Stairs lead up to one of four altars arranged around the stupa of the 5th century Pidurangala Viharaya. Built by King Kashyapa I of Anuradhapura when he moved his capital to Sigiriya, the monastery is also believed to be the site of his funeral pyre. Shot for my photo story on Sigiriya and Pidurangala, which ran in the April 2018 issue of Serendib magazine.
Of Medirigiriya’s four image houses, only one still has its statues intact. In the others, every image has been beheaded, though whether this was by treasure hunters or foreign invaders is unclear. The heads of the statues are nowhere to be found; either carried away or smashed to bits in the search for hidden treasure. In front of the statues is a stone receptacle with compartments to hold different forms of offerings. Next to it is a small wooden replica of a stupa or dagaba. Most of the Medirigiriya complex dates to the 7th century, part of the late Anuradhapura period of Sri Lankan history. Shot for my May 2018 cover story, Circles within Circles, for Serendib magazine.
Rain rolls in from the south on downtown Colombo, between the Beira Lake and the Indian Ocean. Shot from the 34th Floor of the West Tower of the World Trade Centre. February 2016.
Built by King Aggabhodhi IV of Anuradhapura, in the 7th century, the Medirigiriya Vatadage is probably the oldest example of a circular relic house in Sri Lanka. Flanking the entrance steps are two purnaghatas — pots with stylised lotus bases — and the dage or relic house itself is encircled by a low stone wall with the post-and-rail design common in Buddhist architecture, and reminiscent of the Sanchi Stupa in India. Beyond the entrance are three concentric circles of pillars that would have once supported a roof. Visible in the photo are one of the vatadage‘s four beautiful limestone Buddhas, facing the principle directions of the compass. Shot for my photo story, Circles within Circles, which is the cover feature of the May 2018 issue of Serendib magazine.
Slices of fresh watermelon hang from a roadside fruit stall to lure flies away from the rest of the produce. The A6 highway, between Habarana and Dambulla, in north-central Sri Lanka. April 2018.
“The Pichcha Mal Viharaya is easily the best preserved of the image houses. It is also the largest. It’s five exquisite Buddhas give the ruin a tranquillity that makes one want to sit and reflect on the motives, beliefs, and sheer craftsmanship of Medirigiriya’s builders. In fact, it is not uncommon to see visitors praying and reciting Buddhist verses; particularly on Poya days.”
My second cover feature this year; this time for Serendib‘s May 2018 issue, on Medirigiriya, a 7th century ruin from the Anuradhapura Period, which includes what is probably Sri Lanka’s oldest vatadage, several image houses, and a hospital. Pictured is the two flights of stairs — each of fourteen steps — leading from a beautiful stone doorway to the vatadage.
A medieval Sinhalese inscription on the wall of a kutti, a shallow rock niche used by meditative Buddhist monks, in the Kaludiya Pokuna Forest, in north-central Sri Lanka. The script declares that the rice and buffalo curd donated to the Dakkinagiri Viharaya by a certain Mr Dathanaga in the 9th century would be given instead to the cows and dogs if the priests were to fight over the food. Shot for my photo story, A Mountain Monastery Forgotten by Time, which ran in the March 2018 issue of Serendib magazine.
Pamankada, Colombo. September 2017. Shot for The Connected Sri Lankan, a research collaboration between J Walter Thompson and TNS Kantar on how Sri Lankans engage with the internet.
A manmade bund, or dike, separates a small reservoir from the lush paddy fields that it irrigates. Mahakapuyaya, east of Dambulla, Sri Lanka. February 2018.