Every February, Colombo's streets are filled with drummers, dancers, plate throwers – and scores of elephants. Celebrating the full moon, Poya Day, also known as Navam Perahera Festival, is one of Sri Lanka's most celebrated festivals.
The annual tradition sees elephants brought to the capital from temples and villages across the country – unloaded from open topped trucks, they are chained to their vehicles, or tree trunks along the roadside. Some stand calmly, making their way through piles of foliage and branches, but many still show apparent signs of captive trauma, including repetitive movements and weaving.
As evening starts to fall, the festival preparations begin. Bejewelled, glinting, embroidered costumes robe the animals, with custom headdresses covering their faces and ears, leaving just their eyes visible through the masks. The star attractions are ready to walk the streets.