A three day Thai-Sri Lankan Cultural Festival was celebrated from 2nd to 4th August 2012 in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The Governor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province in Thailand had in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bangkok organized the event.
65 prominent Sri Lankan artists from various fields of arts and culture performed at the festival. Of which 45 were from the Ministry of Culture of Sri Lanka and the balance 20 were from the cultural wing of the Sri Lanka Army. The major attraction among other of the festival was the depiction of Kandy Perehera in Ayutthaya in which the Minister of Culture and the Arts Hon. T.B. Ekanayake, and other few Sri Lankans officials walked in the costume of Nilame.
The Sri Lankan dancers and drummers captivated the tens of hundreds of audience- foreigners and locals alike, by their various types of enchanting performances like Kandyan dance, Mask dance, peacock dance, Gajaga Vannama Sabaragamuwa Malpadaya, Devol Dance, the drum orchestra etc.. There was also no shortage of standing ovation by spectators after every performance by Sri Lankan Artists.
This event presented an important opportunity for Sri Lanka to show case Sri Lankan Culture, Arts, Artifacts, History, Religion, the Sri Lankan way of life and skills etc. to the people of Thailand and for foreigners who live here and visit from around the world.
The 700 years old Panseeya Panaha Jathaka of Lord Buddha inscribed in ola leaf was on display. Replicas of various statues of Lord Buddha, moon stone, Guard stone from Polannaruwa, the lion sculpture were exhibited. Wood and bronze carving artist along with a mask creator were performing their masterly skills live at the venue. Sri Lankan foods were cooked on the spot by a master chef flown from Sri Lanka and served to the visitors.Number of Sri Lankan stalls too were set up at the venue to sell Sri Lankan products like Gem and Jewelleries, Foot wares and Tea etc
Thai side too staged their best performances. The significant one was a drama played by them. The theme of the play was about the historical, cultural and Buddhist ties between Sri Lanka and Thailand.
This festival was the first of its nature that was ever organized in the history of Sri Lanka –Thailand cultural relations, most of the visitors to the festival opined.
In his key note address at the festival Ambassador General Shantha Kottegoda spoke about the long standing historical and religious bond that cordially exists between Thailand and Sri Lanka along with about political ties of both Nations. The Ambassador appreciated the wisdom of the Governor in choosing the city of Ayutthaya for these important celebrations particularly because it was the centre of its Buddhist heritage of Thailand and its ancient capital historically known as Siam. It was also from Ayutthaya that the most venerable Upali Thero visited Kandy to revitalize the Buddhism in Sri Lanka at a time when there was sign of its declining and introduced Siyam Nikaya to Sri Lanka nearly 260 years ago. Ayutthaya was the birth place of the most venerable Upali Thero, he remarked.
The Ambassador also expressed his profound thanks to the Governor of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province of Thailand His Excellency Withaya Pewpong for his able leadership in organizing this historical event and for his passion for Sri Lanka and her culture.
The Ambassador also thanked Minister of Culture and the Arts of Sri Lanka Hon. T.B. Ekanayake for his participation and valuable support in sending the cultural troops to Ayutthaya for the festival. He also thanked the Sri Lanka army for sending artist from their cultural wing.