From the wardrobe of princess Kuweni to that of the boss ladies (and gentlemen of course) of today, the fashion scene of Sri Lanka has changed and evolved drastically throughout history.

This metamorphism happening in the fashion arena of this tiny paradise island is in some cases keeping up with the trends and shifts in the global fashion world and in some instances is in tune to her own beat.

The story of the emergence of clothing in Sri Lanka is unclear but undoubtable the art of dressing has gone through many transformations through time. From the occasional foreign involvement in history and the fashion influx that follows, to the exposure to globalization and mass media, the fashion industry of Sri Lanka today is a melting pot of many traditions and styles from all corners of the world.

With time the fashion movement of Sri Lanka is moving forward at a staggering pace and is starting to flourish as an industry with a cause.  

With the surge of new e-commerce platforms and the inflow of international retail experiences we islanders, are not so behind in playing catching up and embracing what’s “IN” in the global fashion domain.

But whatever trends and Fads that come and go, the Lankan fashion scene will always have a constant, her island culture and her roots.

By today the fashion capital of Sri Lanka is beaming with store fronts bearing the names of international and local high end fashion labels and is home to many fashion events spanned through the year. With exposure to such, the local consumers are getting increasingly conscious about the details of fashion which was not the case a few decades ago.

Not just the influx in to the country but many Lankan based designers and brands have started to make a name for themselves in the international arena, and  slowly but surely Sri Lanka is turning in to a fashion destination giving rise to opportunities for young creatives to blossom and thrive.

When considering the global domain, fashion is divided in to a few segments such as, Haute Couture and Couture, Ready-To-Wear/ Prêt-à-Porter, Diffusion, Bridge and Mass market –The one we know the best!

But when it comes to the Lankan scene these divisions are a little bit blurred. We are yet to embrace fully the concept of fashion brands and designer labels. We are so used to the concept of fast fashion or SMEs when it comes to our fashion needs that they have become what we know and adore.

We still have a long way to go, but here are a few key global trends that Sri Lankan brands should consider embracing: 

Sustainability the authentic way – even though the movement of sustainability and responsible fashion has become a trend of a sort, we islanders have had this concept as a part of our day to day lives throughout generations.( don’t trust me? Go Ask your grandma) but when it comes to everyday fashion and particularly the fast fashion movement we need to embrace sustainability more. Words such as recycling, up cycling and thrifting should be given more importance and should be accessible to people to embrace.

Tech meets Fashion- The global fashion movement in the future seems to be leaning towards increasing tech and fashion collaborations and producing something innovative.

Material revolution– circling back to the concept of sustainability we Lankans should venture in to the depths of the island and its history to find more sustainable and accessible novel materials that will help the local economy as well as the environment.

Bye Bye to fast fashion and hello to individuality- yes we do see a movement of people trying to go against the current of fast fashion and to establish an individuality now a days, but we still have a long way to go!

Metamorphic designs/ utilitarian fashion– By today, fashion is not just an object of beauty, it has much more to do than just the esthetic appeal. From cloths that have solar panels to outfits that can be worn in different ways, metamorphism is “in” folks, and we islanders need to pick up!

 Embracing minimalism- Gone are the days when people thought more was more!

Tradition + Modernity- Need to explore the possibility of merging traditional modern creativity.  We are an artistic bunch, aren’t we?

The fashion industry of this island has many more new and potential avenues that we need to tap into to bring it to a global scale. Also the local brands, designers and influencers need to watch out for the newest trends, movements and shifts that’s happening outside our little island and work on incorporating them in our design process in a way that it will be palatable for the local audience.

“Makara”- The Sri Lankan Dragon

“’The makara has the trunk of an elephant, the feet of a lion, the ears of a pig, the body of a fish living in water, the teeth turned outwards, eyes like Hanuman’s, and a splendid tail’

-‘Mediaeval Sinhalese art’ by Ananda KCoomaraswamy (1908) (translated as found in the Rupavaliya)

A prominent figure from the mythical realm of Sri Lankan traditional art, Makara stand out as one of the most widely used motifs and one bearing great meaning in every line it’s made up of.

