Sri Lanka, Part Two

 

Welcome to Part Two of Sri Lanka (part one here), whereupon we visit an old fort, a couple of excellent temples, a railway crossing and a bizillion palm trees (because I for one can never get enough of palm trees).

Let’s begin close to the water’s edge at Galle Fort, one of Sri Lanka’s main tourist attractions. As such, I didn’t have high hopes; as you know, I’m happiest off-piste, with preferably no one around like me (ie tourist). But after several visits I grew to like the place, especially around sunset in the area near the lighthouse where locals outnumber the tourists and a mosque’s haunting call to prayer rings out through the narrow streets and out over the Indian Ocean.

 

catching the last light :: 1

 

 

 

 

 

catching the last light :: 2

 

 

 

 

 

catching the last light :: 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

it’s the day for sisters in matching dresses :: 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

it’s the day for sisters in matching dresses :: 2

 

 

 

 

 

Right across from the lighthouse is Meeran Mosque (10% of Sri Lankan people are Muslim). I didn’t get a decent shot of the mosque but I did manage to snap these lovely men, enjoying the chance to chinwag in the cool of the early evening.

 

men’s business

 

 

 

 

 

While I was drawn to the lighthouse area and the locals parading along the ramparts, I also enjoyed exploring the various buildings in the centre of the fort. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1588, the Dutch took over the fort in 1649 and made significant improvements, many by the VOC (Verenigde Oostindindische Compagnie), the Dutch East India Company. Today, over 400 years later, a lot of original architecture is still in place, thanks to the restoration efforts of the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka as well as locals and foreigners renovating some of the dilapidated buildings.

 

from derelict to desirable – Galle Fort Hotel, built in 1795 by the VOC

 

 

 

 

 

at ease – Amangalla began life in 1684 as the Dutch military HQ

 

 

 

 

 

rescuing the ruins

 

 

 

 

 

will it be saved too?

 

 

 

 

 

Dutch Reformed Church

 

 

 

 

 

In contrast to the fort and its very Dutch flavour is the hotel we stayed in, Tamarind Hill, about a 15 minute tuk tuk drive away, that was built in the British era in the 1800s.

 

live like a 19th century British admiral :: 1

 

 

 

 

 

live like a 19th century British admiral :: 2

 

 

 

 

 

live like a 19th century British admiral :: 3

 

 

 

 

 

Moving from beautiful buildings built for business and pleasure, to those designed for worship – Buddhist temples. More than 70% of the Sri Lankan population is Buddhist, and there must be thousands of temples around, from neighbourhood stupas to the grand Japanese Peace Pagoda.

 

neighbourhood stupa

neighbourhood stupa

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Peace Pagoda

 

 

 

 

 

We only visited a handful of temples, and the two I loved were both really old and virtually empty.

The first is called Budu Raja Maha Wehera Wewurukannala, located near Dikwella. Like most Sri Lankan Buddhist temples, there are various parts to it, but I loved the first temple and its fabulous 250 year old carvings.

 

Budu Raja Maha Wehera Wewurukannala

 

 

 

 

 

temple guard and his buddies

 

 

 

 

 

giddyup, we’re off to the beach

 

 

 

 

 

please please, can we come too?

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea of the name of the second temple I stumbled upon near Galle, but it had a wonderful air of faded grandeur about it, with a dramatic staircase and several generous landings, as well as a highly colourful interior filled with peeling frescoes. Aside from a few young monks and a temple guard, there was no one else around. Ideal conditions for the snoop.

 

sssssss! – the Buddhist Naga cobra protects the temple against evil

 

 

 

 

 

young monks at the old temple

 

 

 

 

 

plenty of patina

 

 

 

 

 

the young temple guard

 

 

 

 

 

Back outside, I spent what many (eg the two young monks) would consider a ridiculous amount of time sizing up the coconut tree palms around the temple grounds. I have always loved palm trees – the iconic shape, the way they conjure up summer, etc – so I was in flora heaven in Sri Lanka, home to Cocos Nucifera, the coconut palm. Aside from containing my daughter’s name, Cocos Nucifera is just so very clever, providing milk, water, oil and wood from the coconut itself, as well as animal feed, firewood and thatching from the leaves.

