Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most important temples in Colombo, Sri Lanka, being a mix of modern architecture and cultural essence. The temple's architecture demonstrates an eclectic mix of Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, and Chinese architecture. his Buddhist temple includes several imposing buildings and is situated not far from the placid waters of Beira Lake on a plot of land that was originally a small hermitage on a piece of marshy land. It has the main features of a Vihara (temple), the Cetiya (Pagada) the Bodhitree, the Vihara Mandiraya, the Seema malaka (assembly hall for monks) and the Relic Chamber. In addition, a museum, a library, a residential hall, a three storeyed Pirivena, educational halls and an alms hall are also on the premises. Most notable for tourists is the architecture of the Simamalaka Shrine, which was built with donations from a Muslim sponsor to the design of Geoffrey Bawa.
The Viharamahadevi Park (formerly Victoria Park) is a public park located in Colombo, next to the National Museum in Sri Lanka. It is the oldest and largest park of the Port of Colombo. Situated in front of the colonial-era Town Hall building, the park is named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu. The park was built on land donated to the Colombo city by Charles Henry de Soysa during the British rule of Sri Lanka, and used to be named "Victoria Park" after Queen Victoria. During World War II it was occupied by the British Army with Australian 17th Brigade based at Victoria Park. After the war the park was restored and open to the public in 1951. There used to be a cricket ground in the park, which was used for first-class cricket between 1927 and 1995. Ceylon played against a touring English team there in 1927 and against an Australian team in 1935. The park features include a huge Buddha statue and a series of water fountains. It also includes a mini zoo, a children's play area and a BAC Jet Provost. The Viharamahadevi Park is the only large-scale public park in Colombo, and is maintained by the Colombo Municipal Council. Located at its western end is the Cenotaph War Memorial, Colombo and the Colombo Public Library. The Vihara Maha Devi Park Open Air Stadium is a venue for concerts and public events.
Independence Memorial Hall (also Independence Commemoration Hall) is a national monument in Sri Lanka built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule with the restoration of full governing responsibility to a Ceylonese-elected legislature on February 4, 1948. It is located at the Independence Square (formerly Torrington Square) in the Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo. It also houses the Independence Memorial Museum. The monument was built at the location where the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule, with the opening of the first parliament by the HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester occurred at a special podium February 4, 1948. Located at the head of the monument is the statue of the first prime minister of the country Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake "The Father of the Nation". Most of the annual National Independence Day celebrations have been held here. Apart from a monument it served as the ceremonial assembly hall for the Senate of Ceylon and the House of Representatives of Ceylon until the parliament was moved to the new parliament complex. Currently it is the venue for religious events and annual national day celebrations.
The Galle Face is a 5 ha (12 acres) ocean-side urban park, which stretches for 500 m (1,600 ft) along the coast, in the heart of the financial and business capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen today. The Galle Face Green was initially used for horse racing and as a golf course, but was also used for cricket, polo, football, tennis and rugby. Galle Face Green originally extended over a much larger area than exists today. Records indicate that it was bounded to the north by Beira Lake, the ramparts of Colombo Fort and the city’s cemetery, to the west by the Indian Ocean, whilst to the south by the Galle Face Hotel (established in 1864, although the original building on the site was a Dutch villa) and to the east by St Peter's Church (consecrated in 1821). The Galle Face Green was initially laid out by the Dutch as a means to enable their cannons a strategic line of fire against the Portuguese. One version of how the name Galle Face is derived, is that it is from the original Dutch name for the fortifications, in that the gateway which gave access to the Colombo Fort was called the Gal Gate, as it faced southwards to Galle and faas means front, so it literally means in front of the fortification that faced toward Galle. Another version is it is a corruption of the original name for the area's rocky shoreline, Gal Bokka, Gal being the Sinhalese for rock and that Gal Gate actually meant rock gate.
Seema Malaka (Sinhalese: සීමා මාලකය) is a Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The temple is mainly used for meditation and rest, rather than for worship. Situated in the Beira Lake, the temple was originally constructed in the late 19th century.Seema Malaka is a part of the Gangaramaya Temple and is situated few hundred meters to its east. Seema Malaka was originally constructed in the late 19th century. The original structure slowly sank into the water in 1970s. In 1976, Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa was brought in to redesign and construct the temple, which stands today.The reconstruction was funded by a Sri Lankan Muslim businessman, S. H. Moosajee, and his wife, in memory of their son Ameer S. Moosajee.
Independence Memorial Hall (also Independence Commemoration Hall) is a national monument in Sri Lanka built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule with the restoration of full governing responsibility to a Ceylonese-elected legislature on February 4, 1948. It is located at the Independence Square (formerly Torrington Square) in the Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo. It also houses the Independence Memorial Museum. The monument was built at the location where the formal ceremony marking the start of self-rule, with the opening of the first parliament by the HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester occurred at a special podium February 4, 1948.
