In Search of the Quintessential Sri Lanka

Is it always the case that we find it difficult to say just what it is that we love about someone, or something?

In essence this was the question posed by the Picture the World competition, and searching for the photograph that would tell you why I love Sri Lanka set me thinking.  You might remember I considered a plethora of landscapes and locations, or images of sights and scenes worthy of the most alluring tourist board blandishments.  In the end, I chose the achingly simple, almost stylised image of the twin Dagabas at Mihintale, because I felt they represented a marriage of the island’s past and the future.

But that’s a simplistic response.  I’d like to show you Sri Lanka as if you were reading her face with your hands, feeling its fine texture, its lines and wrinkles, the prominent features and defects of her face in repose.   And so begins In Search of the Quintessential Sri Lanka, an irregular series of photographic posts exploring the mundane, everyday scenes that, together, from the intimate, untouched narratives of this place that captured my heart.

When I close my eyes and let my mind rove over Sri Lanka, the first images it keeps flicking  back to are the almost Garden of Eden-like landscapes of vivid green paddy dotted by islands of coconut trees and red-roofed houses.  It is a sad fact that, since British colonial times, the island’s landscape is no longer of untrammelled nature, but of land-use – generally – in tune with nature.

This week’s Near and Far photo challenge seems the perfect place to begin.

43 thoughts on “In Search of the Quintessential Sri Lanka

    • Some parts get two monsoons, others just one – there are definite dry and wet zones Ad, and the intermediate places are well served by irrigation systems dating back over a thousand years, so if the rains come, there’s enough water till the next – in theory. With climate change (and an increased population putting pressure on ever expanding agricultural lands), we seem to be having more droughts!

    • I have to admit the ‘lushness’ is part of the appeal (I come from a very dry part of Australia), but so is Switzerland, and though I adore my friend and marvel at the mountains, I don’t get the pull … 🙂

  1. “I’d like to show you Sri Lanka as if you were reading her face with your hands, feeling its fine texture, its lines and wrinkles, the prominent features and defects of her face in repose.”
    Your photos are beautiful (I love the one from the Lankatilleka Temple) but your words tell me how much you really love Sri Lanka 😀

    • You’ve got it, metan – and I’m happy to have the exotic Lankatilleka shot set the tone, but I also want to show the unglamorous everyday scenes that aren’t great shots, but the background brushwork, so to speak 🙂

  2. I love the dirst one best – peering through the door of possibility into the far lushness, greeneries, hills and trees and huamn-touched landscapes of the far yet tangible and – for you – lived in futures. 🙂

  3. If you truly love something that’s the way to get the essence of it, by feel, by knowing. I hope you’re enjoying putting these posts together as much as I’m enjoying your images and words 🙂

    • I was so happy that the challenge gave me an entry point for this farewell series. I’m sure along the way I’ll take some shots of ooh ahh scenes, but trying to illustrate the mundane, everyday will, I hope, paint a more honest picture of my love!

  4. I’ve had so much fun looking through your blog that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Check out Girl and Her Pink Backpack for the rules and pass it on.

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