Colorful Colombo, Sri Lanka

Pretty in Pink

You may have gleaned from reading my blog or following me on Instagram that I like photographing nature. On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I had the chance to spend time at the elephant sanctuary but I made a conscious effort to make my trip to Sri Lanka cultural. I spent my time in Colombo, the commercial capital and the largest city of Sri Lanka. I thought visiting the Sri Landa National Museum first would be a good way to know the country. Approaching the museum, I could not escape nature and not focus my camera on the sea of pink in front of me - flower petals that had fallen from a huge tree. I did not know the name of the tree/flower so I showed the photo I took to the museum staff to find out what it was called, but they did not know it either. I found out through the 'image search' app that it was called the "pink powder puff".


Sri Lanka National Museum

The National Museum of Colombo also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is the largest museum in Sri Lanka and the country's premier cultural institution. It has well-laid-out galleries, starting with the man’s early history up to recent times. It has galleries that date back as far as 1877 and features exhibits from Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms, from Anuradhapura to the more recent Kandyan period. It also features some fine statuary relating to both Buddhist and Hindu religions, and display rooms showing ancient jewelry, coins, puppets, masks, paintings, and colonial period clothing like that of the Burghers.


Temples

Hinduism was introduced in Sri Lanka during the reign of the Tamil kings in the 2nd century BC. So you’ll find some of the most important temples here.

Gangaramaya Temple

The Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Colombo. It’s exceptionally beautiful with the Beira Lake on one side and statues and carvings paving the way inside. It has an unusual blend of architectural styles including Sri Lankan, Indian, Thai and Chinese. The main sanctuary has a huge Buddha statue.


Colorful buddha statues covered the walls and ceiling. 



Outside the main sanctuary, you’ll find a Bodhi tree encircled with flower offerings. You can go around the tree to make offerings and finish your offering prayers or whatever at the shrine with Buddha statues in seating and standing positions. The temple also has a museum brimming with Buddha statues from around the world.


Seema Malakaya Temple

The Seema Malaka Temple is located in the Beira Lake. The temple is mainly used for meditation and rest. Even if you don't go inside the temple, you can admire the marble statues in every corner of the temple and the golden Buddha statues that overlook the lake.

Kelaniya Temple

The Kelaniya Temple is outside the city, located about seven miles east of Colombo, but it’s worth a visit. It's one of the most sacred and most beautiful temples in Sri Lanka. Most sacred because it was where the Buddha visited for the 3rd and last time. Aesthetically, the temple stands majestically on the west bank overlooking the River Kelani. It is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha and the history of Sri Lanka. The temple has a lot of history that goes back to pre-Christian times.

Contrasting Architecture

As the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo has many high-rises towering above the Fort, an area named because of a 19th-century British fortress here. The Fort is also known for the Old Parliament built in the Neo-Baroque style during the British reign. The British influence is highly evident throughout the city, many of the streets are named for former British governors.


Random photo taken while driving around the city

Galle Face Green

The Galle Face Green is a long stretch of the road facing a narrow beach and the sea. Stroll along the seaside promenade and enjoy some street food. You’ll find a myriad of vendors selling 'isso wade' (fried shrimp cake) for 50 rupees. If you’re not on a budget, you can spend the afternoon at the veranda of the Galle Face Hotel, built by the British in 1864. The veranda offers not only refreshing gin and tonic for 770 rupees but some of the best views of Sri Lanka’s gorgeous sunsets.
This photo was taken from the historic Galle Face Green

Pagoda Tea Room

Pagoda Tea Room is arguably the oldest dining establishment in Colombo, dating back to 1884 and the place where the Duran Duran award-winning video was filmed. It offers rice and curry and vegetarian dishes, but the snack is good too, inexpensive for a famous historical place.

NOTE: All photos by the author

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