The Saparagamu Maha Saman Devalaya, in Ratnapura, is one of the oldest Buddhist worship sites in Sri Lanka. Built by Aryakamadeva in 1270, it was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1618, and rebuilt by King Rajasinghe II in 1661. The site’s history, however, goes back to 137 BC, when records mention monks from this temple being invited to the opening ceremony of the Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura. Shot on assignment for Serendib magazine. My piece, In the Shadow of the Mountain of a God, ran in the April 2016 issue.
A lone Muslim prays on a Friday morning in the Jami Ul-Alfar Masjid on 2nd Cross Street, in the old Colombo area of Pettah. Designed by Saibo Lebbe in the Indo-Saracenic style, and built in 1908, the Red Mosque, as it is more commonly known, has been an enduring landmark of the city. Each of the four main pillars is hewn from a complete teak tree brought to Colombo from Puttalam. Sri Lanka, April 2016.
*From the Quran’s Chapter 17, the Sūrat Al-Isrā (The Night Journey), Verse 78
Main shrine room of the Ammaduwa Kataragama temple, close to Rakwana, in Sri Lanka. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines. My article, Secluded Peace, ran in the May 2016 issue.
Military policeman on traffic duty at the funeral of Maj Gen Gratiaen Silva, Borella General Cemetery, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Poppy Sunday, November 2015.
*From the song, වස්තුව ඉල්ලන (Wasthuwa Illana), by Anton Rodrigo, which tells the story of King Dhathusena and his son, Kashyapa, who killed him in 473 AD. Imprisoned by Kashyapa, and tortured to reveal his hidden treasure, King Dhathusena eventually points to the Kala Wewa, the great reservoir he had built, and said (as quoted in the song), “මට ඇති වස්තුව මට ඇති සම්පත මේ නිල් දිය කද වන්නේ” (“My wealth, my treasure, is this blue water”). He then went on to ask his son to have his body buried in the reservoir bund when he died. Legend has it that the enraged Kashyapa then walled King Dhathusena, still living, into the bund. This photograph of the Kala Wewa was shot from that bund. Oddly, as I crouched at the water’s edge, the stench of death was heavy; no doubt the body of some drowned creature washed up nearby; but the strong smell and the thought of a murdered king walled into the bund behind me gave the approaching dusk a melancholy all its own. Sri Lanka, April 2016.
Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines, for my piece, The Cave in the Jungle, which ran in the March 2016 issue.
A pedestrian pauses at the entrance to the Ramlal Maharajah Dharma Chatram on Gintupitiya Street in Colombo to put together a mouthful of betel leaf. April 2016.