SAARC World Puppetry Day – At the Moon Bastion of the World Heritage City of Galle


This event was organized at the Moon Bastion of the UNESCO World Heritage City of Galle on 5th April 2024.  Two shows were organized with a school show at 3:00 pm and an evening show at 7:00 pm. 

The school show started at 3:00 pm and was extended until 5:30 pm due to the demand from the school children who became enthralled with the puppetry show.  During the two and half hour programme more than 2,000 school children watched segments of the Puppetry Show.  

The evening event commenced with the Dance of Blessings (Pooja Dance) with puppet offering a sheaf of Beetle Leaves to H.E. Bashu Dev Mishra, Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka.  The comic relief item of the cart accident was especially enjoyed by the Sri Lankan audience.  The highlight of the event was the two Fire Dance items included which reflected the dexterity of the puppeteers in manipulating the puppets holding live fire in their hands.  It was an enchanting sight to see the puppets reflect the traditional dance items including the fire dance. 


The inauguration was held in conjunction with the SAARC Film Day.  Hon. Vidura Wickramanayaka, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs attended this event as the Chief Guest.  The other eminent guests who graced this occasion are as follows:

  • H.E. Bashu Dev Mishra, Ambassador of Nepal to Sri Lanka,
  • Prof. Ankuran Dutta Director of the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka,
  • Mr. Ali Seezan, Director of Maldives Education and Cultural Centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka,
  • Mr. Ranil Wickramasekara, Deputy Chief Secretary of the Southern Provincial Council of Sri Lanka,
  • Dr. Nilan Cooray, Chairman of the Galle Heritage Foundation, Sri Lanka,
  • Dr. B.D. Nandadeva, Retired professor of the University of Kelaniya in Sri Lanka,
  • Mr. Sunil Dahanayake, Director of the Galle Heritage Foundation, Sri Lanka,
  • Ms. P.G.N. Chandimali, Project Assistant, Galle Heritage Foundation, Sri Lanka,
  • Ms. Sakuntala Meduwanthi Assistant Secretary representing the Cultural Secretary of the Southern Province Ministry of Culture,
  • Ms. Wasanthi Alahakoon, Regional Assistant Director for Galle and Matara from the Department of Archaeology,
  • Other Senior Officials of the Southern Province,
  • Public and tourists

Mrs. Renuka Ekanayake Director of the SAARC Cultural Centre made the welcome address and Dr. B.D. Nandadeva shared his immense knowledge on Sri Lankan String Puppetry, including the history, development and its importance as folk theatre of Sri Lanka to the audience.  He further highlighted craft of creating the puppets and the rituals and details associated with the craft.  The Deputy Director Programmes of the SAARC Cultural Centre Ms. Bindu Urugodawatte introduced each item of the Puppetry Show and delivered the vote of thanks.    

The evening show was broadcasted on real time on the Facebook page of the SAARC Cultural Centre and is available at the address below.