A Travellerspoint blog

Just Another Sri Lankan Day

sunny 31 °C

The perpetually warm Indian Ocean, fed by the great rivers of Africa and Asia, is a perfect breeding ground for fish of every kind and we began our day on the beach in Negombo where the fleet had come ashore with the night's catch...
It was still early morning for us and our friend Christine, but the main business of the day was already done. The fish market opened at 4am when the serious buyers vied for the swordfish, marlin and tuna, and by the time we arrived the locals, and the gulls, were scrapping over the small fry of whitebait, shrimps and blue crabs...
Negombo's seafood market is just a ragtag assortment of flimsy stalls along the seashore, so the fish has barely left the sea by the time it ends up on the slab. However, even the freshest fish has a sell by date counted in minutes under the blistering tropical sun, so much of it is dried for export to China and Japan. Relatively rare red squid command a premium in Tokyo and these women are braving the heat to lay out the night's catch under nature's broiler...
Entire families live and work in shanties along the shore and scrape a living by catching and drying all manner of fish in a round-the-clock operation that will continue until the monsoons come in October.

But our day has just begun and we head to the capital to witness Colombo's biggest annual cultural event – the Perahera of the Gangaramaya Temple. Three days of celebration take place around the February full moon every year and is kicked off with a incredible parade of some five thousand dancers in splendid costumes...
Along with the dancers are numerous gaily attired musicians...
There are hundreds of monks, flag wavers and parasol carriers...
Troupes of plate spinners, acrobats, and stilt walkers add to the excitement with daredevil displays as they slowly pass the cheering crowds...

We, being foreign visitors, have front row seats and, like everyone else, we are anxious to see the highlight of the show; the mighty Sri Lankan elephants...
Twenty or thirty? We lose count as one after another the giant beasts in their flowing robes are led sedately past surrounded by dancers, musicians and mahouts...
The hours tick by until the grand finale when three giant tuskers sway into view carrying a relic from the Buddha himself...
Colombo's Perahera is a magnificent and unforgettable sight and we go to sleep dreaming of elephants. Tomorrow we head north to the tropical jungles where we will undoubtedly see many more of these magnificent creatures.

Posted by Hawkson 20:14 Archived in Sri Lanka

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I hope the elephants are cared for as much as the beautiful covers that adorn them.

by Janet

You are bearing witness to a species that may have a limited time on this earth. Beautiful to behold, an honoured tradition. Great photos. Thank you.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Great to hear your next adventure has started well. There was a sell-out talk about Sri Lanka at a travel show in London last week, so hope you manage to avoid all the Brits.

by Heather M-Taylor

that is so beautiful. I can just hear the music all the way from there. We still have snow and I cant get my car out so I am imagining I am sitting with you.love

by Jean McLaren

And I'll bet you didn't have to pay big bucks for the front row seats--as opposed to Cavalia, a horse show that Barrie is attending in Vancouver right now.

by R and B

Thank you, for taking me along to the front seat; there's such a richness in traditions and rituals. Loved it.


by Gottfried Mitteregger

So glad you are there during the Perahera - one of the hightlights for me
Thanks for sharing this beautiful place with us

by Allison

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