Mave On The Move Week 27

David M. Byrne

New Member
Hello once again,

I have spent the past 6 days in the central highlands of Sri Lanka, spending quite a bit of time on trains, walking through tea plantations, being stared at by Sri Lankans & generally taking it easy. I haven’t seen any rain this week, certainly not as much as I saw on the beach last week, but it has been chilly, elevated as I was in the highlands. I'm back down now at the warmth of sea-level preparing to leave Sri Lanka tomorrow for India, country number 9 on the itinerary. But before I do that here are 7 pictures from the past as many days, a pictorial recap of week 27, days 183-188, of my on-going trip, Mave On The Move.

Picture 117, Day 183 – Tea Plantation, Ella, central Sri Lanka. September 4th 2012

Having left the (damp) beach it was time to visit the (chilly) central highlands, highlands that are dominated by plantations, especially of the tea variety. The tea plantation was first introduced into Sri Lanka in 1867 by British planter James Taylor. Before that coffee was the countries breadwinner but a devastating leaf disease in 1869 destroyed the entire coffee industry within 15 years. The Brits, then ruling Ceylon as Sri Lanka was then called, turned to tea. The rest, as the saying goes, is history – today Sri Lanka is one of the largest exporters of tea in the world with the claim its trademark national export, Cyleon tea, is the ‘cleanest’ tea there is. But they would say that, right?

Picture 118, Day 184 – Sri Lankan Railway, central Sri Lanka. September 5th 2012

There’s something special about train travel in Sri Lanka. Yes, it’s a slow means of transport (schedule times are rarely, if ever, met) the rolling stock, holdovers from the British colonial days of the early 20th century, are rickety, have no windows or doors, the trains are more than not overcrowded & the booking system antiquated. But all that said journeys like the ones I took through the picturesque, rolling hills & tea plantations of central Sri Lanka were a definite highlight of my time in the country. I spent most of both train journeys I took this past week up and about, hanging out of open doorways & windows taking pictures with the above picture one of my favourites.

Picture 119, Day 184 – Bandarawela Train Station, central Sri Lanka. September 5th 2012

Another picture I took from the train in Central Sri Lanka that I liked was this one of patrons on the platform of Bandarawela train station as the train I was riding entered the station. I wanted to capture the essence of movement as the train entered the station, something I think I achieved.

Link: You can see more pictures taken on my first train journey on day 184 of the trip as uploaded to the 'A Train Ride In Sri Lanka' entry of my photography blog.

Picture 120, Day 186 – Jaded On The Train In Central Sri Lanka. September 7th 2012

Trying to be inconspicuous with an SLR in the tight confines of a crowded Sri Lankan train, one in which all Sri Lankan eyes are on you, Johnny foreigner, isn’t easy. I’m not sure if this guy, sitting on the floor in between two crowded train carriages, is giving me evil eyes as a result of his uncomfortable surroundings (although I’m sure he’s used to it) or because he’s on to my pathetic attempts to conceal me photographing him. Either way I like his expression.

Picture 121, Day 187 – Temple Of The Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, Sri Lanka. September 8th 2012

My last stop in Sri Lanka was Kandy, Sri Lanka’s second city & cultural centre. I arrived in Kandy, on day 186 of the trip, somewhat despondent. Given the assault on the senses that is Sri Lanka I felt arriving there that I hadn't yet done it justice photographically; I didn't have a standout capture from my time in the country, one that springs to mind above all others. I was hoping some of Unesco-listed Kandy’s sights would come to my rescue. Whether it did or not I'm not too sure.

The city is the home of Sri Dalada Maligawa, otherwise known as the Temple Of The Tooth Relic, one of the world’s most venerated Buddhist shrines (& it’s partly because of the temple that the whole of historic Kandy was awarded Unesco World Heritage status in 1988). It - the temple - houses Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, a tooth of the Buddha. No one ever gets to see the actual tooth of course. They just get to shuffle within 15ft. of a casket it – the tooth – is seemingly housed in (& not to be a skeptic of course). But whether there’s a tooth or not the importance of the temple cannot be overestimated to Buddhists, especially Sri Lankan Buddhists; Sri Lanka has been a centre of the Buddhist religion & culture since ancient times, being the first nation where the Buddhist teachings were first written down. It also has the longest continuous Buddhist history of any predominately Buddhist nation; there has been a continuous Buddhist influence here since it was first introduced into the country in the 2nd century BCE. 70% of the 20 million population are Buddhist & Buddhism is given special recognition in the Sri Lankan Constitution which requires Sri Lankans to ‘protest & foster the Buddha Sasana’.

Picture 122, Day 188 – Three Wheeler, Kandy, Central Sri Lanka. September 9th 2012

A wide-angle image taken from a three wheeler (as they are known in Sri Lanka; in Thailand they are known as a tuk-tuk as highlighted in my very first Mave On The Move entry here on RPF) on the street of Kandy with its famous Clock Tower in the distance.

Picture 123, Day 188 – Cultural Dance, Kandy, central Sri Lanka. September 9th 2012

On my last night in Kandy I took in a cultural show. It was interesting but to me was just music, erratic movements & colourful costumes.

Link: You can see more pictures taken of my time in Kandy as uploaded to the 'Kandy, Sri Lanka' entry of my photography blog.

What’s Next?
Right now I’m trying to tie up a few loose blogging ends, including filing this week 27 entry for RPF, in Colombo before a short early morning flight across the Palk Strait to Kerala in southwest India. I’ve been to India twice before so I know what to expect. I’ve never been as far south as Kerala, somewhere I hear is very different to the rest of India. Needless to say I’m looking forward to seeing what ‘different’ is & I’ll be reporting on it here in 7 days’ time. Before that don’t forget you can keep up to date with my trip on the dedicated travel page of my photography blog, a page I set up to specifically chronicle this trip.

Until next time from India.

David M
You get a real feel for the country from your shots - wonderful

That first image reminds me of PG Tips somehow ;)
I hear you Chris. It is very PG Tips-esque (minus the monkey of course). I had to pay 40 rupees for that picture (about €0.25) & I think it was money well spent! & Thanks for your comment; really gratifying.