 

clever coconuts

 

 

 

 

 

even the leaves are used

 

 

 

 

 

c’mon kids, let’s go collect some coconut shells to make into kitchen spoons

 

 

 

 

 

May I just express my love for Cocos Nucifera in the following three images, and then I promise not to speak of it again.

 

palm tree love :: 1

 

 

 

 

 

palm tree love :: 2

 

 

 

 

 

palm tree love :: 3

 

 

 

 

Okay, the last thing I want to share with you is my time spent waiting for a train. Not to board, sadly (I absolutely love train trips), but just to pass through. I was wandering around a back road outside Galle when I saw a man in a lungi (Sri Lankan sari) cordoning off the crossing with a piece of string. We didn’t speak a word but I hung around and took some pics of him, while waiting for the train to come through.

 

waiting for the train to come

 

 

 

 

 

and while we wait, can we just take a moment to admire the elegance of the lungi

 

 

 

 

 

toot toot, here it comes!

 

 

 

 

 

hello Class M10, 916, you are on time!

 

 

 

 

 

I know, you think I’m weird (possible) but I thank you train-crossing guard, it was fun

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s it. I hope you enjoyed having a squiz at Sri Lanka, a country that survived a bitter civil war and a deadly tsunami to become one of the world’s latest ‘it’ destinations, thanks to its great beauty, lovely people and beguiling beasts.

 

a guiding light since 1848 – Galle Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

running girl

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey Kingdom

 

 

 

 

 

see ya, Sri Lanka

 

 

 

 

 

And Coco? She loved it too. Especially when the hotels had good wifi.

 

teenage life continues even in exotic climes

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Joyce says:

    Hi Louise,
    Thank you for this beautiful portrayal of Sri Lanka, despite the devastation of civil wars and tsunami that this country has gone through, I could feel a sense of serenity through your photos.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Joyce. The people are pretty serene themselves – I like to think it’s the Buddhist influence.

  2. Bunky says:

    Gorgeous Louise. Sri Lanka through fresh eyes. tx

    • Louise says:

      Thanks tb x

  3. Jo Kaupe says:

    Loving all those gorgeous colours, bright and subtle

    • Louise says:

      Some of the faded colours, like on the back wall of the temple with the horseman, are just so beautiful. They reminded me of European classical art.

  4. Peter McConnochie says:

    A beautiful adventure. Thanks for sharing such lovely images.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Peter, sad that the adventure always has to end!

  5. Pat Drummond says:

    Thank you again for taking us with you.

    • Louise says:

      My pleasure Pat, very glad you could all come along for the ride.

  6. Frank Page says:

    Hey Louise, you nailed it. Your descriptions and Galle Fort images captured it perfectly and all the reasons We love that part of SL and can’t wait to be back again later this year. I knew you’d do SL well. Thank you.

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Frank. Happy travels.

  7. Di Nash says:

    So great seeing your post and images. I’ve missed their regularity.
    Love love love your work.
    Di x

    • Louise says:

      You’ve been travelling with us for a long time Di, so good you’re still here!

  8. Margaret Haigh says:

    You’ve captured the beauty of Serendip beautifully Louise. Like you I went with an offspring – my youngest son. He love it as much as I.

    • Louise says:

      Thank you Margaret. It’s a lovely place to go with kids. Glad you both enjoyed it.

  9. Gayleeee says:

    Stunning pics Louisa!

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Gaylee! x

  10. Norm says:

    Thanks for once again sharing your excellent photos & travels

    • Louise says:

      Thanks Norm. I think I get just as much pleasure sharing.

  11. SarahN says:

    Oh wow, to come back after not checking here in ages, and to find you’ve been where my family reunion trip has been planned for Christmas 2017 – you can be sure I circulated your blog address

    And also circulated it to some French people in Sydney – they bemoaned there are more ‘long shots’ but I much prefer the detail you capture in your photography.

    • Louise says:

      Hi SarahN! Great place for a family reunion. Have fun!

  12. Chris Rees says:

    Hello, I haven’t been here in ages but so glad I came back. It’s quietly inspiring. My 14 yo is off to Nepal on a school trip in 12 months and I hope he can soak up the sights and engage with the people like you do. Too much to expect he will take beautiful photos too but we can hope.

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