The Great Ramayana is the first of two ancient Indian heroic epic poems, traditionally ascribed to the Hindu muni Valmiki which is also one of the largest ancient epics in world literature.According to the Hindu tradition, this is considered to be the first poem. The epic story circulate around Lord Rama, Seetha, Rawana and Hanuman has always been highly regarded by many Indians and even Sri Lankans , regardless of the its hindu religious influence. The story depicts the duties of relationships and represent perfection of ancient social characters like prefect father, loyal servant, ideal brother, beloved wife and the great king. The Ramayana was an important influence on Hindu life and culture. Like the Mahabharata, the Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu interspersing philosophical and ethical elements. There are many other versions of the epic Ramayana, besides Buddhist and Jain adaptations, there are also Indonesian, Cambodian, Filipino , Thai, Lao, Malaysian and Burmese versions. Carrying a greater weight from the epic story, Sri Lanka (aka Lankapura) shares a special bond with India geographically, historically, culturally and spiritually. There are many sites in Sri Lanka where believed to be connected to the great Ramayana.
TV9 Film Crew with SLTPB Officials & few Indian Devotees
Realizing the touristic value of this legendary story, Sri Lanka Tourism has invited to one of the top Indian regional TV Channels 'TV9' during the month of June, to create a promotional TV Documentary targeting regional communities and sates of India. Under this promotional media activity the proposed 'Ramayana TV Documentary' will be aired on five different sates of India, including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andra, Thelengana and Karnataka. The documentary will be translated into various regional and international languages including Telugu, Kannada, Marathi,Gujarati and English. It will be on aired during the month of August, just before one of the India's main religious event called Diwali which will be taking in place 30th October. Diwali festival commemorates Lord Rama's return to his kingdom Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile.
Interviewing some of the Hindu Ramayana pilgrims at Munnueshwaram temple
The proposed media familiarization tour has been designed and organized under the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau's Visiting Journalist program and the project went on covering 20 popular Ramayana sites around the island within 13 days. Greater level of support has been given into this destination promotional program by the members of The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators Association (SLAITO).
Filming Rumassala (believed to be another Ramayana site)
As the neighboring nation (India) with about 1.3 Billion of population, India has been a resourceful outbound destination for growing Sri Lankan tourism sector. It is also known as the motherland for Hinduism and home to over 1 billion devoted Hindus which is over 80% from the total population. According to the census 2011, around 80 %of the Indians practice Hinduism. Especially the certain sates such as Gujarat heavily influenced by Hinduism where there are about 70 million populations and over 89.6 % are Hindus. Also, in Maharashtra, the Hindus percentage is well over 80%. Simultaneously, in Andra Pradesh and Karantaka the hindu devotees percentage followed by average of 80 % and 89 %. Meanwhile, within the current growing economic conditions, Indian middle class is expanding. Especially the urban middle class population in such states like Gujarat having a healthy disposable income where they are willing to travel abroad to have a quick escape from their day today busy lifestyle. So, considering the much needed leisure requirements, seeking of spirituality base on the own cultural roots and most importantly the affordability, the destination Sri Lanka will be a very strong contender to attract many potential outbound Indians. While, planing to broadcast the 'Ramayana TV documentary' just before the Dewali main event in India , Sri Lanka Tourism expect to increase potential Indians' awareness about Sri Lanka and offer a fresh holiday opinion to take a time off with loved once during the upcoming holiday season.
Filming at Thiru Koneshwaram
While organizing such media related promotional familiarization programs, Sri Lanka Tourism expect to further expand states of the spiritual and religious tourism segments in the island. Relatively, various development projects are been taking in place to develop tourism aspects of the selected Ramayana sites in much sustainable manner. Moreover, such promotional exercises will also aid to differentiate inbound tourism sector and add vibrancy into global image of destination Sri Lanka.
Filming the travel to Adam’s Bridge (Rama Sethu)
Overall, Indian tourists arrival are increasing gradually parallel to the current growth in nation's tourism industry. In the month of June total number of tourists’ arrivals were 118,038 and India only contributed 27,068 arrivals with a 4.7 growth.