Described in dept in the Sri Lankan Sanskrit book Rupavaliya, a manifestation of the imagination of the artist, this majestic creature has roamed the Sri Lankan art scene for as long back as history goes. 

Each feature of this animal represents celebrated human qualities in a very subtle way which has made him take a center stage in Buddhist art in Sri Lanka. 

  •      The Elephants tusk- represents Dexterity
  •      Paws of a Lion- strength
  •      Ears of a Boar- acute hearing
  •     Body of a Fish- movement 
  •     Teeth and Jaws of a crocodile – Demand for respect
  •     Eyes of a monkey- Vision
  •     Tail of a bird- Splendid beauty 

The makara is found widely as a part of the “Makara thorana”, the arch way of the entry to Buddhist temples and as a decorative art piece around many of the Buddha statues found on this tiny island.

Korawakgala/makaragala(dragon Stone) an stone sculptured art piece that goes on ether sides of a staircase of an entry way ta a Buddhist building is another instance where this majestic creature makes its appearance.  

Aspects of this mystical creature finds it way in to more day to day objects as well, such as temple jewelry, door knobs and medieval traditional military equipment’s such as swords.

Hidden in the background behind a clash of shapes and color this mystic creature has made the Sri Lankan traditional art his home in very subtle ways that not many actually notice its presence, And therefor faces a great threat of extinction.

Until next time,

Safe travels.  


Hidden in the outskirts of Anuradhapura, is the ancient Buddhist temple complex of Thanthirimale. Considered as one of the oldest settlements of Sri Lanka, this area is not just home to a temple complex but also acts as a window in to the glorious past, even beyond the written history of Sri Lanka.

Even though this location holds high significance both in terms of Buddhism and also the history of this island, not many are aware of its existence or whereabouts.

Getting there:- There are two well known routes to reach Thanthirimale

  1. Through Anuradhapura-Mahawilachchiya road.
  2. Through Madawachchiya- Mannar road.

Thanthirimale Rajamaha Vihara is thought to have been built in the third century BC. Following many years of neglect and countless invasions and changes in Kingdoms, it was hidden from the eye of man until the 19th century when archaeologist rediscovered this magnificent complex and the surrounding ruins.

When you enter the compound you will first come across the much modern temple and then a museum which is home to many of the artifacts that were found on site.


Once you pass the museum you will come to a wide opening with huge rock boulders and small natural ponds of many sizes scattered around the area, nature at its best.

From there onward there are five main points of interest that you should make sure to visit.

  • Ashta pala boo tree

Once you climb up a stone cut stairway you will come to the much worshiped “Ashtapala Boo tree”. Considered as one of the most important religious boo trees found in Sri Lanka, it is thought to have comes from one of the 8 saplings that grew from the original boo tree brought to Sri Lanka by Arhat Sangamitta Theri.


  • The next most important land mark would be the  Buddha statue carved in to a rock, located just off the Boo tree.


Following the great Buddha statue, the most noteworthy of  rock carvings are the two statues on ether side of the Buddha which has been only partly completed along with a half done section of the staircase. It is believed that due to a foreign invasion that happened on the Kingdom during the end of the Anuradhapura era the artist was not able to finish his masterpiece leaving it incomplete.


  • Towering the raised natural rock formation located at the end of the beautiful pond is a square shaped building which was used as the pothgula or a safe heaven for puskola poth (Religious script written on the leaf of Palmyrah).


At the base of this boulder a man made cave like structure, complete with Kataram can be found which is believed to have housed meditating monks.



  • Rock caves and prehistoric drawings


Once you pass the pothgula and walk along a trail going deep in to the forest you will come across two natural caves on whose wall you will be able to see many prehistoric drawings depicting animals, sun, moon and humans. According to the renown historian Prof. Senarath Paranawitharana these drawing may date back 4000 years.


Just across these caves you will find a few more natural ponds and a huge rock bolder which you can climb to see a 360 view of the area around.

  • The reclining Buddha stute

This Buddha state has many similarities to the world famous Polonnaruwa Buddha statue. Some parts of the statue has been damaged by time and treasure hunters



Thanthirimale temple complex has survived through invasions by Chola, Pandya and Magha dynasties and had been in ruins encroached by the jungle up till the 1960’s, when it was rediscovered and renovated to what it is today. Even thought many people are not familiar with the history and stories surrounding this masterpiece, it is one of the most important relics of the old world and should be preserved  for generations to come.

So if you do find yourself in Anuradhapura don’t forget to go off the much known touristy route and explore the wonders of this hidden historical site.

Until next time,

Safe travels



Fabrics Made with Love

The tale of prince Vijay’s arrival in Sri Lanka then known as “Rathnadeepa”, not only marks the beginning of the written history of Sri Lanka and the birth of the “Sinhala” race, but also gives the very first account of the fabric industry that had already been established among the inhabitants of Rathnadeepa.

As mentioned in the “Mahavansa” When Prince Vijaya landed on the shores of Thambapanni he was greeted by the sight of Kuweni, The Yaksha princess of Lanka, working on her weaving wheel. – “Kapu Katimin siti Kuweniya

With a history of more than 2500 years, the hand weaving industry of Sri Lanka has come a long way from generation to generation, to where it is today. Due to modernization and the increase in demand, by today hand weaving has been mostly replaced by more modern mechanical methods and only a handful of places still use the age old technique.

A while ago while travelling to Anuradhapura we stopped at a roadside tea house and to my sheer luck, next door to this The kade was an artisan’s studio where a cheerful Nanda was hard at work on her weaving wheel. She was a kind soul who was more than exited to explain to me the process of hand weaving and everything involved. Her words told me how much she loved this process and how proud she was of her creations, rightfully so.


She also shared with us that by today she was the only one who knew how to weave by hand from the area she came from, where a while ago there were so many artisans that hand loom become the main source of income of that community. She told us how many had given up on this trade in order to find more stable jobs where-else. This was even more apparent from all the abandoned looms hovering in the background collecting dust forgotten, without anyone to use them.


The revival of hand loom fabrics have started to make a mark in the fashion scene of Sri Lanka lately, with many high end fashion brands taking an interest in incorporating these fabrics and techniques in to their collections. But will that be enough to save this age old art form from being engulfed by the modern methods and disappearing?

National Textile Museum – Kuala Lumpur

Imagine unleashing a hyperactive kid inside a candy store!!…. Now crank up the crazy a few levels up!…  What you get is “me” inside the National Museum of Textile in Kuala Lumpur!!

I’m a fashion fanatic! I love everything that has anything to do with fashion, I live fashion! And I also love travel as much as I love fashion! So when I search for things to do or places to see at “where ever i’m shipping myself to next”, I never forget to pull up a few fashion related places/ or activities to balance the crazy in me.

whether it’s a museum or a workshop or even just a traditional authentic fabric shop, if its anywhere near where i’m at, you WILL find me there! Every time I end up coming home with a head full of ideas and a bag full of fabrics (so much for my minimalist travel goals!)

The National Textile Museum in Kuala Lumpur was one such precious findings of mine, while planing my trip to Malaysia. This museum is truly under rated compared to other tourist attractions in KL, as many don’t even know of its existence. But trust me when I say, visiting this museum was one of the best things I did in KL. It may only be appealing to a certain genera of crazy ( such as “me”) but I do feel it has something to make everyone happy. And if you are not as crazy as I am about fashion and textiles, you can just drop in for a swift glance through the galleries and you will be done in less than half an hour. Located in Merdeka square the museum is not that hard to find, nor is it off the normal tourist route so you won’t be making any detours. And best of all entry is free! (so basically its regret proof!)

To get to the museum you can ether directly take a taxi, use the rapid-KL bus route or the “Hop on Hop off ” bus (stop number 17).

The museum is housed in a beautiful heritage building of Neo- Maugal style architecture, which is a combination of  elements from Maugal – Islamic style architecture and British architecture. Just the building alone can give an art lover a rush!


The museum is mainly divided in to 4 galleries and one small gallery that houses special exhibitions.

  1. Pohon Budi gallery
  2. Pelangi Gallery
  3. Teluk Berantai gallery
  4. Ratna sari gallery
  5. Saindera Gallery- which houses special exhibitions.

From textiles, traditional dress forms to jewelry, the content of the museum displays the history and diversity of the textile industry of Malaysia in a very comprehensive manner. It also showcases how techniques from different cultures can influence each other to create a unique and beautiful culture of its own.

