2nd Cross Street, Pettah
A Borah businessman chats with a Tamil street vendor, the latter washing his handcart for a day of selling streetfood in the Pettah, one of the oldest parts of Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo. The name comes from a shortened and Anglicised version of Pita Kotuwa, or “outer fort”. It is largely a Tamil-speaking neighbourhood in a Sinhalese-majority country, Tamil being common to both the Muslim Moors and the Tamils who live and run many of the businesses in the Pettah. The striking striped building is the Jami Ul-Alfar Masjid, more commonly known as the Red Mosque. Built in 1908, for much of the first part of that century it was an identifying landmark for ships approaching the Colombo Harbour, until more recent high-rise buildings obscured it. April, 2016.