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“THE RUINS OF Anuradhapura are one of South Asia’s most evocative sights,” says the 13th edition of Lonely Planet Sri Lanka. Size is part of it: the “rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders” sprawl across three hectares.
But what makes Anuradhapura especially vibrant is that is that it’s a living site. The heart of the complex, Mahavihara, “is often the scene of religious ceremonies, which draw masses of people dressed in their finest,” says the guidebook. “Relics here date from the 3rd century BC to the 11th century AD.”
A sacred bodhi tree, Sri Maha Bodhi, was grown from a cutting brought from India “and is said to be the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world; tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for over 2000 years.”
Anuradhapura’s legacy is still being written: two millennia after the first of the great dagoba (Buddhist monument) was built, a huge new example, Sandahiru Seya (Moon-Sun Temple) was started in 2010. It’s due for completion in 2016.
“Controversially,” says the guidebook, “this is just one of nine new stupas planned...‘in appreciation of the noble service rendered by the armed forces and police to defeat terrorism and bring lasting peace to the country.’”
The fight for an independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, begun in the 1970s, ending in defeat in 2009.
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NEW YORK CITY
COMEDY TAKES centre stage at the 2015 edition of New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival, 15-26 April.
Live From New York!, a documentary on the first 40 years of Saturday Night LIve, will make its world premiere on the festival’s opening night. Another documentary to be screened is Misery Loves Company by Kevin Pollack. It has him chatting with more than 60 comedians about the nature of humour. Among the interviewees: Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Larry David and Lisa Kudrow. And Monty Python’s five surviving members will be on hand to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
This year’s participants in the festival’s Tribeca Talks series will include George Lucas, Stephen Colbert, Jeanne Garafalo, Christopher Nolan, Gus Van Sant and Christiane Amanpour.
The festival started in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and helped revitalize lower Manhattan. Its strong suits are documentaries and independent films; this year’s line-up features 97 titles from 31 countries. The festival was co-founded by American actor Robert De Niro.
57 shows worth travelling to
including this one in Berlin
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