Traditional fire dancers of Sri Lanka - Weekly Theme 19

by Ram Ya December. 17, 2016 3459 views

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.

Fire dancers performing one of their dances

Temple decorations at night from across the Beira Lake - Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo

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.

Main elephant of the parade carrying the Lord Buddha's relics

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.

Kandyan dancers representing Kandy

Details and contrasting colors makes a beautiful outfit

Dancing to the sound of "Bera" (Drums)

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.

Main elephant of the parade carrying the "Karaduwa" containing Lord Buddha's relics

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.

There are two elephants to the either side of main elephant

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.

Approaching fire dancers

I like the fact he was looking directly at my camera when I clicked.

The dancing is effortless when you have "Kavadi" music. A type of music originally from South India

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. 

If you would like to participate in this week's theme, please read more info here. There is also an educational article with several Light Trailing photography tips on our official blog.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please post a comment below.

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There are 15 comments , add yours!
Helen Hooker 2 years, 12 months ago

Fantastic images, I love the first one - an unusual twist on light trails,

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Helen Hooker 2 years, 12 months ago

Thank you, Helen!

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Carmen Boutot 2 years, 12 months ago

Wow Ram, this trip looks amazing!

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Carmen Boutot 2 years, 12 months ago

Thank you, Carmen! BTW, how is the new job?
You should take a look at this https://www.photoblog.com/canon6d/2016/12/17/my-best-photo-of-2016-photoblog-community-project/. Please participate when you have some free time :)

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Carmen Boutot Replied to Ram Ya 2 years, 11 months ago

The new job is not bad, it was a short contract position though so applying to new positions again!

2 years, 11 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Carmen Boutot 2 years, 11 months ago

Good to hear, Carmen. Best of luck to you!
Thanks again for submitting your photo for the Best of 2016 project

2 years, 11 months ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 years, 12 months ago

Love the bright reflections in #2. This must be very fun to watch. I definitely have to go to Sri Lanka.

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Antonio Gil 2 years, 12 months ago

Thank you, Antonio. Yes highly recommended you visit. If you go please let me know :)

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Holly Crocker 2 years, 12 months ago

Really awesome! That is somewhere I wish I were. It's so beautiful.

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Holly Crocker 2 years, 12 months ago

Thank you very much, Holly. I appreciate your nice words.

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Aniket Pant 2 years, 12 months ago

Lovely pictures Ram. And great explanation of the cultural background of the parade!

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Aniket Pant 2 years, 12 months ago

Thanks a lot, Aniket. Appreciate your kind words.

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess 2 years, 12 months ago

WOW! All to my faves! What a feast for the senses......Great captures!

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Jay Boggess 2 years, 12 months ago

Thanks, Jay. It is a really colorful event and I am glad I got the chance to see this while visiting.

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Ram Ya 2 years, 12 months ago

I'm glad you got to visit, shoot & share!
Thanks!

2 years, 12 months ago Edited
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