rough guide sri lanka coverAfter a couple of weeks travelling across Sri Lanka, photographer Nori Jemil shares why this Indian Ocean island is a perfect subject. Here are 16 of her favourite pictures of Sri Lanka.

From a photographer’s perspective, Sri Lanka’s hard to beat. Compact and accessible, this verdant, teardrop island really punches above its weight. Its lush interior of temples, tea-infused hills and wildlife-rich national parks urge you to keep moving, with so much to see and experience. Yet, the pretty towns, beaches and retreats entice you to stay in one place for longer than planned.

There’s something special about the quality of light by the Indian Ocean here, too. Capturing the early dawns and sunsets on the east coast in particular, you might be accompanied by no-one other than a fisherman or the sound of a falling coconut. It’s a great feeling when you’re one of only a few visitors, watching local life unfold.

The country has a lot of history, and cultural diversity’s everywhere; in the delicately spiced food, the spectacular architecture and, of course, the smiling faces. A cliché perhaps, but without doubt it’s the people and their distinctly different cultures that make this island so unique. Like most visitors, I was planning my return long before leaving.

Children enjoying the Negombo surf at sunset

Kids on the beach at sunset, Sri Lanka

The sun shines on a young child, still wearing his protective baby bindi

Baby in temple, Sri Lanka

Fisherman at dawn in Kinniya

Fishermen, Sri Lanka

Novice monks climb in midday heat to the ruins on top of Sigiriya Rock

Monks at temple in Sri Lanka

The road to the former medieval capital of Sigiriya

Rock, Countryside, Sri Lanka

Preparing lotus flowers for offerings to Buddha in Kandy

Man selling petals, Sri Lanka

Interior detail of the Buddhist Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy

Hindu temple, Sri Lanka, Asia

A half-built temple surrounded by palms in Kandy’s tea fields

Temple top in Sri Lanka, Asia

One of the viewpoints from the top of Sigiriya Rock

Countryside, Sri Lanka

Daily worship at the Buddhist temple in ancient Anuradhapura

Monks at temple in Sri Lanka

A sunset on the east coast

Sunset in Sri Lanka

Twilight at Trincomalee

Dusk over the ocean, Sri Lanka

A Kandy fruit seller

Fruit seller, Sri Lanka

Tuk tuk driver

Tuk tuk driver, Sri Lanka

Washing in the lake before dark, near Talawa

People on the beach, sunset, Sri Lanka

Children happily head to school by tuk tuk

Kids in a tuk tuk, Sri Lanka