Gangarama temple is a center of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist culture and learning. Located at the center of Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo, it is also popular with youth. Sundays see more visitors but you will get to see a more vibrant atmosphere there. If you would like to see the rituals visit in the morning but visit in the evening as well if you can as the lighting in the evening makes it ecstatic. I suggest you to plan your visit in the late afternoon that you can see Gangarama temple in both daylight and under night sky.
Timings: 5.30 AM to 10 PM
Museum ticket fees: Rs 100
Address: Gangaramaya, 61, Sri Jinarathana Road,Colombo 2, Sri Lanka
We reached there in the morning. After entering the temple premises saw two best of the vintage cars from the brand of Mercedes and Rolls Royce. Then we went to the museum which possesses a treasure trove collection of artifacts, historical timelines, currency collection from various periods, various Buddha idols, postage collection etc. Leaving the museum, we saw a white pagoda where people pray to Lord Buddha. Sri Lankan temples resembles a lot with south Indian temples in architecture and style. They light a lot of clay lamps and incense sticks. It makes for an awesome view. Here you can find Sri Lankan women with their beautiful saree paying homeage. Sri lankan saree wearing style is little different than India’s. The Bodhi tree is a sacred place and people offer their prayer. Ashok chakra which is the national emblem of India can also be seen there. Emperor Ashoka was a great proponent of Buddhism and helped spread it both within and outside India. I found people walking around the Bodhi tree with small pots of water and then emptying them on the feet of Lord Buddha.
There is also an idol of Lord Buddha inside the Beira lake on an artificial elevated platform. A wooden bridge leads to this place and on the way we found a sleeping Buddha. Once inside, we found few small idols of Buddha with a bigger one in the background. Two huge elephant tusks adorn them from both sides. There were few other statues of Buddha on both sides. On three sides of this place, metal statues of Buddha were placed in various ashana positions. One of the room had an inscription – Treasury of Truth but entry to that room was closed. The lake offers boating on swan like boats. There is also a cantilever bridge which allows people to walk from one side of the lake to an island. This section is very popular with youth and can be coined a lover’s spot.
There were some swans, wild ducks who swam and walked freely around the lake. It also has few variety of birds. Since Gangarama temple is located at the heart of the city and close to the central business district, one can see high rise buildings in the background like the Hyatt hotel, world trade center etc. Visit there with time in hand so that you can pray in peace, learn about new culture, enjoy some great views and stroll around in pleasure.