This is my submission to this week's theme, Light Trail Photography Challenge. It is an unusual submission because usually photographers take light trail shots in urban settings. However, I had an opportunity to practice light trail shots during a completely unexpected event, a parade at a Sri Lankan temple.
Every major Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka holds an annual parade. The main purpose is to bless the neighboring devotees by taking Lord Buddha's relics on this parade. Relics are highly respected and usually paraded in a decorated casing on top of an elephant.
Gangarama temple in Colombo is one of the most prestigious temples in the country. Hence, their parade is one of the biggest in the city of Colombo. There are several performance items to these parades. The first item is the performance by whip crackers. Their purpose is to make a thundering whip cracking noise to let devotees know that the parade is approaching.
You also have flag bearers followed by cultural dancers. Usually, dancing performances include styles unique to different areas of the country. Dancers have bells attached to their clothes and this chiming sound mix well with the drummers who follow them.
There are elephants throughout the parade but the main elephant that carries the relics is in the middle of the parade. This elephant who carries the relic casing (Karaduwa) is usually an enormous tusker.
The two elephants on either side of the main tusker usually hold important shareholders of the temple (Nilames). They carry flowers which they throw on the relic casing.
I took the light trailing shots during the performance by 'fire dancers'. They carry lighted wooden circles which they rotate extremely fast during their group dance. You could get a nice light trail even with a normal shutter speed due to the rotation speed. This eliminates the need to use a tripod for these shots.
I will be posting many other photos from this parade as soon as I get a chance to sort through them. I hope you enjoyed reading about this important event happening in Sri Lankan Buddhist temples.
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