Sunday, 31 May 2020

Sri Lanka Sketches

In March 2019, I took a sketching group to the tropical island of Sri Lanka for 10 days. Sir Lanka  is located in South Asia in the Indian Ocean.


The diversity of sights to see and places to visit was extraordinary. We travelled by coach from Colombo through to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to Mt Sigiriya in Central Sri Lanka. Further north were the tea plantations and we sampled many variations of delicious teas. 

So I will begin to take you on my journey and show you the other places we visited. 

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

The group was able to sit just above the elephants as they splashed and walked around in the water. Our local tour leader had booked the restaurant there, and we sat comfortably at tables, enjoying cool drinks, sketching and having some lunch. We were also positioned right next to the road that the majestic elephants with calfs walked down to  the water and we were close enough to touch them. What an experience!


This sketch was of Mt Sigiriya, a rock fortress with is nearly 200 metres high. It was a 5th century ancient city when monks lived earlier.

There are approximately 1200 steps to the top and the climb takes from 1.5 hours to 3 hours, depending on fitness, age and crowds. The climb is well worth it, as the panoramic views are incredible. There are guides along the way who explain various aspects of the rock, and there is a deep cave with frescos.


The Sigiriya frescoes are a set of paintings created by ancient artisans in the 5th century AD. Some are beautifully preserved but a large number of paintings have been destroyed over the last centuries due to the rain, wind and sun.

Remains of the Audience Hall at the Polonnaruwa Ancient Kingdom

The Polonnaruwa Ancient Kingdom is the most ancient of Sir Lanka's Kingdoms, developed in the 10th century and is now a World Heritage Site. There is an Archaeological Museum which had scale models of the buildings and temples of the city, as they may have looked when first built. 

Minneriya Tank Pond

The tank pond is a handmade reservoir covering 5000 acres . It was built by King Mahasena (276-303). The scale was incredible and to image this being built by hand was amazing.  Other reservoirs were created in this era and resulted in a growth in agriculture that opened up trade links with South East Asia.
Just outside the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy, I discovered this wonderful little temple. There were other temples in the immediate area, and the group spread out to sketch their temple of choice. As seen in the sketch, there were many people around, visiting these temples. The day we were there was a very special day in the Temple of the Tooth, with thousands of workshippers lining up to visit the temple.

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