.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Colombo’s Independence Memorial Hall

10 Independence Monument

One of the required stops when touring Colombo is this rather impressive building, situated in Independence Square within the trendy Cinnamon Gardens neighborhood.  The monument commemorates Sri Lanka gaining its independence from Great Britain on February 4, 1948.  The location is the precise site where Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, opened Sri Lanka’s first parliament, in so doing ending almost five centuries of colonial rule (the last 140 years under Britain).

The building, while mostly made of concrete instead of quarried rock, is styled after the ancient structures in Sri Lanka,  The main feature of the monument, the assembly (audience) hall, was modeled after the royal court of the King of Kandy, the last kingdom in the island nation to fall to …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 9, 2018: A Rajasthani Potter and his Wife

03 Potter

It was most helpful having a good guide while in India because we got to see and experience a variety of things we otherwise wouldn’t have.  An example was a stop at one of our guide’s friend’s homes while in a small village in Rajasthan. 

As part of our education about the Caste system of India, wherein people are born into certain groups or Castes, our guide explained this man was born into the lower Sudra (labor) cast.  He was a potter, just like generations of his ancestors before had been.

The potter adeptly demonstrated his ability to mold wet clay into usable vessels, like drinking cups and small bowls.  The drinking cups we were especially familiar with as we had a …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 12, 2018: Pigeons at the Mosque, Delhi

00 Jama Masjid, Delhi (149)

Built more than 350 years ago, Jama Masjid remains the largest mosque in Delhi and is able to accommodate up to 25,000 for prayers.  Situated on a hill in the old city, it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions in Delhi.

One of the people taking care of the mosque also looked after the large population of pigeons that flew around the minarets and dome.  He provided a large amount of grain and water to feed them, and carefully looked after their grain with a hand broom, keeping it in a neat pile.  

Pet-keeper of the mosque, so to speak.  

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance)

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.All Trips / Asia / India

Signs of Delhi

01 Signs of Delhi

There’ s no place quite like Delhi!  A large sprawling city with a population of about twenty million (itself more populous than many countries!), it is bustling with commerce of all types but mostly of the small street vendor to consumer variety.

As many of you know, I collect “signs”.  Delhi was a little challenging in this regard.  Many of the signs were crafted in Hindi, which I can’t read, but there were a fairly large number that were bilingual or created in English (with tourists and expats in mind, I assume).  It is these I tended to photograph. 

As with most things about Delhi, like its noise, traffic, crowding, filth and smells, the signage can be overwhelming to the senses.  Often …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

The Dubai Marina

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Just like most of greater Dubai, by all rights the Dubai Marina should not exist.  As such, it seems surreal when you first see it.  Built in the desert along what was once a vacant 2 mile stretch of sandy beach, it’s now a towering artificial canal city with a beautiful jumble of skyscrapers juxtaposed against the water.  

The construction project was complex and involved years of dredging and building, the construction still continuing.  When the building phase is finally completed, it will be the largest marina in the world (currently that title belongs to Marina del Rey in California).   The city of Dubai Marina can accommodate over 120,000 residents, many of them expats who enjoy the warm climate and …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Gangaramaya Temple: One of Colombo’s top Attractions

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Sri Lanka is a country of many traditions and faiths, but most of its residents are Sinhalese Buddhists.  As such, exploring the Buddhist temples of the country offers a gateway to understanding the culture and traditions of most of its people.  Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo and one of the city’s more interesting sites.

This Buddhist temple is encompassed by several buildings and is situated in the heart of Colombo, not far from Beira Lake.  It includes a Vihara (temple), a Bodhi tree, an Image house, and an assembly hall for monks.  The complex also has an eclectic museum, library, residential hall and an educational hall.  The beautiful Simamalaka Shrine is nearby and a satellite …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 8, 2017: Bagpipes at Sunset, Colombo

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I’ve taken more time to relax and watch the entirety of a sunset over the Indian Ocean than anywhere else; the majority of these were at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.   And I’m not alone.  Usually 50 — at times upwards of a hundred — guests are there alongside me enjoying it as well.

During my visit to Colombo this year I discovered the hotel had added a new twist to the sunset ritual.  A Sri Lankan bag-piper playing a dirge, together with one of the hotel employees, solemnly and slowly march out to the edge of the sea at dusk.  The uniformed man methodically lowers and folds the flag as the sad tune from the pipes mixes with …

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.All Trips / Asia / Sri Lanka

Colombo’s Historic Galle Face Hotel

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I’ve stayed at many hotels in my life,  across a broad range of countries and classes of service.  Generally I’m a ‘Courtyard by Marriott’ kind of guy — reliable, clean standardized rooms.  But the Galle Face is special and a night or two stay here should be on your itinerary when you’re visiting the capital of Sri Lanka.

I was first advised to stay at the Galle Face hotel by my friend, Wayne Houser, who connected me with Sir Arthur C. Clarke.  I recall Wayne telling me all those years ago that it was a great hotel and was one of the only places you could get Arthur to leave the comfort of his home and join you for lunch or …

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