Galle Fort, Sri Lanka, March 2017.
In spite of the heavy rains which caused extensive flooding in southwestern Sri Lanka in May 2017, other parts of the island remain mostly parched. The photograph shows the Victoria Reservoir’s surface well below the treeline that marks the highwater level. Normally, all of the land in the foreground would be comfortably underwater. The object in the water on the right is the top of a devalaya, or shrine, in the old town of Teldeniya, which was drowned when the Victoria was created in the early 1980s. Sri Lanka is currently experiencing the worst drought in forty years.
Shot on assignment for Serendib. My story, A Visit to the Maradana Railway Station, runs in the July 2017 issue of SriLankan Airline’s inflight magazine.
“Lake Gregory is one of Nuwara Eliya’s most striking features, filling the southeastern end of the valley like a small Scottish loch. The lake was created in 1873, when Sir William Gregory ordered the damming of the Thalagala Stream. This flooded the swamps at one end of the valley and allowed the expansion of the town at the other. In 1881, CJR Le Mesurier, the assistant government agent for Nuwara Eliya, stocked the lake with trout, and the descendants of those doughty colonial fish may still be caught and eaten to this day. In 1913, the waters of the lake were channelled down a tunnel to the Blackpool hydro-power station which still supplies the town’s electricity.”
One of the many shots of this beautiful lake that I took for my story, The Nuwara Eliya Season in Spring that didn’t make the final cut for the April 2017 issue of Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines.
Depictions of what awaits sinners in the afterlife, at the Aluvihare Rock Temple, Matale, in the foothills of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. May 2017. While the temple dates to the 1st century BC, and it is claimed that most of its statues and paintings have been restored to their original state, the temple has been destroyed at least twice; by the Dutch in the 17th century, and the British in 1803. It was also heavily damaged in 1848 by British and Burgher troops during the Matale Rebellion. Given this destruction, and the clear medieval Christian influence in the paintings of hell, it’s more likely that these date to the early 20th century, the period of the Aluvihare Rock Temple’s most recent restoration.
“As a pure driving experience, the 30km Dodangaslanda B409 Road is a memorable one. You will find yourself driving through broad paddy fields and dense coconut plantations in the lower reaches and, as you hit the hills, through close ranks of rubber trees and dense jungle, until you join the A9 Highway just north of Matale. Torque is as important as horsepower on those steep curves, so use your gearbox well.”
Shot on assignment for Explore Sri Lanka magazine, as part of my photo story on driving through Rattota, which appears in the June 2017 issue.
*The Sri Lankan Motorists’s Prayer, only answered during the Driver’s Hour (which is actually two hours, the one preceding and following sunrise).
“It’s almost like history took an alternate route somewhere in the early 20th century… As I walk into the Maradana Railway Station nearly forty years later, not much has changed. Dark iron arches into the tin roof over the platforms, and the wooden stairs sag with the weight of a century, a million footfalls, and tens of thousands of rush hours.”
Original pedestrian walkway at the Maradana Railway Station, in Colombo. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines. My photo-story, A Visit to the Maradana Railway Station, runs in the June 2017 issue.
Kandy’s lake, the Kiri Muhuda, or Sea of Milk, was completed in 1812, by drowning a vast tract of paddy fields that lay before the city. Designed by Deveda Moolacharya, under the command of Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe, the last king of Kandy, the lake was a controversial construction at the time; seen as a waste of resources by many, at a time when the Kandyan Kingdom was at war with the British Empire. When a hundred of his advisors voiced their opposition to the building of the lake, the king had them all impaled along the lake bund. Today, the lake is a popular tourist attraction, and a proud landmark for Kandyans, but still symbolises the excesses of the Kandyan monarchy. Two years after the completion of the lake, King Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe’s nobles rebelled, and the kingdom fell to the British. The king was captured and exiled to India.
The small islet held a summer house, and is believed to have been used by the king’s harem for bathing, with a secret tunnel connecting it to the palace.
Shot in March 2017.
A log shelter on a hiking trail above the Moselle River, close to Brodenbach, Germany. Spring 2017.
One of the oldest tea plantations in Sri Lanka, the Pedro Tea Estate introduced tea to Nuwara Eliya in 1886, making it the second district in the country to start growing it. The Kandy District was the first; James Taylor first planted tea at Loolecondera in the late 1860s.
Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines, for my photo-story, The Nuwara Eliya Season in Spring, which ran in the April 2017 issue.