Colombo is the commercial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon and once known as the “Garden City of the East”. Colombo is a port city with a rich colonial heritage. The lovely harbour is still one of the largest and most important ports in the Indian Ocean.
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Evidence of Colombo’s old world with its majestic colonial buildings in the heart of Colombo makes this city so fascinating. It’s a clean city with lush gardens and a beautiful esplanade. Of course, the best tea comes from Ceylon.
|Vihara Maha Devi Park|
As we traverse this city we see the President’s House (the White House), town hall, Khan Clock Tower (century old clock tower), the famous Strand Hotel, Independence Square, etc.
|Khan clock Tower|
We also stop at the Sri Ponnambala Vaneswara temple with its stunning granite, intricately sculptured facade.
We visit the National Museum, established in 1877, which is filled with 3000 artifacts, manuscripts, royal weaponry, sculptures, murals etc.
The Asokaramaya Buddhist temple, which was built in the 1870s. The temple’s plain exterior hides a wealth of beauty. Inside, the walls are elegantly decorated with murals of early 20th century Buddhist art, a reclining Buddha and several other statues of Buddha.
A well worth hairy ride in a tuk tuk, escorted by a local who convinced us to visit the famous 120 year old Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, the most important place of Buddhist learning and worship. The architecture is a mixture of local Thai, Chinese & Indian influence. The temple is only opened 3 times a day for 1 hour. The temple's main sanctuary houses a massive Buddha statue in meditation with a stepped wall at the rear with many stone statues of Buddha and stupas. This temple is also believed to house the left upper canine and hair of the Lord Buddha. The temples exterior is not ornate but the interior shines with intricate richly carved inlays of ivory, wood and lacquer.
We leave Colombo Harbour and head up the west coast of Sri Lanka. We enter the Lakshadweep Sea (bordered by the Arabian Sea to the north and west and the Indian Ocean to the south) towards Cochin.