The most interesting aspect of this museum for me is that they have displayed many of the traditional processes in “step by step” form so anyone interested can learn and understand the process in depth.

Step by Step – Batik 


The Ratna Sari Gallery houses a collection of traditional jewellery and adornments that belong to the different ethnic groups of Malaysia. Ranging from head ornaments, crowns, beaded shoes to Kamarbands the pieces on display showcases the impressive craftsmanship of this ethnically diverse country.


Throughout the museum you will come across mannequins displaying the different traditional costumes of Malaysia bringing life in to the textiles.

Traditional hand embroidery techniques, Sarawak beading techniques, Baba and Nyonya beading techniques, traditional motif designs, gold thread embroidery, weaving patterns are just a few of the traditional textile related art forms that can be observed throughout the museum.

And as it turns out we were lucky to come across a special exhibition on ethnic head dresses that was on display in a small room on the top most floor of the building. The artistry of there unique traditional head ornaments were breath taking and mesmerizing.

If your curiosity towards Malaysian culture and costumes has  been awoken, a more comprehensive explanation can be found in one of my previous articles which you can read here.

According to the brochure, the museum is open daily from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm. I was extremely luck to be there at a time when there was hardly anyone inside the museum other than me,  the unfortunate souls i dragged there by force and 1 or 2 rushed visitors who couldn’t care less. This gave me all the freedom in the world to run around like a crazy kid to my hearts content!!

So if you are someone interested in learning about textile and fashion history of Malaysia do visit the National Textile Museum and be inspired by all that it has to offer. And even if you are not interested in such thematic museums do drop by just to get the feel of it, you never know you might end up falling in love with textiles.

Until next time,

Safe travels

The Story of the Last Jew of Afghanistan

While doing some research for one of my upcoming projects I came across an article written about the last documented Jew in Afghanistan. My curiosity kicked in and I ended up reading a string of articles about him and about the Jewish history of Afghanistan. So here is a little summery of what I found and if you are interested in reading deeply into this topic, the links to the articles I read can be found below.

Afghanistan was once home to a large community of Jews with a rich history going back even further than the 7th century. But due to the civil war that was raging in the country for more than 30 years and related migrations the number has come down gradually to a single digit number. Most of the Jews originally from Afghanistan migrated to outside countries such as Israel, USA and Europe and even today proudly presents themselves as Afghan Jews.

Today the only remaining Jew living in Afghanistan is Zablon Simintov who was born in Herat in 1959.  He is a carpet trader, a restaurant owner and also the caretaker of the only functioning synagogue in Afghanistan located on Flower Street in Kabul.

When Zablon first came to Kabul he was welcomed by one other Jew named Isaak Levi and they both lived at the site of the synagogue in harmony. But as time passed by the air between the two got bitter and long story short (I’ll spare you the gruesome details) the two did not reconcile even until the death of Isaak in 2005. The spat between the two got so much attention that even a British play by the name of “The last two Jews of Kabul” was produced based on it.

Today Zablon solely keeps alive the traditions of the Jewish way of life in Afghanistan. He lives alone, prays alone and even has obtained permission and training to slaughter his own meat in line to kosher dietary laws. Zablon’s wife and two daughters currently lives in Israel and when asked why he does not move, he answers simply “What business do I have there?”. His answer shows the deep love he has for this country which he calls home and his undying ambition to keep the Jewish history alive in Afghanistan along with his passion to preserve his heritage for generation to come.

(Source-,,, )


Delhi Diaries

We arrived in Delhi on a hot summer afternoon after an exciting 20 days of exploring the states of Bihar and West Bengal. With only two days left to explore Delhi before we start the next leg of our journey- Himachal Pradesh, we settled in to our accommodation for the next two days, the Delhi Mabodhi Society Hostel and got some much needed rest.

During the late evening made our way in to the city and our first stop was the Red Fort at the heart of Delhi. A historical fort, this magnificent structure once was the residence of the royals of the Mughal dynasty of India. A masterpiece of architecture, this fort gives us a glimpse of what life back then must have been. Red sand stone walls, Marble structures and intricate carvings stand as proof to the craftsmanship of  a bygone generation.


