Flushing Away the World
Ancient carved stone urinal in the ruins of a Buddhist monastery that are over a thousand years old. While the ruins on Ritigala Mountain in north-central Sri Lanka are ascetic and mostly undecorated, these urinals are intricately carved, and traces of bright colours remain. It is thought that the adornments on these fixtures were meant to represent worldly cares; and the monastic monks were encouraged to reject these desires and things by symbolically urinating on them. In addition to the monastery, Ritigala Ruins consist of a reservoir and a hospital, all of which are dated to a period between the 4th century BC and the 9th century AD, sprawling up the side of Ritigala Mountain, the highest peak in northern Sri Lanka. The ruins are linked by an elegant stone walkway that winds up the jungle-covered slopes. Sri Lanka, January 2016.