Skip to content

Peace in Paradise: The Story of Arugam Bay

A group of young students play a game of football after school
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

This photo essay examines life in a village on the East coast of Ceylon.The end of the civil war (between the Tamils and governing Sinhalese) in 2009 inspired a new found hope for reconciliation throughout the small Island nation. But almost 10 years to the day, on the 19th of April 2019, 259 lives were lost after a series of bombs were detonated in and around the capital city of Colombo. Many of those murdered were attending Easter Sunday mass. Once again, blood flowed through the streets of Sri Lanka.

The fishing village of Arugam Bay has grown rapidly in popularity over the last few years; perhaps due to its favourable climate, pristine sands and assortment of eateries. But I feel there is a little more to it than tourist delights. A palpable air of harmony permeates the walkways, alleys, farms and shores of the small coastal village. Despite neighbouring regions being heavily dominated by Sri Lankan Tamils, Arugam Bay shines bright and loud with its diversity in food, profession and faith. From the presence of local Islamic schools, to Sinhalese fishermen to Tamil business owners, the cycle of inclusion turns seamlessly in sync throughout the Bay, as it showcases unparalleled insight into a world of community and collaboration.

 

Sit in a tuk-tuk. Breathe in a bit of South Asia. Pick a fruit stall. Find a poser. Indulge in some sweet Thembili (King Coconut). Unique Sri Lankan experience: ✅
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
lighting a fire in the forest in arugam bay
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Men filter fresh fish from the nets to fuel the local hospitality industry
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
Sunrise sees many boats leave and return to the shore with an abundance of produce. Fishermen prepare to push their boats up the sand hills to complete the morning shift.