The Doomed Giants of Anuradhapura
Sunrise over the Basawakkulama Tank, believed to be Sri Lanka’s oldest reservoir, built in 400BC, against the backdrop of the Ruwanwelisaya and, faintly in the distance, the massive broken Jetawanaramaya, both over 2,000 years old. The tree silhouetted against the morning is one of many that line the tank’s retaining bund. For perhaps a century or more, these broadly spread giants have sheltered farmers, workers, schoolchildren, and the occasional photographer, using the bund as a footpath into Anuradhapura. When I took this picture in January 2017, while on assignment for Serendib magazine, the trees were also home to rock squirrels, numerous nesting birds, and families of grey langurs. But sadly, it has now been reported that the government has begun felling these ancient trees because they are believed to be damaging the bund with their great roots. The perspective they have given to one of the most iconic views of Anuradhapura will be the least of the losses their deaths will bring.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/250 • ISO100 • 600D & EF-S18-200/3.5-5.6 •


Dawn on the Victoria
Teldeniya, January 1996. Shot on 35mm Konica film.

If You Go Down to the Woods Today

Exploring the Udawatte Kele Sanctuary, Kandy #5 by Son of the Morning Light on
Shermaine Willis and Anuradha Perera, shot on assignment in the Udawattekele Forest Reserve, for Ashraff Associates and The Radh, Kandy. Sri Lanka, October 2018.
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