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Stop At: Gangaramaya (Vihara) Buddhist Temple, 61 Sri Jinaratana Road, Colombo Sri Lanka
This stunning temple located in the heart of Colombo is one of the city’s most iconic religious structures. Travelers who venture to this top attraction will find colorful history, distinct architecture and deep religious roots.
Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple borrows elements from Thai, Indian, Chinese and Sri Lankan architecture. Visitors who wander the grounds—either solo or with a guide—will find elements that are distinctive of each unique tradition throughout. The structure is situated near Beira Lake and is home to a temple, pagoda, assembly hall for monks, museum, library, residential hall and several other key structures. But travelers say it’s the rows of praying Buddhas and quiet reflecting pools and elaborate interiors that make Gangaramaya worth a visit.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Old Parliament Building, Fort, Colombo Sri Lanka
Travelling past Colombo’s Galle Face Green towards the area known as Fort, a cityscape looms. In the background, silvery skyscrapers and cream-colored buildings dominate. You will notice a building close to the sea whose dimensions are in complete contrast, being several hundred meters long and only three storey’s high.
This Neo-Baroque-style building was built during the British colonial era to house the Legislative Council of Ceylon. It was built on an idea of Sir Henry McCallum, which led to a proposal made by a committee to construct the new building for the Secretariat, Council Chamber and Government offices on reclaimed land at the northern end of Galle Face’ were accepted by the Government in 1920.
The chief architect of the Public Works Department, A. Woodson was responsible for the design of the building with his initial estimate of Rs 400,000 for the scheme being later revised Rs 450,000, taking into account the extra expenses involved.
The building was declared open as the Legislative Council on January 29, 1930, by Governor Sir Herbert Stanley. He expressed the desire that “all the deliberations, which will be conducted within these walls may serve to weld the several communities and classes of the population together into an organic unity of national life and national progress, not by the suppression of varying traditions but by their co-ordination on a basis of mutual respect.”
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka, Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha Dehiwala, Colombo 10350 Sri Lanka
Zoological garden in Dehiwala, is a beautifully landscaped 30 acres in which a rich collection of mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes live in harmony with Nature. (also called Colombo Zoo or Dehiwala Zoo)
Visions for the zoo include, "To create one of the world’s outstanding zoological institutions, that is a centre of the excellence for conservation, research and education" and mission is "Resourceful conservation of animals by means of a learning, achieved through the exhibition of species which were adopted with loving care".
Duration: 2 hours
Stop At: Galle Face Green, Galle Road, Colombo Sri Lanka
This ocean-side urban park with coastal views once served as a straight shot for firing cannons against the Portuguese. But today, it is a Mecca for travelers in search of fresh air, local sports and Sri Lankan history. That’s because this popular attraction is home to a now defunct horse track, golf course, rugby and cricket fields.
Travelers can venture to the old horse track, which is now the Crystal Ballroom of the Taj Samudra Hotel and see where the local elite once placed their bets. And while the colonial golf course, which was built in 1879, has since moved to Borella, it’s still possible to see remnants of the once popular club. While the former athletics facilities have either been shut down or moved, this vast open space still attracts plenty of folks thanks to ideal kite flying conditions, perfect picnic areas, imposing hotels and picturesque views.
Duration: 1 hour