August 20, 2019
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    Mihintalé Aloka Pooja for 57th year Featured

    June 12, 2019

    The Lake House Aloka Pooja ceremony organised by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd (ANCL) for the 57th time to mark the advent of Arahat Mahinda Thera, the missionary founder of institutionalised Buddhism in Sri Lanka, will be held at Mihintale on a grand scale from June 15 to 17. For over half a century, the ANCL has provided the festive lighting for the entire ancient Mihintale sacred complex during the annual Poson Festival that commemorates the establishment of Buddhism as the official religion of the Sri Lankan monarchy more than 2000 years ago.

    The ceremony will be held under the patronage of Mihintale Raja Maha Viharadhipathi, Ven.Walawahengunawawe Dhammaratana Nayake Thera, and under the personal direction of ANCL Chairman and Managing Director Krishantha Cooray. Joint sponsorship for the pinkama will be by the Ceylon Electricity Board, Dialog GSM, Ceylon Biscuits, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, DFCC Bank and the National Savings Bank. On the inaugural day on June 15, Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa and several other Ministers and MPs will switch on the Aloka Pooja illumination.
    On Poson Pasalosvaka Poya Day on June 16, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will switch on the Mihintale illuminations in the presence of numerous other dignitaries. On the final day of the Aloka Pooja programme on June 17, Anuradhapura District Secretary and Poson Committee chairman R. M. Wanninayake will switch on the illuminations in the presence of several other government officials.(Amila Prabath Wanasinghe)
    Over 8,000 police, troops for security
    Over 8,000 police and armed forces personnel will be deployed to ensure security for the large crowds of pilgrims expected to flock to Mihintale and Anuradhapura this week for the Poson Poya Festival, the country’s second most important Buddhist festival after Vesak. North Central Province Police DIG Senarath Sandungahawatta disclosed that the security contingent will comprise nearly 4,000 police personnel, 2,000 armed forces personnel and 2,000 Civil Security Department personnel.
    Explaining security arrangements for the Poson season, the DIG said that a streamlined programme had been drawn up to ensure the security of pilgrims visiting Anuradhapura and Mihintale for Poson. This had been done after consultations with the Nayaka Theras of the Anuradhapura Atamasthana.
    DIG Sandungahawatta said that a special traffic plan had also been drawn up with an increase of checkpoints around Anuradhapura. There will be 15 road checkpoints, while 19 vehicle parks had been earmarked to facilitate parking of up to 6,000 vehicles. There will also be 12 public entry and resting points which will also be provided with adequate security. Venues identified for ‘dansalas’, as well as such public facilities as railway stations and main bus stands in the Anuradhapura area will be included in the special security plan.
    DIG Sandungahawatta said that as many as 400,000 pilgrims were expected in the sacred zone each day and all facilities will be in place to enable them to engage in worship without any fear.The Poson week themed this year as ‘Meth Diyen Sith Niwanu’ will commence from June 12 and all arrangements had been finalised to facilitate pilgrims visiting the sacred area for Poson festivities and worship.The annual Pirith Pinkama, which marks the beginning of the Poson week, will begin at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi precincts today (12).
    A “Pan perahera” will begin from the ancient Insurumuni Viharaya at 3 pm today (12) and arrive at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises before the pirith pinkama begins at 8 p.m. to continue till June 17. Poson Committee Chairman Anuradhapura District Secretary R. M.Wanninayake said that all infrastructure facilities including water, electricity and sanitary facilities will be provided to pilgrims visiting Anuradhapura, Mihintale and Thantirimale for Poson festivities.


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