Myriad of Sri Lankans gather at Galle Face beach in Colombo to take a walk, watch the sun descend over the Indian Ocean, and wash their feet in the waves. “There is lots of color,” says photographer Palani Mohan. “There are children screaming, young lovers holding hands, people flying kites. The whole place is full of activity.”
Mihintale, a sacred mountain pilgrimage site. Today Mihintale is considered the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka with its many temples and lodgings for monks as well as ancient remains of stone steps, a stupa built in the first century A.D., a Lion Bath, and stone ponds built in the first century A.D.
In Sri Lanka, water lilies, lotuses, and frangipani are popular offerings at Buddhist temples. In Buddhism lotuses represent a person’s progress toward spiritual enlightenment— the emergence from darkness and corruption, growth from water, and the emergence towards the sunlight.
A 100-year-old clock tower rises from the center of Colombo, “a great small city by the ocean,” The tower is a symbol of the city’s Old World charm. Rapid growth is changing the face of the colonial city with skyscrapers rising next to early British-built buildings. “Though it’s crowded and hot, the people are warm, the buildings are fantastic, and there is just a charm about it.”
Early morning a woman sweeps leaves off of the ruins at Polonnaruwa. The former capital of Sri Lanka was long deserted and revived in modern times. “The women do this every morning, slowly walking around sweeping the fallen leaves and talking as they work.”
Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, a 24-acre (9.7-hectare) plot where some 60 elephants are bathed, fed, and protected.
There are hundreds of roadside Ganeshas found in Sri Lanka.
Monks watching just as a young man jumps from the ramparts of the fort in Galle into the waters of the Indian Ocean below.
These young Sri Lankan men enjoy an afternoon of playful mischief on the beach ouside the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.