Interesting board games based on the Ramayana available at the CP Art Centre’s craft shop were a value addition to the conference. These games are an ingenious way to educate the young on the epic. The board game (Rs.150), produced by the centre dates back to 1978 and was conceived by Nanditha Krishna for her young son. The play of dice takes us through the story culminating in the Pattabhishekam. The art work is by Venkatesh. A colouring book goes along with the game.

The other two games are the brainchild of Lalita Ramakrishna, Director of Research at Tattvaloka. One is a game of cards (Rs.100) while the other is a board game (Rs. 200). Both have superb illustrations by the late S. Rajam. “I started off by creating games for my grandchildren who live in the U.S. and are fond of Indian stories,” says Lalita. “Through these games, I try to bring the relevance of our mythology to the younger generation – the ecology and human relations.” The book that goes with the card game (Rs.60) contains puzzles and short stories related to the epic.

The Lankan link

The various sites in Sri Lanka associated with Ravana were listed by Devmni Jayasinghe, Director/Executive Secretary of Sri Lankan Heritage Foundation in her paper ‘Ramayana Trails in Sri Lanka.’ The talk was accompanied by visuals of inscriptions found in the caves of Vessagiriya- Anuradhapura, which were later donated to the Buddhist Dharma. The inscriptions, she said, mentioned that the caves belonged to Tissa, wife of the father of Sona, the commander of Rawana’s cavalry and to Parumaka Visava, Rawana’s father.

She also showed visuals of the caves, which are said to have belonged to Rawana’s daughter Shohili and to Chief Naguli (Seetha was called Naguli as she was born of the ploughshare). Devmni spoke of the Rawana cave in Ella where Seetha was thought to have been kept imprisoned by Rawana for some time. And of the Rawana Falls on the Ella Kithalella Road. Behind it are caves where Rawana is said to have kept Seetha hidden. She also spoke of the statue of Rishi Pulasthi, the grandfather of Rawana, and the discovery of the huge Siva lingam before which Rawana is believed to have meditated.

K.S.