National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government. The museum holds contains a collections of much importance to Sri Lanka such as the regalia of the country, including the throne and crown of the Kandyan monarchs as well as many other exhibits telling the story of ancient Sri Lanka. The Colombo museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1 January 1877. It founder was Sir William Henry Gregory the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. The Royal Asiatic Society (CB) was instrumental in bringing to the notice of Gregory on his appointment as Governor in 1872 the need for a public Museum with much difficulty the approval of the legislative council was obtained within a year. The Architect of the Public Works Department, J. G. Smither was able to prepare the plans for new structure on Italian Architectural style. The construction was completed in 1876 and the Museum commenced it functions in the following year.
The Old Parliament Building, is the building that houses the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. Situated in the Colombo fort facing the sea, it is in close proximity to the President's House, Colombo. The building houses the island's legislature for 53 years until the New Parliament Complex was opened at Sri Jayawardenepura in 1983. It is next to the General Treasury Building. The 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. The initial estimate of Rs 400,000 for the scheme was later revised by the Public Works Advisory Board to Rs 450,000, taking into account the extra expenses involved.
Fort is the central business district of Colombo in Sri Lanka. It is the financial district of Colombo and the location of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the World Trade Centre of Colombo from which the CSE operates. It is also the location of the Bank of Ceylon headquarters. Along the foreshore of the Fort area is the Galle Face Green Promenade, built in 1859 under the governance of Sir Henry George Ward, the Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during British colonial administration. Fort is also home to the General Post Office, hotels, government departments and offices. Known as Kolonthota, the area became notable as the site of the first landings of the Portuguese in the early 16th century and became one of their trading posts in the island. The Portuguese developed their trading post into a fortified base and harbour to extend their control of the interior of the island. The fort was besieged several times during the Sinhalese–Portuguese War, most notably in 1587, but was held. It was conquered by the Dutch East India Company in 1656 after they intervened in the war. With Colombo gaining prominence as the center for Dutch administration in the island it was expanded to protect against both the sea and the interior of the island. The Dutch demolished part of the Portuguese-built fortification and reconstructed it to take advantage of the natural strength of the location between a lake and the sea. Due to the conflicts between the Dutch and the Sinhalese kings of the interior, the fort was a major military base as it came under siege on several occasions.
Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil is a sacred Hindu temple made entirely of granite. Located right in the center of Colombo, Sri Ponnambalam Vanesar Kovil flaunts a mesmerizing architectural pattern engraved in grey granite. Devotees from all over the island nation flock to the temple to pay their respects to the presiding deity – Lord Shiva. In the evening, the prayers are accompanied by the playing of Nadaswaram (long flute) and Thavil (percusion instrument). Although cameras are not allowed inside the temple, it still remains a must visit place in Colombo!
Beira Lake is a lake in the center of the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The lake is surrounded by many large businesses in the city. It occupied approximately 165 hectares of land 100 years ago and has been reduced to mere 65 hectares today due to various reasons. During the colonial era of the Portuguese, and the English the lake was used for a wide variety of purposes It still retains its Portuguese name. It is connected to many intricate canals providing easy way of transporting goods within the city and suburban cities. The lake was built by the Portuguese to provide protection to Colombo from enemies mainly local kings. In 1578, Mayadunne of the Kingdom of Sitawaka attempted to cut of supplies to the invaders but failed to drain the lake. His son Rajasingha I succeeded in 1587 to drain the crocodile infested lake by curring off several canals but failed to defeat the Portuguese as they brought reinforcements from India through sea. After the Dutch laid siege and captured the lake it was expanded and created several islands such as the Slave Island some of them were large enough to have a village and a plantation of 600 coconut trees. After the British took control they removed the crocodiles and developed the area surrounding the lake for recreational activities such as rowing and yachting. The area around the lake was popular for parties including a grand ball that was held to celebrate the news of British victory in Waterloo.Ceylon's first botanical garden the Kew Gardens was opened in the slave island in 1810 to cultivate seedlings provided by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London. By the 19th century land reclamation for development began and the land area of the lake was reduced, pollution also began to increase.
Colombo Lighthouse is a Lighthouse in Colombo in Sri Lanka and it is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. It is located at Galbokka Point south of the Port of Colombo on the waterfront along the marine drive, in Colombo fort. The current 29-metre-high (95 ft) lighthouse was built in 1952 after the Old Colombo Lighthouse was deactivated when its light became obscured by nearby buildings as part of the Colombo Harbor Expansion project. It was opened by Rt Hon D.S. Senanayake, the first prime minister of Ceylon. Built on a concrete base which is 12 m (39 ft) high, it has four statues of lions at its base.
Fort railway station is a major rail hub in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The station is served by Sri Lanka Railways, with many inter-city and commuter trains entering each day. Fort Station is the main rail gateway to central Colombo; it is the terminus of most intercity trains in the country. When the railways first opened in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1864, trains terminated at Colombo Terminus Station, a now-retired station near Maradana. The earliest station to be called Fort was a small station, built in 1877 when the Coast Line was built. This original station sat on the site of present-day Secretariat Halt just west of today's Fort Station.