'In The Shadow Of A Giant' by Ben Rompotis

'In The Shadow Of A Giant' by Ben Rompotis

Traversing Nepal and Sri Lanka.

This is the second in a series from Ben. Check his first, covering Marrakech HERE.

Similar in size and population, Nepal and Sri Lanka gain both economical and cultural influence from their relentless neighbour, the booming sub continent of India. One of the world’s fastest developing nations, it's no secret that India is in an unforgiving quest to stamp their authority as a global superpower. The question however, is where does it leave countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka?

During my travels in 2015, it occurred to me that Nepal doesn’t want or feel destined to compete with India in global influence. Its desire, ironically enough is quite the opposite - they want to be left alone. When I was there last year it was arguably one the most important times in Nepal’s recent history. Post the devastating earthquake that we all know about, and with the world eyes fixated on this uniquely beautiful landscape, the Nepalese government passed bold and successful constitution amendments to expel major Indian political influence. In an inevitable backlash of violent protests and outrage, and speaking to the local Nepalese I met, I was told the Indian government began to ration fuel coming into Nepal, and with the only Chinese border destroyed in the earthquake the result is chaotic. After listening to other media streams you could be forgiven for questioning the full extent of the local’s accusations, but one thing you can’t deny is the animosity felt between a crippled Nepal and India.

Take a trip down south however and Sri Lanka is an island of different ambition. A pocket of paradise, everyone has heard of the postcard beaches and resorts that litter this unforgettable place. Take a trip inland through towns and cities however and you may find, as I did, something a little less exotic. Sri Lanka takes on a whole new perspective at this point, life is faster and business and commerce an increasing priority. I thought to myself this is a country that’s competing, or at least following in the footsteps of her big brother India. There is undeniable evidence of intense work ethic here, something that I didn’t experience in Nepal. Even along tourist hot spots and coastal towns I found it hard to avoid flaring local tempers and an obviously fierce competition for the vacationer’s business.

This doesn’t make Sri Lanka any less beautiful, the people are unquestionably good intentioned. The difference for me however, was between being hassled in Ceylon, or walking in peace among the Himalayas and the rubble of Kathmandu.

sri lanka 01

Homeless in Kathmandu.

sri lanka 02

sri lanka 03

An artist decorates a semi destroyed wall in Kathmandu.

sri lanka 04

Kite running is popular in Nepal.

sri lanka 05

Kathmandu rooftop kite battles.

sri lanka 06

sri lanka 07

sri lanka 08

sri lanka 09

After waiting hours in line for fuel, our bus finally gets ushered through, with military on guard.

sri lanka 10

Buses are limited so the men ride on rooftops while the women and children sit below.

sri lanka 11

Child in a crammed bus.

sri lanka 12

sri lanka 13

Fishermen in Sri Lanka.

sri lanka 14

sri lanka 15

sri lanka 15a

sri lanka 16

sri lanka 17

sri lanka 18

sri lanka 19

sri lanka 20

The train tracks a reliable highway for trade in the dense rainforest of inland Sri Lanka.

sri lanka 21

The tea fields of Elia.

sri lanka 22

sri lanka 23

Local quarry.

sri lanka 24

sri lanka 25

sri lanka 26

sri lanka 27

Follow Ben on INSTAGRAM

Focus: Laura Makabresku

Dark visual storytelling from Krakow.

2 years ago

Flume @ Perth Arena by Josh Nicolopoulos

Some happy snaps from the first stop on Flume's huge Australian tour.

10 months ago

Five Minutes With David Rusanow

We caught up with the director of Lower Specturm's gorgeous Proxima video clip.

2 years ago

Behind The Lens: James Adams

We asked our new work experience kid to interview his favourite photographers, first up - James Adams.

2 months ago

Close
-->