January is a month of celebration and cheer, as everyone embarks in to the New Year. This month also holds several culture events such as the Duruthu Perehera as well as the Thai Pongal celebrations.
The Duruthu Perehera falls on the first full moon Poya day of the year, and commemorates the visit by Lord Buddha to the island in the either year following his enlightenment. This procession starts from the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara and is held for three nights.
Thai Pongal is a Hindu celebration of the harvest and honors the Hindu sun God. The day, which either falls on the 14th or 15th of January is cultural and also includes many ceremonial preparations such as sweet meats and spiced rice called “Pongal”. Following worship at a Hindu temple, the Hindu folk makes there ways back to their homes to carry out the traditions rituals.
THINGS YOU CAN DO?
Whale Watching in Kalpitiya and Mirissa
The whale watching season in Kalpitiya and Mirissa is in full swing by January every year with whales and dolphins parading their presence in the Sothern and North-Western oceans of Sri Lanka.
In the oceans around Kalpitiya sperm whales, Blue Whales, pigmy sperm whales and pilot whales gather in large pods of fifty to hundred members, some in water as shallow as 30 meters, with large concentration gathering around Dutch reef. The whales are accompanied by large pods of Spinner Dolphins who could be found within a just one hour boat ride from Kalpitiya harbour. Other than the most common, the spinner dolphins, other species including Risso’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin and Striped Dolphin too makes appearance although not as frequently or in such large numbers.
Meanwhile Blue whales, Bryde´s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales, bottle nose dolphins, common dolphins and spinner dolphins grace the waters of Southern Seas of Sri Lanka from Weligama to Mirrissa and can be found within just eight to ten nautical miles from Mirissa harbor.
With the whale watching season in Mirissa being in full swing and many local and foreign tourists gathering to the Mirissa harbor, The Sri Lanka Coast Guards had increased their vigilance in monitoring the implementation of Sea Mammals Observation, Regulation and Control Regulations.
To ensure that the Regulations are adhered to by boat operators and tourists engaged in whale watching, the members of the Rohana Coast Guard base had been observing whale and dolphin watching activities in Mirissa since last year. The coast guards also make sure that the boat operators; crew and the tourists abide the safety precautions and regulations before and during their tour of observation.
PLACES TO TRAVEL
The Hill country plus West – and South coast beaches are the busiest and driest.