Once we were done exploring the Red Fort we made our way in to Chandani chowk, one of the oldest market places in Old Delhi. It is one of the busiest markets in India till date and a stroll along Chandani Chowk is one thing you shouldn’t forget to do if in Delhi. Even if you don’t want to shop,  these narrow and crowded ghalees are full of new experiences waiting to be explored

At night Delhi is a vibrant, busy hub filled with both travelers and locals alike. Night food stalls come out and fill the air with mouth watering fragrances that are bound to make you hungry. Locals rushing back home on these crowded streets resemble an ant nest gone haywire.

New Delhi station is for sure one of the busiest train stations in the world and it is even more active during the night. The atmosphere around the station is a culture of its own with porters and rikshaw walas trying to find their last earning for the day, commuters rushing in and out and amidst all this chaos there is a beauty you can only see if you pause and take in the surroundings.  The small food stalls located on the Ghalees around the station is a great way to get in touch with the local culture and taste- pretty great food for cheap prices.

Next morning we arranged a taxi to take us to the other important sites scattered around Delhi. Our first stop was the Laxminarayan temple. Spread across nearly 7.5 aches the Laxminarayan Hindu temple is one of the largest temples in Delhi. A major attraction of Delhi, this temple is constantly visited by both devotees and tourists alike.


Laxminarayan temple

Our next stop was the world famous India Gate, a monument dedicated to the brave soldiers of the India army who gave their lives during the period of 1914-21. The gate is carved with the names of more than 13,300 of these brave men and the small structure called “Amar Jawan Jyoti” was installed to commemorate the fallen unknown soldiers.

A ride along the world renowned Rajpath way (Kings way) will give you the chance to see the Rashtrapathi bawan, The secretariat building and many more important government buildings which have a high architectural value.

The National Museum of New Delhi is home to a large collection of artifacts and exhibits belonging to many eras of Indian  history and is a great way to learn about this interesting country. From paintings, stone carvings to jewelry these exhibits boasts about the rich history, multiculturalism and the craftsmanship that belong to India.

Indira Gandhi Memorial is a museum dedicated to the life of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and is located at her residence. You will get to peep in to her life through the exhibits displayed and you will also get to see the location where she was assassinated. Most of the families personal effects are displayed in this museum including the blood stained saree she was wearing on the day of her assassination.

A Bahai house of worship, the Lotus temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Delhi. This temple is open to all, regardless of their faith, gender or social status and is considered as the most visited building in the world. This magnificent structure that resembles a lotus flower is made up of 27 petal like structures and a breathtaking interior hall.


A trip to Delhi will not be complete without shopping and we did most of our trinket shopping from roadside stalls along the way.

During the evening we went to the famous underground shopping center Palika Bazar in the hopes of doing a little bit of extra shopping. If you do plan to visit this place just know some of the things sold here are Fake.. be a little cautious !! Branded spray deodorant bottles filled with water, “leather belts” which were actually made of paper, 16 GB pen drives that were really only pieces of plastic were just a few of the “Quality” products we came across 😛  But the experience of walking amidst the small shops, listening to the sales pitch for each product is always entertaining. I’m sure among the fake stuff there might be genuine stuff too but I for one was not lucky !! First time I failed in shopping in India!! I was pretty disappointed in myself because hey it was not my first rodeo!!  Despite the fail in my “Indian shopping instincts” I definitely don’t regret the experience  because I got a good story out of it  😛

There is so much more to see in Delhi and I have visited some of the other attractions in my previous visits but as we had limited time this was all we could cramp in during this stay. I wish I had more time to see more but, when it comes to India there is always a next time  🙂

The perfect harmony seen between history and present in this confined space is the main reason why Delhi is so charming and appealing to me. Do visit Delhi if you are heading to India and make sure you plan better to make the most of your time there!

Until next time,

Happy travels


Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together” – Mark Twain

Have you ever been to a place that’s so chaotic, colorful and has so much character but at the same time there is this underling calmness to it.. A calmness that is surreal, enchanting and hard to explain.. That is Varanasi for me!

