Ravana’s Aviation Route: Sri Lanka

Recently, the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka has sought relevant documents and literature from the public to study the mythological character Ravana’s “aviation routes”.

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Description: The Civil Aviation Authority will lead a research project titled “King Ravana and the ancient domination of aerial routes now lost”.

  • The project aims to bring out an authoritative narrative about King Ravana as there are many stories about Ravana flying aircrafts and covering these aerial routes.
  • Significance:

    • According to the civil aviation authority, it was Ravana who used a flying machine called “Dandu monara” to fly not only within the country, but also in the South East Asia region.
    • Tourism: Sri Lanka’s tourism sector promotes the ‘Ramayana trail’ for visitors from India — one of Sri Lanka’s largest tourism markets.
    • Sinhala-Buddhists Community: The majority Sinhala-Buddhists community hail the King Ravana, The group calls itself Ravana Balaya.
    • Linkages with India: Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu acknowledge Ravana as “the brave king” similar to the Buddhists community of Sri Lanka.
    • Satellite: Sri Lanka named its first satellite Ravana-1 launched in June 2019.

Sinhala-Buddhists Community

  • The community focuses upon Theravada Buddhism, which is the majority belief system of most of the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.
  • Sinhalese are the largest ethnic group on the island.
  • It mostly originated in reaction to the colonisation of Sri Lanka by the British Empire and became increasingly assertive in the years following the independence of the country.
  • The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka is rooted in the discrimination against the Tamil minority by the Sinhalese majority after the end of British colonial domination in 1948.

Theravada Buddhism

  • It is the most ancient branch of extant Buddhism today.
  • It remains closest to the original teachings of the Buddha.
  • Theravada Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka and subsequently spread to the rest of Southeast Asia.
  • It is the dominant form of religion in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
  • In India, this strain of Buddhism is represented by the followers of Dr B.R. Ambedkarknown as the Ambedkar Buddhists, who are exclusive to India.

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