Dragon float takes shape with a Sri Lankan touch

Bold and beautiful: Anura working on a dragon-themed float meant for Wesak Day procession tomorrow, at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields. — ART CHEN/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Artist Anura Ambalangoda wasted no time in channelling his creativity and artistry into crafting a magnificent dragon float for the Wesak Day procession tomorrow since arriving here from Sri Lanka.

He immediately got hands-on with preparing and coordinating all the materials needed with float designer Venerable W. Ariyadewa, who is also from Sri Lanka.

Anura said he had not gone out much since arriving here on April 29.

He said his focus was on working on the float at the Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.

“I want to focus on delivering the float first as I want to make it nice. We have a new dragon design this year and I want to make it stand out,” he said.

The 60-year-old added that he was commissioned to work on a huge float featuring a dragon ship design for Wesak Day at the temple last year.

Anura, who has vast experience working on various floats in different countries, said he was glad to be in Malaysia.

“It felt good to be here to share my creativity and artwork with all the Buddhists. I am proud that my work is appreciated back home, as well as overseas,” he said at the temple here on Sunday.

Wesak Day falls on May 22 this year.

“After everything is done, only then will I do some sightseeing and food-tasting in the city before heading home,” Anura quipped.

Buddhist Maha Vihara Temple honorary secretary Tilak Leslie Jayawardena said the dragon float this year would be larger than last year, measuring 10m in length, and 3m in height.

“We are keeping to the theme of the dragon this year, as this is the year of the dragon according to the Lunar calendar.

“The dragon symbolises bravery and confidence, qualities we should embody to solve problems and overcome obstacles.

“The dragon is also popular in Sri Lankan folklore, often featured at the doorways of temples and shrines,” he said.

Tilak said the redesigned float would include multiple bouquet stands, adding that the temple was still open to welcoming sponsors to participate.

He expects the float procession this year to draw countless spectators as it travels through the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

The procession starts at 6.30pm tomorrow from the temple ground.

The route will cover some 12km, passing Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Jalan Petaling, Jalan Yap Ah Loy, Jalan Hang Lekiu, Jalan Gereja, Jalan Raja Chulan, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Pudu and Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, before returning to the temple.

Wesak Day commemorates key events in Buddha’s life – his birth, enlightenment and passing.

Buddhists visit temples nationwide to pray, offer and chant, and deepening their spiritual connection to Buddha.

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