In Varanasi the sights, the smells, the sounds engage all your senses to a level where it feels magical, you easily get sucked in to falling in love with this place and all that it’s made of. It is a place where life and death goes hand in hand, a place that reminds us of the fragileness of life and also of the colorful side of life. She has the ability to bring out happiness and sadness at the same time- a perfect balance. She is the  world’s oldest inhabited city, and still is spreading her enchantment over anyone who sets foot on her soil.



Our train reached Varanasi in the middle of the night stranding us in the middle of nowhere. Ultimately we made our way to our stay for the next few days, the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Temple in Saranath.

Saranath a small town located  13 Km away from the main town of Varanasi and is the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon “Damma chakka pawathana suthra”.

Mulaghandha Kuti Temple 

Next morning our first stop was the Saranath temple “Mulaghandha Kuti Viharaya” which is a  massive temple complex built in the recent past to signify the importance of Saranath in Buddhism.


Deer park

Just next to the Mulaghandah kuti temple is the Deer park, a wildlife conservation project under which a variety of birds and other animals are sheltered and cared for.



Dhamek stupa

Just a little distance away from the new temple is the Dhamek stupa, a massive stupa built of bricks and sand. It is  believed that this is the location where Lord Buddhas first sermon took place. The stupa is  34 meter in height and   lord Buddhas relics are thought to be enshrined inside.

Dharmarajika Stupa 

The remains of the foundation of a pre- Ashoka era stupa can be seen in the Vicinity of Dhamek stupa.


Chaukhandi Stupa

A octagonal shaped tower built to commemorate the location where lord Buddha met his first five disciples.


Ashoka pillar 

King Ashoka erected a pillar to mark the area where lord Buddha preached his first sermon.

Other than the main temple complex  there are a few more modern Buddhist temples built by different countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka.


In the evening  we made our way to the main city of Varanasi to visit the bank of river Ganga, the most popular site in Varanasi.

Even before reaching the Ghats the city turns in to this colorful mess. Shops line the roads selling food, arts, traditional crafts, and Puja flowers.


Flocks of pilgrims come from all over the world to Varanasi every day to wash off their sins in the holy water of river Ganga or to cremate loved once. Varanasi is considered as an auspicious place to die as it is said that if you die here you will reach Moksha.

A labyrinth of ghali’s starting from the city will lead you to the Dashashwamedh Ghat passing shops filled with flowers and Puja offerings. The large Ghat takes you to the river bank where you can hire a boat to take you to see the Ghats from the river.

Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and holiest ghats in Varanasi. located in close proximity to the Vishwanath temple this ghat is constantly buzzing with action. There are many legends surrounding this ghat, the most popular being that it was created by lord Brhama  to welcome lord Shiva.



Once you reach the river bank you can ether walk along the Ghats or you can hire a boat to see the Ghats clearly from the river.

There are thought to be about 80-90 ghats edging the river Ganga in Varanasi, a ghat is a set of stairs leading down to the Ganga. They are used as a site for performing Puja and also to perform cremations. In some places these happen side by side- a true example of how life and death goes hand in hand.

Each Ghat has its own history, its own story and a purpose for its existence…

Prayag Ghat



Munshi Ghat 


Ahilyabai Ghat


Darabhanga Ghat


Ranamahal Ghat


Raja Ghat


Vijayanagaram Ghat


Harishchandra Ghat

Harishchandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats on the river bank. It is believed that who ever gets cremated at this ghat attains Moksha.

This Ghat is definitely not for the fainthearted !! The chances of you being there while a Hindu cremation is in progress is high. But it definitely is an experience not to be missed.



Trust me your guide/ boatman will definitely stop at one of the silk saree shops on the Ghats for you to visit. The sarees there are a bit over priced since its target customers are foreigners.

Once we were done with the boat ride we took a stroll along the Ghats and we got to meet so many interesting peoples, priests, Sadus, commoners  who have made a life on these Ghats.


Every evening a group of priests perform Agni Puja or Ganga arti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Thousands of people gather around every day to witness the puja, some standing on the ghats and some on boats on the river.

Visiting Varanasi was one of those experiences that have left me speechless (shocker!!) The things that I saw there, that I experienced there have left a mark on heart like no other. Varanasi made me grow even more closer and more deeply in love with India.

Safe travels,