Sri Lanka – Precious Isle


A journey to the most beautiful regions in Sri Lanka, in the company of a select group of individuals who inhabit this land. All of them share passion for their occupations, and love for their land and people.

The individual stories come together at the Kataragama Festival. Here, the main characters worship gods such as Lord Kataragama. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims join the celebrations, as the town of Kataragama is a sacred site for all of them. This event sheds light on today’s remarkable co-existence of Sri Lankan people of different languages, religions and culture.


Among the featured characters…

K.C. Thadhani has been designing Elephant costumes for more than 47 years. He invites the viewer to his home, where a large part of the work is done. His elephant costumes have travelled to many countries. But they also play a major role in the most important religious festivals of Sri Lanka, like the Kandy Perahera or the Kataragama Festival.

Sunil Gunathilake started working with the monkeys of Pollonaruwa 28 years ago. The villagers call him ‘The Monkey Master’, from watching his interactions with these animals. As a researcher, he collects important data for the Smithsonian Institution; in his educational role he brings local school kids in touch with the local animals.

Nimali Gunawardena is only 25 years old, but clear in her vision and the goals she wants to achieve. As a woman and coming from a poor family, the first steps have been hard. Her first attempt failed and the company went bust. But she tried again and runs not only a business, but a successful ecological and social project. Her future business plan is to export her product.

The first skateboard brand of Sri Lanka comes straight out of the capital Colombo. It was created by 25 year old Hash Bandara and her associate. Hash is enthusiastic about design and skateboarding and brings these together in her work.

Anura Wijewickrama loves to tell stories from the old days of stilt fishery, but also explains how tourism has become a most welcome factor. There is no way for the stilt fishermen to compete with today’s fishing industry, so the men fish for themselves and their families, and earn some money from visitors in addition.

A Terra Mater Factual Studios production in co-production with NDR