current situation in Sri Lanka - Kandy returns to normalcy

Sri Lanka has fully' returned to normal after the recent unrest in a part of Kandy District and all activities including tourism are normal.

The State of Emergency which was imposed purely as a precautionary measure to contain any untoward situation has now been fully removed. Temporary restrictions imposed on social media platforms have also been permanently lifted.

Kandy is now as safe for tourists as any other part of the country and the relevant government authorities have assured full security. Therefore, there are no restrictions on visiting any part of the country and tourists are especially encouraged to visit Kandy.

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