His passion for mountains transcends boundaries

Ian Lockwood explains the significance of the presence of Hindu dieties on Sri Pada (Adams Peak), the highest point in Sri Lanka. Photo: R.K. Radhakrishnan  

Ian Lockwood, a geography teacher in an international school here who spent most of his formative years in and around the Palani hills in Tamil Nadu, has found a similar object of passion in Sri Lanka — the Adam's Peak (Sri Pada).

He moved to Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and started teaching at the Overseas School of Colombo. Since then, he has set apart time every year to climb the 2,243-metre Adam's Peak.

His photo exhibition at the Barefoot Gallery here, ‘ Paths to the Peak, Ecology, landscape and Culture on Sri Lanka's Sacred Mountain,' is the best of his collection over seven years. (Some of the pictures and an article on the significance of the mountain can be accessed in the June 3, 2011 edition of Frontline magazine.)

“The mountain had captivated my imagination long before I came to live in Sri Lanka,” Mr. Lockwood says. “I had read accounts of the significance and the different pilgrimages of Sri Pada. The Peak and the Central Highlands share a natural link with a range of mountains only a short flight way across the seas.”

The similarities in the flora and fauna of the south Western Ghats in India (the region from the Nilgiris to Kanyakumari) and the mountain ranges in Sri Lanka have to be seen to be believed.

Says Mr. Lockwood: “I have been photographing the Palani hills from the time I was young. The first thing that stuck me was the striking similarities.”

Mr. Lockwood studied at an international school at Kodaikanal before moving to the United States to join an undergraduate course. He wants the world to benefit from his experience. So he makes it a point of taking interested groups of students once a year up Sri Pada. An avid conservationist and bird watcher, he wants to instil the spirit of conservation in the younger generation. His aim: raise the level of awareness of biodiversity issues across the region.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 4:05:13 PM |

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