SRI LANKA – SRI LANKA – இலங்கை

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta - Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta – Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta-Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta-Packaging local cigarettes

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija - Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija – Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija-Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija-Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Prevozno sredstvo-Local transport

Prevozno sredstvo-Local transport

Raza kao ulov-Capturing manta ray

Raza kao ulov-Capturing manta ray

Ribarenje na stapovima-A local way of fishing

Ribarenje na stapovima-A local way of fishing

Sirotiste za slonove - An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove – An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove-An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove-An elephant orphanage

Sri Muthumari Amman Devasthanam Hindu temple in Colombo

Sri Muthumari Amman Devasthanam Hindu temple in Colombo

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena - The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion's rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena – The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion’s rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena-The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion's rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena-The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion’s rock

Statua Bude u parku-A statue of Buddha in the Viharamahadevi Park

Statua Bude u parku-A statue of Buddha in the Viharamahadevi Park

Stupa u Kolombu-A Buddhist stupa in Colombo

Stupa u Kolombu-A Buddhist stupa in Colombo

Tropska pijaca-A tropical market

Tropska pijaca-A tropical market

Uobicajeno prevozno sredstvo u gradu-A local transport

Uobicajeno prevozno sredstvo u gradu-A local transport

Uzivanje u blatu-Enjoying the mud

Uzivanje u blatu-Enjoying the mud

Uzivanje u zalasku sunca-Enjoying the sunset at Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo

Uzivanje u zalasku sunca-Enjoying the sunset at Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo

Zene se vracaju iz berbe caja-Returning from tea plantation

Zene se vracaju iz berbe caja-Returning from tea plantation

Buda se odmara na jezeru-Lord Buddha resting on the lake

Buda se odmara na jezeru-Lord Buddha resting on the lake

Gradska vecnica u Kolombu-Colombo Town Hall

Gradska vecnica u Kolombu-Colombo Town Hall

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju - The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju – The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju-The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju-The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Kapelica svetog Pavla u Kolombu-St. Paul's oratory in the busy part of Colombo

Kapelica svetog Pavla u Kolombu-St. Paul’s oratory in the busy part of Colombo

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu-A small mosque in the capital

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu-A small mosque in the capital

Osnovna kola u unutrasnjosti-A primary school in the countryside

Osnovna kola u unutrasnjosti-A primary school in the countryside

Šri Lanku sam nazvao idealizovanom Indijom, jer veoma liči na nju, a ipak je znatno drugačija. Pisac i lutalica po ovom delu sveta, Stevan Pešić, ostrvo je nazvao rajskim, jer ovde pejzaži zaista tako izgledaju. Idilični prizori beskrajno zelenih pirinčanih polja, po kojima se lenjo provlače ogromni bikovi sa malim belim ždralovima na leđima, smenjuju se sa prostranim peščanim plažama na jugu ili plantažama čuvenog cejlonskog čaja na planinama u središtu ostrva. Sve je ovde čudesno lepo, skoro zadivljujuće. Nije me obeshrabrio ni kamen koji je poleteo ka meni, kad sam slikao decu koja štrajkuju ispred škole – bio je to bezazleni dečji kamen. Drugu, manju decu slikao sam u njihovom razredu kako, na svom sinhaleskom jeziku, bezuspešno uče da broje, dok ih učiteljica u plavom sariju sa prutom, prekorno gleda, a ona zbunjena recituju brojke pred mojom kamerom. Takav prizor i ostale pastoralne scene dešavaju se upravo u tom, za mene najlepšem, planinskom delu ostrva, u kome vlada prijatna klima na preko dve hiljade metara nadmorske visine. Žene sa ogromnim korpama na leđima, samo se delimično vide iznad žbunova čaja, sa kojih kidaju svetlozelene listiće, a zatim tako napunjene korpe nose na preradu u male lokalne fabrike čaja. U mestu Nuvara Elija očuvana je stara britanska kolonijalna arhitektura i, zajedno sa terenom za golf i hipodromom, čini je sličnom nekoj engleskoj provinciji.
Sirotište za slonove je prihvatni centar u kome se mali slonovi bez majčine nege svakodnevno hrane sa po pedesetak litara mleka, što je katkada propraćeno čežnjivim pogledima dece koja se tu okupljaju. Mali slonovi su takođe deca i lepo je što se cejlonska vlada o njima stara na taj način.
Ipak, Hram Budinog zuba (Dalada Maligava) u planinskom mestu Kandi u unutrašnjosti ostrva, ostavio je na mene najdublji utisak. Veruje sa da tu počiva pravi Budin zub iz VI veka pre nove ere, koji je posle hiljadu godina prenesen u ovaj hram, u kome se čuva kao relikvija. U večernjoj ceremoniji monasi prolaze kroz hram i u blagom ritualnom zanosu izgovaraju svoje molitve, dok ih mi, bosonogi turisti, pratimo po laticama prosutog cveća i opojnom dimu incensa. I svi smo opijeni lepotom doživljaja i lepotom ove zemlje, koja je među najznačajnijim na velikom Budinom putu.
Jer Buda je u tom trenutku deo nas, a taj trenutak još dugo traje; možda nikada i ne prestaje.

Jun 1989.
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I called Sri Lanka ‘an idealised India’ straight away, as that’s what it really is. After visiting India, Sri Lanka appears tame, resembling India in some ways and yet being rather different from it. Stevan Pešić, an author and traveller wandering through this part of the world, called it a ‘paradise island’, and landscapes here are indeed heavenly. Idyllic scenes of infinite green rice fields on which huge oxen lazily drag themselves carrying small white cranes on the back, along alternate with vast sandy beaches in the South, or the famous Ceylon Tea plantations in the mountains, in the centre of the island. Everything here is magically beautiful, almost breathtaking. I was not discouraged even when a stone was thrown at me while photographing children on strike in front of the school. It was an innocent child’s stone. I took pictures of other smaller children in class trying unsuccessfully to learn to count in Sinhalese while the teacher in a blue sari holding a stick in her hand looked at them reproachfully; the children, a bit confused, recited the numbers in front of my camera. This sight and other pastoral scenes unfold in this, for me the prettiest, mountainous part of the island, which has a pleasant climate at around 2000m altitude. Women with baskets on their backs are barely visible above tea shrubs, picking light green leaves from them; then they carry fully loaded baskets to small local factories which process tea leaves. Nuwara Eliya has preserved the old British colonial architecture which, together with a golf course and a hippodrome, makes it look like somewhere in the English countryside.
The elephant orphanage is a small rescue centre where baby elephants without mother’s care are fed daily with around 50 litres of milk; sometimes local children who gather around cast longing looks at the scene. Little elephants are also children and it is nice that they are taken care of so well.
Yet the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha, in the mountainous Kandy in the island’s hinterland, has left the most profound impression on me. It is believed that Buddha’s real tooth is treasured here, dating back to the 6th century B.C. and was brought to this temple some thousand years later and kept as a relic. During the evening ceremony, the monks carrying umbrellas pass through the temple chanting, engrossed in the ritual, while we, barefoot tourists, follow them across petals strewn on the floor, enveloped in the heady incense smell. And we are all enchanted by the beauty of this experience and the beauty of this country which is one of the most important ones on Buddha’s great pilgrimage.
At the moment, Buddha is part of us, and that moment lasts for a long time; maybe it has never stopped.

June 1989

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