Sightseeing in Colombo

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Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and lies on the west cost of the island approximately 38 km off the Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) at Katunayake.

Colombo’s natural harbor was known by the ancient traders for over 2000 years due its strategic position of the east-west sea trade route.

Colombo offers you a mixture of modern life with historical and natural sites few other cities can offer.

Galle Face Green

Galle Face Green - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Galle Face Green – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under GNU License

The Galle Face is a promenade which stretches for a half kilometre along the coast in the heart of the financial and business district of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The Galle Face Green is currently a 5 hectare ribbon strip of land between Galle Road and the Indian Ocean which is now the largest open space in Colombo. This is a popular destination for children, vendors, teenagers, lovers, kite flyers, merrymakers and all those who want to indulge in their favourite pastimes next to the sea under the open sky. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, the land is busy with day trippers, picnickers and food vendors. There are two large hotels that border the strip; the Ceylon Inter-Continental Hotel and at the other by the quaint Galle Face Hotel, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most popular hotels, with a variety of old world charm including old furniture, hand carved doors, balconies and high ceilings. ( en.wikipedia.org)

Old Parliament Building

Old Parliament Building - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Old Parliament Building – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC licence by Kesara Rathnayake (kesara.lk)

This is a Neo-Baroque-style building building built in 1930 to house the Legislative Council of Ceylon during the british occupation of the country. This building was used as the parliament after independence until 1983, when the parliament was moved to the new building at Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kotte. Currently it houses the Presidential Secretariat.

The building lies in front of Gall Face Green facing the sea.

Old Light House

This lighthouse is not operational any more, but functions as a clock tower and is designated as a monument. It is located at the junction of Chatham Street and Janadhipathi Mawatha (formally Queens road) in Colombo fort. ( more …. )

Gangaramaya Temple

Gangaramaya Temple - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Gangaramaya Temple – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC licence by Adam Brill

The beautiful Gangaramaya Temple is famous for its imposing buildings, and is complete with a chetiya, bo tree, image house, Simamalaka, relic chamber containing the relics of the Buddha and Arahat Seevali, museum, library, pirivena, and residential, education and alms halls. It is decorated with stone carvings, brass work and many other forms of Buddhist art.

It contains row upon row of Buddha statues in the meditating pose, alongside miniature stupas arranged like a staircase. ( more …. )

Commonwealth War Memorial at the Vihara Mahadevi Park

Commonwealth War Memorial at the Vihara Mahadevi Park - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Commonwealth War Memorial at the Vihara Mahadevi Park – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC license by Al-thalib

This Cenotaph War Memorial was built by the British as a tribute to the armed forces of commonwealth countries who made the supreme sacrifice during the world war I. This memorial was initially built on the Galle Face Green in 1920’s but it was dismantled during World War II for the fear of being used as a marker by the Japanese for aerial attacks. After the war this memorial was moved to the Viharamahadevi Park and rebuilt again.

Even though number of war memorials are found in Sri Lanka, this is considered the primary war memorial.


Independence Hall

Independence Hall - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Independence Hall – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC license by by ImageBang

This hall build to commemorate the freedom from British Rule lies in a tranquil surrounding in Colombo. It was built to have a seating capacity of 25,000 on the assembly ground. From the beginning this memorial was built to be worthy of the glorious history of the country.

But the hall was rarely used for such large functions and part of the ground is now converted to a sports complex. A jogging path has now being built around this area and this a popular gathering place for kids as well as adults. (more … )

Colombo National Museum

Colombo National Museum- Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo National Museum- Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC licence by by Stefan Krasowski

The Colombo Museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1st January 1877. It founder was Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time.

The museum houses a very impressive collection buddhist and hindu statues going back to pre christian era and a collection of over 4000 palm leaf manuscripts.

The museum is closed on public holidays and on Fridays.


Dutch Period Museum

Dutch Period Museum- Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dutch Period Museum- Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC license by Al-thalib

Located in middle of Maliban Street in the pettah market, this museum is in fact is the 17th centaury residence of the Dutch Governor. The building is well kept and has a nice courtyard garden. It has good collection of artifacts from the Dutch period.

Time of Operation : Daily 09.00 hrs to 17.00 hrs except on Fridays.


Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Theater

Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Theater - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Theater – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC licence by Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka

The latest attraction in Colombo. This theatre is a fully equipped state of the art performance centre, meant for large scale theatrical productions. The theatre consists of two venues for performances, which includes the main auditorium and an open air amphitheatre.

The design of this building is inspired by the Lotus Pond in the Polonnaruwa built during 9-11th centauries.

National Art Gallery

This lies close proximity to National Museum and the Nelum Pokuna Theatre. In addition to exhibitions held by various artists it has a permanent collection of portraits and landscapes on exhibition.


Planetarium

Planetarium - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Planetarium – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC licence by by Anufdo

The Planetarium established in 1965, was a special feature of the Industrial Exhibition held in Colombo that year. Designed by renowned Engineer Dr. A.N.S. Kulasinghe, its inner dome, taking the shape of a lotus in full bloom, was constructed by Engineers from Germany. The artificial sky where one could glimpse the night sky during day time is created on a domed screen above an auditorium which could seat 500 visitors.

Show times : Tuesday to Saturday at 10.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. One show takes about 1 ½ hours.


Awkana Buddha Replica

Replica of Awkana Buddha - Colombo, Sri Lanka

Replica of Awkana Buddha – Colombo, Sri Lanka
published under CC BY 3.0 licence by by takunodaibouken

This is a replica built around 1970 of the awkana statue which was carved out of rock during the 6th century AD. This lies in front of the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH).

Deepaduttaramaya Temple

The oldest temple in Colombo. Over 300 years old. Commonly known as the Thai Temple due to close links with the Thai Royal Family. Lies in Kotahena. ( see more ….. )

Other sights of interest

Beaches

  • Mount Lavinia (12 km from Galle Face)
  • Kalutara Kalido Beach (40 km from Galle Face)
  • Negambo (42 km from Galle Face)

Also See

Map of  Colombo

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The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.

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