A day in Colombo – Things to do

How many of us have shown foreigners our country without expecting any favors? I admit, I haven’t till now.  But after my recent experience with a travel start up of Sri Lanka, I am determined to take incomers around my country whole heartedly, every time I get a chance.

While planning my trip to Sri lanka,  I had planned to see around Colombo only on the last day of my trip thinking it to be just another commercial city of a country. A travel start up, TravelAdvisor SriLanka offered to show me around Colombo but I being on a shoe string budget trip could not opt for their services and had to decline the offer. Sherpa, the beautiful young girl and the co founder of the startup kept mentioning that she is keen to show me her city, Colombo without any charges and also does not expect anything in return. I was a little skeptical initially but thought of atleast meeting her before refusing the offer. Also, I am too naive in the world of blogging to even call it a FAM trip.

To my sheer delight, we were received at Colombo railway station by one of Sherpa’s team mate, Fareed and his gorgeous black vintage car. I immediately was head over heels on mere sight of this black beauty.

IMG_0158-2

Fareed drove us to Gangaramaya Buddhist temple where we met Sherpa and her lovely sister who welcomed us with tokens of love and insisted that they would like to show us around. We couldn’t resist the offer and gladly agreed.

Here’s a list of things to do in Colombo in 1 day:

Gangaramaya Buddhist temple:

It is a bustling temple complex which not only has temple but has a museum, a library and a hall with exorbitantly expensive bejewelled gifts presented by devotees. A life size statue of Elephant Ganga has been placed in the premises to replace the real elephant who had been captive for years in the temple.

The architecture of this Buddhist temple is a beautiful blend of Srilankan, Thai, Indian and Chinese architecture.

IMG_20160716_171023
Exterior of Gangaramaya Temple
IMG_0130
One of many Buddha statues in the temple complex
IMG_0135
Safeguarding Statue
IMG_0137
The wall paintings are sure to leave anyone spellbound
IMG_0141
These mountings are very close to India’s national emblem
IMG_0146
Sequence of Buddha statues
IMG_0149
One Buddha bejeweled with glittering gold and diamonds
IMG_20160716_164909
A vast Buddha statue in the center of the complex
IMG_20160716_165359
The doors were just too beautifully painted and deserved more than a few moments of appreciation
IMG_20160716_165957
A sacred tree with an old statue of Buddha
IMG_20160716_170619
Life size statue of Elephant Ganga
IMG_0152
An array of symmetrical Buddha statues

Independence Square

This monument was built at the location where the formal ceremony took place to mark the start of the self rule, soon after gaining independence from British rule. This place witnesses the annual National Independence day celebrations every year. It also houses Independence memorial museum. The standing statue is of the first prime minister of the country. It’s quite an important landmark on the map of Colombo.

IMG_0207.jpg
Independence Square, Colombo

Viharamahadevi Park

The oldest and largest public park of Colombo which is situated in front of British era Town Hall building. It houses a huge Buddha statue, series of water fountains, mini zoo and also a children’s play area. It is located at an important location and shares vicinity with Cenotaph War Memorial and Public Library. It’s quite well maintained and a good halt for one to relax and observe locals.

IMG_0172
Buddha statue surrounded by water fountains
IMG_0174
Series of colorful Tuktuks waiting to be hopped on!
IMG_0226
The park all lit up at twilight
IMG_0234
Town hall lit up by british era lamp posts

Old Parliament Building

The building is situated in Colombo fort facing the sea. It is in close proximity to the President’s abode and also houses the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. The front garden hosts a lot of statues of important dignitaries of the country. It is thus quite an iconic place in Colombo.

IMG_20160716_161506
Old Parliament Building, Colombo

The Colombo Lighthouse

The lighthouse is a 29 meter tall structure which offers a panoramic view of Indian Ocean and thus is a prominent city landmark. Sri Lankan Navy’s traditional gun salutes take place at its base which interestingly has 4 lion statues guarding the base. The Colombo Lighthouse sports 4 guns which have been given by Britain and India and are now used to fire the gun shots. A lot of history hidden below the lighthouse is ready to be dug up by history buffs.

IMG_20160716_161038
Locals chilling at the Lighthouse

Galle Face Green 

An interesting outline to the coast of Indian Ocean which has evolved over centuries. From being initially laid out to line up the canons against Portuguese in order to safeguard Colombo Fort to being used for horse racing and as a golf course to construction of promenade along the coast for ladies and children to ramble to the largest open space in Colombo where children, vendors, merrymakers, lovers bustle the place. It is generally overcrowded on weekends as people come over for mini picnics and day trippings and let loose.

Galle-Face.jpg
Galle Face Green at night. Pic Credit : http://srilanka.for91days.com/

Laksala 

Laksala is a state owned Souvenir boutique and gift shop which has a grand variety of Srilankan products. The product range vary from sophisticatedly packed tea and spices to gorgeous batik ware to massive collection of art and crafts to exotic collection of fine Srilankan gems and jewellery. It is a one stop shop to pick the souvenirs for all loved ones. All the souvenirs I picked are from Laksala!

laksala

Odel 

A very famous store chain which is no less than size of a mall and caters to modern clothing styles, home ware, cosmetics, accessories, jewelry and much more. It is all in all a modern store chain rightly suited for urban population of Srilanka. I picked up a lot of trendy clothing from Odel. They run great sale too 🙂

z_pv-odel1

Some pictures from streets of Colombo

IMG_0180
Caught this young lady in her act on the streets of Colombo
IMG_0212
These stunning beauties adorned the roads of Colombo
IMG_20160716_161653
These landscapes are right in the capital city of Srilanka. Amazing, isn’t it?
IMG_20160716_175731
One definitely has to stop by to appreciate these stunning pieces of artwork

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We could make the most of our day in Colombo because of Traveladvisor Srilanka’s team and their persistence in insisting on showing us around their city.

If you are travelling to Srilanka and have a day in Colombo, do reach out to these guys and see Colombo in the best way possible.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “A day in Colombo – Things to do

Add yours

  1. I have been meaning to visit Sri Lanka for so long – we finally decided on this winter few days back. Definitely saving this one for Colombo. Any other places you have been to that you have on the blog as well? 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: