Sri Lankan Hinduismwww.nytimes.com
NEW YORK, USA, January 10, 2010: Rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors, Sri Lanka, for a quarter century, seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. Hopefully, last May, the conflict finally ended, ushering in a more peaceful era for this magnificent island.
With a population of just 20 millions, the island feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. More surprisingly, is the pristine coastline with miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves.
Among the most scenic, is Nilaveli Beach in the Tamil north. Vacationers can lounge on poolside hammocks under palm trees or snorkel in its crystal-clear waters. They can also order cocktails at the Nilaveli Beach Hotel consisting of a collection of recently renovated bungalows with private terraces.
Still under construction, an international airport in Matara located on the island’s southern coast will make easy access to the gorgeous beaches near the seaside village of Galle, which is now teeming with stylish guesthouses and boutique hotels. Unawatuna, is a splendid crescent-shaped beach located a few miles of south of Galle.
Another destination to be in 2010 is Mumbai. On the one-year anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, citizens painted a one-kilometer stretch of wall in South Mumbai with murals to show their love and hope for the city. Initiated by a group of organizations that included the Mumbai Arts Project (MAP), which is dedicated to creating public art projects, is just one sign-Mumbai’s art scene is on the rebound. A walk through the newly dubbed Colaba Art District yields no fewer than five contemporary art galleries. Atarting January 18 will be the exposition of the famous artist Hemali Bhuta, while Gallery Maskara on March 15, will host paintings, sculpture and watercolors of the renowned artist T.Venkanna.
Mysore is another hot destination. You’ve completed 200 hours of teacher training, mastered flying crow pose and even spent a week at yoga surf camp. What’s next? Yogis seeking transcontinental bliss head these days to Mysore, the City of Palaces, in southern India. The yogi pilgrimage was sparked by Ashtanga yoga, a rigorous sweat-producing, breath-synchronized regimen of poses popularized by Krishna Pattabhi Jois, who died at 94 in 2009. Mr. Jois’s grandson is now director of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (www.kpjayi.org). First month’s tuition is 27,530 rupees, or $600 at 46 rupees to the dollar. Classes generally require a one-month commitment.