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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Places to Glimpse in Colombo, Sri Lanka – Something Old, Something New
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Places to Glimpse in Colombo, Sri Lanka – Something Old, Something New

Colombo is a 'grand old lady' on one side while taking on the role of a modern hub on the other. One of Asia's most contemporary cities, Colombo also proudly holds onto its colonial heritage and traditional ways of life, a marvellous hodgepodge of experiences to savour.


The Colombo Museum

The country's largest museum it is housed within a classical Italian style villa built in 1876 under the orders of the British Governor of Sri Lanka. The place is a treat for all culture buffs and full of surprising encounters for everyone else. Home to over 100,000 relics chronicling the island's history from its first civilizations to the majestic monarchies, the museum displays royal garments, an ancient throne, crowns, ceremonial weapons, stone-age tools and much more to fascinate, beguile and educate the curious mind.


Fort and Its Collection of Colonial Venues

The Fort area which is the city centre is home to a marvellous collection of colonial buildings. The Old Parliament Building facing iconic Galle Face Green is a good place to start, just 10 - 15 minutes from the up and coming Cinnamon Life Colombo and other well-placed complexes boasting luxury apartments in Colombo. This building is walking distance from the Old Colombo Lighthouse; designed by the British Governor's wife in 1857, it later served the purpose of a clock tower and is now located in the middle of a busy junction. There are many attractions to see in this area such as St Peter's Church built 1821, Central Point built 1914 and the Cargills main store, a beautiful red brick building built in 1906


The Gangaramaya Temple and Seema Malaka Shrine

One of the city's more modern temples the Gangaramaya is not as strict as others, meaning a few photographs are allowed together with visiting the resident elephant. Explore the in-house museum, extensive library and shrine room holding gifts from many nations. The Seema Malaka meditation shrine sitting on the waters of the Beira Lake is a short walk away. Built in the 19th century this serene sanctuary is a beautiful sight at night when lit up with a hundred fairy lights and is more a meditation centre than a temple for worship. Well worth leaving your luxury Colombo apartment for an evening's visit.


The Beira Lake

The Beira Lake is next to the Gangaramaya Temple; during colonial rule, the lake serviced by many canals running across the city was a main transport hub. Today it is a place for leisurely walks, taking a paddle boat across the waters or crossing the narrow suspension bridge linking the mainland to the little island located in the middle of the lake. The waters of the Beira merge with the Indian Ocean at a point in Galle Face.


The Independence Memorial Hall

Built many years after the nation obtained independence from British rule, this beautiful structure stands as a reminder to the day the island regained its freedom. The stone hall inlaid with decorative stone pillars emulates the style of the Royal Audience Hall in Kandy. It was within this hall in Kandy the Kandyan Convention was signed, thus, ending the last kingdom of Sri Lanka handing the country over to British rule, hence, it is only fitting the Independence Hall marking the rebirth of an independent Sri Lanka is built in the same style. Surrounding the hall are magnificent stone lions while D. S. Senanayake deemed the 'Father of the Nation' is represented via a giant statue standing in front of the square.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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