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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Visit Religious Places in Colombo – Experiencing the City's Religious Vibes
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Visit Religious Places in Colombo – Experiencing the City's Religious Vibes

Colombo is a bustling commercial city in Sri Lanka where people of many faiths co-exist. Many of the city's places of worship are worth a visit to a discerning traveller.


Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple

Once you've settled down at your urban hotel in Colombo or a beachside hotel such as the Mount Lavinia Hotel, it will be time to explore the city's nooks and corners; amongst these are some of the religious places such as Gangaramaya Temple that beckons travellers to discover its unique charm. Rumoured to have been built in the 19th century by a trader, Gangaramaya Temple is located near the serene Beira Lake and catches the eyes of the passersby with its imposing structure. The temple complex houses an eclectic museum, a vast library and a bewildering array of gilded offerings by devotees. The museum itself is an exotic treasure box with relics from various countries and both Buddhist and Hindu imagery vying for attention. The temple's annual l religious and cultural parade, the Navam Maha Perahera draws hundreds of locals and tourists to the banks of the Beira Lake with its vibrant sights, sounds and hues.


Sri Bala Selva Vinayaga Moorthy Devasthanam Hindu Temple

The Sri Bala Selva Vinayaga Moorthy Devasthanam Hindu Temple or 'Kovil' as it is sometimes referred to is dedicated to Lord Ganesh and is complete with intricate and vibrant sculptures and murals. A statue of Lord Ganesh is placed in a sanctum made entirely of granite. If you visit the temple in August, you will be able to witness the colourful chariot procession that is held every year to celebrate Lord Ganesh's birthday.


Wolvendaal Church

Built in 1749, the Wolvendaal Church is a perfect example of Dutch era architecture. The church interior contains various décor and furniture belonging to the era including wooden pews with carvings, a wooden pulpit as well as lecterns. The church organ used in the 18th century is still in mint condition. Amongst the 5 tombstones of Dutch governors that attract visitors is the oldest Dutch tombstone in Sri Lanka.


Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque is an imposing red and white building situated in Pettah. Construction of the Mosque began in 1908 and was completed within a year. Its unusual design and colours make it a prominent landmark in the area. The architect who designed the mosque was inspired by the Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur which closely resembles the red and white stripes of Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque.


Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara Buddhist Temple

Located on the outskirts of Colombo near the River Kelani, this ancient temple is considered a sacred place of worship by Buddhist devotees across Sri Lanka. The sprawling grounds of the temple are scattered with trees and if you climb down the temple halls and walk down the gravel path, you will enter a serene promenade flanked by the river. Inside the temple, visitors can gaze at the murals that depict stories about Lord Buddha's past lives


Siva Subramania Swami Hindu Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The 'Shiva Lingam' is placed in the sanctum inside the Temple and sculptures of various other deities can be found around the temple premises. The fragrance of incense and camphor and the light of 'poojas' (religious ceremonies) taking place within the premises add to the charm of the temple.

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