Dawn on Sri Pada is sublime – a view that has attracted pilgrims as much as the sacred footprint of Buddha that is said to grace an area near the summit. On one winter visit, I had the good fortune to experience the classic mountain-shadow dawn. The energy and anticipation started to build in the inky, fluorescent-punctuated darkness. Pilgrims positioned themselves for optimal views, looking eastward. At first, the sky started to lighten up in the east and Venus rose above the Horton Plains horizon. Then Maskeliya Lake, shrouded in mist far below to the north, came to life.
Time stood still for a moment, and it was as if the world was born afresh. Warm sunlight bathed the gilded temple. Dew and mist evaporated from the hillside. The great mountain shadow gradually morphed into the side of the peak. The view and experience were breathtaking. Many of the pilgrims headed back down the Hatton path quickly. Muscles and limbs moved slowly but spirits had been revitalised and renewed. Yellow-browed bulbuls and Great tits fluttered by, competing for crumbs left by pilgrims. I lingered at the summit to breath in the moment, place and experience.
~ Ian Lockwood is a photographer and writer who teaches at the Overseas School of Colombo. For more, see highrangephotography.com